Archive for June, 2013

29/06/2013

Have you seen my voice? I know I left it around here somewhere.

I have the flu, aches, pains, bunged up, and somehow my voice got away from me. I feel miserable, so I’m going to watch a television classic The Day After. Miserable now, I fully expect to be absolutely bummed, while also being incredibly relieved, and happy to go with it in a couple of hours (despite the presence of the beauteous Bibi Besch). Why not join me?

I might even follow that with the classic, and original version of On The Beach.

And hey, just to round out my relief, and happiness that we actually lived through the Cold War, why not finish up with Threads?

These shouldn’t depress, they’re cultural relics of a type of war which so far we have avoided. I find them sort of uplifting because, they show an awareness of the reality of that time in the artistic communities. And an unwillingness to just be quiet about it. I honestly believe they made a difference.

Anyway have a nice Pride Weekend Dublin. And now I go to wish my sinuses would just explode, and get it over with.

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25/06/2013

My Journey Towards Liking The Smashing Pumpkins.

When I was in high school there was a terrible day, an awful day I don’t think I’ll ever be able to think about without ending up in tears. I was in Transition Year, and a really special girl was in the class with me. She wanted to be a journalist (at that time, who knows what she would have ended up being. But what ever it was in the end, I know she would have excelled at it.). She was beautiful. She was smart, I mean cutting herself on herself sharp. She was easily the best student in the year.

Then she went to a concert, and died.

I can still remember the last time I saw her as if it were happening right this moment. She was laughing at the reaction of the rest of the class to her having dyed her hair. She’d used one of the then new, Schwartzkopf colours. So her hair had this almost holographic purple sheen to it. She was so excited to be going to Dublin to a concert the next day. The last words we ever spoke to one another were.

“I hope you have fun.”

“Aha, see ya Monday.”

I never saw her again.

If you’re a fan of The Smashing Pumpkins from those days you know precisely what happened next. The crowd surged at the stage. The band asked them to chill-out. The crowd ignored them. And somewhere in the crush that girl was swept from her feet, and died a horrific death. That was 17 years ago, and I still some times have nightmares where I imagine how she felt, what she thought, how it hurt her.

All I can say for sure is that they had to have a closed casket funeral. I sometimes wonder if that was a gentle blessing, or the worst curse to those of us who remember her. I know that after her funeral I refused to ever go to a funeral again. And to this day I haven’t.

If you’re wondering why this all affected me so deeply, it’s probably important to know that I had a huge crush on her. To the point where that last sentence I spoke to her had been the most words I’d managed to string together for her in weeks. I’d hoped to ask her out before the holidays, I didn’t expect a yes, but…well anyway. That’s the heart of why.

I’m not proud of what I’m about to say, but here goes.

I hated The Smashing Pumpkins after that.

Loathed them.

Every time I heard even the first bar of one of their songs, I would feel sick, then want to smash something, or someone.

I wanted them to just fail, go away.

I wished they’d never formed.

It took me 16 years to realise how, nuts, my reaction was. It took me sitting down and forcing myself to listen to the entirety of “Bullet with Butterfly Wings” to realise that it wasn’t their music I hated. They’re music is pretty good. I mean, to me at least, it’s pretty middle of the road, semi-maudlin, overly opinionated 90’s music. Rather typical of the era. But it’s definitely good.

Once I came to that realisation I decided to sit down and work my way through their back-catalog. And as I listened I started remembering all the times I saw her listening to them on her Walkman (Damn I’m old.) before class. How much she smiled when she listened. How happy they made her. And after 16 years it finally clicked.

I blamed the bands music for the death of someone I liked.

Not the band as such. But the music itself.

These days I rather like The Pumpkins. I don’t actively seek them out, or own any of their songs or albums. But if they come on I don’t change the channel anymore. Which is pretty big progress I guess.

Well anyway, ya, that’s my story.

22/06/2013

Surviving – Panic attacks.

As most of my readers will know, the past six to eight months have been kind of hellish for me. I’ve gone through, even for me, extreme physical illness, but on top of that so many issues related to my childhood sexual abuse have cropped up, that I have literally feared for my sanity at times.

Without going in to too much gory detail I have been dealing for months with almost constant heightened anxiety, and almost daily panic attacks. This is the first time I’ve had to deal with panic attacks as a whole, and competent adult. And you know what? I’ve learned a lot from them.

