Sunday, July 31, 2011

BDSM and Consent

One of the big things that comes up when a vanilla person views BDSM images is the non-consensual nature of BDSM.  Often they'll make a comment along the lines of "some of these girls don't look like they're enjoying themselves," or "it looks forced."

Both of those are true to a certain degree, and both illustrate the point of BDSM.  I once came across a quote online that said "bondage is purposeless without the desire to escape."  Another read, "there is such a thing as consensual non-consent."  To explain that a little better, the purpose of being a submissive within the BDSM culture is losing control.  Submissives fit into their role because they enjoy losing control, and a part of that is being forced to do things that are less than pleasurable...because they enjoy that dynamic.

It's a contradiction for sure, but not one without comparison.  Take any athlete who blocks a shot, or takes a pitch, or weathers a big hit in order to help their team, giving a part of themselves for the cause of a greater good.  BDSM, specifically submission and masochism is the same.  The submissive weathers the whims of the dominant because they get enjoyment out of pleasing.  (And often there is a sense of accomplishment at taking an amount of pain.)

Although it looks "forced" or non-consensual, in a lot of instances it's the Dominant that is giving something to the submissive, not the other way around.  Being a good Dominant involves a strong sense of respect, and with it can come an unwillingness to dole out the level of punishment that the submissive desires.  After all, you want to hurt someone, not injure them.  If there isn't an incentive to struggle against restraints, then there's no reason to have them.  It would be like making a law that virtually no one breaks...what's the point?

Good BDSM exists with a lot of trust and a fail-safe.  Partners are well aware of each others' limits and tolerances and can dole out an appropriate amount of punishment without going too far.  If a boundary is crossed the submissive can use one of a number of safe-words that either dull the action or stop it entirely.

It's a very complex interaction, one that is so fluid that it's difficult to pin down in any sense.  The submissive is consenting to not have consent for a period of time (within certain boundaries).  They're enjoying the fact that they're enduring things that they don't enjoy.  The can be made to do things that they don't want to do...but the act of being forced makes them want to do them anyways.  And beneath it all, with the use of a safeword, they never truly lose control (with a good Dom).  It's counter-intuitive at times, but it works.

Feminism and BDSM, An Interesting Combination

Within me there has been a sort of amicable duel between my belief in gender equality and my position as a Dominant within the BDSM culture.  At first glance, the latter seems to strike down the former.  I believe that my girlfriend has a certain place in our relationship in which she belongs, along with a set of duties and responsibilities.  There is an order to things that suggests a certain lack of equality.

But at the same time, I entrust more to my girlfriend than I have anyone else, both in the emotional sense, and in more mundane daily activities.  In the past I might have taken over more aspects of my relationship, relegating my partner to the role of cheerleader more than teammate, but that is no longer the case.  There is a sort of reliance that has never been present before.

It is a strange contradiction to have such a high level of respect for someone while you're telling them to shut up and get on their knees, or beating them with a flogger until they start begging you to stop, or telling them to make you dinner because fuck, that's what they're there for.  So strange that I'm pretty much at a loss to explain it, even though that's by job as a writer, to put words to the inexplicable.

I think if I were to put words to it though, my explanation would be that Male-Dom BDSM (at least healthy BDSM) is an extension of feminism.  I think that feminism is about respect, about respecting a woman's personality, both the parts that go against gender stereotypes, and the parts that fall in line with them. Saying that a woman shouldn't act in a particular way or that all female-stereotypes should be abolished runs counter to feminism because all it does is modify the notion of how a woman "should act."  It's a prison under a different name.  True feminism is about allowing a woman the freedom to make her own choices based on their personality and not passing judgment on them, even if they involve her getting on her knees like a good little girl and opening wide.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Atlantic Beach, North Carolina

I'm not sure if this is going to be commentary, a recap, or something else entirely.

Ever since I was about six years old, various members of my family have made an annual trip to North Carolina where my Grandma B. and Grandpa S. live.  They make their home in New Bern, a former N.C. state capital which is about forty minutes from the city of Atlantic beach on the Outer Banks.  The trips varied as I grew up, at first being only grandma-visits and later expanding to encompass "Beach Week."  Beach Week is an invention of my late Uncle D. where the family would rent a cottage on the beach for a week.  (There is something to be said for simplicity in naming.)  The attendees would be most of my Dad's side of the family, which in the past two years has included my Grandma B., sporadic visits from me Grandpa S., my dad and his two surviving brothers (and the one's wife), my two youngest cousins (14 and 11), my two sisters (20 and 18), and myself (24) with occasional visits from one of my other female cousins (21).  All in all between ten and eleven of us in a three-ish bedroom cottage situated on the beach.

I don't think I'm going to recap a whole lot about this year's particular trip (which differed little from last year's) and focus mainly on the places we visited.

The first stop was my single uncle's house in Harrisburg, PA about five hours from us and an additional eight from the beach, a pretty convenient way to break up a long drive.  I love my uncle's house, it's the exact kind of place I'd like to live some day.  It's a cozy two bedroom ranch with an enormous unfinished basement and deceptively large back yard.  Across the street are two baseball fields that are used for semi-pro tournaments during the summer as well as local little league games.  I can remember watching them as a kid, enjoying the bickering and emotions of players not good enough to make it, but too good to give up the sport.  It's one of those slices of Americana that transcends its own corniness.  The fields are complete with a ramshackle concession stand/announcer's pulpit built hastily into the side of the hill that overlooks the fields that feels a little rickety, but serves pretty good hot dogs.

After Harrisburg we made the trek to my Grandma's house in New Bern, N.C., another house that holds many memories for me.  It's a three-turned-four bedroom ranch with enclosed front and back porches plopped in the center of what can best be described as a typical old-person community in the Southeastern United States.  Every house has about an acre of land with immaculately kept lawns and fantastic gardens and there are Cadillac and Buick and Mercury sedans everywhere.

I used to stay at my Grandma's house by myself when I was a kid, relishing the only week of my life when I had freedom by way of cable TV, The Original Nintendo, and no bedtime.  I used to stay up late at night (when midnight was still late to me) watching the Braves and White Sox games that were being replayed on their local stations.  Somehow my Grandma's cat, which I bought for her in 1996 for the tidy sum of $5 from a pet shop that was going out of business, still survives.  It may in fact be a zombie though.

I was interested to return because I hadn't been there in over seven years.  Not much has changed, but it was kind of sad being back with my Uncle Dave gone.  He had always been my favorite uncle, spending hours playing Super Mario and Tetris with me on the system he'd passed down to my Grandma.  He lived about five minutes outside of New Bern, so we saw him pretty often and he was always good at calming my grandma down and placating her eccentricities.  He always exuded a level-headedness and a sense of humor that my own father severely lacks and never seemed to have a bad day.  While the rest of my family views my writing as a sort of gimmick, Uncle Dave always took it seriously.

We didn't spend much time at my Grandma's house, heading off to Tryon Palace, the former Governor's residence, in downtown New Bern.  It was interesting, but pretty light as the palace tour was short, and the historic houses were underwhelming.

After Tryon Palace we headed to the cottage in Atlantic Beach.  Even though it's boring as all hell, and all you pass is redneck hardware and boat stores (sometimes both!), I always loved the forty minute drive, especially the portion where the center median is taken up by a set of train tracks.  As a kid, the uniqueness of that amused me, and I was always a little bit sad when we had to turn off of route 70 onto the bridge across the sound.

The cottage itself is amazing, the only drawback being the utter lack of parking.  The access is a narrow one-lane road that wanders by three other duplex cottages before reaching ours.  If you're good, you can park two cars side by side, but only one at a time can leave, and it always seems to be the enclosed one that needs to.  Who cares though, the cottage is literally right on the beach.

