Thursday, November 28, 2013

Awareness

There's a certain threshold of awareness that once you pass it, you can't stop your brain. I am so there. Things I loved from childhood look different, and rarely in a good way.  Watching the Macy's Thanksgiving day parade and they had a number from the upcoming live performance of The Sound of Music, specifically "You are sixteen going on seventeen" and the lyrics have never been my favorite, but I used to be able to enjoy the music itself.  I can't do that anymore.

Follow that up with a commercial for the upcoming Saving Mr. Banks, which is going to be the story of how Walt Disney convinced the woman who wrote Mary Poppins to let him turn it into a movie.  Let's look at the title of the movie again, shall we?  Saving Mr. Banks.  As in, the father in the story.  Not Saving Ms. Poppins, the title character.  Even with the fact that the story is mostly about reminding him what it means to be a loving person, it just feels wrong.

Disney has a new animated movie out this winter called Frozen.  The story is about the Snow Queen, but her name doesn't get to be on all the posters.  When they did their story about Rapunzel, they called it Tangled.  Merida's story was titled Brave.  When I was a kid, there was Mulan and Pocahontas.  They got to have their movies named for them.  But I guess having women's names in the movie title doesn't sell, so why should they bother giving the main character her due?  And then there's this: New York Film Academy’s study of gender inequality in the film industry

I have no idea how to get things to change, but I know they need to.  While I figure things out, I will do a small part in watching shows and movies featuring women in the main roles, like Hunger Games, Haven, and Marvel's Agents of Shield.  And I'll keep looking for more great female characters and give my support to those projects.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Thirteen Review

The end of a series.  Wow.  Not many of the series I read come to a definite end.  Kelley Armstrong has pulled off a great finish to a fantastic series.  Savanna has grown a lot over the course of the series, not just physically but also mentally and emotionally.  This book, like the last, mostly focuses on her.

My least favorite thing about this book?  That it's the last full length novel for the Otherworld for the foreseeable future.  My favorite thing?  Savannah and Adam finally get together!  That's the only spoiler I'm going to give you, cause I don't want to ruin things.

There a number of loose threads that could use some tying up, and I hope there are some short stories that will take care of them, but coming to the end of Thirteen I was able to have a moment of contentment that all had ended well.  It's always nice to close a book with that happy little sigh.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Spell Bound Review

Waking the Witch saw Savannah heading out on her own as a detective for the first time.  She became emotionally attached to one of the people she met during the case she was working, a little girl named Kayla. The last thing Savannah does in the book is think that she'd happily give up her powers to help Kayla, crashing asleep and waking up to find that her powers were indeed gone.

Spell Bound picks up with the thoughts of one watching Savannah.  Someone who can do just what she "wished" in that moment.  All we get to know about him is that he has some agenda and Savannah is at the heart of it.

As much as Savannah grew in the last book, I'd say this is her real coming of age story.  She has always been the most powerful witch on the block, and she knew that all too well.  Her contempt for humans and for other witches less powerful than her was always in her thoughts.  She never tried to learn how to do things the normal way, because she knew she had her powers to keep her safe or open a lock.  Now, she's a powerless witch who's being hunted by several people who may or may not have anything to do with one another.  And she's afraid of telling people what's happened to her.

The first part of the book has major league denial written all over it, with an unhealthy dose of desperation.  Savannah goes to a lot of lengths to keep from meeting up with Paige and Lucas, because she doesn't want to admit how scared she is.  She drags Adam all over the place, pushing and pushing to keep him doing what she wants and just generally abusing his friendship.  I'm really glad he finally reaches his breaking point, because I think it's the shock she needs to realize what an ass she's being.  Even after he leaves her on her own it still takes a while for her to figure out what she wants to change about herself and how to do it in a way that's real for her.

The mystery in this book, besides figuring out what's happened to Savannah's magic, is trying to figure out the truth behind a group of supernaturals that wants all the races to go public with their existence.  And they'll do just about anything to convince Savannah to join them.

