I’m glad I’m not her

The Worstest Person in the World, Vox Day, has got a post up on Alpha Game about that chick who posted a spreadsheet her husband sent her of all the really lame excuses she used to get out of having to have sex with him.

If he’s not Christian, that guy should probably find a good divorce lawyer. He needs to get rid of that ice princess and find a proper wife. If he is, sucks to be him. My sympathies.

I’m also very glad that I am resolved to be a Marriage 1.0 wife, and I’ve told my husband that he has my eternal and standing permission to, ahem, convince me that having sex Right Now is a good idea if I don’t pounce him immediately when he offers. We’ve had some communication issues in our years of marriage – which, if Ice Princess hadn’t obviously had a pattern of willful rejection, could have given her some cover. Sometimes he thought he was puttin’ the moves on me, and I was all clueless like “wha? I’m typing on the internet/reading a book/obsessing over something else and thus oblivious” and he got all disappointed. I felt bad when I found about it later but was seriously oblivious at the time – not deliberately rejecting him! So I make sure to mention to him every now and then that if he wants my undivided attention without having to literally sweep me off my feet and cuff me to the bed (which is allowed too, rowr), he should take all his clothes off and repeat the invitation naked, because sometimes that’s what it takes for ME to catch HIS attention when he’s concentrating! (We’re both nerds, what can I say. One-track minds are not always set to “sex!” at our age, either.)

Of course, this works with us, because I can’t resist my husband’s body and I’ve been known to jump him past bedtime and lights-out if I can’t sleep and he’s just lying there being all sexy and naked, provoking me, you know. Pretty sure feminists think that’s rape or something. Ice Princess probably isn’t even sexually attracted to this poor guy or otherwise with the properly telegraphed invitation, “I’m tired” or “I don’t feel 100%” promptly take a hike in favor of other moods, shall we say. Well, in most cases. One can legitimately be too tired for a good romp, but not with a previous pattern like that one. As a wife it’s my responsibility to not let myself get “too tired” if I can possibly avoid it, anyway!

And, I mean, “I feel too gross”?!?! OMGWTFBBQ, what else is sex with your husband FOR if it’s not to make you feel sexy and gorgeous and desirable when your inner critic starts telling you you’re an undesirable fat cow and you eat too much? That is EXACTLY the time to say “yes” if there ever was one! “Too drunk”?? Women have been known to deliberately get drunk in order to have sex, you can’t use that as an excuse to turn down your husband.

Besides, if you read Insty every now and then, you learn about all kinds of good stuff that sex does for you. It’s science! Don’t be a denier!

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Guess What? War is Dangerous!

News that a commercial airliner had been shot down in Ukraine did not really surprise me. I was mildly surprised that any commercial airliner would willingly fly over a war zone, actually: don’t these people realize that traveling through war zones is dangerous? Why were the pilots flying through that area anyway? What, you think that because you’re in a civilian aircraft thousands of feet in the air, that you’re safe?

Would you drive a car through a war zone? Of course not!

Look, for hundreds of years, people have known that traveling across terrain currently hosting armed conflict is inherently dangerous, and to do so without taking proper precautions (like arming yourself to the teeth and preferably packing your army, or at least a battalion or two) is essentially signing yourself up for a shot at the Darwin Awards.

Like the women “journalists” who ended up victims of violence during the Arab Spring, I want to ask these morons, “Just what makes you think that people who are engaging in lethal violence aren’t going to kill you? You might think you’re different and special from their other victims, but do you really think they see you as anything more than a bit of fun to be had?”

Not all cultures recognize civilian as a noncombatant status, idiots. And flying in a defenseless sardine tin over a place where a major power and who knows what kind of nasty rebel terrorist groups and/or competing domestic factions are having a “little spat” strikes me as a spectacularly bad plan. War is not civilized and armed conflict involves this thing called collateral damage. 

Of course, humanity is rather good at soaking up collateral damage as necessary for efficient travel – otherwise, cars would be illegal and we’d all be riding horses again. Now that it’s been conclusively proven that Ukrainian airspace is actually dangerous outside of just the Crimea region, I expect very few airlines will be cutting time and costs by flying through that particular country’s airspace.

I am mildly surprised that this was news and caused such a fuss, though. Slow news day, I guess. “War kills people” could fill an entire newspaper with stories from around the world every day, after all. Or maybe somebody in the mainstream media will make a lot of money if the Malaysian airlines stock crashes… hmmm.

