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Saturday, 30 May 2015

Biblicalgenderroles.com, You're a Numpty

Fair warning here - this entire blogpost made me feel stabby. Allow me to show you why.

The post is called 8 steps to confront your wife's sexual refusal




Yeah. Confronting someone because they don't want sexy times instead of asking them what's wrong will definitely get you nooky.

Let's look at the first paragraph: 

"How should you as a husband handle it when your wife directly refuses to have sex without a valid reason?"


Um. Dude, your wife doesn't need a valid reason. Nobody does. Let me repeat this: NOBODY NEEDS TO GIVE YOU A REASON AS TO WHY THEY DON'T WANT SEX. 


"Is there anything a Christian husband can do about this?"
Yes. Leave her alone.


"This will be my last post specifically about sexuality in this series on “How to be godly husband”.


"Christian Husbands – let me be crystal clear here. The situation I am addressing in this post is not your wife occasionally turning you down for sex (even with a bad attitude, as opposed to for health or other legitimate reasons). What I am addressing here is the wife who consistently and routinely denies her husband sexually simply because she does not need sex as much or she thinks she should not have to do it except when she is in the mood or she thinks her husband should have to earn sex with her by “putting her in the mood” by doing various things she expects or likes."



Wow. Imagine a woman daring to only want sex when she's in the mood, or wants her husband to arouse her. Next thing you know she'll want to learn how to read.


"I have not, nor would I EVER advocate for a husband to force himself physically upon his wife or to physically abuse her in any fashion.  The issue being discussed is how a husband can confront a wife who chronically or willfully denies his sexual rights in marriage without just cause(be it legitimate health or mental conditions).  He has the right, both under Biblical law, as well as under American law, to reason with his with his wife and try to convince her to willingly(even if grudgingly) yield herself to him, and thereby fulfilling one her most important duties in Christian marriage."

Yield? Your wife is not bloody road traffic. Making someone have sex with you when they are unwilling and grudging about it is abuse. 
The phrase for what you're advocating is passive rape. 


"In two previous posts in this series I addressed these key issues:
In “Christian Husbands – You don’t pay for the milk when you own the cow!” we established this Biblical principle:
Neither the husband, nor the wife have to earn sex in marriage.
A wife cannot flatly refuse her husband, she may only ask for a delay (a raincheck) and then she needs to make good on that raincheck as soon as possible.
A husband has the right to confront his wife’s sexual refusal as a sin not only against him, but also against God.
In “Is a husband selfish for having sex with his wife when she is not the mood?” I elaborated further on this subject of sexual refusal in marriage with these principles:
A husband ought not to feel guilty for having sex with his wife when she is not in the mood if she yields, even grudgingly.
A husband needs to use prayerful discernment to discover if her reasons for “not being in the mood” are for legitimate physical or mental health reasons or if the problem is wrong thinking and wrong attitude on the part of his wife. If her reasons are legitimate, then she needs to seek medical or psychological help as soon as possible.
Now in this post we will talk about how to handle the sexual refusal of a wife when it is because she has a wrong attitude and wrong thinking about marriage and sex."

OMFG, dude. This is not how healthy relationships work. Also, you just made me throw up in my mouth a little.
Yes, a woman can totally refuse sex. This is because she is a person, and not a blow-up sex toy, and has rights over her own body. Also, did you seriously just compare women to cows? What are you going to do when you get the munchies, butcher her? 
I think you're overly concerned with the interest your God has in your sex life. You also appear to have an ego problem if you are putting yourself in the same role as a deity.
A husband that makes his wife have sex should feel guilty. He should also be in jail.
Here's an answer for the prayerful discernment: 




Then there's a bunch of stuff about husbands refusing their wives, which is being saved for another series (Oh, joy.) and lot of biblical quotations from Corinthians and Paul. I'm not pasting it because it will turn this post into something that takes two weeks to read. However:

That's not how it works.

 "Let me be clear on something, even if you do follow the steps below I give, this does not automatically mean you will get a change from your wife, or her repentance for her sexual immorality." 



Let's have a quick look at the steps he wants you to take. I'm just taking the headings, because the explanations he gives repeats them in a variety of annoying ways:

"Step 1 – Rebuke her privately"

Sure. Treat a grown-ass woman like she's 6. That's guaranteed to make her want sexy times.

"Step 2 – Rebuke her before witnesses"

Because it's always good to have someone else see what an ass you really are.



"Step 3 – Bring her before the Church"


Note: He points out that you may have an angry wife after this stage. Ya think?


"Step 4 – Stop taking her on dates or trips"

This boils down to "No nooky, no fun." Because you should always punish someone for not having sex. It's guaranteed to get you lai- 
Oh, wait.



"Step 5 – No unnecessary household upgrades"

Also known to 10 year olds as cutting your nose off to spite your face. Have fun, guys.


"Step 6 – Stop doing the little extra things"

This is so incredibly specific I'm guessing he's going by personal experience. Apparently he gives a great massage.




"Step 7 – Remove her funding"

What the absolute fuck?


Good of you to note that this only works if she doesn't have her own income. Stop giving her pocket money??? 
WHY ARE YOU TREATING YOUR WIFE LIKE SHE'S YOUR YOUR DAUGHTER?


"What if none of these 7 steps work?


If your wife remains willfully defiant, yet she has not left you, it could be for a variety of reasons."
Yeah. She could've grown up in a cult that views abuse like this as normal. She could be terrified of you. She could be trapped with no money and no skills to make a new life.

Let me be clear. This is not how Christians are supposed to behave. This is not how any decent human is supposed to behave. 

"You have the option to divorce her for her sexual immorality."


There's sexual immorality here. Yours. Quite frankly if divorce gets your wife out of the living hell you've put her in, I'm all for it.


"Why bother with the first 7 steps if divorce is an option for sexual denial?"
Blah blah blah duty blah blah blah Israel blah blah blah "we owe our wives and our marriages this fight."
Following the above steps will and should result in: 


"But aren’t these steps a form of manipulation?"


But that's okay, because husbands need to discipline their wives :

"Discipline, on the other hand is very different from manipulation. Discipline is performed by one who is in authority over one who is under their authority. It is action taken by an authority to attempt to modify the bad behavior of the subject of that authority so that they will behave correctly in the future."

Dude, I can't even.



"Conclusion
Christian husband, you are not powerless to act against your wife’s sexual refusal. But you must realize that this may be a long and costly battle. Your confrontation of your wife’s willful, sinful behavior may result in your marriage ending."


But wait: there's more!

"That is why we will talk about “10 Ways to know your wife” and then “12 Ways to honor your wife” now that we have concluded our discussion of sexuality as it relates to being a godly husband."



Make.

It.
Stop.


Thursday, 28 May 2015

What To Teach Your Daughters

1) Nobody else has jurisdiction over her body 

She decides when or if she can have sex. The thing here is to educate her properly, and not the equivalent of what I received, which could be condensed down to "OMFG if you have sex with a boy you will like, explode. Or die. Or something. It's bad. Don't do it."  Kids aren't stupid. Teenagers have a lock-in on anything adults try to prevent them from doing, especially when said adults are doing the same damn thing on a regular basis.

Rampaging hormones and abstinence are not a good mix.  The result of the sex education we got in school was three pregnancies in the same year, thanks to myths like "you can't get pregnant if you're standing up," and the inability to understand how condoms work.

Teach her about the possible repercussions, tell her about birth control, and most importantly, teach her that she can say no. If you've never taught your child that she has that option, what do you think happens when the boy she loves tells her she has to do it?

2) Nobody else has jurisdiction over her body (this includes you)

The whole issue of virginity pledging is so creepy I don't really want to touch it, but here goes: you are dressing a girl up in something that looks like a wedding dress and pledging her to her father. This is the guy who probably changed her diapers and watched her learn how to walk, and now you are making her promise him that she won't have sex because he's the most important man in her life.

She decides whether she likes boys or girls, both or none. It is none of your business who she bumps uglies with as an adult, or whether she does this at all. It isn't your vagina.

Later on, she decides whether or not to have kids. This is not a parental decision, because she is not a stuffed toy with no autonomy.  If you want to decide on whether something breeds or not, get some pet fish. I understand the yearning for grandkids; I've watched in my own folks. But it's her choice, and again - it isn't your vagina involved.

The interest some parents seem to have in what their grown or over-age teenage children do with their genitalia is fucking disturbing. Stop it.

3) Nobody else has jurisdiction over her body and nobody has the right to shame her for it

Females come in all shapes and sizes. Some of us are tall, some of us need to stand on a stool to reach the kitchen cupboard. Skinny, average, plump, fat. Drop-dead gorgeous, kinda plain, somewhere in the middle. Sporty, geeky, ripped - just like guys.

You know what we don't have in common with guys? We usually don't like our bodies that much. We are taught, constantly, that we are not enough. No pretty enough, no submissive enough, not smart enough, not good enough. Not skinny enough. Too damn skinny. Too fat. Too plump. Too tall, too short, too blonde, too dark, too pale. Too old.

I have female family members ranging in age from 6 months to over 80 years, and apart from the 6 month old, they all criticise their bodies. They've been taught to, and I would like to drop-kick society out of a window when I hear my mom say her thighs are too big. It makes me want to cry, because my mom is beautiful, but she doesn't realise it.

Teach your daughter to like herself, all of herself. Don't buy into the myth that she isn't enough. And teach her to tell anyone who has issues with her body that they don't deserve her time or company. Most of all, teach her that she is enough.






Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Election Blues

Most people are well aware I distrust (and in some cases severely dislike) politicians, especially the current batch dismantling the country.

I'm not sure most people are aware that I vote, and I do so in every election.

I grew up in a country where the majority of the population did not have the right to vote until I was out of high school. People marched, protested, bled and died for the right to scratch a cross against a name on a piece of paper.

When those people were finally given the right to vote, to step behind a curtain and clutch a pencil for the first time, the ink stamp that declared them voters still smudged and sticky on their flesh, they changed the face of a country.

As a female, I am very aware of the fact that women had to fight long and hard to get the right to vote. South Africa gave that right for the first time in  1933. The UK allowed us to vote in general elections in 1913, providing we were over 30 and meant property requirements. We got full voting rights here in 1928.  Once again, people died for that right.

Voting seems to be considered a pain in the fundamental. It's inconvenient. It means lining up in queues in draughty church halls and smelly, underused buildings. It means selecting the best of a bad bunch who might not make the changes they promise anyway (looking at you, David Cameron) and who might make the whole damn mess slightly worse.

The people who were disenfranchised only a century ago would have some trouble understanding this.

Politics haven't changed much. Politicians have always been corrupt, have always abused their offices, and have always ignored the social classes they don't want to know about. There are a few, battling against the cesspool of hand-outs and back-scratching, but they aren't the ones who get soundbites and their names in the papers.

