Archive for October, 2011

29/10/2011

The ten most awesome things about being – Transsexual

Why yes Virginia, it’s another list post. This time I’m going to list the top ten things that are awesome about being transsexual. Of course the media tends to paint a “pity me” picture of transsexual people, but guess what? There’s lots that really rocks about being differently gendered. Please note I am writing this list as a non-stealth transwoman, so some of these probably won’t apply to stealth transpeople, and some will have to be translated for the transboys in my audience.

10: A completely new wardrobe. Seriously change gender and start from scratch. Out with the boring jeans and t-shirt/jumper combo and in with…well whatever you damn well want! Which leads nicely to number…

 9: Reinventing yourself. Ever wanted to pull off the “quiet badass”? Or how about the hyper gothgirl? Well this is your chance, figure out what sort of person you will be post transition, and then become that person. How many other people get to do that?

 8: Disturbing your partners children. This one’s kind of particular to transpeople who end up with partners who have adult children. But nothing quite beats that “What The F**K!?” moment when they realise their apparently previously straight mom has brought home a transgirl as a partner.

 7: Little kids telling you that you’re awesome. This seems to only work up til about 7 years of age. But up until that point little kids seem to find transpeople really cool. I guess they think you’re playing a sort of dress up or something. But regardless, very little beats a teeny tiny little girl telling you that you’re “Weally pwetty”.

 6: Telling suitably Christian people that their God is a transwoman. This one just gives me hours of joy when it happens. God apparently having made mankind in his own image, means that one of those images is a 5’10” tall, brown-eyed, big busted, purple haired woman, with an oversized non-vagina adjacent clit. Hey it says it in the bible.

 5: Being everyone’s bisexual blip. This one’s kind of a personal one. Since my gender is a bit more complex that simply male or female, and so many people seem to find me easy on the eyes, I kind of get to be everyone’s bisexual blip. Fun times are had by all. Apart from the boys, because I’m lesbian and ewwwww boy cooties.

 4: Halloween. It really rocks being tall enough to pull off any female superhero. Or better yet being the only dress up Dominatrix who’s tall enough to actually engender some genuine awe. Besides it’s not like I have the wardrobe to pull that off anyway…

 3: Having some extra insight into the other gender. Okay you may have spent half of your life pretending to be the other gender. But that does mean you got to see that side of society with its masks removed. You’re in a unique position to understand, at the very least a little better, what the hell his actual intentions are. Or what she really means when she says “Nothing’s wrong!”.

 2: Being a divine hermaphrodyke. Again a personal one, but one that probably applies to quite a few of you reading. Ancient cultures are filled with Gods, spirits, and other assorted spooky things which were respected and hermaphrodite. You could be seen as embodying that in a modern way. Hey get that you’re divine!

 1: Getting to pull the “I was never a little girl so…” card anytime you want to do anything embarrassingly kiddy in nature. You want to watch The Smurfs on DVD “Yeah but I was never a little girl so…”. You want that rocking new tattooed Barbie with the little dog named Bastardino, “Hey I was never a little girl so…”.  You want to wear a pink onesy, nappy and drink from a sippy cup while your mommy looks after you, occassionally spanking you whe….Umm perhaps I should stop there. But you get the point I’m sure.

Now I really hate that bitch. Great pad, clothes and now she even has more tats than me!

So folks whether you are, or aren’t transsexual, what awesome things can you think of that I’ve left out of the list?

P.S. After writing this I realised what the single best thing about being trannsexual is. I get to be me.

Advertisements
27/10/2011

So there I was, alone, facing down a Rift. And I’d only been playing for 45 minutes!

As my frequent readers know by now I have a real thing for roleplaying games. RPG’s are my prefered form of escapism, at least when there isn’t an exceptional first person shooter waiting in its box to be played. What other type of game can give you hours of immersion in another world? Allow you to make new friends? Plot out strategies? And then go out and conquer all the trials before you? That’s right RPG’s are  where the futures global dictators meet up and plot together. So it was with joy that I received from my Best Male Friend  a copy of Rift. The latest big budget Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game to hit the internet.

A little of the game’s plot would be in order now. Essentially the god of death is trying to break into your world. The other four gods have become some kind of godhead named The Vigil. The walls of reality are falling apart, triggering the formation of rifts into the various planes, Fire, Life and Death being just a few examples. So in order to save the day, and probably their own collective ass, The Vigil creates the ascended. People who were great heroes from a previous age, now brought back from the dead to kick even more ass. And so far that’s the story in a nutshell.

First off let me say I love this game. I want to have bastard semi-human semi-digital babies with it. I want to go for long hand in hand, moonlit walks with it. I want to…well you get the picture. It’s wonderfully thought out, in fact it reminds me of World of Warcraft back in the vanilla and Burning Crusade days. Challenging, story driven, and engaging. But it does have a serious flaw.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way. Rift has serious, and I mean serious, issues working with ATI Radeon graphics cards. I use a top of the range 4000 series card. With it I have successfully run WOW, Crysis, Mass Effect and many other games with the graphic quality at maximum, had no problems what so ever, and no need to overclock. Despite my system as a whole more than meeting the minimum requirements to play Rift, I have had to overclock my card to play it just at the minimum settings. Even so I have random crashes, lock ups, screen freezes, my character getting stuck, and even a few blue screens. That’s how badly Rift runs with an ATI graphics card. Now there are reports of many ATI users having these same problems, and so far little or no response from the developers.