 

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No One is Obliged to Validate You

There is a certain class of narcissistic person who will insist upon disclosing their personal information to the general public, but then become extremely upset if any part of the general public fails to validate them by (a) showering praise upon them, or (b) shutting up.

For example, a woman who blogs at The Frisky decided to write about her love life while she was divorcing her husband and sleeping around, and Dalrock, a blogger who examines the cultural mores surrounding sex and marriage, used her public story as an example of the current cultural mores surrounding sex. If you read the above link, you’ll see that the point of the post is not about Rebecca personally: she’s just a particular example of a larger behavior pattern.

Of course, if you post on the internet about how you feel bad because a couple of guys refused to date you before your divorce paperwork is finalized, it’s a good bet that somebody, somewhere, is going to call you a slut. That would be because their definition of “slut” includes women who sleep around on their husbands before they finalize their divorces. And if you post pictures of yourself online, it’s also a good bet that somebody might come around and call you ugly, especially if you make yourself into a public figure by, say, posting blogs on a website that’s about sex. Of course, if you’re an adult, you don’t care if people with the emotional maturity of seventh graders call you an ugly slut, because you don’t really care what people who engage in playground insults think of you.

But if you’re Rebecca, you apparently think that playground insults constitute “toxic” commentary (baby, have you ever seen the 4chan boards?) and you desperately attempt to stir up a mob to get another blogger silenced for… sending you more clickbait? Isn’t whoring for clickbait the definition of a Frisky blogger’s job?… because some emotionally immature people made negative comments and even hurled playground insults at you.

News flash, children: not everyone in the world is obliged to validate your life choices. In fact, no matter what life choices you make, someone is going to think you made the wrong decision! An adult would carefully consider whether or not the people criticizing you have a point, and whether or not you care. If you put yourself “out there” and insist upon talking about “hot topics” like, say, sex, religion, or politics, you’re going to catch some flak. Rude people exist. It is not anyone else’s job to prevent rude people from calling you names on the internet. If rude people calling you names on the internet causes you mental anguish, don’t read the comments sections! Seriously. Real life is not your personal playpen and the universe does not revolve around you. 

Because the truth is that if immature boors are throwing insults at you, that makes them look bad to the audience, not you. But of course, if you’re ashamed of your behavior and the insult fits… well then, I guess your only option is to run to somebody else and cry so those meaniefaces will be silenced by somebody else and you won’t have to defend your choices, isn’t it?

“Mooooooooooooooooooooooommmyyyyy! Those nasty boys said mean things about me! Make them stop!”

 

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Reflections on Tarzan

Last year, I downloaded and read several of the original Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan novels – I think I petered out around the third one and didn’t read past that. Wikipedia tells me that there are twenty-five novels(!) in the series, so if anyone has read further and can recommend any standouts (as opposed to “hey, this is making me money, lemme milk this franchise to death”) I would appreciate it!

The other day, I noticed that Netflix had a bunch of Disney animated films on instant streaming – and aware that such a windfall is likely to vanish into the Vault soon enough, I put a couple of them on as background entertainment while multitasking. Tarzan was one of them.

The differences between the original source material and the Disney version are striking! Now, some of that, I can see as a concession to the target audience: bloody death is not going to get your movie rated G, and there’s a great deal of exposition about Tarzan in the novel that simply wouldn’t translate well to the movie screen, iirc. All those lines extolling Tarzan’s noble English heritage, for example. How exactly do you manage to “show” that and not “tell” it?

I have to admit, I’m relying on the wikipedia entry to refresh my memory of some of the details of the original plot. I thought that “natural causes” had something to do with Tarzan’s parents’ deaths – in the Disney version, they’re killed by a leopard. Tarzan’s dad is apparently seriously incompetent with a gun, since the treehouse is filled with shells and the leopard is unharmed. So is the defenseless baby Tarzan. (Ah, Disney!) In the original, it was the dominant silverback ape, Kerchak, who killed Tarzan’s father, after his mother had already succumbed to the harsh environment.

The plot of the original story is certainly not child-friendly: it involves far too much homicide. What’s kind of annoying about the movie is that the replacement theme is your typical “we can all get along even though we’re different” tripe. Also, the usual “youth takes matters into own hands, disobeys elder, causes chaos, receives reward” trope applies. (There’s a bit of similarity there to The Lion King, as well.) The way Disney makes the ape social structure so humanlike is jarring, too – especially considering the original book had a lot of “advance your social standing by offing your superior” elements as part of the ape social structure.

But honestly, there’s really not much to compare between source and Disney version – the source material is far superior. As it is, the best part of watching Disney’s Tarzan was comparing it to my memory of playing Kingdom Hearts! The Tarzan world was one of my favorites, after all.

