Dec. 11th, 2012 00:55
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
awesome photo of gay men getting married in washington state:

ah, stereotypes. always best shattered.

via the *poing*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i don't think my flist needs the reminder, but this dutch guy is also quite funny.

piranha: red origami crane (Default)
when the cover of a book features a grungy skull instead of naked torsos, you know this isn't your average erotica, even if it was shelved with the lovely smut when you bought it. which was a good hint for me to time the reading for an evening when i was looking for a good story instead.

blurb: When Craig Robertson's religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he'd left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. His new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, agrees to help so they can continue to enjoy their fledgling relationship.

During his initial search, Craig finds items that belonged to Michael, his lover in that long-ago ill-fated affair, and soon discovers that Michael has disappeared as well. The search becomes an investigation into Craig's past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he's terrified of the truths he might find. Finally Craig tells Paul his deepest fear: that Michael is dead and he himself is responsible.

While Paul refuses to believe his lover is a murderer, Craig's obsession with uncovering clues grows, and their fragile relationship begins to disintegrate. Now on his own, haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all.

i thought it was rather a captivating psychological mystery. the whole thing was hard for me to read because it had religious zealots in it of the type of my birth family (the supremely self-righteous, god-fearing kind who think they must beat said fear of god into you). while there is some sex and not just fade-outs, it's not erotica, and while there is romance, it takes a back seat to the story of craig uncovering his suppressed past. i figured out early on who did what, but that didn't bother me, since this is less about whodunnit, but more about craig dealing with the slowly unveiling reality of what really times i wanted to shake craig, but i believe that was more a personality difference between the character and myself than bad writing. in many ways craig is stuck at the emotional maturity of a traumatized 17 year old, and even when i was an emotionally traumatized 17-year old, i was much more prone to using logic to attack my pain than hiding from it, suppressing my memories, and going "lalala, i can't hear you" to people who point at the logical flaws in my arguments.

to some degree i could identify much more with paul, the PI, who had different tools to cope with the things they find out. but he, too, has secrets, and it's not a simple task to mix romance and business, especially not when neither of you are gonna win a prize for good communication.

the writing was good. both main characters are complex and conflicted, the supporting cast features strong women (this is a positive marker for me; i hate gay fiction that casts women only ever into the role of villains), the plot holds together pretty well for something that's not genre mystery. the villain is a bit uni-dimensional, a bit too nasty, and he gets away with things that might make modern city folk raise their eyebrows -- but i am ok with that because hey, i come from that background, and it is so very nasty, and has such dark secrets behind every door that i am ok with the broad brush; it's even a bit cathartic for me.

the romance, while not being the primary line of the story, is still interesting. both men have secrets, both are gun shy, both aren't exactly great at communicating intimately, but i liked the slow development here, the fragility of a budding romance that comes under immediate pressure where the writer shows a delicate balance between the definitely possibility it will crumble -- or become a source of strength.

i'm shelving this under "gay fiction", and i'll be looking for more from this author. in fact i found out after reading this that there's a semi-prequel, paul's story before he meets craig: maloney's law. i wish i had read this beforehand, because i am sure it explains much about the baggage paul brings to his relationship with craig.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i bought this as m/m, but it isn't really. i still view m/m as primarily erotica, and while this has some sex, it's not particularly erotic. i am trying to be fair to it even though it wasn't what i expected, especially not coming from extasy books, and described on the author's site as "sizzling and action packed" -- i guess he was being sarcastic, but not knowing him it just felt seriously misleading.

so that's what it is not. what is it then? it's an quiet little story about a boy's coming of age and growing up, with a wee bit of what could be seen as paranormal from his loving mother. but it's not a real coming of age story either, because it feels too light, too short; i remained at too much of a distance from the main character to feel his anguish. it's got more of a vignette feel even though it covers a much greater time span than a vignette usually does. it is well-written, and there was definitely an attraction there for me. i liked the depiction of both the mother and the father, and especially the quiet interplay between the mother and the main character. i sort of enjoyed it overall, but i'm unlikely to reread it.

oh, and warning: character death. it didn't hit me particularly hard because i stayed remote from the characters, looking into their lives from the frame of the vignette, but still.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i remember.