So yes that sucks. It takes a great deal from the game. But the good news is that eventually it will be fixed. Why? Because graphic cards are the PC worlds equivalent of cola drinks. You have your brand and if you build your own PC’s you will tend to stick by it come what may. So unless Trion want to lose a lot of paying customers they will fix it. Even if it does take a while.

Now for the good news. This game (graphic problems aside) is absolutely brilliant. A lot of it is of course standard MMORPG faire. You kill monsters for experience points, and loot. You complete quests to progress through the story. You take up a few trade skills to pay the bills, and buy a huge variety of mounts. Where it differs is in the tone of the gameplay, the challenge aspect, and especially in the way the rifts alter day-to-day play.

The tone of Rift is a lot darker than WOW, or even EVE Online, well to my eyes at least. You’re fighting in a world that’s literally coming apart at the seams. And unlike in many other MMORPG’s there’s a real sense that what you personally do in the game has a real impact, no matter how small, on the end result for the world as a whole. In fact that is apparently one of the selling points of this game, that what you do will impact on the development of the entire world. I hope that’s true. One nice, though small, aspect that makes for a more immersive game is the fact that your characters features are a lot more adjustable than in many MMORPG’s. There are a large number of permutations on hair style, eye shape, colors, body size, even the rotation of your eyes, or size of your nose. It helps to make your character, yours. That fact alone makes you value them a little more, which then makes your victories a little sweeter. Or perhaps that’s just me.

The tone of the game is also effected in a large way by the challenge side of things. If I had one complaint about WOW it’s that it’s become too simple. That is not an accusation which could ever be levelled at Rift. You have to actually think when you play it. For example. when you level up you get a single skill point to spend in your talent trees. You need to actually think out how to spend that point so that it has the best effect on the way you play your character. Add in the fact that you can have up to three active talent trees at the one time, all effecting how your character works, and just building an effective character becomes a real challenge in itself.  On top of that there’s a vibrant Player Versus Player element. Collections of items to find and turn in for cool prizes. And more than a few very tricky quests to complete. Hell after a single day of play I doubt I’ve even scratched the surface on challenges that will have me coming back for months, perhaps even years to come.

Finally we come to my favourite aspect of Rifts, the rifts themselves. These are places where the fabric of reality is coming apart. Your job as an ascended is to kill anything that comes through, and then reseal them. Sounds simple right? Let me tell you a little story.

So there I stood alone, facing down a Rift. And I’d only been playing for about 45 minutes. I’d been transported from the starting zone about 2 minutes before. The first thing I saw in the distance were several tentacles coming down from the sky.

Aha, I thought, that looks interesting, I’ll go closer and have a good look.

I arrived there only to realise I was going to die. Monsters everywhere. All of them higher level than myself. And all of them looked hungry. But not being the type to run from a fight I used one of the few scrolls in my pack and got ready to get my ass kicked so hard that I wouldn’t need earmuffs this winter.

In seconds I was nearly dead. Aww well, this sort of thing happens. When out of nowhere half a dozen other characters show up. A healer brings me back to full health, a warrior type takes all the monster aggression I had gathered to myself, and in short order we had eliminated my first rift.

The rifts are a chance for everyone who plays this game to feel like a hero for a while. You wade in with a group made up of who ever happens to be both nearby and in need of causing some pain. Then if you’re lucky, and the others in your party are good you wade out the other side with some nice rewards for your heroism, and the feeling that you have just achieved something.

So do I recommend Rift? If you use non-ATI hardware, absolutely. If you do use ATI hardware, yes but don’t be surprised if for the time being you have to play it with all the pretty settings switched off. If you like truly immersive MMORPG’s definitely. If you liked WOW back in the early days, go for it you won’t be sorry. So basically yes. Right now it’s just about the most challenging and funnest MMORPG out there. And well worth a look.

25/10/2011

A students guide to cooking – A romantic meal for two.

So you’ve been in some sort of third level institute of learning  for a while now. Somehow, in between drinking contests, watching reruns of The Simpsons, and occasionally sauntering in to class you’ve managed to find someone who might, just possibly want to rub pasty bodies against your’s. It was wonderful, eyes meeting blearily across a crowded room, filled with drink and drug addled people. They smiled, you were pissed, and with the courage of Bacchus flowing through your veins you asked them out. Better still, with the idiocy of Bacchus flowing through their brains, they said, yes.

The thing is that you told that person, who you just asked out in a drunken moment of bravado, “Why, yes, I’ll make up a wonderful romantic dinner for us both.” The problem now is that the only thing you know how to cook is Detonated Potato. Well never fear Auntie Amanda is here to help. So just follow the simple steps below for as romantic an evening as our mutually pathetic cooking skills will allow.