This is the view from the back porch

My grandma rents the place from the family that owns it that she's never personally met.  Every year they mail her a set of keys in early July for the impending week and we do our best to enjoy it and clean up afterwards.  The cottage is half of a duplex unit featuring three bedrooms and a full bath upstairs, a large kitchen/dining room and living room downstairs, and a spiral staircase leading to "the dungeon" which is basically a rec. room with two fold out couches, a set of cabinets and a sink.

As much of a pain in the ass it is to use this for a week, it's fucking awesome.

My Grandma gets a bedroom, my one uncle gets a bedroom, and my aunt, uncle, and two cousins share the master bedroom.  I sleep on the fold-out portion of the L-shaped couch in the living room, my sister takes the remainder of the couch, and my cousins use either the cushions or the chair and ottoman.  (I miss being small enough to sleep in a chair.)

Kelly crashing in the chair.

It's a pretty good arrangement; everyone gets their own space, but at the same time the introverted members of my family are forced to interact in the shared common areas.  Just about every room has a TV so everyone can watch their own thing if they want, but no one ever does.  There were Harry Potter, Back to the Future, and Pirates of the Caribbean marathons on various channels so we settled on those most of the time.  (My personal thought is, "there's a beach 300 feet away, fuck the TV.)

The beach is amazing, one of the few that remains relatively untouched.  Since Atlantic Beach is pretty small, and thus residences are limited, the beach is never crowded.  On a busy day, I could look down in either direction and count maybe a hundred people, and on any other I'd count less than twenty.  There were a few instances in which we were the only beach-goers within a few hundred yards.  The water is warm, and is usually a pretty good mix between calm and choppy depending on what you want to do in it.  It's on the part of the outer banks that faces south so it's almost never directly struck by bad weather.  In fact, the forecast predicted scattered thunderstorms the entire week and we didn't see a single one.

Atlantic Beach is kind of like a perfectly preserved ancient city.  The entire area has remained stuck somewhere between 1960 and 1990.  Most of the cottages and hotels still use CRT or even vacuum tube TVs.  Basic cable is the norm, and WiFi is a luxury.  Almost all of the architecture is at least a couple decades old, and most of the restaurants are small diners that have been there since the forties.  The shopping is several identical beach marts that carry tacky things like snap-bracelets that haven't been popular in twenty years.  It's the kind of old-timeyness that manages to be endearing instead of inconvenient, relaxing instead of frustrating.

Even though the three "cities" Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, and Beaufort only total about 15,000 people there's plenty to do.  (Like go to the fucking beach.)  Beaufort has pretty good shopping as well as one of the three North Carolina Maritime Museums situated about the eastern portion of the state.  the NCMM in Beaufort has artifacts from Blackbeard's ship the Queen Anne's Revenge, so I defintely made sure to get out there.

This is a replica of a goblet supposedly made from Blackbeard's head.  Awesome.

After we bid farewell to the beach, we stayed at Colonial Williamsburg for a night.  It was about worth the $30 it costs for each of us.  There are a dozen or so historic buildings with various tours up to a half hour in length and a bunch of shops along the main street.  It was interesting, but probably not a place I'd seek out, or ever visit again.

I did take this bitchin' picture though.

All in all it was a pretty good trip.  The highlight was definitely the mornings spent on the beach with my phone back at the cottage (and avoiding sunburn) and the low-light was the eight hour drive home that my dad turned into a twelve hour drive because he took a "shortcut" to get to I-81 that involved going southeast to get to New York.  Overall a success.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thomas Vanek's Diary: First Entry

Disclaimer: This is entirely fictional and not meant to be anywhere near reality.  At times some Sabres may be portrayed in a negative light.  This is in no way meant to be serious, or disparage any players, rather it will more often disparage many stereotypes and biases held by fans that have little basis in reality.

Dear Diary,

With the season ending in late April, and three kids at home, frustrations have been mounting as I’ve gone months without scoring in two different ways.  I guess there are only so many times you can look at the sky wondering which God is cursing you, or drop f-bombs in public before your teammates suggest you find another outlet to deal with your difficulties.  I swear to god Regehrsie, I didn’t know your kids were behind me.  I don’t want to take the time to figure out the internet, or get out of bed, so I’ll be transcribing this to Roysie’s personal assistant.  Thanks Roysie!

So I guess I should start by saying a little about myself.  My name is Thomas and I play winger in the NHL for the Buffalo Sabres.  I have a super hot wife, three kids, and I spend most of my time skating around the opposing blue line hating my teammates.  I’m not saying they suck, but there are donuts with more productive centers than me.  Speaking of donuts, I should have Roysie’s man-servant get me some later.

I guess I’ll talk about the offseason acquisitions.  Totally excited to see my BFF Al Kotalik for a few days as he stops by Rochester on his way to the KHL.  If they’ll let me use my segway in the mall, or better yet give me one of those scooters to get around, we’re going to get mani-pedis.  I also saw Robyn Regehr a few days ago; he looked at my shirt and it burst into flames.  Looks like Millsie will have a clear crease this year.

People tell me this Ehrhoff guy and I are going to be ppbffs (does that sound gay?  I’ll ask Roysie later).  I can just stand in front of the goalie while he wanders around the offensive zone like Max that one time we replaced his water with Vodka.  Come to think of it, we might have just replaced vodka with more vodka.

And there’s a new forward too.  I don’t know his name, but I think it’s NOT ROB FUCKING NIEDERMAYER ON MY LINE.  Should be pretty sweet.

Alright, gotta go.  Heading to the gym to get in shape for the Sabres beefcake calendar.  We can’t all be born looking like Paul Gaustad.  Then Kaletasie is giving me some celebration pointers.  Sixteen words: thirty foot tall statue of yours truly in a superman cape coming down from the rafters.

Love, Thomasie

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: Transformers 3

Again, skipping some things that you don't need to read.

Length: 157 Minutes
Rating: PG-13

IMDB Score: 6.7 (out of 10)

Review: Not even Wash (Alan Tudyk) could save that movie.

Acting: 6/10 - The blonde open mouthed chick that replaced the brunette open mouthed chick was okay.

Quality Within Genre: 6/10 - I'm sure fans loved it.

Entertainment Value: 4/10 - I almost fell asleep a bunch of times.  The final scene seemed like it was half the movie.  I only gave it as high as a four because I know I'm biased against action movies.

Realism (Within the world defined by the movie): 7/10 - No way in hell the blonde chick worked at an embassy/was smart, etc.  That said, it's a movie about giant robots, so who really cares?

Rewatch Value: 4/10 - Maybe to watch some of the parts I missed when I started to doze off.

Total: 5.4/10

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Like Snow White and Shit

When my last girlfriend dumped me and I went on the market again, I tried very hard to strike the thought of fairy tale love from my being.  The ex and I had kind of crushed on each other for years, so when we finally did get together it was a moment of indescribable rightness.  And then it was a galactic disaster because the people (her) couldn't live up to the years' worth of fantasies and daydreams.

That had actually been my MO for dating girls for a while.  See, crush, pine, passive-aggressively ask them out, then watch the relationship fall to pieces because I'd loved them before I'd known them as people.  Online dating was probably the worst avenue for a person like that because it allows you to disqualify people without even knowing them with an even greater ease and sense of anonymity.  She mixed up your/you're?  Death to her!  (Actually that one might be legitimate.)