I’ve learned just how freaking strong I am; very.

How fragile that strength actually is; also very.

All the different things that trigger waves of anxiety or panic for me; so frikkin many things.

But the most important things I’ve learned are the different tricks which have helped me to at least gain a semblance of control over my own emotions.

Please note; these work well for me, they may or may not help you (though I truly hope they will), but what is lost by trying?

1: Baby powder.

I never would have expected this when I started out trying to find ways to rebalanced myself, but the smell of baby powder has an immensely calming effect on me. I suspect this is because I was well looked after as a baby, and the tiny part of me that remembers something of that time associates the scent of baby powder with being safe. Now, I don’t want to come off as a sales rep for Yankie Candles, but they do baby powder scented candles, and wax tablets. I can not recommend the tablets in particular enough. I make a point of carrying one with me most of the time when I’m out and about, so that if I feel a panic coming on I can take it out, sniff, and have at least a little help.

2: A big ass teddy-bear.

Okay, bear with me on this one…*pauses for moans to stop*…anyway. I live with someone, duh, I mention them all the time on my blog. But even so I have to spend time alone. Work, family, loves, babysitting all eat into my time with my Partner-in-Crime. Which is actually pretty cool most of the time. I like some time to myself, time to do messy projects, or listen to loud obnoxious music, or play XBox. But it also means that often I’m alone when a panic attack hits.

This is a problem, because one of the things that helps me to get through a panic faster is being held. Thing is though, teddy-bears have arms, and legs, and heads. They’re kind of us shaped, and mine is so fluffy I could die!

(I’m just gonna leave this clip right here, it’ll be important in a while.)

And cuddling it when I’m panicking helps, a lot. I feel calmer as soon as I hold Marshmallow (What can I say? He’s big, and fluffy, and soft, and white.), and the tighter I squeeze him the better I feel. Again I think it’s a kiddy thing coming back and calming the ageless emotions lying under an adult mind.

3: Talk to an animal.

I own two doggies, Winter and Lulu-Belle.

They’re soft, warm, fluffy, and smell comforting in that doggy way. They make me feel loved, and wanted, and needed. They look after me when I fall apart. And they’re great listeners, not that they really have much choice. So for me when the choice is between curling into a ball, and shrieking from emotional pain because there’s no humans around, or telling my problems to my loving puppies, I’ll pick the puppies every, single, time.

Thing is it doesn’t have to be your dog, or even a dog, or even alive. Even writing down how you feel is better than not expressing it at all. But I have to say talking it out with Winter when I’m in serious emotional trouble has saved my sanity on many, many days. As my Partner-in-Crime has said many times of late, I’m not sure I would have found the way back up in to the light without them. I’d be lost with out my furry-kids.

4: A happy place, needn’t be a place.

Remember that video above? I said I’d get back to it. It’s from Despicable Me, one of the funniest, and funnest movies I’ve ever seen. And also strangely calming to me. It’s one of my happy places. I can watch it anywhere, and feel safer. It’s not my only happy place, that isn’t a place either. Another two are musical, and pretty kick ass.

My puppies are another. My Partner-in-Crimes arms are another. It takes experimentation to figure them out, but everyone has some, and how you know that they’re real happy places, and not just a gopher-hole to bury your head in is simple. They’re not destructive to you in any way. This is why alcohol isn’t one.

5: Asking for help is a good thing.

I take 10mgs of Amitryptoline twice a day. It’s a tiny dose of a very old fashioned anti-depressant. But it’s just enough to let me view my day-to-day anxieties objectively, and to blunt my panics just a little. I don’t want to have them blanketed by a chemical haze, I want to learn to cope with them, and maybe, eventually, if it’s possible to eliminate them. But I wouldn’t have even that tiny dose of chemical help if I hadn’t asked for help from my GP to start with.

I work with a really good therapist. He’s helped me to recognise some of my triggers, some of my coping mechanisms, but mostly he’s listened to me when I needed an impartial human ear. But again I had to ask for help.

You don’t need to spend every day in anxiety, or panic, or fearful of dreams. There’s help out there if you just let someone know you need it. It’s a good thing, and as far as I’m concerned is the first real step in recovering your stability.

18/06/2013

I love a challenge. The Skyrim Edition.