  1. Go to the local pharmacy and buy condoms. Odds are you’re going to screw this up and end up alone, curled tight around a pillow sobbing, but better safe than sorry.  Buy the extra strong “You won’t be feeling anything at all through these wellies” kind. That way you’re less likely to catch anything and frankly you (or he) will last a whole lot longer.
  2. Find someone to explain how to put one on. Odds are there’s a peer educator somewhere on campus who can help. I don’t recommend asking the chaplain, any members of the institutes executive team, or your housemates.
  3. Inform your housemates you have a date/are getting laid and in order to seal the deal you need the gaff to yourself. Don’t worry if you don’t actually know what the word “gaff” refers to. More than likely neither will they but everyone will assume you mean the house you share.
  4. Clean up the kitchen.
  5. Clean up the living room.
  6. Incinerate every living thing in the bathroom.
  7. NOW clean the bathroom.
  8. Clean your bedroom, including changing the bed linens which have been on it since you started your third level education.
  9. Decide what you want to cook for dinner.
  10. Come to the realisation that you actually won’t be able to cook anything apart from Detonated Potato.
  11. Consider making some Detonated Potato.
  12. Remember that you read this step-by-step guide a few weeks ago, and re-read it.
  13. Follow the next step.
  14. Find the cheapest Italian/Chinese/Indian/Thai take away in your locality, who deliver. (This is important, there’s no point in wasting precious energy you might need later in the evening.)
  15. Order only the main course, arranging delivery 15 minutes before the arrival of your potential partner in jiggy-jiggy-wah-wah!
  16. Remind your housemates that they need to go elsewhere tonight.
  17. Have a shower, and shave which ever bits seem most important.
  18. Smell your way through your laundry basket, and wear the pieces of clothing which combine smelling the best, have the least number of suspicious stains, got together appropriately.
  19. Pop around to the local shop and buy 1 carton of ready cooked custard, along with one raspberry ripple swissroll.
  20. Heat the custard in a CLEAN sauce pan, this way you can semi-legitimately claim to have cooked the meal.
  21. Slice the swissroll into a large bowl, pouring the custard between and over each layer of slices.
  22. Place in the fridge.
  23. Remind your housemates that they need to leave, and that the dessert in the fridge is off-limits.
  24.  Answer door to the delivery man.
  25. Pay the delivery man. (Important step, they tend to take offense to not being paid.)
  26. Place the main course on plates and put in the oven set to a very low temperature to keep it warm. Put a cup/glass of hot water in with it to help keep the food moist.
  27. Put the microwave garlic bread on, and then place in the oven on a separate plate with the main course.
  28. Lay the table with knifes, forks, and spoons. If you have one put a table-cloth over it first to hide the burn marks and blood stains.
  29. Light candles in both the kitchen and living room.
  30. Physically kick your housemates out. Using only the level of violence appropriate. For example if they’re 4’10” tall you should simply pick them up and deposit them outside, however if they’re 6’11” and play rugby you may need to use a hurley and a carving knife.
  31. Lay the still hot food on the table.
  32. Panic when you realise the take-away containers are still on the kitchen counter.
  33. Run outside and shove them into the bin.
  34. Turn around and come face to face with your intended conquest.
  35. Sputter, hiccup, and generally do you best impression of Hugh Grant in one of his horrific romantic comedies. (Don’t pretend you haven’t seen one, we all have!)
  36. Take them inside, and serve dinner.
  37. Find out that they work in the take-away you ordered from. Laugh it off.
  38. Discover that they’re diabetic and that the dessert you made will make their foot drop off.  Recover from this set back by suggesting your body for dessert.

At this point depending on your gender/sexuality one of four things would seem most likely happen.

Female Straight –

  1. Get physically dragged upstairs to your room.
  2. Tear each others clothes off, somehow forgetting to remove each others underwear. (No-one actually knows why this happens, but I personally blame pre-watershed sit-coms.)
  3. Struggle to get into the condom packet, in the end using your teeth in what you hope is a sexy manner.
  4. Pull down his pants.
  5. Wonder what the hell that 2 inch long mushroom is.
  6. Remain single a while more.

Female Bi/Lesbian –

  1. Buggered if I know. Seriously if you figure out how this one works out please let me know. After a lifetime as a lesbian I still suck at getting from “I like you!” to “Boom Shaka Wah Wah!”, usually it happens by accident.

Male Bi/Gay –

  1. See previous statement, and adjust language accordingly.

Male Straight –

  1. Well, I can only go by what television has taught me, but to judge from episodes of Scrubs, and the fact that if you’re reading this then odds are you name is not Charlie Sheen, it ends with the chorus of this song, and a very soapy shower.

So there you have Auntie Amanda’s guide to the perfect third level romantic evening. Please remember your own experience may vary, and that despite your own best efforts you will probably have lost your virginity by the time you re-enter the real world, three years from now.

Next time I really will get around to explaining the  preparation of non-crunchy porridge. So something for all you starving college student types to look forward to.

22/10/2011

I’m sorry but no regular post today.

I’m sorry to say folks that due to a day from hell yesterday, I don’t have anything written for today. I have several pieces half written but nothing of a quality I would be happy to post here. So I apologize. However later today I will put up a list of links to things which caught my eye this past week.

So thank you for reading my blog, and for your patience.

Tags:
20/10/2011

Movies I wish I could see again and again – Kids Movies

So lately I’ve been watching a lot of kids movies. Not just because I’m a big kid at heart, but because the Force of Nature is often seeing, what are to me, classic kids movies for the first time. So with all this exposure I thought it timely to write-up my top 5 list of kids movies. Ones that deserve another viewing. As with my previous horror movie article there are just two rules I’ll be following;

1: The movie has to have had a general cinema release. That’s it. I’ll end up dealing with straight to television or DVD movies on their own at a later date.