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City Beyond Time: Murder in Metachronopolis

The first of the short stories (I refuse to figure out exactly how many words quantifies a short story/novella/novelette/etc [or figure out how to get my Kindle to tell me how many words long a part of a book is] so all stories shorter than “novel” will hereafter be referred to as “short story.” Even if that is technically inaccurate nomenclature. Pthbbt.)* is “Murder in Metachronopolis” – a hardboiled detective-type sci-fi story. And as befits a story about time travel, it’s told out-of order, starting off with part 16 (they are helpfully labeled, although I didn’t actually keep a list to check that all numbers were accounted for, I’ll just assume that they are) but each “plot thread” is woven so expertly that I never felt like I was being jerked around for mere authorial cleverness points. Or the author making up for the fact that the middle of her story is boring and pointless. (Yes, I am still going on about that. The wasted potential makes me sad. I’m sharing!) This one might actually qualify as a novelette, it’s a bit longer than some of the other shorts in the collection; it’s long enough to give the reader a good appreciation for the city and the kind of headaches time-traveling jerks cause in their wake!

Selected quote:

“I don’t take cases from Time Wardens, see? All you guys are the same. The murderer turns out to be yourself, or you when you were younger. Or me. Or an alternate version of me, or you who turns out to be your own father fighting yourself for no reason except that is the way it was when the whole thing started. And there’s no beginning and no reason for any of it. Oh, brother, you Time Wardens make me sick.”

The story definitely rewards a second read after you finish the whole book, too – I believe the case of Helen of Troy is actually the story (novelette?) that ends the collection. I also serendipitously figured out how to navigate from one story to the next in the book via the Kindle arrow buttons after being dismayed at the lack of an active-hyperlink Table of Contents, which is an odd oversight in an ebook.

Now, of course, I want to skip to the end and re-read the last story in City, but that would be cheating. I’ll tackle them in order, but not until tomorrow… it’ll give me a good excuse to relax in front of the fishtanks I just cleaned today!

*Nested parenthetical asides in honor of Charles Stross; if a professional author can use them, then I’m indulging myself with them in my amateur blog post. This is how my first drafts tend to come out, anyway – usually I edit my writing-thoughts to avoid using them, thanks to some writing class lost in the mists (heh heh) of time (SWIDT? XD) that taught me that anything you’d stick in parenthesis in your writing ought to be deleted, or worked in properly. So I tend to overuse commas and long complicated sentence structures and dashes instead. Until now. (LOL) I promise to stop doing this and go back to editing myself properly after this!

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Book Rec: City Beyond Time

I’ve actually finished reading John C. Wright’s City Beyond Time, and you can find some reviews of it here.

I owe a review of it, but I’m not sure I can put one together at the moment. I need to go through and re-read it before I’ll feel like I can get a mental grip on the thing. First impressions: this book uses the time-jump scene breaks to good effect (unlike, say, Ancillary Justice); it wasn’t quite as compelling as Awake in the Night Land. I think I’ll end up reviewing each of the stories individually, that way I can break them up a bit.

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On Villains

John C. Wright’s wife L. Jagi Lamplighter – who is also an author, particularly of the really good Prospero’s Daughter Trilogy – has an interesting essay on redeeming villains up on her blog.

I’ve not yet decided whether to see Maleficent in theaters or wait for Blu-Ray through Netflix – I’ll probably read some more reviews of it first. But what caught my attention about this topic is a TV series I’ve been enjoying – Once Upon A Time. Throughout several seasons, there have been quite a few villains! It seems to me that there’s about a 50/50 ratio of Redemption vs Death for the bad guys. And the “theme” of Once Upon A Time might be fairly accurately summed up as “family can really screw you up!”

On the one side, there’s the Heroes, who use things like faith, hope, and love to conquer evil. And then there’s the villain side, where two notable Redeemed Villains have tearjerker backstories – they’re basically raised by sociopaths. But the show seems to be doing things mostly right – the villains are shown to have chosen their evil paths through their own decisions. They aren’t redeemed because they were merely “misunderstood.” They have to deliberately turn aside from evil – and they struggle with the temptation to backslide into taking the easy, habitual way out of their problems.

Of course, there’s the annoying flip side of this, which fairly consistently manifests itself as “evil will always triumph because good is stupid” – aka, unwilling to destroy evil. “Heroes don’t kill,” as one character put it in the last episode I watched.

Which is dumb, because heroes DO kill. They just do it cleanly and to protect themselves or others.

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