Sometimes I would talk to people and realize, "I feel nothing for you," which isn't really fair based on a few snippets of emotionless text.  Somewhere along the way I realized, "this is really not very logical."  So I set out to change.  And then went back on it completely.  When I first saw one of my current girlfriend's pics on her profile, my internal monologue said, and I quote, "I think I'm in love."  Luckily the more reality-oriented parts of my brain were in the office that day and they tempered that enthusiasm.

I went into our first meeting with little expectations.  I think we had talked for maybe four or five days at that point and only once or twice on the phone.  There was enough there for me to be intrigued, but not much more.  It kind of makes me laugh remembering the first time I saw her in person, completely new, and how odd that image is now that we're so familiar and so comfortable with each other.

After an enjoyable first date, I wasn't enamored with her, which scared the crap out of me.  But I thought to myself, "maybe this is how adults have relationships."  And considering the things we had in common, and what I'd gotten to know about her in that time, I thought I'd seen enough to want to pursue a relationship and told her so.  No pussyfooting, no passive-aggression, "bitch, you should date me."  (Or something like that.)

If you were to ask me to pinpoint what it is that I love about my girlfriend, I think my answer would be "she makes me completely comfortable about myself and about being myself in a way that no one ever has."  (Sure beats the hell out of "she was the closest thing with a vagina and a pulse that satisfied my Disney Princess syndrome.")  I have never been or felt as confident as I do now, being with her, which is funny because she's described herself as abrasive and independent, things that tend not to mesh well with former passive-aggression.

Some of it has been how we define ourselves within the BDSM community.  If someone is submissive, it's difficult to let them one-up or manipulate you regardless of how hard they try.  (Look we both know you're a little bitch that just wants to do my bidding, so let's cut right to it, eh?)  And there is something in having a submissive look up to you as their Dominant that makes you want to fulfill the most noble aspects of that role.  I think I needed a challenge, someone who was complex enough to engage many aspects of my own multi-faceted personality.  The girls I've dated in the past have been anything but complex, and with that, lacking the unique broad intelligence that stimulates me.  (Even the high school valedictorian-ex that goes to MIT.)

Because of that, my relationship carries a strength that is often difficult to grasp.  In the past, I was always frustrated by how little time I spend with girlfriends.  I always wanted more.  Now I'm okay with being away from my girlfriend, and that boggles my mind because I love her more than any of those other girls put together.  It's completely counter-intuitive, but it all goes back to that strength.  It's hard to miss someone when you know you have a piece of their mind every day, when your thoughts on things are so alike, it's almost as if you can share them without even speaking.  (Opposites attract my ass.)

It's been endlessly amusing what that kind of multi-faceted connection has led to.  My girlfriend says I'm very expressive, my ex hated how I never smiled.  I hated going out anywhere with the ex, but Abbi and I do things together all the time.  I always wanted to exist in a sort of unnoticeable bubble...well I still desire that with Abbi (because people are stupid), but I also want to show her off, to highlight what we have and to show those stupid people what they're missing.

In short, my girlfriend is awesome.  I win, you lose, you smell.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Vulgar Statistics: Sabres 2011-2012 Ticket Prices

I just got the e-mail telling me I can renew my mini-pack for next season, and with it came the pricing tiers for each game this upcoming season and the ticket costs.  We all knew that management would be bumping ticket prices to ensure that the team qualifies for revenue sharing, but it was unclear how much of a bump that would be.

Now keep in mind that this is mini-pack pricing and not pricing for individual games, so the prices themselves will be less, but the percentage increase should be fairly accurate.  (Individual ticket prices for last season are no longer posted so I cannot do an analysis of them.)

I think a 6% overall increase for ticket prices is both fair and manageable for most fans.  (I personally was expecting in the 8-10% range.)  When you look at the individual tier percentage increases, they look something like this:

  • Platinum - 0%
  • Gold - 2.1%
  • Silver - 4.8%
  • Bronze - 5.0%
  • Value - 10.6%

Obviously the percentage increases are higher at the lower pricing tiers because a dollar there carries more weight.  These are the average dollar increases for each tier per ticket.

  • Platinum - $0
  • Gold - $2.67
  • Silver - $4.33
  • Bronze - $3.00
  • Value - $5.33

Yes the Value tier increased more than the rest, but keep in mind there is an extra Value game this season and one less Platinum game.  They also somehow decided to avoid making both the home opener, AND, the home finale (against the Leafs no less) Platinum games.

Final Thoughts:

We all knew that ticket prices were going to raise and no one likes having to spend more money.  Given the circumstances, I think Sabres management raised ticket prices in the most comfortable way possible.  Shifting things towards the middle, and adding a few more mid-higher tier games at the expense of keeping some of the big nights affordable was a great move by the new regime.  I'm psyched to not have to shell out Platinum money to continue my tradition of making the last regular season home game.  Hope to see many of you there.

My First Anti-LGBT Post Ever

Bear with me here, I'm posting on stupidity more so than any aspect of the LGBT movement.  Evidently due to the deluge of couples that want to marry on July 24th, gay and straight, New York City has instituted a lottery system to fairly decide which will get the opportunity to wed that day and which will have to wait.  Because of this, some LGBT organizations are urging straight people to not get married on "their day."

How do you spend all this time fighting for the right to marry, win your battle, and then turn around and start to do some of the same things your oppressors did?  Isn't saying, even for one day that "straight people shouldn't get married," shitting all over everything you've been fighting for?

Hear this, straight people: Maybe it's convenient for you to get married over the weekend, or maybe you just like the novelty factor of tying the knot on a historic day. But the opportunity means a hell of a lot more for gay couples. Every spot in the lottery occupied by one of you means a gay couple misses out on an experience with much deeper personal significance. This is no way to act, straight people. Sunday is supposed to be a beautiful day. Why not go enjoy some outdoor straight-people activities, like attending a baseball game, or drinking an unnecessary amount of beer, perhaps while attending a baseball game. Or stay cool with some popular indoor straight-people pastimes, like watching the new Transformers movie while wearing pleated pants. 

That sounds like the mirror image of every gay bashing epithet that I've ever heard.  Hey faggots...go do your faggot things, like theatre club and watching Grey's Anatomy.  I think maybe some of the above is supposed to be a joke, but even then does it really make it any better?

I understand that LGBT folks are emerging from a period oppression and they want to be able to enjoy their newfound rights as soon as possible, but that doesn't excuse borrowing a page from their former oppressors.  I also understand that most LGBT groups have their heads on straight and aren't saying any of these things.  But it's not a dick move for straight people to want to get married on a certain day, just like it wasn't a dick move for gays to want to share in marital bliss in the first place.  Remember, this is about EQUALITY.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rising From the Ashes

I put my handyman hat on today, grabbed a pair of gloves and a set of clippers and set to tackle some trees and weeds that were encroaching on our yard from the surrounding woods.  I mainly wanted to take out some tree branches that were preventing me from being able to turn my car around in our side yard and did so without incident.

While carrying the debris back to our mulch pile, I passed our dilapidated firing barrel that had also been overgrown by some sort of weeded monstrosity.  Since the barrel was pretty much just garbage sitting in our yard, I set out to remove that as well.  I cut away the leafiness of the plant so that I could shovel out the remaining ashes that filled the tipped barrel.  Then the bees started flying out of the ashes like a buried army, swarming barrel and weed alike.  Fifteen to twenty or so started buzzing about the area.  Fifteen to twenty or so were soon poisoned with wasp killer.  Luckily they were harmless carpenter bees, so I was never in any real danger anyways.