2: They have to be a movie which I have, or would have paid to go see at least twice in the cinema.

So I hope you enjoy my thoughts and find yourself thinking about re-watching these movie. Enjoy.

5: The Goonies. (1985)

What can I say about the Goonies? It has it all, pirates, treasure, crooks, traps, gadgets, and Samwise Gamgee (Sean Astin) before he grew up and had a torrid non-physical onscreen love affair with Mister Frodo. The Goonies tells us the story of a small group of kids, who are about to be forced to move out of the homes hey love by greedy developers. They find a pirate’s treasure map, and go off in search of it in the hopes of rescuing the lives they all love.

“Oh Mister Frodo, I just want to suck on your curly-haired toes!” (image via http://www.alicia-logic.com)

Along the way they run across a family of violent Italian crooks, some truly horrible death traps, Samwise has his first boy on girl kiss (which leads inevitably to the arms of first Mister Frodo, and later Rosie Cotton. Poor Samwise, he’s a very confused little hobbit.), pirate booty, and depending on the cut you get to see there may even be a giant octopus. I recently watched The Goonies again for the first time in ten years, and was really surprised by how much I still enjoyed it. It’s a good adventure story. It’s funny, surprisingly well acted, and has quite a funny script. It was also the movie which really launched the careers of Martha Plimpton, Corey Feldman, Josh Brolin and of course Samwise Gamgee.

I still have such a crush on Martha Plimpton and it all started with The Goonies. (image via howtomakeitinamerica.com)

4: Gremlins. (1984)

Okay I’m fudging a little with this one. Gremlins is technically a horror/comedy and has I believe a PG-13 rating. But how could any list of kids movies be complete without the adorable little Gizmo? Gremlins is a weird little movie. It’s hard to categorize. Is it a horror? A comedy? A satire? A monster movie? Or is it just all about waiting for the next shot of either Gizmo, or the delectable Phoebe Cates? Well regardless you can definitely say that it’s fun.

Gizmo the Mogwai. Cuteness personified. (image via images.mylot.com)

A boy gets a cute little pet, a Mogwai, named Gizmo for Christmas. He breaks the rules for caring for Gizmo and unwittingly unleashes a wave of horrible little monsters, gremlins, on his town. During the race to save civilisation as we know it we see gremlins stabbed, kicked, kicked into a fire, blown up, and my favourite blown up again in a microwave. It’s a little violent this movie. Though no more so than some of Spielbergs other family movies of the time.

One of the best reasons to watch this movie…are you sensing a pattern here? (image via http://www.wizardfkap.com)

So why should you watch it now?

Well the special effects have held up extremely well. The story is still as good today as it was 27 years ago. The cast is nothing short of brilliant. The Force of Nature loved it last week, even if we did have to stand in her way for certain scenes. And of course it has Gizmo. Oh and the sequel is well worth a watch too, even if only for the wealth of cameos.

3: Santa Claus – The Movie. (1985)

I saw this movie in the cinema the year it came out. I can truthfully say that I don’t remember a single second of it. No idea why, it’s just been erased from my mind. (I suspect I was witness to an alien encounter and ended up being neurolised, but more on that later.) But a few years later in primary school, on the last day before the Christmas break they showed this movie again. I loved it. I still do.

This isn’t just a Santa Claus – The Movie, this is Santa Claus – The Superhero Movie. Seriously, it starts with Santa Claus the origin story.

The pre-superpowered Mister Claus, and the Missus too. (image via cf1.imgobject.com)

The origin. An older medieval couple with no kids are in a sled returning home from passing out wooden toys to the good little girls and boys who live near them. They start to freeze to death, only to be rescued by frikkin’ elfs. Including one elf played by Dudley Moore i one of his funnier roles. Okay so origin story done with. You have the build up to the movies sense of peril. So Patches, played by Dudley Moore, is sick of the old-fashioned techniques used in the workshop, but when his updates are spectacularly unsuccessful he up and leaves to make his fortune.

Enter the villain. John Lithgow plays our villain who manipulates Patches into servitude, sort of. Well anyway he’s not nice, and tries to cover up some nasty shit.

John Lithgow at his most cartoon villainish, Dudley Moore is of course playing Dudley Moore. (image via http://www.empireonline.com)

Re-enter the hero. Santa Claus shows up with a couple of kids to save the day, and does so by…look just watch the damned movie. It’s not Laurence Olivier in Henry V, but you won’t regret watching it, especially if you watch it with a happily squealing five-year old.

*sings* “Heeeere I come to save the day!” (image via 2.bp.blogspot.com)

2: Shrek Forever After. (2010)

In what’s supposed to be the final Shrek movie, (Yeah right!) Shrek unwittingly creates an alternative universe where he was never born. Far, Far Away is under occupation by witches, and the ogres have formed a resistance army. Led by Princess Fiona doing her best combined impression of Red Sonya and William Wallace.

Well hey there. (image via http://images.wikia.com)

That’s the plot dealt with. So why watch it?