You’ve heard of Elder Scrolls: Skyrim, the insanely huge open world role playing game? A game where you save all of Tamriel from the onslaught of the reawakened dragons? How about the game that has allowed potential psychopaths, sociopaths, and kleptomaniacs to express those repressed feelings in a way that won’t lead to deaths in the real world, but still manage to creep us, semi-normal gamers, the frik out?

But leaving the dark underbelly of Skyrim players alone, for now at least, yesterday I sat in my recliner, hot chocolate in one hand, controller in the other, stalking a deer when I started to wonder just how challenging Skyrim can be made. Hence the list below. Enjoy.

1: What you win, you keep.

There are shops in Skyrim. There are also furnaces, blacksmiths, and alchemical laboratories. You can build and buy your way through this game. But what if your character is an idiot? No-one would ever trust her not to laminate an anvil with her thumbs. What if every time she tries to make a healing potion she instead blew up his house, the neighbour’s house, and most of the town surrounding them? And what if she mostly uses her hard-won coins as weights on fishing lines? Oh and needless to say she’s too ham-fisted to actually pick a lock, or a pocket.

Why then you’re stuck with only using what she finds on the many, many, MANY corpses she creates.

So challenge 1 is no crafting, purchasing or theft of any kind…aside from corpse looting.

2: The undisputed light/middle/heavy weight champion of the world!

Put on the Rocky theme. A sweatband on your forehead. A squeeze bottle of Jack Daniels. Because dear reader for this challenge you are to get as far in the game as you can with no weapons. None. You see your character seems to have forgotten that unlike in Elder Scrolls: Oblivion, there is no bare hand combat skill (Or at least none I can find). But she still wants to wander the fields, hills, valleys, and goblin filled dungeons of Tamriel with nothing to aid her but the armor on her back. She’s just that gods damned badass.

In fact she’s so badass that when the previous character blows up half of Whiterun in a badly advised experiment, she doesn’t turn around as she walks away.

(As I am a benevolent girlie I will allow Khajiit characters with their +15 claw damage. But apart from that…nadda.)

3: But I love Mister Pointy.

In most fantasy stories the hero has a weapon he, or she, that is a part of their signature. Druss has his axe, Legolas his bow, Gimli his ax…I may not have though out that sequence properly. Still your characters legend, dear reader, is inextricably bound with only one weapon. Their first weapon. Wander Tamriel bare handed until you stumble upon your legendary weapon. And ONLY use that weapon as you write rest of your story in the blood of your enemies.

For added bonus gaming badass points limit yourself to non-magical weapons only.

4: Unlimited Powah!

Something went wrong when you were born. You were supposed to be born on Naboo, become a senator, and eventually hand Yoda his ass in the Senate building. But instead you were born to peasants, tried to sneak into Skyrim from a bordering region, and nearly wound up being executed. But even so you’re still all Sith.

Only cloth armor. Only one single handed blade (though you can change blades, and enhance and enchant them to your hearts content as long as the enchantment makes it glow red, or not at all.). And only one spell…Spark. Oh and every time you dual wield Spark you have to scream at the enemy on the screen “Unlimited Powah!” It’s a rule.

5: Do your boys/girls hang low?

Skyrim has a deliciously cold, bracing climate. And as is traditional in such climates some people just insist on doing everything naked. You are one such person. Though to protect the children you do at least wear your filthy, ragged undies.

Wander Tamriel in naught but your skivvies. But armed to the teeth. You might allow yourself boots, helmets and gloves, if you’re some sort of wuss, along with any weapon, or spell you like. Because Sonny-Jim if it was good enough for the blue painted warriors of some backwoods dimension, well then wearing nothin’ is good enough for you.

And that good friends is it for now. If you have other challenge modes for Skyrim share them below. Feel free to like, repost, share this. Oh and if you have five minutes to spare, and feel that my blog deserves it please follow the link below and give me a nomination in the “Best Personal Blog” category. Thank you.

Blog Awards Ireland

15/06/2013

Why I think Superman sequels almost always suck, and why you should go to the new one.

Are you looking forward to the new Superman movie Man of Steel? You are? Good, I’d be worried if you weren’t. After all it’s not every year you get the chance to see a new big screen adaption of one of the best known god origin myths. And that right there is my reason why Superman sequels always suck.

He’s a god.