don't read this if you're already having a lousy day, because it will very much not improve it.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i learned something new today. washington DC has as part of its legal code a provision that prohibits any referendum that would have the effect of authorizing discrimination against DC residents on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender.

that is awesome.

and fortunate. because the forces of bigotry, hiding behind another "marriage initiative", are busy trying to work against same-sex mariage in DC, since there is clear movement towards recognizing it in the district.

the arguments are... i know i said i'll try to no longer use words like "stupid" as an insult, but what else is it if a christian quotes pontius pilate: "let the people decide". good grief! does this person not know what those people voted on? "stupid" doesn't even cover it.

read this report from a hearing in DC; the unintentional irony can be shoveled with gigantic trowels. what can you say to such people? they don't even know their own religion, their own history, the meaning of words they use:

Another woman patiently explained to me that the 60-odd people who testified against equal rights for gay people [...] did not hate gay people. They just feared gay people, she said. They were not homophobic.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
closeup of burgundy foliage of plum tree with rain drops hanging from every place a raindrop could hang

civil rights should not be put to a popular vote. i'm supposed to become more conservative as i grow older, but it's not happening. i see less and less in today's conservative movements that is the least attractive to me; heck, i am not seeing much to recommend in liberals when they are in power either anymore. they're better than conservatives, sure, but still so far from what i'd consider actually good. i might well end up an anarchist, *sigh*. when i was in college, i thought anarchists were too cynical...

i'm looking at you, maine. WTF, you voted FOR pot and against gay marriage? what are you smoking there?

at least washington state seems on the right path, though they're not done counting yet.

and hurrah for kalamazoo, michigan, for passing ordinance 1856, prohibiting discrimination against glbt persons in housing, employment and public accommodations. 62 to 38%!

it just bothers me to no end that so many people in the US are perfectly willing to deny others the same rights they enjoy. i can't be calm about it anymore; it is so very wrong.
piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
i watched the whole thing on CSPAN (thank you CSPAN, btw, for regularly being the best source for information, unfiltered and undistorted by talking heads who're all too often not thinking heads).

now, i don't really think much of marches, unless they can bring incredible numbers, and this one was unlikely to do that. but i think now that i was wrong. i had forgotten the incredible energy a good rally that connects you with many like-minded people can provide, and that energy goes back home with you, and provides you with more oomph to continue the fight.

there were some really excellent speeches, and i wrote down a lot of quotes from people who impressed me specifically. see them here )

what struck me most poignantly is the contrast between this rally and the teaparty event last month. for one, this was an incredibly racially diverse crowd, not just whites. and these people have suffered throughout their lives tremendously more than the teapartiers; they have every reason to be seriously pissed off -- and yet the rally wasn't filled with hatred; the signs weren't crude, insulting, nor disgusting; the atmosphere was positive, focussed on working together despite the obstacles.

if "by their fruits you shall know them" it was pretty obvious to me whose fruit is spoiled and rotted, and whose is wholesome.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
among other things, she yaps about matthew shepard:

Although I am a supporter of the death penalty in extreme cases, I think there were ambiguities here: The aimless hooligans who beat Shepard and tied him to a fence perhaps didn't necessarily mean to kill him. Despite my abhorrence of the crime, I was a dissenter about the sanctification of Shepard, a charming young man with a troubled family background who had faced many difficulties in life because of his frailty and lack of conventional masculinity.

Only a week before, Shepard had expressed fears about being killed. Given that apprehension, it is still inexplicable -- if the case is examined only through a political lens -- why Shepard would leave a public place in the company of such blatant thugs.

what the fucking fuck? nevermind her complete lack of understanding of hate crime legislation. what has me really upset here is how she is blaming the victim. sanctification? sanctification is not required! all it takes is the recognition that regular folks do not deserve to be brutally killed ('regular' as in, they didn't physically threaten or attack you). perhaps the attackers didn't MEAN it? they PLOTTED it. they PISTOL-WHIPPED him. when your actions kill somebody, and not accidentally because they ran out into the street in front of you, but because you're robbed them and beat the shit out of them, i don't give a fuck whether you MEANT it. why the victim came with you doesn't matter. even if the victim did something stupid. acting carelessly does NOT excuse or justify being robbed and beaten and left to die.