Well the first Shrek was a masterpiece. Hilariously funny, with brilliant performances by all the cast, and the CGI animation was simply amazing. Unfortunately the next two sequels were just more of the same, but with performances which were often sub-par. However with this fourth movie they finally get the recipe right again. Okay let’s put it this way, if I had to pick my favourite Shrek movie it would be the last one. It’s the funniest, has the best story, and the best performances. It also has Princess Fiona in leather armour.

And I can’t be the only one who thinks that Ogre Fiona is way hotter than human Fiona, so leather armour is just a bonus. Or am I?

1: Men in Black. (1997)

Remember I mentioned being neurolised earlier? That’s right my number 1 kids movie I wish I could see again in a cinema is Men in Black. This had Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith at their best. Jones being the gruff crotchety git I imagine he often is in reality, and Smith not being completely up his own ass while putting his own family into his pictures.

I knew it, that’s why I don’t remember seeing Santa Claus – The Movie in the cinema. (image via collider.com)

You raped the Karate Kid, Will Smith, raped it, and then put it in the wrong goddess damned country, with the characters played by the wrong goddess damned actors, nepotism is never pretty Mister Smith. DAMN YOU WILL SMITH!

*Cough* Moving on. This movie was made back when Will Smith was actually funny. It follows a new recruit to the most secret agency on Earth. A group who protect the world from the threat of extra-terrestrial violence. The villain is of course the biggest cockroach in movie history. (I could be wrong on that. There’s a lot of monster movies I haven’t seen yet, so maybe there’s one “The Cockroach who ate the World” out there somewhere.) And it has the beautiful Linda Fiorentino in what I think of as her weirdest part ever, a sort of creepy, but very sexy pathologist. Anyway the world’s in danger and Will “I rape classic movies” Smith, along with his new partner have to save the day.

I really did mean the biggest cockroach. (image via images.dailyfill.com)

Why watch it?

Because it’s absolutely awesome. It’s funny, action packed, surreal. It’s a live action cartoon. It has Linda “Nommy” Fiorentino. But most of all because it’s one movie that will have both you are your own personal little Force of Nature sitting there with big grins pasted on your collective faces from beginning to end.

18/10/2011

The Dame Street Protest, a few thoughts.

Anyone who reads my blog will know I’m a bit of a weirdo. Politically I’m probably even more weird than in other aspects of my life. I would tend to describe myself as a conservative-liberal. What do I mean by that? Well we could start with describing it as wanting people to be free to put each other in consensual bondage without the state poking its nose in, whips optional. But also wishing common sense, not political rhetoric to rule the day. But here’s a few actual examples of my political weirdness.

Outside of situations which can not be legislated for with a universal ruling, all rights should be universal, not special rights. So there shouldn’t need to be special gay marriage law, that should be universal marriage law for everyone regardless of gender or orientation. However if you’re transsexual, you need a specific law in place to allow for legal recognition of your true gender, that’s an essential specific law, because it speaks to a situation which affects a small minority in a unique situation.

I think there should be abortion in Ireland. But I also don’t think it should be possible to use abortion simply as birth control.

I believe the Constitution is the heart of the Republic. But I also believe that as it stands it is a broken document. One which  is no longer fit for purpose, and so needs to be re-drafted, but not by vested interests, rather it should be rewritten by a national committee which does not include any serving or formerly serving politicians.

I believe there should be a 1 year period of military service in something akin to the Territorial Army in the United Kingdom. But that there should also be a conscientious objectors clause, which can allow anyone who truly believes such service to be morally abhorrent to avoid doing so.

Like I said I’m a weirdo. And many of my beliefs, where good citizenship are concerned at least, are probably rather self-contradictory. But sometimes both my liberal and conservative switches get flipped at the same time, in the same direction. Usually by a watershed, or potential watershed, event. So let’s talk about the Dame Street protesters.

These men and women are mostly Irish citizens who, along with protestors around the globe, have chosen to emulate their fellow protestors in Wall Street. They are exercising their right to peaceful protest, in order to voice their objections to the way in which the Irish State is treating its own citizens at the behest of foreign powers. But unfortunately their actual message isn’t nearly as clear as that.

I doubt that there is any need to rehash everything that has happened in Ireland over the last 12 months. But I think everyone has to admit it’s been a hell of a ride. We went from boom to bust, had a government ousted, had our country in some ways conquered without a single bullet being fired, and as a nation we took it all on the chin. Bread now in the hopes of jam to go with that bread later. I said there was no need to rehash, not that I wasn’t going to.

The protestors have reason to be angry, we all do. Our standard of living has been slashed, not for our sakes, but for the sake of apparently hopelessly inept business people spread across Europe, and perhaps even further afield. Worse still we can’t kid ourselves, we will not know the true depth or scale of what’s happened and what is still happening right now, for a very long time. Perhaps even a generation. It may take that long after the dust settles for the academics to translate the mechanics of this depression into something the average man on the street can understand.  Of course, not knowing the true scale of this disaster, is yet another reason for us all to be angry.

Fine but what both the Wall Street and Dame Street protestors seem to have forgotten is that it’s not enough to be angry. You also have to have a coherent message for people to hear. Have an established leadership, including public relations, negotiators, even ewwwww…solicitors ready to deal with changes in circumstances, either positive or negative. Hell even just having everyone chanting from the same hymn book would help project an image of solidarity, rather than semi-sentient “me too”-isms.  Put another way…

“What do we want? A fair deal. When do we want it? Now!”