Okay, I’ll explain a little more. Superman, like most if not all superhero stories, can be viewed as modern mythology. Wolverine is perhaps a modern take on Odysseus, wandering the world in search of home. Wonderwoman, is quite literally an Amazonian princess. Nightcrawler and Angel, are supposedly descendants of races early humans mistook for angels and demons. And Superman, is Heracles, or maybe Perseus, well one of Zeus’ bastard sons anyway (I think probably more Hercules though because the second part of his origin story is usually his having to slay more gods/titans. An act which in Heracles mythology ends with his taking a seat alongside his father in Olympus.).

We’ve always had superheroes in our cultures. In the past though they either represented the very, very best of humanity (a lot of the Fianna, or the Knights of the Round table), of semi-godly origin (half of the classical Greek heroes were demi-gods), or were straight up gods (Prometheus sacrificing his freedom to give mankind fire, etc). But they were, with the addition of tights and some ACDC to the soundtrack, what modern kids would recognise as superheroes. They can simply do things that “normal” people can’t. They’re smarter, or stronger, or have powers, or are immortal, or, or, or.

So back to Superman.

Superman has one of the better origin stories of the very early superheroes. His entire world is destroyed by some cataclysm. His father desperately tries to save his entire race, but his efforts are rebuffed by his own people. So out of absolute desperation he sends his only son to Earth in a small purpose built spacecraft. Then Supermans parents die. Next twenty-ish years of boring stuff about him growing up as a normal mid-western kid on a farm, all the while hiding his true nature. His adopted dad dies (man this kid is bad luck to have around). Moves to the big city, wants to use his powers for good, creates a costume, becomes Superman, has a career saving a REALLY clumsy, and self destructive newspaper reporter. Saves the world a bunch of times like a good solar powered god.

That’s Superman boiled down to a single paragraph. Doesn’t sound so good does it? It actually sounds kind of comical.

But in reality it’s actually a rather engrossing story. You have the ultimate fish out of water, an honest to goodness alien, whose father sends him to a world where he knows his son will become godlike because of his new environment. And a lot of Supermans origin story, when it’s told well, is about his struggle to accept his true nature, and the responsibilities that go hand-in-hand with that nature. Because in Superman, just like in the ancient myths, power/acclaim doesn’t come for free. There is always a price.

Sometimes that price is your bitch of a step-mother trying to kill you as a child, before driving you mad enough to kill your own wife and children, in some versions not once, but twice. Heracles.

Sometimes the price is that you become a king, only to have it all taken from you, and then have the universe add ridicule to insult to injury by dropping the the prow of your own ship on your now homeless head. Jason of the Argonauts.

And in Supermans case, the price is knowing he can never save everyone. No really, that’s the price. No matter how perfectly he pulls off a rescue, someone will still be hurt. He is a god, but one who isn’t all powerful, a god who can’t have a really perfect win. The world is just too damned big for one man, even a superman, to save all of it. So instead he spends his time saving as much of one city as he can, and Lois Lane constantly, because and I cannot state this strongly enough, she is a super-magnet for trouble as well as being incredibly clumsy (and yeah, usually kinda hot so there is that).

His origin story works really well because it’s about a young god who wants to be a normal man, but is forced over time, by circumstance to accept his true nature. Even though it means he will have to pay some enormous personally torturous price. Perseus anyone?

And right there is why the sequels, 1980’s Superman 2 being an exception mostly because it was actually far more the second part of his origin than a true sequel, usually suck. He’s a god. There’s really no suspense, no peril. Superman will not die. Lois Lane will not die. And everyone else is more or less just a nameless face in the crowd who you won’t see more than once, or at the most very often. Superman always wins in the end, because he’s a god. So why bother warming up the edge of your seat?

Peril is important to good storytelling. And it is an element that even one of the worst superhero movies of all time had in spades. X-Men 3 is an abomination of a movie. I honestly think it’s far worse than the 2003 movie Hulk, and that was just a mess of bad CGI, combined with not enough good story. But even with it being such a terrible hash of a movie, X-Men 3 really had one thing going for it. Characters, major ones, could and did die. The good guys won, yes. But they paid a truly huge price, and you were never sure how many of the characters you loved would still be kicking at the end of it all.

Best of all it showed a god-type character, Dark Phoenix, dying from something as mundane as being stabbed. It allowed the unstoppable, to be stopped in a way that was not only easy to relate to, but in a way that tore at your heart strings.