Overall, I enjoyed this book.  There's a definite feeling of things coming to a head and when you get to the last page it's almost a surprise that you're done with it.  The connection going between Waking the Witch, Spell Bound and Thirteen is a lot more obvious then through most of the series.  I'm looking forward to reading the last book, but also sad knowing that the final chapter is almost upon me.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Plan!

I've been trying to figure out for a while how to motivate myself into exercising more.  I think I might have it figured out.

My goal is to engage in physical activity at least 3 times a week.  This can be an exercise video, a Kinect game, my physical therapy, a one mile bike ride or walk, as long as I move for 15 minutes or more, etc.  At the end of the week, if I meet my goal, I will transfer $2 to my savings account.  This money can be used for whatever I want it for: books, clothes, jewelry, whatever and it will be guilt free (or that's the plan at least).  If I don't make my goal, then all the money I've transferred to that point goes back into my checking account and I start all over again.  If I should manage to exercise more than my goal of 3 times per week, I can add $.50 for each time.

So far this week, I walked a mile to my work and earlier today I did my physical therapy.  I'm not sure if my walk to and from the store 2 blocks away counts, so I need to exercise at least once more this week.  I'll talk to my hubby about hitting the gym on Saturday.  Oh, and I'm counting the week as being Sunday-Saturday.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Epiphanies Come From the Strangest Places

I've been reading this blog called Mark Reads, specifically his chapter by chapter reviews of one of my all time favorite series, which just happen to be the books that started me reading fantasy in the first place, The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce.  Her books are amazing coming of age stories and often focus on strong, female characters (right up my alley!).  In the second book of the series, Pierce includes a sexual relationship between the main character and a friend of hers.  It's important to remember that these are young adult fiction, published in the 80s, and she's got a female character having sex with someone without being in a relationship with them.  Completely awesome, right?  I read these books for the first time somewhere between 1992-1994 and have reread them more times than I can count since then.  The blog review I'm reading about book two phrased it like this: "To have this sexual relationship presented so plainly and without shame is fantastic. Major, major props to you, Tamora Pierce."  I've read these books so many times, but I never really put the feeling I got from this particular section in quite this way and now I wish I had.

I realized several years ago that I had created some of the things that I find attractive for myself by what shows I watched during high school (especially the long haired look on guys, thank you Adrian Paul as Duncan MacLeod), but I hadn't thought about how the things I read and watched growing up could have informed my willingness to and love of having my friends make up a significant portion of my sexual partner base.  We are our own creations, and it's important to remember that.  As much as our parents and environments shape us, we shape our selves by what we choose to consume, media-wise.

Self discovery is an interesting and ongoing process.  So is self creation.

Rape and the GOP

I just posted this on Facebook and thought I'd share it here, too.  "I have no indignation left.  No surprise.  It's all been drained from me as the blows keep coming.  There is no violation of another person's body that is ok!  If there is no consent, then it is rape.  And I'm not talking about rape play or other consensual non-consent kinks.  Those are a completely different animal.  I'm talking about date rape, stranger rape, she's-my-wife-and-therefore-owes-me-sex-when-I-want-it rape.  I'm talking about removing someone's sense of self so you can have power over them, rape.  None of these are ever ok.

The so called Christian leaders who espouse these vile positions are performing a different kind of rape: the rape of our rights.  They are violating every single person in this country, be they female, male, genderqueer, trans, or cis.  They are violating our individual choices and they are ignoring our boundaries.  It is time for all of us to stand up and tell them NO!  If they believe that it is only rape if the victim shouts, then this is me shouting, because I am tired of being their victim.  Are you?"

It's in response to this infographic.  I might be out of surprise, but I don't seem to be out of anger.

I am human.  I am female.  I am an American.  It is my right to determine my own life.  It is my right to choose when or if I have children.  IF I am raped, and I get pregnant from it, it is my right to choose to end that pregnancy.  As an American, it is my right as guaranteed by the First Amendment to not have a state religion forced on me, and make no mistake, that is what these GOP politicians are trying to do, some of them more openly than others.

I truly do not understand how any woman can vote for the GOP as it stands today and look herself in the mirror.  I just don't.  A vote for Romney is a vote for misogyny and homophobia.

ETA: I tagged this "sex" and then realized that I had unconsciously played into the rape culture.  It has no been retagged "rape", as it should be.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

National Coming Out Day

Today is National Coming Out Day.  I support all of those folks who have come out and all of those folks who haven't, for whatever reason.  Coming out as bi, gay, poly, trans, or anything else isn't easy.  Our society doesn't make it easy.  Being different is opening the door to being vilified and abused.  But we can change all that and that's why there's a National Coming Out Day.  It's easier to be different if you know you're not the only one.  Ironic, isn't it?

I try to be open and honest about who I am, but I still let that fear of being bullied and misunderstood control me.  Every year for the last 8 or more I've watched from the sidelines of Coming Out Day.  I've watched, but I haven't participated.  I've rationalized it because my close friends and family already know all my secrets, so why would I need to come out to anyone else?  But if I don't, how can I really think of myself as being truly open and honest about who I am?  I hate hypocrisy and this treads the line way too close for my own comfort.  So, this year, I'm not letting it pass me by.

I'm bi, poly, cis and I love to talk about sex.

For those of you who feel safe enough to come out, know that today (and most other days) you're not alone!

Oh, and if anyone has any questions about being bisexual or poly, feel free to ask!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Expert's Guide to Pegging review


Pegging (for those unfamiliar with the word) is the term used for a female bodied person penetrating a male bodied person anally using a strap-on dildo.
Tristan Taormino's Expert's Guide to Pegging was her Valentine's gift to the world this year, and I just love how she introduces the topic, and how she talks about the fears people may have about pegging.  The anatomy lesson is great and full of info that is useful for both beginners and more experienced players.  I love how much Tristan loves her topic.  It’s one of the things that makes her videos so much fun to watch.  The first things she goes over are some of the basics like hygiene and lube, with really good information about both these topics starting the ball rolling.

Tristan gives lots of detail on the types and stages of warm-up are great for anal play, taking us from oral stimulation through using more and more fingers, up through different types of toys that will help get the butt ready for pegging.

The next section is all about strap-on harnesses and dildos and there's tons of great info and images on different types of harnesses and dildos.  This section made me grab mine and get them more or less fitted how I want!  I love hearing from Jiz, Dylan and Jada about how they feel while strapping.  So nice to hear a lot of the things I have a hard time articulating spoken by such sexy people!!

After talking about the harnesses,  Tristan gives some great info on the most common positions, with her couples playing them out in short cut scenes.  So much information and inspiration here!

Dylan Ryan and Wolf Hudson: Love the slow make out session to start things off and the phenomenal communication at each step of the way.  They have amazing chemistry and are having a ton of fun with each other.  After tons of amazing looking foreplay, Dylan in her harness, with the lovely purple dong and its little vibe are so hot.  Love watching her talk him into the position she wants him in.  So.  Fucking.  HOT!!!!  Watching Dylan putting the Share from Fun Factory in brings back memories.  The end for the active partner is just as awesome as the end for the receiving partner.

Jada Fire and Christian: Love hearing them talk about pegging and what they think other people think about anal sex, from both ends.  And their advice for first timers is right on: Don’t just shove it in.  I love that Jada and Christian went a different route to start things off: a good fucking to get them both hot and bothered before starting the prep work for her pegging him.  Shows that there are many paths that can be taken to get to the same place, something I think gets forgotten a lot of the time when it comes to sex by a lot of people.  Going from fingers to butt plug and to the strap-on makes so much sense.  It makes sure your partner is good and ready for you!  Jada’s harness almost matches her skin color, and so does the dildo, which is pretty neat.  Makes it look more like the dildo is a part of her.  There is something just completely hot about a big guy like Christian taking it up the ass and loving it!  All this makes me wonder how I can gain more cock confidence of my own when I don’t have a lot of opportunity to use my strap-on…  I must say that I always appreciate any type of porn that doesn’t involve the guy gratuitously coming on the woman’s face.