Is a hell of a lot more effective than…

“What do we want? *reads long, looooong laundry list of sometimes contradictory demands* When do we want it? Uhhhh….

Unfortunately for those demonstrating around the world right now, they’re sounding far more like the latter, than the former.

I agree with a lot of their sentiments. I want there to be change. My liberal side wants there to be better services for the needy. I want there to be a fair wage for a fair days work. I want there to be a damned days work for that matter. I don’t want truly insane amounts of money being torn from the national, and local, budgets only for it to be turned over to foreign powers, and indigenous businessmen, who are just as culpable for what is happening to us all as a global economy. I want us to have government by people who have not lost all connection to what real life is like. I want the Humphreys not to have a guaranteed job for life ruling us all from the shadows. But instead have them openly, and fairly compete everyday of their professional career for those same careers, and not just with one another but with outsiders also.

My conservative side wants tighter oversight on all public spending. Means test all non-contributory social welfare. Bring in military service, it’s insane to have a population of over 4 million, the vast majority of whom are virtually incapable of defending their own nation if the need arises. Keep controlling interests in all the semi-states, and force the national will on them. Crack down on unionism in Ireland. What started as a way for common workers to safely air grievances with their employers have become a shadow government. One which answers only to itself. One nation, one government, elected by the people, not self-selected. And not one which as we now all know is perfectly capable of holding the entire state to ransom, on a whim.

The protestors here and over there want what we’ll have to call a “National Dream“. A good life for themselves and their children. But I don’t think for a second that a few tents, or even a lot of tents here, or in New York, are going to change the course we’ve all been forced to sail. All they can do is voice their dissatisfaction. Make it clear what parts of their plans we approve of and what we don’t. Then all we can really do is wait to see if there’s anyone who can bring us back to something approaching prosperity. Perhaps there are a handful of young leaders out there waiting for their turn who will do the job the way it should be done. Who can stabilise the world economy, through new ways of thinking, of doing business, instead of slamming us all violently on to the rocks until something gives.

I hope that the conservative, and liberal viewpoints can find a middle ground where real equitable change can be achieved.  Rather than both sides becoming more and more polarized. Rather than politics again becoming about us and them. After all the last time that happened in the 1930’s, it didn’t end well very well for Europe, or the rest of the world for that matter. Depressions are dangerous, history shows us that, and let’s be honest here, that’s what we’re living through.

15/10/2011

BDSM How it could/should be – The Mistress Alone.

Sometimes it happens. No screw that. Usually it happens. The Mistress finds herself unworshipped, and undesired. What in any other sort of life would be simply called, alone. But a Mistress can’t be simply alone. Usually my BDSM articles are kind of generalised advice, based on a lifetimes worth of personal observations. Then towards the end I use a story from my life to put what I’ve been writing about into a nice simple to understand context.  Usually. Not this time.  This article is purely about what I am experiencing right now. About having been someones world, then suddenly not.  About being a Mistress alone, and let me tell you this to begin with, it’s horrific.

Where to begin, when there’s no clear beginning…with a description I guess. I am Amanda Harper. See me there? That’s right I’m the nearly six-foot tall, buxom, busty girl with the facial piercing, the tattoo and the hair that was blue, but is now purple. I’m 33 and all of my adult life I’ve believed two things more strongly than almost anything else. No-one loves more deeply than a good Mistress, except maybe, just maybe a good Slavegirl, or a parent but that’s sort of obvious.

I don’t value money, or things.  They’re just a way of keeping score. And they can be taken away from you. I believe we only truly own two things, our bodies and our feelings. Well bodies start to depreciate pretty much from day one, but feelings, they’re valuable, precious, priceless even. So you won’t be at all surprised to hear that love is the most important thing in the world to me.

I love a woman. An amazing woman. She’s quite a bit older than me, and she saved my life. Literally, saved my life. When we met I had just started to transition. I was malnourished, emotionally shattered, lost, and scared. Surrounded by friends, but still alone. That woman gave me a home, home is where you’re loved without condition. She would one day become my Mistress, some day I hope to be collared by her. Belonging to her gives me the anchor that lets me turn my emotional bow into the currents that would otherwise capsize me, taking me down, probably never to recover. Belonging to her makes me feel what I hope every good Slavegirl feels, lovingly valued.

But my submission to my love is only half of who I am. There’s my other half.

I was loved by a woman. An amazing woman. She wasn’t all that much older than me and I have to believe I saved her life. When we met she needed someone to show her how to live long enough to achieve her life’s dream. She was lost, and scared. She one day became my slavegirl, leashed though never collared. Her belonging to me made me feel what I think every good Mistress truly wishes for, loving fulfillment. Then we ended, our relationship had run its course, her life’s dream had been achieved, and it was now time for her to move on and live her life.

It happens. It’s life. It fucking sucks.

So I am now simply Amanda Harper, slavegirl.  The Mistress has been packed away until she’s needed again, if she is ever needed again. Maybe it’s better this way. No potential for hassle for my Mistress from my submissive, no disruptions to life. But it still feels very much like some of the colors have been removed from the world.