This is something that Superman has never, to my mind, really managed to achieve in the sequels. Simply because Superman is Superman. He always saves the day, so why worry? Even in the comic books the writers have had to continuously ramp up what his opponents can do, to have even the slightest hint of peril. But it still doesn’t work. Why?

Superman dies…

He’s cloned.

That version was from a parallel universe.

That version was another a clone.

It was all a dream.

A vision experienced in the Fortress of Solitude.

…and so on. (Not sure how many of those have actually happened. I stopped reading Superman comics around the same time I discovered breasts. But really what else can you do with that character?)

When your chief character is a god, it really is almost impossible to do much more with him. I mean sure you can knock off his support system. Kill his mother, his father, his girlfriend, his dog. But even then you wind up having to tell a superhero story which has no superheroism. Instead you wind up with a story that you could have told better by just having an all human cast of characters, and setting it in a universe that everyone can fully relate to.

Or you can strip him of his powers…superhero movie with no superpowers that isn’t Kickass. I’ll pass thanks.

What’s the point?

But all that said, he does have probably the best of the early superhero origin stories. And I fully expect Man of Steel to quite simply rock. So I really am strongly suggesting that you go watch it. This won’t be the campy 80’s version, or Lois and Clark. This will be a fully realised gritty version based solidly in the same sort of universe as Nolans Batman Trilogy. Or to put it another way, Superman the way we’ve never seen it on the big screen, or really any screen.

Just…don’t expect a lot from the sequels. And there ARE going to be sequels.

So if all that isn’t enough, as a loyal member of the Angry Army I will leave you with the Angry Joe himself pleading with you to go see Man of Steel. I mean come on, could you say no to that face?

And now I leave you. It’s time to Up, Up, and AWAY!

11/06/2013

HMV are rising from the grave. So they’ll now be named HZV?

A few months ago I posted about my sorrow at the passing of HMV. Well, it was with immense joy that I read yesterday morning of the return of HMV to my local shopping center, in about 6 weeks. This is huge news, immense news. I to be perfectly honest punched the air, and may have uttered the words “Fuck Yeah!” There will be only four stores opening to begin with. Three in the Dublin area, and one in Limerick. Fair enough I suppose. HMV had become something of a lumbering giant before its fall, so it only makes sense that its new owners would downsize in a huge way.

So in celebration here are my Top 5 reasons for immense joy at the return of HMV.

5. I’ll actually be able to find DVDs. Seriously, since HMV folded, Golden Discs has also downsized also. That leaves people like myself who live on, as my Miss would probably put it, the clippings of tin, with Xtravision, thrift stores, or a 90 minute round-trip in to the city if we want to add a DVD to our collections. That would be alright except that with Xtravision and thrift stores you’re talking about pre-owned/pre-viewed DVDs if you want anything for less than a tenner, with the very real possibility of a DVD that has been used at some point to spread jam on bread.

No really, I once bought a secondhand DVD in an Xtravision that had strawberry seeds stuck to it. Though in fairness they did exhange it for a different copy.

So really that just leaves a trip to town, with the costs involved with that, and either Golden Discs in the Jervis Shopping Center (Small selection, generally overpriced with a small chance of finding something interesting at an affordable price), or Tower Records (Good selection, but zero chance of an affordable price.)

Hurray for HMV!

4. Another source of secondhand Xbox 360 games. HMV is where I got my treasured copy of Bayonetta. It’s also where I had hoped to find many other games. Then it closed, leaving me with Gamestop. *Sigh* Gamestop…

Look Gamestop, we know you now have essentially a monopoly on the secondhand game market. There are a handful of plucky little shops which also sell used games, but really we all know that right now you’re the Big Kahuna. The problem is we know, you know it too. But that doesn’t make it right for you to charge 1 Euro less for a secondhand copy of Borderlands 2. ONE FUCKING EURO! Yes, I really did see this. Now, I’d have said something if was a copy of the collectors edition, with all the DLCs included. But nope, this was a secondhand copy, of vanilla B2.

So yes, competition is welcomed. And hopefully the new owners of HMV will realise that they have a chance to not only stick up for the consumer, but also twist the knife a little. (The whole Xbox One situation, is a completely different rant where I actually come down on the side of Gamestop…yes it does make me feel dirty. And not in a fun way.)