Jiz Lee and Mickey Mod:  The gender aspect to pegging hasn’t been talked about much so far, but it’s not surprising the hear Jiz bring it up or that Mickey has many of the same ideas about the subject.  It’s really fun to watch Jiz cataloging what Mickey says he enjoys during anal play.  Hearing Mickey say that he hasn’t had an orgasm yet from just receiving anal sex makes for a nice window into the reality of a porn star’s sex life.  There tend to be assumptions that porn stars have done it all and that there’s nothing new left for them in the realms of sex play.  Nice to hear otherwise!  There is something truly mesmerizing about watching Jiz wield their strap-on.  It really seem like the dildo is an extension of Jiz’s body.  Jiz and Mickey have amazing chemistry and really good communication.  Mickey knows what he likes and is great about letting Jiz know what that is.  Anytime I see safer sex play in porn, I want to cheer!  It just doesn’t happen enough and it’s always nice to know that being safer can still be hella hot.

The special features on this disc include more info on selecting a strap-on harness, an enema how-to, and solo prostate play for the guys!  Tristan always seems to pack as much great info and hot sex into her offerings as she can and it makes them an even better deal.

Take it slow.  Talk to your partner.  And don’t forget, just because you start off with strap-on play, doesn’t mean you have to end there, also, just because you start with anything else, doesn’t mean you can’t end with strap-on play.  These are my main take aways from this amazing DVD.  Once again, Tristan Taormino has found amazingly hot people who have phenomenal chemistry and given us all a beautiful ride!

Haunted by Kelley Armstrong

The Women of the Otherworld series covers a lot of ground in just a few books and bringing Eve into the picture shows just how much it covers.  Eve is the self appointed black sheep of the witch race, and she never learned to look before she leaps.  Her impetuousness, cliche though it may be, is her greatest strength and her greatest weakness.  She's a great spellcaster, a half-demon, a former track star and a decent martial artist, but if she didn't make snap decisions without all the facts, she wouldn't be where she is at the start of the book, or at any other point in it, to be truthful.

Haunted takes place mostly in the afterlife and deals as much with the pain of being able to see those left behind as it does with catching the bad guy.  Pretty much everyone who has ever lost someone has wondered if their loved one was there watching them, hoping they were and afraid to hope at the same time.  Now we get to see the other side of the coin.  Possibly the best thing to take away from this book is not to let regret hold you in one place too long.  As much as Eve takes action without thinking things through, she's also stuck in one spot, trying to make up for leaving her daughter behind.  But if you can't talk to someone, can't touch them, and they don't even know you're there, you can't actually help them or save them or even be real for them and that is just completely futile.

 It takes a while for that futility to come home to Eve, and if it didn't eventually, I wouldn't have made it through the whole book.  I'm not going to go into more detail than that, because too much in the way of spoilers is no fun for anyone.


All in all, this is another great entry in the series and I'm still loving being a part of this great challenge.  Next up, Broken!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fear

I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
 - Frank Herbert, Dune

When I think of fear and overcoming it, this is what I think of.  The Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear.  And that's because it's absolutely true.  Fear will kill you quicker than anything else.  You will still be walking around, but you will be dead inside.  If you let fear take you over then you just haven't lain down yet, but you are dead where it truly counts.

I spend more time than I want to admit living in fear.  I fear disappointing those around me.  I fear taking the wrong step so much that some days I don't take any at all and that is never the right choice.  I even fear succeeding at the things I want to succeed at.

I really want to feel truly free to write whatever comes to my mind on this blog, but I fear the reactions of those closest to me.  I would hate to hurt them because of something I said on here.

I am not the most private person.  My concept of modesty involves figuring out what the people around me are comfortable with and trying not to overstep that line.  This extends itself to pretty much every part of my life.  I will talk about the deep details of any number of things most people believe are improper topics for public discussion, sex and its related subjects being the most obvious of those.  Not talking about something tends to make me feel rather uncomfortable and yet, the fear of offending or freaking out my friends makes me break out in a fine sweat.  How does one balance this when keeping your mouth shut is not the default response for you?

I'm tired of letting fear rule me, and yet I still value the good will of those closest to me that I continue to hesitate letting go and actually saying what I'm truly thinking at any given moment.  There must be a better way.