After about an hour I succeeded in removing the barrel.  The weed was part of some massive root ecosystem that ended up being about two feet in diameter and around thirty pounds when I pulled it out of the ground, breaking a shovel in the process.  God damnit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kissing Ellen King

The past two days, I've written in the vicinity of 13,000 words in Kissing Ellen King.  I can see the ending now, and the path leading up to it, causing me to barrel my way down with the inertia of the Juggernaut.  And a book I seriously thought I'd never be able to write is so close to being done.

Kissing Ellen King has been monstrously difficult.  Though a work of fiction, there has been so much personal history intertwined in the narrative, that's it's been difficult to find a happy medium between truth and storytelling.  When you're making something up, you can kind of float with it.  The characters and places and events are constructs, and they're very adept at deciding their own fate.  With history, there is a desire to be precise, and to do it justice by accurately capturing the emotions that were present.  There is also the unenviable task of simply remembering enough to produce a relevant scene.  And, of course, it is fiction, so truth does need to be warped to an extent, things need to take a different path.

In that sense, it's been easy to get caught up in the writing.  Dropping the hammer on my protagonist, I found myself forgetting that I was merely acting as a scribe and started to feel like things were actually happening to me.  The dread and impending doom that followed the character struck me down as well until I was able to step away for a moment and regain my bearings.  It was both gratifying and terrifying.  A testament to what I think is a remarkably real and raw story, and a frightening walk down some paths I left long behind, and others I never had the displeasure of traversing.

I'm attached in a way that has me finding difficulty in taking the characters where they need to go.  It's funny because I said before that I can see the end, but at the same time I couldn't tell you what it will be.  Happy or tragic?  I have no idea.  I'm assuming I'll know when I get there, which has always proven to be the case.  I should finish this week.  I can't wait to find out.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Laura L. Fotusky is a Joke and a Liar

In case you missed it, Ms. Fotusky is the Town Clerk of some shit town in southern New York that resigned rather than have to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals.  Conservative groups have made a big to-do about how much of a hero Fotusky is for choosing God over her job when she really hasn't done anything of the sort. 

Now I'm speculating here, and if anyone wants to prove me wrong, fine, but I don't think that's going to happen.  Let's consider the facts.  A cursory use of the google reveals that Ms. Fotusky is married with a bunch of grown up kids.  She lives in a $100,00 house in Whitney Point, NY, a good 10+ miles from her workplace in the Baker Town Offices.  With a Town Clerk's salary that was probably below $30,000 per year, I would assume that not only is Ms. Fotusky not the breadwinner in her marriage, but that her salary wasn't even a substantial part of her household income.  If it was, I don't think she ever would have quit her job.

How then, does a choice of God over salary, when that salary is of no substance to you, a heroic act in any sense?  In order for you to be a hero, you have to make a sacrifice...and Larua Fotusky didn't.  What a joke. 

Do I Win the Internet?

Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II

I'm not going to waste time with some of the info I normally post because everyone already knows it.

Length: 130 Minutes
Rating: PG-13

IMDB Score: 8.7 (out of 10)

Review: There's going to be a dual nature to this review since this was also the first movie I've seen in modern 3D.  First the 3D part.  It seemed gimmicky and I stopped noticing it about 20 minutes into the movie.  The End.

Now the real part, the movie.  This one is a bit hard to judge because in actuality, it's really only half a movie.  The pacing seemed a bit quick to me, but I think that coupled with part one, it would probably be fitting.  There were some good moments, but the movie didn't blow me away in any sense.  You'll get your standard complaints about how the book was better, which you'd do well to ignore.  Literature and film are different media, and as such stories need to be told differently.  I thought the movie did a good job in conveying things visually while remaining true enough to the novel.

Acting: 10/10 - It's an All-Star cast.

Quality Within Genre: 7/10 - A good Potter film, but not a great one.

Entertainment Value: 9/10 - Nothing to knock, it didn't bore me, but there were a few things I felt deserved to be shown and a few characters that got garbage screen time.

Realism (Within the world defined by the movie): 10/10 -It's a movie involving magic...

Rewatch Value: 7/10 - I'd watch all the movies again, but that speaks to the quality of the story not the quality of any particular movie.  In any case, DH would probably be my third choice to watch again behind HBP and OotP in that order.

Total: 8.6/10

America...What the Fucking Fuck

Yesterday, a friend and I had a mini-discussion centering around the state of society as a whole:

B.N.: This is an incredibly well thought-out (pro-Marijuana) essay that everyone should take a minute to read.
Me: I personally have never used Marijuana, but from what I've read, criminalizing it has proved to be a gross waste of resources and money.
B.N.: This is true. I know plenty of people who don't smoke but are in favor of legalizing. It just bothers me when someone advocates against it but can give no facts to support their position.
Me: People do that with a lot of things. Everyone likes to be on the side of moral superiority, but few are willing to put the time and thought in to be on the right side.
B.N.: Simply put, we have been brainwashed. We are, for the most part, a society that blindly obeys politicians and lawmakers. Their word is taken as God's because we've been programmed to believe there are no other options. We follow because it is easier and safer than leading. This all needs to change. We, as individuals, need to stand up, think for ourselves and force the hand on this issue.
Me: Agreed. There is so much we do wrong as a society. But public perception is stronger than research and scientific fact, not to mention the stranglehold a certain two thousand year old book has over everything.   

We're coming from slightly different areas, I think, in who we blame for the brainwashing and degradation of society, but the overriding theme is clear: there is something fundamentally wrong with us.  So wrong, in fact, that it's difficult to even know where to begin to approach the numerous problems.

I think B.N. hit it on the head though, when he highlighted the fact that many people simply do not think for themselves.  But that's an issue with an asterisk.  As human beings, we are limited in the knowledge we can simultaneously possess.  In short, sometimes it is impossible to think for ourselves, we must go to those with more specialized knowledge.  But that's a dangerous path to tread in today's society when everyone is in the pocket of someone else.  You can't trust anything that is responsible for providing people with information because there's always someone paying them to tailor and tweak that information.

The problem then becomes that we lack variance and skepticism.  So many of us stick to the media sources that already support our beliefs, Fox News, MSNBC, whatever.  There needs to be a variance in where we get our information because no source can be trusted to give us that variance on it's own.  And even then, if we do achieve a certain broadness, we need to be open to extending that broadness across time.  Things change, opinions are malleable, and we need to be open to periodically reassessing our beliefs.  We can't be stubborn, because stubbornness makes us archaic in a hurry.

All of this ties into ego.  We have a certain desire to be right, and a lot of us try to feed that desire at all costs.  It explains why more people don't approach things with a sort of skepticism or seek variance.  We want to be correct, and we want that to be the end of it.  People aren't appreciative enough of how much they truly do not know, and ultimately this hurts us because it forces us down paths that prove ineffective over time, or worse, negatively effective.  And then we breed and perpetuate that ineffectiveness, a whole other problem in itself.

I asked the following question on a bunch of social media sites to see what others thought.  The answers, along with my own in a random and anonymous order:

People. (twice)

What is wrong with our society cannot be summed up in one sentence.

Martin Scorsese is directing Hugo.

Not enough people think for themselves.

People are quick to judge.

Straight to DVD Disney movies.

People can become famous and make money by putting on an autotune and talking about killing people and snorting cocaine.

People do not take responsibility and then always blame someone else.


Manufactured music/movies that have no substance.

The narrow-mindedness of the vast majority (mostly the older generations).

Welfare abuse, government interference, and most of all: REALITY TELEVISION.

I can do it in one word: entitlement.

Poor self-awareness.

People pick on each other too much.

Our society is centered around money; no matter how much we try not to let it, the almighty dollar affects our existence.

On the day of the Tsunami/Earthquakes/Nuclear Crisis in Japan, Katrina was also trending on twitter.

Children have parents like Casey Anthony.

The creation of Glee.

The dominance of capitalism.

People now proudly flaunt what used to bring shame.  

Pop culture today is a fucking joke. 

Friday, July 15, 2011

NYFRF Shits on History, Calls Any Positive History Involving Homosexuals Propaganda

RT @tperkins: If only positive aspects of homosexuals in history presented, do these lessons even constitute history? Isn't just propaganda?

This is nothing terribly new, all it does is go hand in hand with what I said before, that the NYFRF is little more than a hate group, a modern day KKK with different speeches, different robes, and a different minority to denigrate.  Every day it just gets uglier, but these things can't be stashed away and ignored.  They need to be emblazoned on our minds so we become aware of how far we have to go as a society and how much better we can be.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sabres Should Promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Support

With New York recently becoming the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage, and Ted Black's clarion call to player in the league that Buffalo is "Hockey Heaven," you'd think that the new regime would want to jump on the chance to reach out to an often bullied and shunned demographic by promoting LGBT support through the Sabres.

Are we really going to let Sean freaking Avery be the voice for equality in this sport in this state?  So far under the new regime, the mantra has been that we're going to do everything bigger and better than everyone else.  Why not this?  It would be so easy to make Buffalo a haven in addition to heaven.  So easy to show support for members of the LGBT community, so easy to blaze a trail of equality for the rest of the NHL to follow.

Why aren't we?

My Role in Bondage

This is an entry I've been wanting to do for some time, to provide the curious with some concrete explanations, and to promote the demystifying of BDSM and BDSM culture.  I've held off to this point, unsure of how to strike a happy medium between being my usual honest self, and retaining some sense of privacy and anonymity.  I don't know if I can do that, but I do know that I don't really care anymore.

Perhaps it's best to do a quick run-through of my experiences within the BDSM community.  Ever since I was seven or eight years old, I had a fascination for rope, for tying people up, and for being tied up myself.  One day, when I was about fifteen, I finally decided to use the almighty Google to search for something like "tied up girls."  Probably not the best way of introducing oneself to the BDSM culture because if there's one thing the internet is good at, it's hitting you with all the fucked up shit that you don't want to see.

Still, I was transfixed.  For some reason, the prospects of having a woman tied up and completely helpless was very appealing.  I soon knew these feelings to be ones of dominance, and defined myself as such.  Still without anyone to practice my new hobby with, my activities centered around tying myself up, which I also greatly enjoyed.  Adding this aspect made me a switch, which is how I continue to define myself, at least with an asterisk and a more complicated explanation.

My experiences were largely limited to viewing pornography as I dated one vanilla girl after another.  It's not their fault, BDSM is something you need a certain sort of life experience and confidence to approach.  Young people are so often scared off by the concepts, having been indoctrinated by their parents and American culture that sex is wrong, and that weird sex is worse.  It doesn't help that the word 'bondage' often conveys images of torture, of leather, of whips and chains.  The immediate imagery is not kind to the culture, which is one of the things I work to dispel.  The real difference in those that practice BDSM is that they openly acknowledge and encourage the power exchange that occurs in every sexual encounter.  Yes, whether they know is or not, everybody is a practitioner of some aspect of BDSM.  As I said, sex is an act of power exchanges, top/bottom, giving/receiving, pleasuring/being pleasured, orgasming/making your partner orgasm.  Even when things seem completely parallel, there is a dominant side and a submissive side.  BDSM can be as subtle as simply that, or it can involve things that reinforce that power exchange, rope, cuffs, etc.

Poor me, I was kept to trying things on myself for far longer than I should have been.  For my first few girlfriends, I was afraid to even bring it up and the first girl I was really physical with was entirely turned off to the moniker.  (I say moniker because there were several things that she loved that were a part of BDSM culture.  She just wasn't self-aware enough to admit it.)

After that girl dumped me, I resigned myself to finding someone that at least had a curiosity in BDSM.  It was difficult because I found that I was kinkier than most of the vanilla people on OKCupid, a regular dating site, and not nearly as intense as the nutjobs on CollarMe, a BDSM themed dating site.  Landing between the two sites pretty much meant that I didn't find anyone compatible on either of them.

And then I found my current girlfriend.  Her shaved head caught my eye, but it was one of the last lines in her profile that really got me interested.  "You should message me if you're intelligent, Dominant (with a capital D), kinky, confident, and assertive."  It's difficult to describe the process through which we became acclimated with each other's views on bondage because there isn't much description.  It just sort of happened.

This is where we start to get into how things work for me and for her.  She made it clear from the beginning that she identified as a submissive, one who expects to obey her Dominant.  While I do identify as primarily dominant, I don't exactly have an iron will that needs to be acquiesced to at all times.  Even in a leadership role, I'm a pretty laid back person, preferring to lay more groundwork with example than micromanagement.  This fit in well with her because despite the part of her personality that prefers to yield to a superior, there is another part that is very independent.  That I don't enforce extensive protocol for my submissive to follow has worked out very well for us.  Orders must be obeyed when they are given, but they are few, and typically things that she enjoys doing anyways.

I think people have draconian thoughts when they hear that my girlfriend is expected to do what I tell her, when I tell her, without exception.  It seems like such a lopsided relationship would turn ugly in a hurry and never realistically work.  But it well.  A big reason why is that I think that being a Dominant is a responsibility as much as it is a pleasure.  In addition to the carnal aspect in which my submissive satisfies my desires, there is the aspect that puts so much of her well being in my hands.  So many Dominants forget that in owning something, there is as much maintenance as there is enjoying its usefulness.  With a human being that involves input, it involves trusting her to speak up when something isn't going well, it involves trusting yourself to read her correctly, and trusting your connection to pull you through when things do go poorly.

Putting all that together, it makes obeying my orders pretty easy for her.  I know her well enough to know when she's already willing to do something, and she knows me well enough to know that doing it anyways, even when she might not be completely on board, is going to be worth her while.  (Or at least worth not getting punished.)  With that, there is little to no strict dominance in our relationship, no bending her to my will, no coercion.  It's complex, but the explanation that "she gets as much enjoyment out of doing what I want, when I want, without exception, as I do in making those orders" sums things up pretty well.

There are more hardcore BDSM aspects to our relationship as well.  I love using rope to restrain her, and she loves being made completely helpless.  She loves pain, and I love consensual abuse.  I like when she obeys orders to the letter and is a good little girl, and she likes being one.  Together it combines to make a dynamic that has worked better for us than I could have ever expected any relationship to go.


It's funny sometimes, how much of our current personalities can be traced back before we could even conceive of such things.  I've known people who knew they were gay long before they were even old enough to understand Disney movies, people that were drawn to bondage at an age where the couldn't possibly comprehend the culture, and people who've lived with certain fetishes all their lives.

These things tend to lay dormant, either repressed by a lack of understanding of the feelings, or repressed by a fear of a society that will not understand.  Inevitably people grow older, grow more confident, and grow increasingly comfortable with letting those sides of them through.  Unfortunately what is often an intrinsic part of someone's personality is often interpreted as a "phase" or a "kick," or something else that will eventually be tossed aside.

Speaking from experience, being so misjudged by those that supposedly care about you can hurt.

There always seems to be a sort of step back when you reveal such a part of your personality as those around you fail to take it seriously.  Sometimes laughter, sometimes disdain, either way they pierce with the brutal efficiency of a sharpened knife.  I've seen it happen with my predilection for BDSM, and my interest in sex.  These are things that I can trace back to seven or eight years old, long before the concepts had even crossed my mind as unnamed hypotheticals, and yet that part of my personality has been treated like garbage by some around me.  It's frustrating to have something so important to you treated so poorly.  So much so that there are several aspects of myself that remain hidden to all but a precious few that I can trust.

I'm lucky that despite my almost crippling shyness as a high schooler, there has laid within me an unshakable confidence.  It says a lot that I've barreled through so much discouragement in my life, from my athletic career, to my writing.  That I've had the strength to eventually let myself shine through.

Maybe we all feel that way a little bit.  As we grow older, it becomes easier to answer the aspirations of those younger than us with a flippant "well, that will never work."  We want to protect our proteges and our children from our failures, but in doing so, we encourage them to not try at all.  I don't know where I'd be had I listened when I was told that I would probably get cut from varsity baseball.  Or when I was struggling not only to find time to write, but for acceptance of that writing, for someone to take it seriously and see the potential.  Probably dead.  After all, what would have been the point of trying at anything?

But there was always something there, a small part of me that said, "fuck you, I'm going to make it happen."  Maybe that was the hidden will of the doubters all along, to provide me with motivation via the explicit implication that I was destined for failure.  I don't know, all I know is that I'm here now.  And still blooming.


I'm fairly certain that at times I suffer from depression.  I use the word "suffer" with a grain of salt, because I think that in most cases it's somewhat of a fake affliction.  There are days in nights in which I feel crappy emotionally for no easily discernible reason.  Sometimes through effort I'm able to pinpoint the cause, usually some insignificant event subconsciously blown out of proportion, and other times I am not.

The internet has a variety of numbers that estimate how many adults have a diagnosable mental disorder like depression.  I've seen the figures range from 10% to 25%.  It's not an uncommon occurrence.  It's also not really something I would ever seek medication for.  Like I said, I don't feel it's worthy of such attention.  Even the times when I cannot pinpoint a cause don't alarm me.  I'm smart enough to realize the irrationality in what I'm feeling, and am always resolute in the knowledge that it will pass in time.  Usually in a day or less it does.  (I think a lot of the time it may be brought on by a sleep cycle that is inconsistent during a good week.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Smartphone Journey

About a week ago I decided to switch from ATT to Sprint primarily for financial reasons.  Because I could pay virtually the same as what I was paying at ATT AND get a smartphone, I decided to go that route.  The cost breakdown went something like this:

HTC EVO - $99.99 with 2-year contract
450 Minutes, Unlimited Text and Data - $69.99/mo
Data Charge - $10/mo
(Cost of ATT Plan with no Data - ~$85.00/mo)

ATT Cancellation - $60
Sprint Fuck Our Competitors Deal For Switching - plus $120
Activation Fee ($35) - Waived
10% Off

Unfortunately HTC quality control is a bunch of asscocks and a number of EVOs tend to have problems with charging.  So it took a couple more trips to the Sprint Store to get a working phone, and because of my troubles free screen protectors.

But, I now have a working phone, and it is awesome.  The fact that I can do all this new stuff without paying any more is fantastic.  And I've found that despite reports that the EVO eats battery like nobody's business, I've had an okay time with its longevity.

Update From the Phone

Finally got my HTC EVO up and running. Thrilled with it and with Sprint's coverage.

The Hottest Major Star Trek Characters in Order (Excluding Enterprise Because Enterprise Sucks)

I don't procrastinate like normal writers, I tend to procrastinate from one thing I'm writing with more writing.  So instead of going for 47,000 words on Kissing Ellen King, I'm writing this entry.  As with anything I ever rank, I developed a formula to help me sort through the characters.  I scored each out of ten on their facial beauty, their bodily beauty, and their personality.  Then I ranked them 1 to 13 in regards to which I'd most like to fuck.  Enjoy.  (Also, some of the information here includes what I've read in the novels following the run of each series.)

13). Beverly Crusher

 Actress: Gates McFadden
Series: The Next Generation
Ages During Run: 37-44
Rank: Commander
Role: Doctor, U.S.S. Enterprise-D/E
Face: 6/10
Body: 4/10
Personality: 5/10
Fuckability: 13th (last, 1 point)
Total: 16

Poor Beverly Crusher, she had a dead husband and Wesley as a son.  While I find Beverly infinitely preferable to the short lived Katherine Pulaski (not listed here) who was a blatant attempt to insert a female Dr. McCoy into the series, I just don't find her to be very attractive.  She's big in all the wrong places, and puts off a nagging motherly quality that I don't want my penis anywhere near.

12). Ro Laren

Actress: Michelle Forbes
Series: The Next Generation
Ages During Run: 26-29
Rank: Ensign/Lieutenant
Role: Maquis
Face: 5/10
Body: 6/10
Personality: 7/10
Fuckability: 11th (3 points)
Total: 21

I don't remember much about Ensign Ro from her brief appearance on The Next Generation.  But there's something appealing about sidling up next to a former terrorist.  Even though Laren ranks low in fuckability, I would most definitely boink her.

11). Uhura

Actress: Nichelle Nichols
Series: The Original Series
Ages During Run: 34-37
Rank: Lieutenant
Role: Communications Specialist, U.S.S. Enterprise-A
Face: 8/10
Body: 7/10
Personality: 5/10
Fuckability: 12th (last, 2 points)
Total: 22

Uhura is tough, and scores low due to her personality, or rather the fact that she never had much of one.  She was TOS's Troi, often telling the crew what they already knew.  Although her mirror universe counterpart was pretty fine.
10). Janice Rand

Actress:Grace Lee Whitney
Series: The Original Series
Ages During Run: 36
Rank: Yeoman
Role: Tempt Kirk's Penis
Face: 7/10
Body: 8/10
Personality: 3/10
Fuckability: 7th (7 points)
Total: 25

If Uhura had little personality, Yeoman Rand had none.  She was basically just there to have a pretty face next to Kirk while he did all his manly shit.  The beehive hairdo was kind of out there, but I could definitely learn to look past it.
9). Kira Nerys

Actress: Nana Vistior
Series: Deep Space Nine
Ages During Run: 36-43
Rank: Major, Colonel, Commander
Role: Terrorist
Face: 7/10
Body: 8/10
Personality: 6/10
Fuckability: 8th (6 points)
Total: 27

I'll admit, I haven't watched enough Deep Space Nine to get a feel for Nerys's personality, but like I said before, who wouldn't want to fuck a former terrorist?
8). Deanna Troi

Actress: Marina Sirtis
Series: The Next Generation
Ages During Run: 20-27
Rank: Commander
Role: Ship's Counselor
Face: 7/10
Body: 7/10
Personality: 9/10
Fuckability: 10th (4 points)
Total: 27

I think that Deanna Troi was supposed to be super hot in the Star Trek universe, but I just never saw it.  Though some might have found her penchant for stating the obvious annoying, I looked past that to her empathic abilities, and the confidence to get married naked.  She can read your emotions, that means she has to be awesome in bed, right?
7). Kathryn Janeway

Actress: Kate Mulgrew
Series: Voyager
Ages During Run: 39-46
Rank: Captain
Role: Badass
Face: 7/10
Body: 6/10
Personality: 10/10
Fuckability: 9th (5 points)
Total: 28

Yes, yes, I know I'm crazy for ranking Captain Janeway this high, but there's just something alluring about a tough-as-nails tomboy who was roughly a career 19-1 against the Borg.  Rest in peace Admiral Janeway.  She could have me standing at attention any day.
6). B'elanna Torres-Paris

Actress: Roxann Dawson
Series: Voyager
Ages During Run: 26-33
Rank: Lieutenant
Role: Chief Engineer
Face: 7/10
Body: 8/10
Personality: 8/10
Fuckability: 5th (9 points)
Total: 32

I love me some cup-o-crazy, and B'elanna Torres might have been several gallons worth.  From self-harm, to sabotaging her relationship with Tom Paris, to coming to grips with her Klingon heritage, Torres was all over the place.  And to top it all off, she was a genius, capable of holding Voyager together with spit and duct tape while every Delta Quadrant race had a go at it.  Montgomery Scott would be proud.

5). Jadzia Dax

 Actress: Terry Farrell
Series: Deep Space Nine
Ages During Run: 30-36
Rank: Lieutenant, Lieutenant Commander
Role: Science Officer
Face: 8/10
Body: 9/10
Personality: 7/10
Fuckability: 6th (8 points)
Total: 32

Again I didn't watch much DS9, so my knowledge of Dax is limited.  But she fucked Worf, and the Klingons have crazy sex so...make your own judgments.
4). Tasha Yar

Actress: Denise Crosby
Series: The Next Generation
Ages During Run: 30
Rank: Lieutenant
Role: Food for the Jiffy Lube Monster, Security
Face: 7/10
Body: 10/10
Personality: 6/10
Fuckability: 4th (10 points)
Total: 33

Oh Tasha, we barely knew ye.  The character really should have been something, with her parent-less upbringing and tomboy toughness, but it just wasn't.  I think that part of the reason was that Trek writers needed to either go big (Captain Janeway) or go home with a tough female.  Yar caved pretty quickly to the distinct girliness of Troi and Crusher.
3). Kes

Actress: Jennifer Lien
Series: Voyager
Ages During Run: 20-23
Rank: None
Role: I really have no idea.
Face: 9/10
Body: 9/10
Personality: 6/10
Fuckability: 3rd (11 points)
Total: 35

What to say about Kes.  For starters, there was a latent creepiness to her character and her relationship with Neelix that made her much more intriguing.  Being an Ocampan, a race with a lifespan of nine years, Kes was basically a child when she was involved with the gregarious Talaxian.  A lot of people didn't like Kes and her softness, especially considering her later replacement, but she was cute as hell and had a vastly underrated body.  And now she's made of pure energy.
2). Ezri Dax

Actress: Nicole de Boer
Series: Deep Space Nine
Ages During Run: 28
Rank: Captain
Role: Captain
Face: 10/10
Body: 9/10
Personality: 7/10
Fuckability: 2nd (12 points)
Total: 38

 A tie for first, most of what I know about Ezri Dax is not from her time aboard DS9, but from her time captaining the U.S.S. Aventine in the novels.  From what I know, the TV character was indecisive and spineless to the point of being annoying, but the Captain that helped eradicate the Borg is anything but.  There's just something about her short hair and small stature that appeals to me.

1). Seven of Nine/Annika Hansen

Actress: Jeri Ryan
Series: Voyager
Ages During Run: 29-32
Rank: None; Professor
Role: Astrometrics, Resident Hot Chick
Face: 9/10
Body: 10/10
Personality: 7/10
Fuckability: 1st (13 points)
Total: 38

What Seven of Nine lacked in personality, she made up for in giant tits.  There is no doubt about who the hottest Trek girl is.  It's Seven, and few even come close.  The character managed to be somewhat Data-y while lacking a lot of the charm that Data had.  But...giant tits.  Holy crap giant tits.  I'm sure Gene Roddenberry, a notorious tit lover, smiled in his grave when she was cast.

Star Trek Writers are Annoying

Spoiler Alert for the novels.

I just watched Star Trek Nemesis again for the hell of it, and a lot of things annoyed me about the final scenes of that movie.  Data died, okay.  The writers wanted to do something that would effectively end the series.  Why kill off the most likable character?  Why not kill off Worf, or Troi, or anyone with the last name Crusher?  What the fuck?  Plus, we're told the transporters were shot.  The transponder that Data carried with him was only effective in securing a lock.  There was nothing left to transport Picard out.  Sidestepping around that, why didn't Data bring two magic transponders?  Okay, maybe it was special technology and they only had one (which is really stupid).  If that's the case, why didn't the Enterprise use one of its many shuttles with working transporters?

This brings up a huge problem that I have with Star Trek.  The nostalgia for The Original Series overrides everything else.  Look, I understand that the Original Series was awesome, but do these fucking writers have to kill off every interesting character after that?  And keep the Original Series characters alive through retarded means?  Let's recap:

James T. Kirk - Even though Kirk died in the movie Star Trek Generations, he was resurrected by the Borg and then saved in a convoluted trilogy of trilogies (nine books), co written by William Shatner.  Kirk is still alive!  Admittedly, the series is one of the best of Trek novels in existence...but COME ON!

Leonard McCoy - McCoy is still alive as the oldest living human ever.  God damnit.

Spock - Spock is obviously still alive because Vulcans have enormous lifespans.  Alright, I'll give them that one.

Montgomery Scott - If you'll recall your TNG history, Scott is still alive and relatively young after being caught in a transporter loop for like 80 years.  God damnit.

Meanwhile writers murder every intriguing new character like they're hell bent on ensuring that TOS characters remain on their pedestals in the Star Trek universe.  We've already discussed the absolutely retarded death of Data.  Admiral Janeway is also dead now at the hands of the Borg.  Seven of Nine/Annika Hansen has been psychologically damaged, also at the hands of the Borg.  Praetor Tal'aura, leader of the Romulans is dead, killed by the Tzenkethi (who?), as is Commander Donatra, easily one of the most likable alien characters in the novels.

What are we left with in their wake?  B-4, the simplistic android from Star Trek Nemesis that is probably going to completely replace Data one day.  With Janeway promoted and then dead, boring ass Chakotay is Voyager's captain.  At least Tom Paris is around to bother him.  Annika Hansen has been reduced to practically nothing and rarely makes appearances.  Gell Kamemor is the new Praetor of the reunited Romulan people (who?), and Sela now runs the Tal Shiar.  Like we needed another retread to be thrown back into the fray.

It's obnoxious.  Writers...stop killing interesting characters and replacing them with nobodies.   Conversely, stop keeping the original series guys alive with stupid things.

That's not to say there there isn't some good that has come of the recent novels.  The Romulans, Tholians, Tzenkethi, Kinshaya, Gorn, and Breen have united to form the Typhon Pact, a sort of evil federation.  William Riker now captains the U.S.S. Titan and has overtaken the Enterprise in having the most intriguing crew.  Slipstream drive is now a reality, opening up new areas to explore, and putting Voyager back in the Delta Quadrant, reaching out to new allies on behalf of the Federation.  Nanietta Bacco was elected Federation President and rules with an iron will.  The Borg have been eradicated.  The future is bright for sure, I just have to wonder if there will be anyone interesting in it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Michele Bachmann Owns Slaves...Or Something

I'll try my best to sum this up without letting loose an unnecessarily dramatic sigh and trying to gouge my brain out through my ear and nose canals.

Apparently, a conservative group called THE FAMiLY LEADER (the lowercase 'i' is presumably to symbolize all those little boys being raped by priests) drafted a document called The Marriage Vow that they want every presidential candidate to sign by August 1st.  Because, you know batshit petitions are so successful, right internet community?  Michele Bachmann, who as far as I can tell looks like a cross between Christine O'Donnell and the soulless reapers know what...another Christine O'Donnell was the first to sign.

Where the delicious-as-pie controversy comes from is the preamble to the document, specifically a part that reads:

Slavery had a disastrous impact on African-​American families, yet sadly a child born into slavery in 1860 was more likely to be raised by his mother and father in a two-​parent household than was an African-​American baby born after the election of the USA’s first African-​American President.”

 Quite frankly, I'm surprised they didn't just go right to, "A Jew born in the 1930s in Germany had a better chance of being raised by his mother and father..."  Would have saved us all a lot of time.  Predictably the backlash was immediate and severe over the Bachmanns and several others saying "hey remember slavery?  That was awesome!" and the offending language has been removed from the document.

What the hell is it with conservatives trying to push these women to the forefront of politics?  Palin, O'Donnell, Bachmann?  Don't they know that the first thing that people are going to say is, "psh, a woman?  she's probably a psycho bitch."  Might it behoove them to at least find some women that aren't actually psycho bitches?  There has to be at least one conservative woman who is capable of addressing people and not being eleven hundred cowbells of ear splitting crazy.

The document, which can be read here is nothing short of unadulterated awesome.  The first thing that jumped out at me was the defiant crowing that THE FAMiLY LEADER will not support any candidate that doesn't sign their stupid LiveJournal post.  Or whatever.  I can't imagine anyone would want to risk losing the support of an organization that isn't even cool enough to have its own Wikipedia page.  Losers.

After that it talks about blah blah blah homophobic rhetoric, blah blah blah synonymizing bigotry with family values, and about relieving the burden on American families.  It seems like a good way to do that would be to stop making them give 10% of their income to an invisible man in the sky and an institution that has committed far more acts of pedophilia than "teh gays" that they so fear.

Less than a page in, I'm already annoyed.  The entire thing looks like it was written by a drunk Stephenie Meyer.  Word choice errors and unnecessary quotation marks abound.  "We are intentional (as opposed to accidental) about the opportunity to take another step in fulfilling our mission to "Strengthen Families"  (glad the quotes let us know that that's not what you're really doing) by providing The Marriage Vow to candidates."

The third page makes no mistake in relaying how archaic this institution and its members are.  "Enduring marital fidelity between one man and one woman protects innocent children, vulnerable women, the rights of fathers (are you detecting the subtle sexism yet?) and the liberties of all American Citizens (huh?) under our republican form of government."  Wait, why am I complaining about this, my rights as a future father are going to be protected.  And vulnerable women will be protected from the scary world by my strong backhand whenever they venture out of the kitchen.  Everybody wins!  Check the last bullet on the third page for the longest run on sentence ever.  Is it over yet?

I think my favorite part is when the font on the fourth page gets smaller for no reason at all.  It looks like someone had their grandma write this, and she accidentally clicked on about five different things and didn't know how to fix them.  I find it funny that religious groups are so opposed to the "redefinition of marriage," since that's how the modern definition of marriage came about in the first place, by religious groups bastardizing shit from the pagans.  (This is where religion gets practically everything.  They just invented better folksy stories.)

The document also calls for the reform of divorce law and the institution of "second chance" and "cooling off periods" for couples that want a "quickie divorce."  (I don't know what a quickie divorce is, but it sounds awesome.)  So they want all this new legislation, presumably because it fits in so well with the earlier part where they said they're committed to "downsizing government."  You know, with more laws.

Then there's maybe my favorite line of the whole damn document (and I promise to say that at least six more times).  "Humane protection of women and the innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy (translation: babies made from groin ramming) - our next generation of American children (because innocent fruit of conjugal intimacy wasn't verbose enough) - from human trafficking, sexual slavery, seduction into promiscuity, and all forms of pornography and prostitution, infanticide, abortion an other types of coercion or stolen innocence."  Awesome.  It's like they took three things they hated, and threw them in with five things that are universally bad to make their point.  Then they decided, "ah, fuck it, we'll add a vague cap to the whole damn thing so we can rightfully bitch about anything we want."  (Which I've gathered to be the whole point of conservatism, bitching about whatever you want and then justifying it with jesus.)


And then "sign this document, and the irrelevant bunch of whackjob christians will support you.'

At the bottom there is a blurb about the Alliance Defense Fund, which is a bunch of nutty christian lawyers who do stupid things like draft The Marriage Vow.  Apparently since they conducted a "totally random" survey of 124 "totally swing voters" (because that's a big enough sample size and not at all suspicious), and found DATA, HOLY SHIT DATA, they feel that the majority of Americans oppose Marriage Equality.  My favorite part was when they just stopped including numbers and simply said "Americans believe..."  Finally, they admit that their research partner's acronym is POS.  Awesome.  And that will sum up my prevailing thought in regards to this document.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Functionality in Society and Age

I'll be perfectly honest, the inspiration for writing this entry is the loathing of how so many old people are arrogant twats.  Granted there are a lot of people my age and younger with entitlement complexes and general shitty attitudes, but that fact is well documented.  Why is it that no one seems to notice that just as many old people have the same complexes and attitudes?  I DESERVE STUFF, I'M OLD!

Really the graph of a person's functionality in society is a parabolic arc.  It starts low, reaches an apex between 20-40, and then it's bee-lining towards the ground again.  It's most evident in sports (that make sense, because fuck you NFL) when rookies and veterans are the lowest paid athletes.  Unfortunately the highest paid person you work with is probably some dinosaur that still fills out timesheets by hand.

I think this whole "respect your elders" thing that we've got going on reaches a point where it gets kind of stupid.  There is a certain line that gets crossed with people stop approaching things with wisdom and start approaching them with archaicness.  HOLY SHIT AOL IS GIVING ME FREE INTERNET ON A CD!

And while experience is a better teacher than a great many things, we've got an entire generation of people that thinks its the only thing that matters.  Like the fact that they've spent years being an idiot gives them some sort of advantage over someone intelligent, or better yet, someone with more applicable experience.  LINDY RUFF DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO RUN A TEAM, I'VE BEEN WATCHING HOCKEY FOR FORTY YEARS!

I just hope that when I'm old, I actually remain in step with the world around me instead of just pretending for the sake of not looking like a dinosaur.  (You're not fooling anyone, people over the age of 30 on facebook.)  Either keep up with things, or be old and irrelevant.  Can't have it both ways.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Derek Jeter Becomes First Yankee to Obtain 3000 Hits: Non-NY World Yawns

Thank god for Twitter and Facebook, otherwise I never would have known that Derek Jeter just became the first Yankee to amass 3,000 hits.

I've had an interesting relationship with Jeter over the years.  When he came into the league I hated him because he just looked like a smug dipshit, and most of his fans were female and didn't know baseball from horse fucking.  After a few years, I began to respect the type of player he is.  There are few like him still in baseball.  He always hustles, always busts his ass, and almost always shines when the spotlight is upon him.  There are too many fat Prince Fielders donuting (yeah, it's a verb now) their way to first base on ground balls, and not enough Jeters victimizing slow outfielders by turning singles into doubles.

As his career heads into the twilight, I'm starting to head back the other way.  Most of his fans are still female, even though his face looks like Ty Cobb stepped on it.  And he's starting to become more a jersey than a baseball player.  I get that the Yankees are something more than just a baseball team, and because of that any player in the uniform gets elevated beyond their worth.  I get it, but I don't have to like it.  Derek Jeter is a waste on the field, and should probably be phased into a lesser role.  He's kind of like a less obnoxious Brett Favre.  Sure he still has his moments.  Putting one over the fence for #3,000 is one of them, but they're fewer and further between than ever.

Jeter is a great player turned aging player who still occasionally makes great plays, most of them on the offensive side of the ball.  Congratulations to him for reaching a difficult milestone, but the longer he hogs the shortstop position with better players in the wings, the more he tarnishes his legacy.