I’m two people, in everything. I’m Amanda the woman, while also being Amanda the hermaphrodite. I’m Amanda the slavegirl, but I’m also Amanda the dominant, even if that aspect has been folded up and put aside for a time. When I deny part of who I am, the world around me starts to dull, echo, life stops being quite so vibrant. I’ve come to terms with that part of life, after all it’s impossible for life to always be filled with vibrancy and adventure.

I love being a good Slavegirl. That’s what my Mistress deserves and it makes us both happy. But I’m starting to desperately miss the time when my dominant side was loved by someone. Not least because in my BDSM philosophy a Mistress without a submissive is just a girl with some very odd skill-sets. Very, very odd in some cases.

So some of you are wondering why I don’t just go out and grab a new Slavegirl. Well, while submissive people, are frankly, dime a dozen. Good submissives are rare. Slaves are rarer still and good slaves are like chicken teeth. Add in often being house bound due to seemingly unending ill-health and…well you have heart-break, that never seems to end, with no end in sight.

The Mistress alone. The title of this article is a lie. There’s no Mistress alone here. Just a Slavegirl who dreams of again someday being something else, a loving Mistress as well as an adoring Slavegirl. But that’s something I, or any dominant without a submissive, might never get to be again. So instead it’s time for the girding of loins and embracing all the other joys life provides.

Cupcakes anyone?

13/10/2011

The game is afoot!

Everyone knows that no-one plays a bat-shit crazy, excentric genius  like Robert Downey Jnr. I mean if you’ve seen his take on Ironman/Tony Stark then you’ve seen the afore-mentioned character type at its best. Well actually, at its second best.  It turns out that the best is portrayal is one Sherlock Holmes, resident at 221B Baker Street, London.

One day Madonna’s missus, Guy Ritchie decided to steer away from his usual  movies about gangsters with shooters in modern London. Instead he’d do a movie about gangsters with much more primitive shooters, in Victorian London. The story follows Holmes and Watson on their last case before Watson gets married.  Along the way we get magic, secret societies, fist fights, stick fighting, and of course, gorgeous women in corsets.

I am not going to go into the story. Frankly it’s complicated, with surprising twists and turns at every stage. Enough to say that it is precisely what you would expect from both Guy Richie and a Holmes movie.

What I am going to talk about is the movie as a whole, itself. The writing is sharp, quick, and hilarious. The sets are simply amazing, everything you would expect from the very best period drama. The costumes are incredible. The editing flawless, with the movie never slowing down, or becoming boring in any way for even an instant. The casting is simply superb.  Downey’s Holmes is not the staid, purely cerebral character we all grew up with on television. He’s a scrapping bastard, who takes pleasure from sort of torturing Watson’s bulldog. He’s mean, nasty, unpleasant, and charming as hell. Jude Laws Watson is a stereotype of the retired veteran British officer, just as the character always has been. But unlike other versions he’s much a man of action, as he is a man of medicine.

There is only really one let down, and that’s the score. It’s frankly rather humdrum. Exactly what you would expect, and oddly out-of-place in this movie for that very reason.

I have to say I was hugely skeptical when I heard that this movie was being shot. There’s been so many attempts to capture on-screen, both large and small, the barely contained madness that fuels the genius of Sherlock Holmes as he was portrayed in the books.  Very few of them have ever come even vaguely close. Some how Mr. Madonna manages it better than most. Even if in the end it is achieved in large part by his leaning heavily on the acting talents of Robert Downey Jnr. as Holmes and Jude Law as Watson. Regardless of how I am now waiting expectantly for the sequel, time to see this new Holmes go up against Moriarty the Napolean of Crime.

11/10/2011

A students guide to cooking – Detonated Potato.

With so many newly minted 3rd Level students having just evolved, from semi-literate 2nd Level students, it seemed timely to write a very basic guide to cooking for ones self. So here is a step by step guide to making “Amanda Harpers not in anyway famous Detonated Potatoes”.

Required for the cooking of Detonated Potatoes – 1 Potato, 1 Fork, 1 Oven, 1 Microwave, 1 Plate.

1: Preheat an oven to ridiculous degrees centigrade, or Gas Mark Holy Fuck! Having first emptied it of all those sticky, greasy trays that usually call it home. Having to fight your way through a room filled with eye-burning black smoke only makes everything else more difficult.

2: Pick out as large a potato as you can find. This is important, you’ll see why later.

3: Wash said potato. DO NOT PEEL IT!

4: Also wash the inside of the microwave.

5: Also wash the fork.

6: Also wash the plate.

7: Also while you’re at it wash your damn kitchen, honestly your mother would be ashamed of you living in filth like that!

8: Prick the potato with a fork only barely enough times that it doesn’t explode in the oven. Once or twice very shallowly should do.

9: Once the oven has achieved the necessary temperature, place your prepared potato on the top shelf. Try to remember that everything inside the oven is now liable to strip your flesh off, so don’t touch any of it.

10: While you wait watch an episode of Scrubs, or Two and a Half Men. They both last approximately 30 minutes which is important. Or you could do some studying…nah!