3. Shopping will be enjoyable again. My shopping center is Liffey Valley. It’s a huge, airy, air-conditioned slice of retail heaven. But when HMV closed I suddenly realised just how much of my time in Liffey Valley used to be spent flicking through DVDs, and games. I miss that, I miss walking in with nothing, and walking out with many, many movies.

Now don’t get me wrong. I like a mooch through New Look, H&M, Easons, and Dunnes as much as the next girl. But I miss buying movies, heading home, and spending a glorious evening on the couch with my puppies, and my Miss watching Liam Neeson punch the world in the face.

Shopping just hasn’t been the same.

2. Competition lowers prices. Now I’m a realist here, I never expect HMV to be as cheap as it used to be. It used to make a loss, because they were too cheap. But since they folded Golden Discs and Tower Records have basically been without competition, and frankly most of the people who go to one of those, won’t be the same people who go to the other. But EVERYONE used to go to HMV, the problem was that not everyone bought there.

I never understood that. They would after all have at least a hundred titles available on special every single week. Outside of that even their new titles were set at roughly the same prices as anyone else, maybe a little lower.

You know what the problem with HMV was? It wasn’t movie streaming, or movie piracy, there are plenty of people like me who like to own the DVD in the case, on a shelf. It wasn’t the t-shirts, or headphones, though frankly most modern headphone sets are massively overpriced penis-extensions. No I think the problem with HMV was that you would walk in, and not be able to move in the movie sections. While in the music sections…ghost town, tumble weeds, a lonesome coyote howling at the wind. The music sections that took up roughly half of each store.

The music audience has moved on. Hell even I have an Amazon account for buying my music, I refuse to give Apple the steam off my piss much less the sight of my cash. People, more often than not I suspect, are over the whole owning a CD. Everyone has am MP3 player of some kind. Everyone has a PC or laptop. I mean I can tell you the last time I bought a CD, it was 10 years ago Transmission by Violent Delight, I bought it the day it was released.

Since then I’ve bought movies in physical form, and when legal downloading of music appeared on the scene I started doing that. I honestly can’t see myself ever buying a CD again, and I doubt I am alone.

So anyway, yeah the number 2 reason I am violently delighted by the return of HMV is that their return will push prices down, at least a little. And who knows. maybe the HMV bargain area will return too.

1. HMV, might be renamed HZV. Well no, not really. Of course it’s not going to be renamed His Zombies Voice, though HMV owners if you’re reading this have your people contact me, just saying. But I am looking forward to discovering what form its resurrection will take. Will it be a case of walking through the doors, and into last year? Nothing really changed, the bargain area, the merchandise section, the gamers corner, the really cute girl with all the tattoos. My refuge from a shopping center filled with bad fake tans, screaming kids, and people who really think that a girl who has her fingernails chewed up to her elbows, would really want a manicure.

Or maybe it’ll be some new form, with only echoes of its past glory. A new evolution of an old dear (occasionally VERY dear) friend.

Aside from the workers of Hilco who knows. And that’s kind of exciting. HMV is my favourite shop of all time. I bought my first, and my last physical albums there. I bought my first VHS tape, DVD, and superman t-shirt there. Hell, I kissed my first girl there. And I’m excited for its new future.

(Of course, I’m probably going to be horribly disappointed.)

10/06/2013

YouTube anti-choice/prolife adverts.

I love YouTube, where else can you go to watch movies which were never released on DVD in 9, highly censored, parts?

Where else can I go to watch my favourite critics, because the video systems they use on their home sites are rubbish, and just don’t work with any of my PC’s?

YouTube, home of the cat video, the angry bile filled responses to a world where not everyone shares your beliefs in a particular sky fairy, and Mrs. Betty Bowers.

Lately though YouTube has also become home of one hundred and fucking one anti-choice adverts. And you know what? I’m sick of them.

I’m sick of the sanctimonious crap of prolifers whose concern for children ends when they’re born.

I’m sick of living in a country that gives lip-service to secularism, while its leaders still get down on bended knee to suck off the local representatives of the Vatican City.

I’m sick of seeing people who I wouldn’t trust with a potato peeler, being given, or buying, immensely far reaching platforms from which to spout their hypocrisy.

But right now, most of all I’m sick of seeing guilt tripping advert after guilt tripping advert on YouTube, with no fucking way to either block, or opt out of them.