it's especially poignant, because in her little diatribe against hate crime legislation she's showing us right here WHY we need that legislation, because she thinks it's even remotely justified, this inquisition into WHY this gay man did anything "suspicious". i don't often read her column because she's such a pretentious, kettle-calls-pot-black twit, but this one takes the cake. i am writing to salon after i come down from mt fury.

dear salon. i am not going to threaten you with letting my subscription lapse, because you generally offer me good value. but can you not find somebody less patronizingly offensive and more intellectually rigourous in her place? look, the NYT let bill kristol go! surely it's time to cut her loose, because listening to too much talk radio has rotted her brain.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
trying to make me sorry i left, eh? :)

france is becoming the first country to no longer pathologize transsexuals.

if only the american psychiatric association would get its collective head out of its collective ass.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
progress marches on in new england. the bill passed relatively smoothly through the legislature, but conservative groups are arming for a ballot initiative in november's elections.

governor baldacci was previously opposed to same-sex marriage, but said his own views evolved over time:

"I did not come to this decision lightly or in haste. I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law, and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

matthew daly has some very good thoughts on why this is actually better than california and new york leading the way.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
the "national organization for marriage" usually makes me sick, but today it became -- inadvertantly, of course -- the prime hilarity of my day.

a few weeks ago i heard that they were planning to either change their name, or start a major campaign as "two million for marriage". a title/slogan that acronymizes to "2M4M" -- which sounds like an ad on a kinky gay sex site to us perverts. that's almost right up there with "teabagging".

i thought after this came to their ears, they might change their mind about the name. but no, they went right ahead. what they didn't go right ahead with, however, was the acquisition of the appropriate domains.


via [personal profile] sara.
piranha: hate is not a family value,rainbow-coloured (anti-shrubwads)
for becoming the 4th US state to legalize same-sex marriage. there is a part of the new law that makes me somewhat uncomfortable -- not only religious institutions are exempted from having to perform services for same-sex couples, but also religiously motivated groups (like the knights of columbus can refuse to rent same-sex couples their hall for the reception). on the positive side, neither general vendors (caterers, florists) nor justices of the peace may do so, and if religious organizations accept state funds they will be required to adhere to the terms as well.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
so a "glitch" is responsible? say what? since when do glitches send customer service letters signed with "ashley d"?

exactly what kind of glitch? you didn't answer the LA times when they asked. i dunno about you, but when i wrote for a large company with many, many clients, this was the process a software change went through:

- a proposal for change is thought up and presented.
- several someones up the management chain have to approve it.
- money has to be budgeted.
- code has to be spec'ed and written.
- the code has to be tested on a development system.
- bugs are fixed and retested.
- finally the change is rolled out into production.

in between are often some rounds of "what about this?", "ah, you're right, we gotta change that too".

so, what exactly here is the glitch? what did amazon _mean_ to do?

and how is it that it wasn't detected earlier? don't tell me amazon's programmers just let any old code loose on the production servers on the day before easter weekend. i know complexity is a complex thing, but that would just be lousy practice, and any internet company should know better.

also, whoever designed this craptacular way of using sales rankings to keep adult books out of certain searches, should be sent to reeducation bootcamp. there is absolutely no reason per se why it has to be done that way; it's profoundly inelegant. furthermore, what i do and don't get to see in searches should be up to _me_, and only me -- if i want to see cock, that should be my damn choice. i need no protection. well, maybe from twilight, but let me guess, that didn't get unranked.

amazon's latest statement.

and this theory seems to me the most plausible to date: former amazon employee talks about arcane bits of the editing system. i mean, everyone who works on LJ code can conceive of this, right? *wry grin*.

so, no more editing on live systems, hm, amazon? also, an apology would be nice.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
today, vermont legalized gay marriage, overriding the republican governor's veto with a 2/3 majority vote in both houses.

i am surprised. i didn't think they had the votes. an extra thank you! goes to the people who switched sides, for realizing, if late, what the right thing to do is here.

also, the district of washington's council voted unanimously to accept gay marriages from other states.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
iowa supreme court legalizes gay marriage, in a unanimous and emphatic decision.

gay and lesbian couples can seek marriage licenses starting april 24.


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