11: Once J.D. has given his generic closing monologue, or Charlie has smugly wandered up those stairs with yet another hot woman, it’s time to return to the kitchen. The kitchen is the room with the cooker, fridge, and possibly rats, depending on the quality of your housing/cleaning. You may recognise it as the room where your mother cooked most of your meals growing up, and you grudgingly did the washing up after dinner…once or twice.

12: Wrap your hand in something non-conductive. That means a dry towel, an oven glove, a newspaper. It does not include tin foil, or for sanitation reasons a pair of dead rats.

13: Carefully remove the potato from the oven, taking care not to balance yourself by grabbing the shiny metal inside.

14: Place the potato in the centre of the microwave. Set the microwave to its highest setting, start it, and stand back.  Don’t go anywhere you’re going to want to watch this.

15: After between 30 seconds and 2-3 minutes (this isn’t an exact science and a lot depends on how many holes you previously poked with that fork) you will hear a loud “Booooffff!” possibly accompanied by the microwave jumping slightly, depending on the size of the potato. If the light still works in the microwave, and you’re the sort to stand with your face pressed against the glass, mesmerized by the food spinning inside, you will have seen your potato detonate.

16: Open the microwave, and scoop out the fluffy white stuff that exploded out of the potato, and encased the entire inside of your microwave with itself, on to your plate. Simply throw away the probably empty potato skin. The size of the potato will decide how much of the fluffy white stuff you actually get to eat, I told you the size was important.

17: Eat the fluffy white stuff with a knob of butter, and the fork you used earlier to prick it. If you’re male and possibly a rugby player, please don’t use knob-butter and then give the resulting unholy concoction to your housemate. It’s not funny, it’s not clever, and when he finds out he’ll probably slit your throat while you sleep, with a dull, rusty bread knife.

18: Laugh at all the dick jokes I made in the last two steps.

19: Laugh because I wrote the word “dick” in the last step.

20: Clean the microwave and kitchen again after cooking. Don’t look at me that way, living in filth is the reason why your cereal has that extra crunch that only cockroaches add to a health breakfast.

21: If you didn’t clean the fork, and microwave, or if you did in fact pick up your potato with those two dead rats, enjoy your night of sitting on the toilet.

There you are the recipe for detonated potato. Next time, a step by step guide to preparing non-crunchy porridge. It’s trickier than you might think.

08/10/2011

BDSM How it could/should be – A switch, or a Dominant who chooses to submit?

“So are you a switch or what?”

That’s a question that gets asked of me a lot. After all I am a Dominant, but I have a Mistress. I dominate and submit, isn’t that almost the very definition of being a switch? Perhaps but as with all things human, I believe it to be more complex than that.

Let’s start with how I define a switch. To me a switch is an individual who can be equally happy acting as dominant, or submissive of the two in a relationship. They are equally, or at the very least near equally, comfortable in either role.

Switches seem to get as much shit thrown their way as bisexuals do in the LGBT world. Called “greedy” or “wishy-washy”, accused of wanting their cake and eating it too. Personally I just think they’re awesome people who live their life in a way that they find fulfilling and comfortable.

But that doesn’t answer the question that starts this article.

I believe there may well be in addition to dominant, submissive and switch, two other definable positions in the BDSM spectrum.  Dominant who chooses to be in submission, submissive who chooses to be in dominance. Okay, okay yes you shouting at the back, I agree that they could be folded into the switch category. But what if they truly are separate unique states?

Let’s take myself and a woman I once knew as examples shall we?

I am a Dominant,I take it very seriously and have worked hard to develop my skills, as well as my personal philosophy. But I have a Mistress. What’s with that?

When I met my Mistress I desperately wanted to be her partner, however she is in no way what-so-ever submissive. But BDSM is an integral, undeniable part of who and what I am. How to overcome this problem? In the end I taught her how to do the technical, skill based BDSM stuff. Showed her my beliefs where BDSM was concerned, and then let her make up her own mind. It took 6 months for her to say yes to being my Mistress. So I became her Slavegirl, actually the Alpha Slave in her house. Does that make me a switch?

I don’t believe so. I am not submissive in any way. Some of my friends still laugh at the idea of me submitting to anyone. And rightly so, it does not come naturally to me at all. I fight it constantly. But to be with this woman I had to decide to be submissive to her, and her alone. That’s what to my eyes, marks the difference between a switch and a Dominant in submission. For the latter it’s a minute by minute conscious choice out of love, not by nature. It’s someone purposely going counter to their true nature to express love for another.

Of course I have to admit, being polyamorous and thus free to pursue a slavegirl of my own does help with taking some of the sting out of that choice.

As for being the Submissive in dominance, I once knew a woman who’s Master’s nature changed. Where he had been dominant in the extreme he now felt the overwhelming, impossible to deny need to submit. She was not dominant at all, but she made dominating him, her submission to the man she still loved. Again a conscious choice to go counter to her own nature, out of love.

Being switch, being comfortable and happy in both positions is a nature of being, just as much as being Dominant or submissive is. But being a DiS or a SiD I have come to believe is the exact opposite. It’s accepting that we can’t help who we fall in love with, and making the most profound sacrifice possible to be with them and make them happy, by purposely subverting our own natures for them.

Is that being switch? Some may think so but I don’t. Now when asked whether I’m switch or not I answer, “I am a Dominant, who met the one woman she had to submit to, to be with.”

%d bloggers like this: