Archive for July, 2013

Random Thoughts on Whatever

And I do mean random. Just stuff that’s crossed my mind in the last while, and in no particular order.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev  on Rolling Stone. Really? This is some kind of issue? Okay, first, Rolling Stone, like them or not, can put whoever they like on the cover. None of us have to like it, or buy a copy, but they can do that. Second, putting a picture of someone, even a bad guy and alleged killer, does not equate to “glorifying” them or their crime. It’s been pointed out that the New York Times ran the same picture of Tsarnaev, and no one got their panties in a bunch then. Now, whether that’s because the NYT is a respected news organization as opposed to RS’ usual focus on celebrities, or because other pictures may not have been available at the time, I don’t know. Did RS get the same flak when they put Charles Manson on the cover? Again, I don’t know — I wasn’t there at the time.

But I just can’t get worked up one way or another over this. Like it or not, Tsarnaev is newsworthy — he is the story. While I have tremendous sympathy for the victims, and I know many of them are going to have a hard road ahead of them due to Tsarnaev’s alleged actions, it simply isn’t the same. And I am not that Tsarnaev should get any fame out of this, but let’s face it: people will demand information. If there is a trial, they will want it televised — will they want it televised without Tsarnaev being on camera? Much of the information they will demand will be about Tsarnaev. You can’t have it both ways. You can’t demand focus on the crime without having some focus on the criminal.

While it may seem unfair that the perpetrator gets the focus, it’s not new. Check out this Salon.com article about murder during the Victorian Age in England. The more things change, right?

Star Trek. My husband and I have been watching the original Star Trek. I know I’ve established my geek credentials before, but truth is I had never seen much of the original series (TOS). I had seen a couple of episodes, but most of my Trek knowledge comes from Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) or Star Trek: Deep Space 9 (DS9). I haven’t even seen all of the movies. (Also, I saw some of but did not like either the Voyager or Enterprise series.)

Somewhat to my surprise, though, TOS is quite good. I don’t mean to say I expected otherwise. I suppose I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, having seen only the odd scene or episode here and there. I knew the names: Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Chekov, Sulu. I even knew some basic characteristics for each of them. It’s seeped into the pop culture hive mind; you don’t even know how you know, you just do. (I believe the same thing happens with Beatles’ songs, and possibly Elvis.)

Last night we saw an episode called “Spectre of the Gun” — from season three — and, well, wow. The Earps, in my experience usually shown as somewhat dour but good men, are the bad guys. The ersatz Clanton gang, composed of Kirk, Spock, McCoy and Chekov, are friendly and the townspeople are hoping they can put an end to the Earps’ hold over the town. Nice flipping expectations! (Also, so much better than the Wyatt Earp movie with Kevin Costner.)

Kate Middleton. People, it’s a woman having a baby. This happens all the time, all over the place. Let it go.

Marte Deborah Dalelv. This is the Norwegian woman who worked in Dubai, in the UAE, and reported being raped to the police. For which she was promptly charged with a few things, such as drinking alcohol and having sex outside of marriage, and sentenced to jail. She has been pardoned. As others have noted, tall buildings do not mean you have entirely entered the 21st century.

I really can’t say much about this except: *facepalm* It is so absolutely disheartening to know that this mindset doesn’t just exist, but is culturally ingrained in many places. And don’t think it’s just in places with lots of sand. Plenty of people in the more modern western world still blame the victim. How about we teach people to protect themselves, and also teach people not to assault or rape other people. I think that would go a long way.

Animated movies. I love ’em. 🙂 I just picked two up today — Rio and James and the Giant Peach (warning — this appears to be the whole movie; I was just looking for the trailer). Some of you probably know I’m a big Nightmare before Christmas fan. I can’t say what I like most about them, since like any other movie category, there is a wide spectrum of genres and styles. I can say that I’m partial to the stop-motion animation more than the CGI, but I also love the old 2-D animation of old Disney movies and Japanese features like My Neighbor Totoro.

Neil Gaiman.  I’m looking forward to reading his new book, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I have read a lot of Gaiman’s stuff, from the DC/Vertigo Sandman comics on through Anansi Boys and more. I highly recommend Good Omens, which he co-wrote with Terry Pratchett. Gaiman has a wonderful imagination, and seems to be able to write for adults and younger audiences both — I recently discovered another book he co-authored, Interworld, and it was a good YA book. I also would like to read his children’s book, Fortunately, the Milk, but I’m not sure it’s at the library yet.

Books. So now we read that the end is nigh for Barnes & Noble, one of the last large book-seller chains. Perhaps the last; I’m not sure where Books-A-Million, aka BAM!, rates. Once again people are out bemoaning the death of books, paper books and lord knows what else. Perhaps I should be a little more upset about it, but there are just too many thing that seem to warrant that kind of attention so I have to be picky about it.

For one thing, books are embedded in our culture and so I certainly don’t see the end of print books any time soon. How will we get those? Well some book stores are still around, and some stores like WalMart and even the grocery store at least offer a section of an aisle for best-sellers and new books. I actually hope that B&N figures out a way to stay in business, because like a library where you can wander and look, I think people need to be able to wander around and look at books and get recommendations from friends and knowledgable salespeople. I recently read an article that said one point against Amazon (the book behemoth, let’s be honest) is that people do not usually discover new books online (whether that’s Amazon or elsewhere). People find things by word of mouth, and perhaps by chance.

I also hope they stay in business because my son has a NookColor, as do a few other people I know, and I’d like him to be able to keep using it. He does read on it, and I encourage reading books whether it’s on screen or on paper.

Writing. I’m not doing enough of it but I’m working on it. I recently did post a story called “Lessons Learned” at all the usual sites, and am working on more. Sigh. Never enough time.

Story is up

My new story, “Lessons Learned,” is now up at Literotica, at this link: http://www.literotica.com/s/lessons-learned-14

This is, as I said before, new territory for me as it’s a lesbian romance. If you do read it, feedback is welcome. 🙂

An excerpt:

 I let her pull me farther onto the dance floor. She swayed her hips to the beat and put her hands on my waist, enticing me to mirror her movements. Her eyes locked on mine. I responded to the pressure of her hands and rocked back and forth. After a few minutes, I put my hands on her shoulders and stepped a little closer.

Our bodies touched as we used dancing as an excuse to get as physically close as possible. No one noticed since the place was so crowded, and likely no one cared. This club was gay-friendly, so two women or two men getting close didn’t draw much attention.

Lia kept her eyes on mine as she danced. I relaxed as the alcohol started having its effect and I slipped into the familiar feel of being with Lia. I pulled her to me and trailed a hand down her back and over her ass.

She bit her lip and closed her eyes for a moment. When she opened them, I saw the want. She dragged her hand up from my waist and over my breast before settling on my neck. Her fingernails skimmed over my shoulder and neck, raising goose bumps on my skin. I put one hand behind her neck and leaned in to kiss her.

I was playing with fire but I didn’t care.

Happy Reading!

July 4th is coming

I’ve said I don’t like to get political on my blog, and I don’t think I will too much here, but July 4th is tomorrow. As I told my daughter, in simple terms, that’s the birthday of our country (even though it’s probably not quite the right date). July 4th always brings up the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and names like Ben Franklin, John Hancock, George Washington, John Adams. Our illustrious Founding Fathers — or are they traitors?

Don’t rise up in anger, because from one point of view — that would be the British — they are indeed traitors. They are a group of people who led an insurrection against their government. Funny thing is, this isn’t even a big deal to the Brits. With the empire they had, it’s about a footnote in history. Also, don’t get me wrong, because I’m quite happy that these men did what they did and that we are an independent country. I think we have a good system going, despite its faults, and I hope it continues that way.

I used to work at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA, or as we called it, the Archives). In a bit of irony, their website is down today; I hope they’re working on having it up tomorrow, of all days. (For any history buffs or geeks, there is a “Document of the day” app available from Apple; you might want to try it out.) Having worked there, I have something of a soft spot for both the Constitution and the Declaration.

And interesting fact I learned was that in the event of an emergency (wonder if Roland Emmerich got this in White House Down), the Declaration receives priority in being saved, over the Constitution? It makes sense if you think about it. The Constitution sets out the framework for our government but the Declaration is what makes us our own country. The framework doesn’t work without a country to govern. (More fun facts on the Declaration are here.)

So with July 4th on the horizon, and Supreme Court decisions raining down and Wendy Davis filibustering in Texas and Edward Snowden reprising Tom Hanks’ role in The Terminal, these documents are on my mind, mostly the Constitution. No one’s trying to amend the Declaration, after all.

My friends in Canada who follow U.S. politics even a little are amazed at the pull the religious right/Tea Party groups have over politics. Frankly, I’m annoyed that the Republican party, which is especially beholden to these groups, is on one hand anxious to get government out of our lives but on the other intent on nosing into our bedrooms and bodies. If you want government to leave you alone, then it has to be all the way, and it’s even more disturbing that some people want to get government out of the macro picture but keep it in the micro picture.

These issues are ones I ponder because a) I’m a woman and b) I have degrees in Russian Area studies. In college, I spent a lot of time studying Russian government and history and so although it wasn’t a first-person experience, I’m very conscious of what happens when some in government are intent on making an “us v. them” theme. I remember one of my professors telling us that back in the Soviet Union, his uncle once told a joke about Stalin. Soon after, his uncle disappeared.

Think about that. One man out of millions told a joke, presumably among friends, and yet somehow that show of “disrespect” found its way back to someone in a position of authority, and the man was gone. That’s what can happen when government is unchecked.

I do not think we are anywhere near that point, but I do fear the religious overtones that are rising in many states. One of the things I think is best about our government is that there is — or should be — a wall between Church and State. If you wish to be religious, then fine. But if I do not wish to be, then you cannot force it on me. Nor can I force my beliefs, religious or otherwise, on you. Yes, we were founded by Christian men (and surely the women who supported them), but they were not evangelical, fundamentalist Christian men. Some of them weren’t even churchgoers.

I was very disturbed, for example, to read the other day that in Pennsylvania, a member of the state house prevented another from speaking on DOMA. Rep. Daryl Metcalfe used some procedural rules to do prevent Rep. Brian Sims from talking, but his motivation was:

“I did not believe that as a member of that body [the PA House] that I should allow someone to make comments such as he was preparing to make that ultimately were just open rebellion against what the word of God has said, what God has said, and just open rebellion against God’s law,” Metcalfe said.

You know what, that’s just wrong. Utterly wrong. And it has no place in any of our houses of government at any level. Rep. Metcalfe is of course entitled to his religious (or any other) beliefs but he has no right to use those beliefs to silence anyone else. And if he does, then shouldn’t it work the other way? If someone is an atheist, shouldn’t they be able to block Rep. Metcalfe from speaking if it violates any perceived “atheist law”?

The country is changing and I have no doubt that that change scares a lot of people, especially older people, say of my parents’ generation. When you consider how the world has changed in leaps and bounds, on social and technological fronts, since the end of World War II, it’s incredible. We have gone from ENIAC and computers that ran on vacuum tubes and took up an entire room to iPads and Galaxies that would be quite at home on Star Trek. We have gone from laws that made blacks less than full citizens to enacting a Civil Rights Act to electing a mixed-race president. We have gone from a world where women stayed home to where they run for the offices of President and Vice President (remember Geraldine Ferraro?).

But trepidation about change should not mean doing a complete 180 and trying to take away the rights that we have earned or even discovered along the way. That is not right and it is not fair. We all have rights and if we respected them, even if we don’t like them, things might move along a little better.

So I hope tomorrow you enjoy your right to a hamburger or hot dog and some fireworks. 🙂 Happy 4th!

Story alert

I have submitted a story to my usual sites. The story is called “Lessons Learned” and is currently available at StoriesOnline.net. I have also submitted to Lush Stories, EroticStories.com, and Literotica. Barring complications I expect it to be on Lush (starting with part one of four) tomorrow, ES tomorrow (in full) and on Literotica hopefully by the end of the week. Posting times have lagged there, and there is a contest going on, so I am allowing extra time.

Hope you enjoy and I’ll post a link later.

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