*deep cleansing breath* Going to go kill something on my Xbox now.

08/06/2013

I had the dentist yesterday.

And I feel like a horse kicked me in the face. So after I finish my grocery shopping I’ll be panning out for the rest of the day, while I watch some of my favourite movie, and game critics. Nothing cheers me up quite as much as someone ripping the shit our of bad movies, television, games, music…you know the important things. So seeing as I’m not really up to writing today I thought I would share the channels of some of my favourite critics on the intewebs.

Nostalgia Critic: He remembers it, so you don’t have to. And I pity him, all those bad, bad movies.

The Spoony Experiment: One of the most brilliant reviewers I’ve ever had the good fortune to watch. For my gamer readers I’d suggest starting with his Ultima series. Or his hilarious written review of Battlestar Galactica.

And finally for those of you who just want something short, and funny to watch.

Lore: Ever wonder what the story behind your favourite game is? Well learn here in roughly one minute.

So have a nice weekend. And enjoy avoiding the sun, so you don’t end up with that horrid tanned effect…or maybe that’s just me.

04/06/2013

“Wipe out Homophobia” but let’s make sure the transwomen keep quiet. (I hope I’m wrong about this.)

This weekend past something happened on Facebook which took me right back. Back almost ten years to a point in time when the LGB societies in Ireland were debating whether to include “T” in the acronym. That brought me right back to the good ole days when the LG part of the acronym seemed to take total joy in silencing the “B”s and the “T”s. It was a moment in my own life that showed me once more though this time in a very personal way, if I needed another example, that the “T” in LGBT is nothing more than a placeholder for an extremely convenient sacrificial lamb.

So Amanda, what happened?

Well on the morning of Friday the 31st, the self described education page Wipe out Homophobia (WOH) posted this link to an article about the Stonewall Riots. For those who don’t know, the Stonewall Riots were a pivotal moment in LGBT history, which marks in many ways the start of organised action for civil rights for LGBT people.

If you read the article in that link you’ll notice something is missing. Something rather glaring in fact if you happen to know anything about the riots. Why yes, there’s absolutely no mention of transgendered people. Funny considering that there most definitely was transpeople of varies types involved.

So being me I decided to comment this. Mine was the first comment. And my comment was the following.

“So transgendered people are written out of history again I see.”

I posted, and within a few minutes not only was my comment removed, but my account was blocked from making any further comments. So how do I perceive this act? Well as being censored of course.

The LG movement has a long history of throwing the Bs and the Ts under any political bus that happens along, though because it’s much easier to throw the Ts under a big political tyre we have tended to get it a bit more. We get written out of queer history all the time. We often have our rights, and our needs neglected, or misrepresented by the cis-gendered Ls and Gs for their own political gain pretty regularly, usually it seems to be explained away with a phrase like “A small sacrifice for a greater good.” As a matter of fact we as a group are misrepresented by Ls and Gs all the time, in every sort of situation, I can’t count how many times I’ve been described in some way as a fake person by one of my so called allies. How many times truly horrid comparisons have been made about me, my brothers, my sisters from within what is supposed to be our own loving community For an excellent example of this, well, remember I mentioned this at the start of this article?

“…when the LGB societies in Ireland were debating whether to include “T” in the acronym”

Back then I was a member of several Irish LGB forums. All of which I left after various people decided to compare transgendered people to pedophiles. And if that comparison sounds familiar well here’s the first page of a google search. It’s been almost ten years since that particular vitriol filled debate was heard in Ireland. But the pain caused by some of the comments, and arguments made during that debate is still with me, and I’m sure others, to this day.

The T of LGBT is sometimes heard to be called the “silent T.” And that is with good reason, seeing as our places in our own history keep being rewritten, by people who are not us. I won’t try to explain how, not when someone else has already done it infinitely better than I ever could. Please click this link to read how the story of Stonewall has been stolen from the trans-community by cis-centric members of the L and G communities. Censoring of transpeople is simply business as usual for the LG part of our little family.

Taking a deep cleansing breath, because this could devolve in to a full-blown rant very easily and I’d rather like to keep the high ground here, but I am very angry, rightly angry. Well anyway, I have this to say directly to the owner/s of the Facebook page “Wipe Out Homophobia“.

The history of my particular subset of humanity does not belong to you, or to any lesbian or gay person. Nor to any bi-person, politician, historian, or asshole with a red marker and a nasty attitude. In fact it doesn’t belong to me either. It is history, the past, an immutable fact. It has already happened. The truth of who was actually there can not be changed. But by trying to silence someone who draws attention to the way in which a key part of our communities history has been altered, rewritten, perverted,  you are simply doing to transpeople what the rest of the world has at one stage or another tried its damnedest to do to you.

Your page is listed as an “education website” on Facebook. But if you deny the truth of an event. If you deny a group of people access to the heroes of their part of their community in that event, then you sir/madam prove yourself as wrong, as misguided, as indefensible as any other history denier who walks this Earth.

Whether you like it or not transpeople were a part of Stonewall. They and the other queerfolk who couldn’t hide in plain sight, the queers, the nancy-boys, the butches, the trannies of all stripes are the ones who led that particular charge, because they had No. Other. Choice.

They were there then.

We ARE here now.

WE ARE NOT GOING ANYWHERE. No matter how hard some of our communities members may try to drive us away, you probably know exactly who I’m talking about.

Denying our place in history won’t erase us.

Denying our existence won’t erase us.

Stealing our words, won’t silence us.

Nor will stealing our voices.

Trying to silence us when we call “bullshit” won’t silence me for one. It’ll just make me scream louder. And you better fucking believe I’m not alone.

WOH, I can now post on your page again, I unliked you and boom, look at that, I can comment. But I no longer care to do so. You tried to silence me when I called bullshit on a history denying article that YOU posted on your page. You supported history deniers, the rewriters of history when you did so. You stopped being educators, and became oppressors.

You erased my words, then stole my voice. Guess what? I have many voices, and congratulations, you just became one of the very people who vilify you, and as I avoid them, I now avoid you.

I hope I have taken what happened on Friday the wrong way. I hope you were having a pissy day and you regretted your action afterwards. I hope that you are not one who has taken the first step down in to a darker place. I have hope, but not a lot. In any event have a nice life.

Just one small thing more.

I’m not going anywhere.
I will not be rendered silent by anyone.
I will not have my heroes denied their places in history.
What they did matters.
They matter.
I will be heard, and I will be counted.
What I think and feel matters.
I matter!

(Why do I get the worrying feeling that Sputnik is about to land on me?)

Edited to add that I’ve just found out that a friend who made much the same comment, but even more politely has had his comment removed also. Well, so much for hope then.

01/06/2013

Movies I won’t be seeing – The Purge.

Well I have a toothache, a really vicious one, and so I am in vicious mood. Thus it seemed like the perfect time to start a series of blogs in which I rant at how far down the pathway of suck Hollywood often goes. And now we start with the first big “horror” of the Summer, The Purge.

The concept behind this movie is very simple. A near future America has almost no crime, and no poverty. How did they achieve this miracle of social engineering? By declaring all crime of, any type, legal for one night of the year. So for one night of the year you can have your house broken into, be gang-raped, and then have what’s left of you tortured to death. Oh and guess what? Yes, that’s right, the police, the ambulance service, and the hospitals will do NOTHING to help you (we’ll get to the last part in a minute). According to this movie this is apparently the cure to all of America’s social whoa. I think I forgot to mention something, if you don’t get involved you can be summarily shot.

Now I like a dystopian future as much as the next nerd, 1984 is both one of my favourite books, as well as one of my favourite movies. But I really don’t think the writers of this premise really thought it through, at all.

There is no possible way that this premise could cure any of the social ills of any nation. For starters what will this fictional America do about the huge numbers of PTSD sufferers they wind up with post-Purge night? What about the complete breakdown in trust between people? Because you sure as fuck aren’t gonna trust your violin teacher if you saw her hacking the fingers off of her least promising student, for playing every note flat. What about the insane cost of basically rebuilding huge swathes of most cities every single year. What about the collapse of healthcare after doctors, nurses, orderlies, and frustrated dentists realise that they can legally walk into a hospital ward, and slaughter every single person there with total impunity?

It’s a dumbass premise for a dystopia movie…what? It’s the premise for a home-invasion movie?

Oh fuck, Hollywood? Really? I just give up, I’m taking some painkillers and going back to bed. I can’t cope with a toothache and this sort of idiocy at the same time.

Good day to you.

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