The thing is, the people in parliament know about complacency, and voter apathy, and the feeling that one is pretty much the same as the other. They know that despite the rage seen everyday on the street, the average person doesn't feel they can make a difference. They encourage this. It is a lie.

If every person enraged by the callousness of the current system voted for someone else, the government would change; the people in their towers would fall. If every person dreading the thought of the Tories coming back in voted for Labour, the ruling party becomes Labour. If every woman condescended to by Cameron and co voted Green... Well, that's pretty much every female in the country. Bye, Dave!

And if you don't like what the new people do, you vote them out again. Make them realise that if what they do is unacceptable, there are repercussions, and we are the ones that bring those repercussions home. With a bit of pencil and a sheet of paper.

I watched a country changed by the voters, by the people who never believed they'd have a voice. It has happened in so many places, so many times.

Not voting is not an option. Humanity bled too hard to get us here.



Monday, 27 April 2015

Ch-ch-changes!

Things have been a little bit hectic, and I've had some massive personal changes. Most of them I couldn't mention until they were official, so I've made myself scarce on the blog; the temptation to go "Oooh! Guess what happened!" is just too much.

I went through redundancy for the third time in about four years. This time I took the payout. When the universe thumps you on the head this pointedly, it's time to listen.

The migraines reduced almost immediately. I've suspected the combination of fluorescent lighting and computer screens for a while now, topped up with a fairly unhealthy dose of work-stress. I've been almost completely migraine free since I was informed I was up for redundancy and escorted from the office carrying whatever I could grab from my desk in five minutes.

The problem is that almost every office (at least in the UK) has fluorescent lights. I have no intention of losing a job because my body hates me, and migraines three or more times a week guarantees that. I also really, really like being pain-free. It's a novelty that I appreciate.
The solution for me is to work from home and take regular breaks from the computer. Freelancing, whahey! Part of me wishes I'd done it years ago; the other part knows without this push and the migraines I would never have done so.   I'm also web-site testing and doing transcriptions (better money, slightly harder than pounding out 500 words for an article) and I've recently rediscovered how much fun I have repainting gates. Not a joke, I really do enjoy it.

The problem with freelancing is that money can be sporadic and London is expensive. Food alone seems to have tripled in the last few years; rent is no longer even remotely funny. Spending 70%-80% of my new income on rent does not appeal, and since I was doing that on a regular salary, I could end up in trouble.
So I'm moving to Scotland. Good people, cheaper prices, I'm trying not to think about winter. I've been there in winter. It hurts. The Scots do, however, believe in central heating and double-glazing, two things which have been sorely lacking in every rental property I've been in during my time in London. I'm looking forward to not getting frostbite in the bathroom. I'll have a garden for the first time in over ten years. I can hang my washing outside, and trust me, that's huge. Ten years of indoor laundry. *shudder*

The logistics of getting two people (Stace decided the move would be good for her too), three cats and a house full of stuff to a different country is slightly mind-boggling. When I moved to the UK I had a suitcase with a few clothes in. Now I have books and art stuff and computers and furniture, and my subconscious keeps sitting up, blinking stupidly, and wondering when the hell I got all this stuff.

On kitty news, Sheba is bouncing around quite happily. She has also managed to FaceTime my mom and take a selfie, which means my cat is more technologically advance than I am. I had no clue how to reverse the camera until she did that.

"So you tap here, see? And then you take the picture."






Bast and Hathor just keep growing. They've turned into well-adjusted, happy cats and are thinking about writing a book called How to Train your Human, and will include chapters on "How to get More Treats without Trying", "How to Throw up on Their Favourite Slippers" and "How to Clear a Mantlepiece".








Thursday, 12 March 2015

Kitty Update

So. It's been awhile, but since the last kitten post, Bast turned out to be a boy. We ended up with a calico male, which is very, very rare. In everyone's defence (including the vet), the area under his tail is pitch black, and so were the  pertinent bits.

Hathor went into heat 2 weeks before Bast was due to get the snip. It took us a while to figure it out because she's still quite young and doesn't actually miaow. She chirrups, chirps, and squeaks, but there isn't a miaow in sight. Bast is the same.
It took three days of noises like a demented canary before I clicked, and that was only because I caught them trying (and yes, I mean trying. Let's just say Bast has no clue which end to aim at.) to have sex on the stairs. I also caught them in the missionary position a day later, which is disturbing on so many levels.

We appear to be pregnancy free, mainly because Bast often dealt with the increasing demands by biting Hathor on neck while leaning against the wall, and looking at us as if wondering what the hell was supposed to happen next. He'd escape by climbing into the bath and hiding away from her.

Bast got snipped last week; Hathor is due the end of the month. He still limps as soon as he sees the treat packet.

Two weeks ago I saw a message from a friend about a cat that desperately needed a home.  You can guess the rest. Part of me was thinking WHAT ARE YOU DOING. It was drowned out by the part that went KITTY!!!

So Sheba is currently living under my bed. She is black shot with slivers of copper and gold, and slow-blinking yellow eyes.
She's eight, and she's lost her human and her home and the poor old girl is heart-broken. She loves being stroked, hates the vet with an almighty passion, and has Bast infatuated.

He keeps offering her his favourite toys. Then he climbs under the bed and chirps at her. As soon as my light goes off for the night, she wiggles out and romps through the house with the other two. I think she'll be just fine.


Hathor, playing with her mouse.

Bast - King of the Cupboards

Buy a new cupboard, make your cat happy...



Sunday, 15 February 2015

An Open Letter To David Cameron

Dear Mr. Cameron


Your recent announcement about obese people, drug addicts, and alcoholics losing benefits didn't really come as a shock to me. There was more a sense of resignation and futility, because you haven't got a clue about what real people are like, or the issues they face.

Addiction has long been recognised as a medical condition. If you could cure it, I'd be the first to hold your coat. However, since medical science hasn't achieved it yet. I have my doubts. Cut the benefits, put desperate people into an even more desperate situation, and watch both the death toll and the crime rate rise. Is that really what you have in mind? Don't you think enough people have died through the new benefits system already? I won't go into the idiocy of the current drugs policy, except to say that no sane dealer wants it legalised, because you'd remove their customer base.

So onto the obesity issue. I have a few problems with this. Obesity isn't simply a matter of eating too much, Mr. Cameron. There are a number of factors involved, including, but not limited to:

1) Thyroid problems
2) Medication (known as iatrogenic obesity)
3) Genetic disposition
4) Psychological pain
5) Not being able to afford decent food. This one's a doozy, isn't it? Because the average person living on these benefits simply can't afford to live healthily and pay their bills. If you think this is sufficient, I challenge you to live like this for 3 months. No extras. No help from friends or family. Live on this, and see how you feel afterwards.

Perhaps the biggest issue I have is that once again, this is a huge personal intrusion to people with these conditions. You do not have the right to dictate how somebody deals with their body, because we are not supposed to be slaves.

I realise that this puts pressure on the NHS. (So does underpaying the staff to the point that doctors and nurses are emigrating to greener pastures with better pay and living conditions.) But, Mr. Cameron, the NHS was designed to help everybody who needed it. Either the system works, or you start excluding on the basis of colour, gender, religion, body shape etc. You can't have it both ways.

One of the arguments is that people die from these conditions. Yes, they do. People die every day. They also die in car accidents, house fires, from homicide and sheer bad luck. So far your government has attempted to press ahead with raising the speed limit for HGV's despite the warning that it will increase deadly accidents, destroyed fire-fighters pensioners, and released long-term tariff convicted murderers early, only to have them kill again. If you were willing to run the risk of harm to people by doing all of these things, please explain why you are so hell-bent on controlling our lives and bodies? Will the next step be making anything over a size twelve illegal?

Do you know what happens in a country where the leadership shows it's okay to be prejudiced, Mr. Cameron? That it's fine to hate and despise anyone who is other, who doesn't march in line to the official drum? You get this. And this. And this.  And directly to the point, this. People die or are attacked, harassed or mutilated because you thought it was cool to get some extra attention. You should be protecting people, not encouraging prejudice.


What's truly heartbreaking, Mr. Cameron, is that you and your government could have made some truly effective and good social and economic changes in this country. Instead you have reduced us to xenophobic paranoids, willing to point the finger at everything except ourselves. We dance to the tune of the red top tabloids, because our leader panders to the worst of them. Instead of investing in the country and creating a workforce, you pushed people into starvation and told us it was for our own good. By pushing education out of reach of all but the elite few, you have created a nation of frustrated, under-educated people who are drowning while you stand on the shores and watch. And you just don't stop.


I truly hope that this was yet another misguided attempt to get your name in the headlines because of the upcoming elections. Unfortunately, it has once again revealed you to be a man who does not do his research, does not think about the repercussions of his proposals, and does not give a damn about anyone who is not on the same economic level as yourself.

What a waste of an otherwise intelligent man.







Sunday, 25 January 2015

Francis Fahrenheit - Rock n Roll Clown Review

One of the best parts of living in London is the musical talent. I love music. Can't play much (started drum lessons years ago, but stuff happened) and I sing like a dead frog, which just makes me appreciate the people that can do this well even more.

Original music is still my favourite. Covers are great and all, but I like finding the guys that put their hearts and souls out for the rest of us. It takes a strange degree of courage to stand up in front of a live audience and give them a view into how your mind works; compared to that, writing is easy. You aren't there to see the reactions.

Moxy Ru was one of the best indie bands to hit the scene in years, and when they split it was a sad moment, so having Francis Fahrenheit carry on the music as a solo artist was great.

I got my paws on a copy of Rock 'n Roll Clown a while ago and I've pretty much played it to death. 

The use of synthesizers throughout this album break out memories for me of early Depeche Mode, particularly in 'You Can Change The World But You Can’t Change Me'.


 'Building Up Your Wall' is the perfect “We Need To Split” song. There’s pleading and sneering and despair in a toxic, unstoppable mix I replayed over and over. The vocals here have an edginess that I’d like to hear more of; just a slight rasp in places, but enough to shoot this song out of okay territory into something really good.

'Rock & Roll Clown' is a gorgeous mix of percussion and strings and Francis uses his voice to great effect in harrowing lyrics. The video up on YouTube is powerful and perfect for the song, do yourself a favour and check it out. I've tried to imbed the video below; but you guys know me and tech.






The lyrics of 'Glass Spiders' are frankly creepy as hell, but it makes you want to move to it; the beat pounds through you remorselessly. It’s one of my favourite tracks on this album, currently fighting with 'Building Up Your Wall' and the title track for personal best of. I could see this one crowding the dance floor.

'Beauty Hides' is another track with strong percussion and an eerie use of synthesizers through the song. The hook line is hypnotic, but I admit to preferring Francis using his vocals to the chanting bits.
'I Am Stardust' brings to mind The Killers song Human; it just has that feel, although the two songs are nothing alike. This is the most optimistic song on the album, and you can’t help tapping your feet as this one plays.

Links to buy the album are here: 

And check out the official site:


Sunday, 4 January 2015

Website now live!

Yeehaw! Go here to check it out: http://janetsked.wix.com/jhsked

In kitty news, both Hathor and Bast have decided the water fountain makes a great splash pool. I've now caught both of them scooping water onto the carpet and chirping happily at the results.


Saturday, 3 January 2015

New year, new books

I've been burrowed under trying to build a website for the past few weeks. For anyone who knows me, or reads this blog on a regular basis, the fact that I haven't inadvertently blown up the internet is a surprise. Ahem.


Anyway, it's almost ready to go live. *squeak* After fighting with it for some time, I've decided to keep this blog separate. I like it here. If I get brave enough, I'll do a couple of video blogs for the site.

To add to the fun, there are two new books out. Shine is a short story collection, and includes a brand new Blue Moon Detectives story. Fur Thing is the latest full length Blue Moon book, so Billy fans should be quite happy.

Speaking of Billy - I'm coming to the inescapable conclusion that Bast is somehow channeling my favourite character. I've met accident-prone cats before, but this one takes the biscuit. In addition to bitch-slapping the water fountain because it wasn't full enough, he has managed to get blue dye on his paws (no clue), fallen off the bookcase, and spent a good two hours wandering around with a large blue sequin stuck to his furry butt. Hathor tends to eye-roll him a lot, which I can understand; grace and dignity do not apply. Can't imagine where he gets it from.
Hathor, on the other hand, has a fetish about drinking glasses and mugs. Anything put within reach gets investigated, sniffed, and drunk if you aren't fast enough. So far I've had to rescue several cups of coffee, wine, eggnog, and water. She doesn't seem to like whiskey, though. I'm taking this as a good thing.

 Until next time - have a fantastic year, everyone!

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Dangerous Times

These are dangerous times for a lot of people.

This is not a good time to be a Muslim. I'm watching my Facebook feed blow up on a regular basis with people who've drunk the poison fed to them by the media, and call it good, and I feel my stomach turn every time I read the crap they spout.

I don't think it's ever been a good time to be a Jew; as a race they've been subjected to every atrocity imaginable, and the number of morons who think every Jew believes Israel is righteously bombing the hell out of Palestine is face-palm worthy.

It's a very bad time to be black, especially in the USA, where it seems someone called open season on young black males and didn't send the memo to the rest of us. I'm pretty sure other minorities are getting the pointy end of the stick as well, but it hasn't blown up on any sites. Yet.

It's a horrible time to be female and active on social media. If you don't deal with asshats who think you're a lower species because you don't possess a penis, you're incredibly lucky.

It is dangerous to be gay, bi or trans in a world where people who take way too much interest in what you do in bed have power over you.

It is a lethal time to be poor. If you are poor and disabled, you are clinically and categorically fucked. If a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable members, ours would get a failing grade. When you have politicians who reckon that MS suffers and people with permanent disabilities can get better in the next six months, you move into the realm of a Monty Python skit.

What the mainstream and tabloid media are doing isn't anything new. In today's world, where one criminally ambitious reporter can publish something and have it accessible to everyone with internet access, it's more dangerous than ever. Whipping up a mob is never something to be proud of. Whipping up a mob based on hate can result in people dying.

Thankfully more and more people are questioning this stuff, and finding the holes in reports. More and more people are aware that a difference in skin colour, gender, or sexuality is something to be celebrated, not disparaged. People are using the same social media that pushes the hate agenda to raise awareness of injustice, and to fight back for their right to be. To be human, to be loved, to be allowed to live.

As for the politicians… Ugh. Look, my solution would be (a) vote the idiots out of power and (b) charge them with murder for every death caused on their watch. For every suicide committed by someone ground into blood and tears by inhumane policies. For every person who freezes or starves to death over winter. For every terminal patient forced back into work that dies at their desk. Because what they are doing is pretty close to state sanctioned murder.

Confiscate the money they make out of their connections and their buddy-laws, and redistribute it. Start a hot-house garden in every city where people can come and collect food in exchange for an hour of their time - do some weeding, do some watering, plant some seeds. Direct people on where to go to find the tomatoes if you can't do physical work.
Something has to happen. In the year 2014, people shouldn't be on starvation levels in a developed country, because they are too sick to work - or simply can't find a job.










Sunday, 26 October 2014

Kitty update

Bast seems to be a bit of a talker. Hathor still hides under my bed, and comes out to stare at me when she thinks I'm sleeping, and makes little chirping noises like a hairy four-legged canary. She also hides food, which I'll get to in a bit.

They got taken for their shots last week. Bast dealt okay.
Hathor went bat-shit insane when the vet took her out of the cage and drew blood from the poor man. As he pointed out, it was an OhgodsIneedtogetaway moment, rather than I'mgoingtoclawyourfaceoffbecauseIcan. It was some small consolation with the vet dripping blood on the floor, but this is also what happens when you have traumatised kittens. It's what happened next that really stunned me.
After getting her shots and weighed, Hathor got put back in the cage. She scooted to the back and Bast stood in front of her, making sure nobody was going to touch her again. She'd been watching the whole process anxiously. I've seen the protective instinct in mother cats and dogs, yes. I've never seen anything like this in litter-mates.

Bast is about three pounds heavier (because she eats every bit of food she can find, including Hathor's) and a bit longer in the legs. When I come in from work she waits in the doorway of my room. She only watched me getting ready for work once; there is something incredibly disconcerting about a kitten looking horrified when you put on make-up. And she likes to talk. Usually this is to tell the world that nobody is paying attention; unfortunately she's not at ease with being touched yet. So at two in the morning, you get this:

Bast, on the staircase: OOOOH, NOOOBODY LOVES ME!!!
Me, stumbling out of my room: WTF?
Bast: YOU LEFT ME ALOOOOONE!
Me, standing on mouse toy and hopping to stair case: Oh, kitty. Hush. (Put hand out to kitten.)
Bast: UNCLEAN!! UNCLEEEAAAN!!! (rockets back up the stairs.)
At this point I remove the mouse toy from between my toes and lurch back to bed.
Some twenty minutes later, the delicate thunder of Bast attempting a landing on the hall cupboard and missing completely will fill the house, and I'll pull the duvet over my head and pretend I didn't hear it.

Hathor, on the other hand, appears to hide her food as well as herself, probably because Bast has the table manners of a starving piranha and will take her food if she isn't fast enough.
Heading off to the shop today, I realised halfway down the road that there was something cold and sticky wedged under my toe. When I sat down on a bench and upended my Ugg, a small piece of chicken fell out. I did the rest of my shop with my toe stuck to my boot from kitty spit.



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Bruises and Emergency Room Visits and Kitties - weekly roundup

Monday I got off the tube, and some little man rammed me on his way past. I didn't think much of it apart from saying a rude word; in London, the Good Manners Fairy got gagged and duct-taped and thrown to the Gods of Public Transport some time ago, and I've been knocked harder than that. But by the time I got to the office my ribs on the left side where he'd knocked me were throbbing and tender, and it got worse as the day went on.
Just after lunch I checked my side in the bathroom mirror. What I saw was a tracery of broken blood vessels extending from just below my armpit to just above my navel, and a raised lump of tender flesh over a couple of ribs.
I left work late to avoid rush hour. By this time I was sore enough that anyone shoving me would have been punched and I'd like to avoid an assault charge. Since I couldn't face the stairs at the tube I got the bus to the main train terminal, and by the time I home I was struggling to walk and not cry from pain.

Tuesday I worked from home, hoping things would improve. By Wednesday morning it hurt to breath, speak or move at all, so I headed off to the emergency centre. I was anticipating a diagnosis of bruised ribs, but wanted to make sure nothing was fractured. Instead, I had a doctor telling me I might have a ruptured spleen and bruised kidney. This was not a fun moment.

On to the first scan, which was ultrasound, followed by oral morphine (gag) and a CT scan, which was strangely pleasant apart from the 10 seconds where I thought my toes were going to catch fire and a taste in my mouth like I'd just downed a very strong shooter. The final diagnosis came back as massive bruising around the liver, kidney and ribs. Sheer relief, and the immediate desire to go home, right up until they took my blood pressure and all that jazz and discovered my temperature was high and my heartbeat was 118. It didn't help that when they told me I had to stay over night the damn heart rate shot up to 122. I've never seen an emergency doc look so horrified while trying not to laugh.

Anyway, I learnt that the emergency room has their own overnight ward for cases like me (apparently sending you home to have a possible heart attack is considered bad) and I was promptly deposited into it, given food that looked horrifying on every possible level, and dosed up with both codeine and oral morphine again, which tasted worse the second time around. As a result, by the time Stace got there with my p.j.'s, I was cataclysmically stoned. Morphine has a time distorting effect on me, and I tend to hallucinate on it. I also don't remember much of what happens, but apparently having a conversation with me is interesting.

Breakfast was edible - cornflakes and coffee. They offered me more morphine (no thanks. If I'm in excruciating pain I'll take it, but given a choice, I'll take anything else rather than that stuff.) Several hours later, I was allowed to leave, on condition that I take it easy for a few days and come back if the pain gets worse. Since I really, really don't want to go back, taking it easy is the way to go.

My cousin came and met me to make sure I got home alright. We were on the bus when we saw the sign outside a charity shop advertising abandoned kittens for adoption. I've wanted a cat again for a long time; I've missed having an animal in my life, and so has Stace. She looked at the sign and said wistfully, "Oh! I want a kitty."
And I thought 'Life is short.' and I told her to push the buzzer to stop the bus. We both needed to eat, anyway, and there was a coffee shop right next to the charity place.

So we met Maria, who runs Little Darlings and rescues animals and places them, and she showed us a picture of two starving kittens that had been stuffed into a filthy carrier, tied up in a black plastic bag, and dumped outside her shop. I would give a great deal to have 5 minutes alone with the person who did this to them, I truly would.

That night, Maria brought them over, and my life is now filled with miaows and chirps and the delicate thunder of kitten paws stampeding across the floor at 2 a.m.

We have Hathor Freya, who seems to be training to be a ninja and hides in the most amazing places, and Bast Sekhmet, who likes to be able to see at least one human and know where her sister is, and will now eat out of my hand. They're still twitchy, and a bit nervous, but they're playing and eating and getting used to the fact that they are now in a safe place.

So yeah, although I'd prefer a non-painful way off the universe giving me directions, if I hadn't spent the night in the hospital I wouldn't have these cats in my life, and I'd be the poorer for it. But I'd really like a hospital-free life from now onwards; this is getting a bit annoying.








Sunday, 12 October 2014

Body Parts (minor rant alert)

Something that confuses me a bit - okay, a LOT, is why women seem hell-bent on letting other people decide things about their bodies for them. As females, it's become completely acceptable to have Fat Days, Bad Hair Days, Dull Skin Days, and every single one of those can result in depression, irritability, and a feeling of worthlessness. We panic over wrinkles. We freak out over grey hair. An extra five pounds can lead to sobbing under the duvet. (Yes, there may be a male out there that does this, but I haven't met one yet.)

Then you get the random bitchiness of strangers. There's a certain person out there who thinks they are completely justified in commenting on your appearance, food, and hair colour. These are people who've drunk the kool-aid of advertising to the point that looking like a normal human is beyond their comprehension. Or maybe they're just sad, angry little balls of misery that need to share that with the world. Hell, some of them have made a career out of appearing on t.v. to make nasty remarks to an audience of millions.
There are websites dedicated to body shaming, and nobody seems to find the idea behind them repulsive. Let's put it this way: unless you're not quite human, you are just as flawed as the people you are giggling over. You have no damn room to point.

Some of them go into politics, and this is where it gets scary. These people think that women shouldn't decide what happens to their bodies. They'd rather let you die than make that choice. Or end up in jail. They don't have that right, because slavery has been illegal for centuries, and deciding you own somebody else's body is pretty much the definition of slavery.

See, here's the thing. My body. I live in it, not anyone else. I dress it the way I choose. I decorate it the way I want, because I have to live in it. If I feel a bit overweight, I can choose to go on diet. Or not. Nobody has the right to tell me otherwise. If I am underweight, the same goes. My. Body.

I change my hair colour a lot, because (a) I can, and (b) I like it. Sometimes I don't like the colour, and it gets changed fast. But it's my choice.

I have tattoos. I like my tattoos. If you have a problem with them, don't look at the bloody things. They have nothing to do with my sexual inclinations, promiscuity or whether I like swinging from chandeliers on a Saturday night. I have yet to see someone walk up to a large, muscular tattooed man and accuse him of having a tramp stamp.

As for sex… It's really nobody else's business who you sleep with, as long as it's consenting and there are no kids or small furry animals involved. Or large furry animals. No animals, okay? It's something that's as fundamental to the human experience as eating and sleeping, and nobody has the right to tell me whether or not I should be doing it. I don't particularly care whether various religious figures approve or not, because they have no business in my bed.

Advertising tells me I should do everything in my power to stop ageing. You know what stops you ageing? Death. That's pretty much it. I don't really want to shuffle off this mortal coil just yet, and when I do I sure as hell have no intention of clutching a tube of anti-wrinkle cream in one clawed hand.

I have a number of scars, and the ones on my leg are pretty big. Society and advertising tells me I should cover them up. Never wear dresses or shorts, camouflage them so other people don't have to see them and flinch. Well, that's not going to happen. My scars show the world I survived something pretty damn painful, and if you have an issue with that, don't look at them.

Then you get "age-appropriate" clothes. You know what's age-appropriate? Not wearing diapers past the potty-training stage. If you like it, wear it. This life is too short to listen to some idiot tell you that you shouldn't enjoy it.

My body. I choose what I do with it. I choose whether or not to have kids, to carry a pregnancy to term or not, to paint it, pierce it, decorate it in any way I want. It does not belong to society, advertising, my family or my friends. It never belonged to past or future lovers, because I'm not a piece of meat. It doesn't belong to any government, either. It doesn't belong to hackers, or advertising, or society as a whole, and I am unbelievably tired of all of these entities trying to tell me it does.

Do me favour, will you? If you are female, the next time someone tries to make a bitchy comment on your appearance, tell them it's none of their business.  If you're male and you witness it, tell the commentator it's none of their business.
And if you are the commentator, think about why you are doing this. Why you find women so horrifying (even if you are one) that you have to make them feel just a little bit worse, a little bit smaller. And stop drinking the bloody kool-aid.







Saturday, 13 September 2014

Blood on the ground: Why the Pistorius verdict is terrifying

So this week I got to watch a travesty of justice. Fun!

After  months of watching Oscar Pistorius revert to the age of about 6 in the courtroom - the puking, wailing, and sticking his fingers in his ears was particularly telling - the judge did the equivalent of giving him a time-out while patting him on the head. Kootchey kootchey koo, sweetums.

His behaviour in court annoyed me. This is what happens when you shoot a living, breathing human being, you ass. They bleed and die, and it's not pretty.
Stuffing your fingers in your ears doesn't change what you did. Puking sure as hell doesn't bring a dead girl back. Let's not even talk about the made for t.v. movie acting abilities. Crying and snivelling made it seem he was a hell of a lot more sorry about being in court - why didn't the cops just accept his story that night?
But hey - you can say you were terrified! You can say you thought it was intruder! (One that stopped for a potty break before charging into your room to slaughter you? Really? I'm not an expert, but that doesn't seem like normal procedure for a home invasion.)

Only an idiot fires repeatedly through a door when they can't see the target. An idiot, or a man raging about something who thought he'd teach his girlfriend a lesson. Maybe the intention was to frighten. Maybe the man should never have been given a gun license. We simply don't know.

You have to wonder what the current girlfriend thought of all of this. 18 is pretty impressionable, so the odds are he was given a soothing back-rub and a cold beer to soothe his nerves afterwards.

There's a chance he'll get a custodial sentence, but I'm not holding my breath on this one. The Telegraph headline on Friday read in part: "Shattered Oscar leaves court." What it should have read was "Destroyed Steenkamp family loses hope in justice."

In a country where it seems killing women is becoming a national fucking sport, this sentence is terrifying. Wife burnt the roast? Shoot her, and tell the world you thought it was a burglar. Girlfriend talks back? Shoot her. Tell the cops you thought someone was breaking in. Hell, if you set it up right, (i.e: not in a frigging toilet without the space to swing a cat) you'll probably get away with it. You might even get a bloody book deal.

This case made headlines because both Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorious were national figures. But look: a woman in South Africa is murdered by her partner on average every 8 hours. That's a slight improvement; this link cites a study that shows in 2004 it was every 6 hours. Sexual offence cases in 2012/2013 sit at 66 387. That's not a typo. Now think about the fact that less than half of sexual attacks are reported.

In this respect at least, South Africa is a microcosm of a much larger global disease, one that declares females as inferior, incompetent, and terrifying to certain males. We need to teach our kids that it is unacceptable to be a punching bag, and completely repulsive to use your partner as one. We need to teach them that using a weapon against another living being results in horror.
Until education eliminates that view point, until judgements are made that slaughtering your girlfriend in a toilet is murder, that raping a woman is abominable, that beating the ever loving crap out of a woman because you can is assault, there will be more death.
More blood on the ground. More families weeping over raw earth as coffins are lowered.







Saturday, 30 August 2014

What not to do to coffee : Moments of Aargh

So I discovered how to make a migraine (yep, it came back. Week 3 and counting, though not the same levels as hell week) back off temporarily. Unfortunately it involves destroying a perfectly good cup of coffee and a certain degree of pain all by its little self.

Step 1: Do the zombie shuffle to the kitchen and make your black coffee as per usual.
Step 2: Place the coffee beside your bed the way you've done every morning for several years.
Step 3: Put your foot down and place it in the mug. (I have small feet. Some of you may need bigger mugs.)
Step 4: Make a noise like a cross between a wounded buffalo and a whistling kettle.
Step 5: Remove foot and hop to freezer. Swearing is optional, but highly recommended. Realise coffee is now undrinkable, because feet.
Step 6: Stick foot in freezer. Drop lid on ankle.
Step 7: Sit on floor with bag of peas on foot. Text boss to explain what happened. (He may need valium by the end of this year.)
Step 8: Lurch around on very tender toes for rest of day.

Bonus points if you:

1) Get your hair caught on the bathroom stall coat hook at work. Emerge looking like a deranged troll doll. With a limp.



Sunday, 17 August 2014

Hell week : 168 hours of migraine

So this past week, I discovered that I can now achieve week-long migraines. This is not a good thing.

It was particularly unpleasant since they've been infrequent after nearly popping my clogs in New Zealand; to me a migraine attack once a month is pretty damn awesome.

Friday I started the twinges. All the warning signs were there - sugar cravings, feeling ratty as hell, sharp spikes of pain over the right eye. I expected a not-so-nice Saturday, but again - once a month I can deal with.

Saturday and Sunday with both fairly low level; not worth breaking out the painkillers for. I could eat. Monday morning started with the migraine ramping up. Painkillers - even the big-boy versions - didn't touch it. Food was a no-go.
Tuesday it got worse. I worked from home in the morning, until the pain got so bad I basically threw up my toe-nails and logged off. By that evening, I was doing a great imitation of the dead girl from the Ring movies. The original version.

Then Wednesday came.
Did you know you can hallucinate on migraines? And not the usual funky light show either; full on OMFG there are spiders the size of frigging rabbits in the flat hallucinations. (I admit to throwing a shoe at the first one before I realised that no spider on the planet gets to that size. I'm just glad I missed the computer.)
The pain alternated between the usual spikes and the feeling that the right side of my skull was being crushed. My neck hurt. I couldn't hold things in my right hand for long, and my depth perception (never my strong point anyway) was away with the fairies, giggling gently and bouncing off walls.
A few of my friends wanted me to call an ambulance. I don't know how coherent I was, but here's the explanation of why I didn't, just in case:
Emergency rooms are busy (noisy), brightly lit, and full of strong smells. This combination on a killer migraine means I'd have to be unconscious before I go into one; I'd rather lick a cheese-grater than do that to myself. There's another reason: go to the A&E with a migraine and the automatic assumption is that you're a junky looking for a fix, or you're hung-over. That you look like a shambling, shaking corpse just bears that out. Most docs & nurses are doing their best, I know. Just not if you have a frigging migraine.
I called the non-emergency line, and the woman I speak to got very excited right up until I told her I was diagnosed with chronic migraine, at which point she acted like I ate her puppy.

I got an appointment with my GP, who was pretty worried and made an appointment with a neurologist for Friday.

The folks FaceTimed me, and probably wished they hadn't. I wasn't a pretty sight, and I wasn't very coherent.

Thursday passed in a daze of pain and nausea. I don't remember much of it.

Friday I ended at the neurologist. Stace came with me, which was good because I can get lost going to the bathroom at the best of times, let alone when I'm seeing double AND giant bloody spiders. I was twitchy.
I passed the mini-stroke test (yay, me), found out the hallucinations happen to other people too (relief), got given the contact info to book a scan to make sure the ole brain isn't going too pear-shaped, and got given a blocker injection into the occipital nerve, which had reached new heights of inflammation.

It hurt.

I said a few very rude words, and clawed a hole in the towelling over the bed I was resting my forehead on.

It hurt some more, and then I felt/heard this hissing, fizzing noise and felt something pop in the back of my skull.

The nausea started dissipating almost immediately. I ate solid food that night for the first time in five days; there was still pain, but it was fading back. I slept on my side since the back of my head was too sore to put pressure on, and I woke up Saturday pain-free for the first time in a week.

As of now, Sunday, I'm still pain-free. I'm craving sugar, and I've still got marks under my eyes, so I've no idea what will happen when the blocker wears off.

Let's hope that by the time it does this particular migraine has burnt itself out.