In the absence of cat, the void becomes tangible

As I type this, I can’t believe it’s only Thursday. This week has simultaneously gone on forever and shot past me at lightening speed. For better or for worse, I’ve been working like a dog since Ben left. I had ideas of trying to discover my new city, but I’m so tired that I can hardly get a blog out before collapsing into bed.

Multiple times I’ve had to close the office door during meals in order to keep myself from absent-mindedly wandering back in there and working instead of eating.

I usually fall asleep around 1 am and get up around 8. Even when I start getting ready for bed at 11 pm, I end up going to sleep after 1. I give the dog both her walks, but she usually only gets one full walk a day, the other having to be cut short due to work stuff, but also because my feet fucking hurt. I easily walked her 5 miles a day in LA, but I think that’s because it was all on flat ground. Now, my feet hurt at the end of the day.

I started watching Hemlock Grove, but stopped after they killed a cat. Friend Chief says that Shelly gets even more badass than she already is, but I still don’t know if I can go back. Call me when the main characters start to fuck. Oh, and when the werewolf cuts his damn nails. Can you say “bacteria?”

After that I started watching Haven, which seems to be SciFi’s (I refuse to use their new, terrible spelling) attempt at dark, gritty drama. I like it, although they seem to have a real problem with hot girl retention. Aside from the main character, there are almost no other female characters that make it more than a season.

I went to see Lucy at the $5.50 movie night the other day, and it was wonderful. Whoever decided to inter-cut the actual film footage with clips from various nature documentaries is a genius. I especially liked the montage of animals fucking followed immediately by the montage of animals being born. It’s graphic nature was only made better by the fact that humans were included in that animal roster. I laughed out loud several times when the rest of the theater seemed more than a little unsure about what they should be doing.

Also, spoiler alert: Turns out that the next level of human evolution is actually USB stick.

I can’t recommend it more.

Review of My Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales

cover52086-mediumMy Haunted Blender’s Gay Love Affair, and Other Twisted Tales by Abigail Roux, Andrea Speed, and Anne Tenino

Thanks to NetGalley and Riptide Publishing for the review copy.

So, I already reviewed one of the stories in this trilogy, and I am damn glad that Riptide decided to release the whole book, because my review of the collection is significantly better than the one story by itself.

The other two stories, The Bone Orchard and Horny really round out City of Monsters, and as a package, the book is way more than the sum of its parts.

Bone Orchard is a beautiful story about two crazy ghosts in love through the ages, locked in immortal battle with the man who killed them. Those familiar with Abigail Roux’s popular Cut and Run and Sidewinder series will recognize some secondary characters.

Horny is an adorable ensemble comedy about a group of Greek Gods who come to earth in search of the wayward Zeus and get a more than they bargained for. I was glad to be introduced to Anne Tenino, as this was the first story of hers that I’ve read

And, for the package cost of $7.99, my previous stingy book buyer objections based on price are null and void. This is a steal, the stories are cute and funny.

4 stars out of 5

Okay, Let’s Talk About Suicide

So Henry Rollins got lambasted after tearing into Robin Williams for killing himself, for which he has already apologized in his Rollinsey way. And I wanted to write about it then, but I was so tired and there were so many thoughts in my head, chiefly that anybody surprised by Rollins’ outburst has either never heard of him, or is just pretending to be surprised in order to fuel the hate they’ve had on him for any number of the crazy things he’s said before this one.

Rollins is a meat head, but even a meaty clock is right twice a day, and I think he said some things a lot of people were thinking, but also, he made some points other commentators were willing to gloss completely over in their attempts to be sensitive to people’s feelings. Which is another reason I’m writing this now instead of a week ago.

A lot of people were quick to offer platitudes and empty babbling in the wake of a tragedy. I get that. There are some things so immeasurably horrible, so dark and terrifying that all you can do is lie your face off.

The day of the event I saw a woman who had tweeted the number to the suicide hotline, and the sentence “Because the world is better with you in it.” True fact, the world is also worse with you in it. What does that even mean? Because I have to say that I hope no one ever meets someone who the world is truly better off without, but that those people are for real out there. Unfortunately so few of them are prescient enough to do us all the favor.

We get so shocked when people take their own lives. Or when other terrible things happen, not just to good people, or even to bad people, but to real people.

We want to know if there is a rhyme or a reason, that there is a captain on this damn ship, even though we not only have no evidence that there is, we have piles of evidence to the contrary. Better there be an indifferent God than no God at all. Better we think that we can make up for their loss by some form of atonement after the fact. If I keep one person from killing themselves, I have atoned for allowing someone else to do so in the past. If I can be as good in my life as this now dead person would have been in theirs, I can make up for what the world lost when we lost them. If I just never step on a crack, this horrible sucking wound that has been left to me instead of my heart will never feel empty again.

But it will.

It is the curse of the living that we will watch our friends die, that we will see the world change around us, and we will be powerless to stop it.

I vacillate so wildly between thinking that suicide is a right every adult should have, to thinking that it’s the worst possible thing a person can do, to themselves, to their families. We want mental illness to be taken as seriously as physical illness, we want the stigma to be removed, and yet, if Williams had refused Chemo and died, it would be a totally different story. Instead, he refused mental health help and died of his disease.

What if, instead of making people so ashamed of their choices that they slunk off in the dark to die alone by their own hand, we were able to respect their decisions? What if nothing changed in the Williams narrative except for the stigma? What if the man died with dignity instead of scandal? What I’m saying is, what if we didn’t have to pretend that the pain of living in a mortal world could possibly be avoided, and instead embrace the people we love while we have them to love and didn’t aspire to delusions of permanence?

If there wasn’t such a stigma attached to suicide and mental illness, less people would get to the point where they choose suicide, and those who do wouldn’t have to die alone. So much of the pain in a suicide comes from not knowing, from not being there, from wondering what you could have done. If there was a way for people to know, as much as any person can know, and respect, as much as any person can respect, the decision, it would leave a much smaller mark on our collective psyche.

Things I’ve Done Since Ben Left

THURSDAY
worked, watched TV, slept

FRIDAY

Worked, watched TV, slept

SATURDAY

Worked, watched TV, slept

SUNDAY

Played video games, slept, watched TV

MONDAY

Worked, went to a meeting, watched TV, will probably sleep.

So, you know. Constant party.

Review of Venomoid by J.A. Kossler

cover49254-mediumVenomoid by J.A. Kossler

Thanks to Netgalley and Riverdale Avenue Books for the review copy.

Teenage vampire cop Lorin lives in a dangerous world. His duties as an enforcer for the IPO make him an enemy to his own kind, and his non-human status within the very organization he serves give them carte blanche to kill him for any reason, up to and including a poor performance report. To add insult to injury, the only way an adult vampire can be allowed to live, even as non-human non-citizens is if they become “venomoid” through the surgical removal of their fangs and venom glands.

His life gets even more complicated when he meets Lex the zombie, a member of a newly discovered unkillable race of hunters who must devour living human flesh in order to maintain their sanity. As you might imagine, it’s love at first sight, and the two quickly begin planning their life together. Away from the IPO, and away from the zombies and their strict tribal hierarchies. But will the villains on either side of what passes for law in these parts really let them be happy together?

Every couple of years women in the West will remember that women in other parts of the world endure the ritual removal of their clitori in various stages of horrific and gorey agony, and there will be a spat of articles written about it. Many of them detailing, not only the process of the operation in great detail, but the culture that makes it okay, and even the hours or days leading up to it. I have to say that this book reads eerily similarly.

Lorin, who became a Vampire at an extremely young age has been told nothing about his own physiology. Like women who live in clitorectormy cultures, he has virtually no knowledge about what function his own fangs serve. And like women who live in clitorectomy cultures, it seems like in this universe vampire fangs are largely a sexual organ.

Reading this book was like reading one of those articles, just waiting for the proverbial (and sometimes literal) ax to fall. It was fucking tense.

Outside of the physical and emotional oppression through cruel and unnecessary surgery storyline, I was nonplused by the rest of the plot. Not to spoil it, but there’s a pretty serious emergency event that the main character tries to solve through none other than grassroots activism, which is just weird. It’s the equivalent of trying to cure a venomous snake bite through a careful plan to fund the preservation of the natural habitat the snake would have lived and hunted in, far away from bite-able people.

It’s saccharine sweet. Which works in it’s favor, especially considering the fact that so many horrible things happen to this poor kid. But I can’t help but think that if somebody had flattened out the peaks and valleys and replaced them with character development, this would have been a much better read.

3 stars out of 5

Always Get Your Man – Review of “The Return of Jake Slater” by Zavo

cover51028-mediumThe Return of Jake Slater by Zavo

Thanks to NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for the review copy. The Return of Jake Slater will be available Sept. 15, 2014

As the title implies, Jake Slater is back. Freshly recovered from the vicious attack that nearly ended his incredible, sex-soaked life, Jake is once again on a man hunt. Same man, different hunt.

Jake’s equally lusty lover Ben has been kidnapped by the evil Sheriff, and Jake is aching to reunite with his beloved so they can begin their lives together.

As before, something goes wrong, and Ben and Jake spend most of the book in deathly danger, neither sure if the other is dead or alive. Fucking throughout, of course. After all, certain peril is an excellent reason to fuck a stranger.

The Return grants the boys more agency than they seemed to have in book one, and all the better for it. And, since Ben and Jake were separated for most of the book, there was just a lot more plot going on, and I didn’t worry so much about them because I knew they’d be fine until they were reunited.

One weird issue I came across was at the end of the book. The first person present narration that had been switching from Ben to Jake sort of blended together in the last few chapters such that I couldn’t tell who was narrating. In fact, one section has the narrator saying “I” and acting on both Ben and Jake in the same paragraph. For example, “I replied to Jake… then I grabbed Ben’s hand.” it’s pretty confusing. Jake and Ben are this weird amalgam that acts as one entity. Which could have been a stylistic choice.

Altogether, another great one from Zavo. The man knows how to make light-hearted sex adventure stories come alive.

5 out of 5 stars

Things to Do While My Boyfriend’s Away 2

Ben’s going away for two weeks starting today (Thursday), so I have to make a new Things to Do list that will replace the list I made back in May 2012.

  • Eat Chinese food: I have been on a Chinese food kick lately and Ben never wants to eat it.
  • Go to the movies: On the list second time running, a popular favorite. Like I said before, Film school ruined movies for Ben. I have had no such PTSD. I love practically all movies. Especially the bad ones. So I’ll be having a bad movie marathon. For two weeks straight.
  • Go kayaking: Ben is afraid of Kayaks.
  • Eat tomatoes: Ben hates tomatoes
  • Work: I am more than a little bit hoping that I throw myself into work and make tons of money and new clients while Ben’s gone.
  • Get tons of exercise: Giving the dog both her morning and afternoon walks is going to be twice as much work as usual.
  • Discover new depths of personal depravity: I mean, think of how bad I am now, when he’s still here.
  • Pack his side of the bed with pillows and break out the white noise app on my phone: That’s more of a necessity than an option if I want to get any sleep.

An Argument For Cop Cams

police_camera

Share this image. Cop cams can’t prevent all police brutality, but cities where they’ve been instituted show marked improvement. And not just for the people. Good cops will have back-up when hit with unfounded accusations of abuse. The only population that stands to lose with cop cameras are criminals. On both sides.

Source

Editor’s note: Some other news sources are reporting a solid 60%. The difference is .009 verses .01, so it’s not that big of a deal, but I wanted to be as accurate as possible.

Big Country Lovin’ – Review of “Stripped Away” by Ellis Carrington

cover51012-mediumStripped Away (The Escapade #2) by Ellis Carrington

Thanks to Netgalley and Ellis Carrington for the review copy.

This is the second in a series, but you really don’t need to read the first one to get the lay of the land. David is the son of a now disgraced preacher man, Ricky is a bisexual strip club owner looking for anything, as long as it’s not serious.

After a contentious start, the boys go from battling it out to sticking it in, but can their relationship really last? Crazy exes, family emergencies, and the rigors of everyday life in the heartland conspire against them. Will their love shine through?

This is kind of standard, enemies to lovers track. Nothing’s really ventured between the dudes involved, and nothing’s really gained. The good thing about Stripped Away is that the emotional “I can’t… but I want to… but I’m not sure… but does he even want to… but but but etc.” that so many erotica writers tend to fall back on for drama is mostly internal. So there’s no dramatic storming out followed by dramatic declarations followed by even more storming out. Thank God. But there is a lot of uncertainty that seems to simmer but not quite boil in this weird way.

The tension didn’t strike me as being that high, despite the plot having a lot of things to be really tense about. I can’t put my finger on it. But even the very dramatic scenes where the characters were in danger, or enthralled with each other were sort of hazy. I think the issue is with the narrator. For example, David’s heart is described as pounding in his ears, or something like that, but I’m not seeing a lot of David himself feeling his heart pounding in his ears. It’s a subtle difference, but I think it’s what’s bothering me.

When a narrator describes the actions or the effects of the story on the characters without getting inside them, they all end up with this lacquered feeling, like a diorama of a story. The dialog in Stripped Away is great. The characters talk like real people, and they actually speak to each other, which I love. But they don’t relate to each other because of this lack of internal narration. That small edition to the next book should be the missing piece that ties this whole thing together.

3.5 stars out of 5

NOTHING

image

Nobody answered. Nobody at all.

I’m so fucking tired. I haven’t been sleeping well. As usual, I know. But it’s so hard to write anything right now. Ferguson seems all consuming.

And you know I’m getting 90% of my news from Twitter, so half of it is better than the major news outlets, and the other half is only helpful for making and keeping me angry. I love twitter like my own toes, life would seriously suck without it, but sometimes it’s real-timeyness just makes me feel overwhelmed.

Closer to home, one of Ben’s friends passed away this weekend.

In the context of these two events, what could I possibly have to say about anything?

On the other hand. I have an entire post about the synonyms for cunnilingus. I have a feeling that this bout of existential writer’s block is probably not going to last much longer than it takes for me to pull my head out of my ass.

So, see you guys tomorrow, I guess.