stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Half-Baked Scanlations has posted the scanlated last chapter of Lucky-kun, and thoughtfully added a link to an essay titled 'Yaoi-Ronso: Discussing Depictions of Male Homosexuality in Japanese Girls' Comics, Gay Comics and Gay Pornography'. There's a lot of great stuff to mull over in that essay, but first I want to start with a quick word on Lucky-kun.

Whole lotta manga terms and rambling under the cut )
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Briefly scanned through the f-list whilst avoiding the nano and saw mention of a King of Fighters movie. OMG not another trainwreck inspired by a classic video game series. Seriously, if they're so hard up on ideas why don't they just make a movie based on Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball?

Pics and whine under the cut - sigh, I don't know why I bother )
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
As I reached for the paper this morning, I noticed how light it seemed compared to previous weeks. No wonder, as the Opinion & Book Review section was missing. The one thing I looked most towards at the end of the week is now condensed and tacked onto the back of the paper. I sputtered vile invectives against the owners of the paper and vowed to finally jump ship and subscribe to the New York Times.

Fuck hometown pride. Like the Lakers/Dodgers/LA transit system, the LA Times is an embarrassment. Yep, I went there.

Right, I'm off to write a strongly-worded message to the paper and tell them off. If it's published in next week's opinion page, well, I probably won't read it will I?

ETA: Exactly why they suck...
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (ooh)
I certainly didn't plan it this way. Truth be told, a plan was never made. I was simply going with the flow, hoping no one would suspect. It was pure accident then, that I came out at work... as a comics nerd.

The signs were all there: me coming in a bit later on Wednesdays, the habit of yelling RICHAAAAARDS! when the computer's on the fritz, the fact that the car has a sticker reserved for employees of Wayne Enterprises... Hell, I even wear an el-cheapo Green Lantern ring everyday! Yet as I confirmed the stuff in the blue bag were indeed comics, I was met with very surprised looks. And plenty of questions.

Q. Are you one of those nerds who get upset when comics are turned into movies and the actors aren't the ones you like?
A. I don't read Marvel.

Q: Dude, comics have ads now?
A: ...

Thanks to this and gasp, actual work, I hadn't the time to read everything I picked up this week:

Jonah Hex
Batman RIP
Joker: Joker's Asylum
Billy Batson & The Magic of Shazam!
Legion of Superheroes

I did manage bits of the first two, so what are we waiting for?

In which I expose just how shallow I am, but Sequential Tart gives me swift kick to the rear )

And hi to all the new Bat-friends!
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (champ)
Two shirtless men, grasping at each other. One has blood running down his face, the other is stumbling backwards and is righted by a left hook against the steel cage. They clinch for what seems like an eternity.

Welcome to Mixed Martial Arts.

I've been watching Elite XC on NBC with my baby brother, downing Cokes in lieu of the beer my mum's adamant about not having in the house. MMA is far from the brutal anything-goes stereotype many seem to have from, I dunno, horrible Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. Rather, MMA depends on how well the fighters are matched. Earlier in the evening, we saw fights that lasted less than 2 minutes. Weaknesses are ruthlessly exploited here.

MMA combines any combination of fighting techniques; plenty of the top fighters are trained in the boxing and wrestling disciplines. No matter what art a person practices, it makes sense to employ moves from these two sports. If the opponent is a pro at takedowns -- a grappling move that lowers a fighter to the ground to be pinned for submission -- the other person better have a strategy for avoiding this, or else try to survive the ground-and-pound (fist whaling on face) and the inevitable chokeholds.

As a kid, I was definitely drawn to boxing. It wasn't just because I were in many a playground fight, or that I had to do something when the male parental unit hit me. I LOVED Ali. I loved his lyricalness, his insane choice to play with his opponent's mind rather than outright pummel with his power, the dance in the ring, and the solemness of the entire spectacle. Looked upon a certain way, it was almost a religious experience. Of course, this was before the exploitation of Tyson and the sheer vulgarity of the publicity machine.

It had something to do with the fact I lived in the Philippines as a pre-teen. There is mad love for basketball and boxing, and both sports have a particular love for the underdog who play well. Even more if they don't end up winning. And just like them, I'll back up the scrappy fighter who gets loses badly, simply because he showed grit.

MMA fighters have that in spades. The last match abruptly ended just when it was about to boil over into a spectacular fight-to-finish when one fighter had his opponent's finger in his eye socket. A doctor was hurried into the cage to examine the injured party, and the decision was made to end the fight. The bloke who as hurt howled with disappointment and went over to the other fighter, and they spoke softly, foreheads touching, both equally upset. It made my heart wrench.

It's pretty scary to watch the matches and think, wow I should do this. I still have the itch to take up boxing again, but can't find a gym nearby to accommodate the training. My baby brother's already training on-and-off due to the way things are with the current gym, and I'm not sure whether he's serious about it. Last year I asked for advice on metafilter for a supportive gym to sign him up at, and a former boxer recommended MMA instead. He said it might be safer for a kid his size, and it may lead to other martial arts, again safer than stand-up fighting.

I'm aware of the physical damages caused by boxing. I only need to look up Ali for an extreme example. Then there's the detached retinas, the internal organ damage, and the broken jaws. But a part of me still says, it's worth the pain. The MMA fighters claim it's for the fans as much as it is for them. But boxing: there ain't no greater drama in sport.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (giornalista)
Thanks to [personal profile] parlance for the heads up: (United Farm Workers): One hundred plus farm workers evicted following news coverage.

That's right, once a news report on the plight of farm workers were broadcast, the company's representatives called sheriffs to evict the workers from the orchard they were practically squatting. Why were the workers in the orchard in the first place? Because when they arrived in California for the promised jobs, the accommodations never materialised. UFW has more.

The company involved: Kyle Mathison Orchards, part of Stemilt Growers Company.

This is just another reason to buy from your local farmers.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (sickens)
In Year 9, our history class were split into debating groups for a day. My group was assigned to represent Ancient Sparta, and to engage with the Ancient Athenians in spirited arguments on which society was superior. Unlike other debates we were not given any extra time to prepare our statements and had to come up with speeches on the spot. The other group had concentrated on emphasising Athen's cultural superiority over their admittedly barbaric-seeming neighbours. Most of my group had resorted to threatening the Athenians with war in their speeches. If 300 had been out at that time, I'm pretty sure our guys would have ripped their shirts open and beat their chest, such strongly was the testosterone in the room. I was second to last and delivered a short speech on the importance of military might over political will (haha!), reminding the Athenians there were Spartan spies in their midst for their own benefit. Scary, huh?

Anyway once everyone had a go, our teacher decided instead of allowing each group to give a rebuttal each we were allowed to take turns to say anything within 60 seconds. For all the wannabe debate moderators out there, this is a BAD idea. Right from the get go the verbal swipes were vicious. Athenians are hypocritical imperialists concerned only with trade and care not for Greeks. Spartans are aggressive animals that deserve to be wiped out by the Persians. Just before it descended into a fist fight, I spoke up for the Spartan women and sneered that we could go out of the house without a chaperon and with no fear of being molested. There were appreciative whoops from the audience, and a shamefaced opposition whose only answer was a hand reaching for my throat.

How flippin' sad that I can't say the same for today. Cripes. I would love to walk around LA without constantly running into someone wolf-whistling or catcalling. It's not a cultural thing, please don't give me that line. I've been catcalled and eyeballed like a piece of meat in white bread suburbia, Chinatown,  in the financial district of Downtown LA, and even the beach cities. Here, every time I walk to the shops or the post office I have to bring along my mp3 player or try my best to avoid the calls.

If it isn't random whistles, it's the scary drive-by leer (when the car slows down so the driver won't have to take his eyes off you, even if he has to look over his shoulder to do so), or the truly stupid shouts. Today within a 15 minute walk I had four catcalls. Four! Some young blond guy had the gumption to lean his entire head out the window of his pickup and yell 'WHOO, BABY! BAD GIRL!' while the light was still green. I watched in alarm as he tried to swerve in order to avoid hitting the center divider.  Mind you, I was wearing a long sleeved dark shirt and dark baggy jeans. Just exactly what part of me was a bad girl?

It really makes me think all men are scum, it really does. They may think its funny or appreciative to make lustful glances in this way, but it's upsetting. One year when I was waiting for a friend to pick me up, a jeep drove by with three college-aged guys who asked how much I was charging as a ho. There is no end to my embarrassment and humiliation at being singled out by a bunch of stupid men in this way. You would think someone would have taught them better. And at the end of it all, I feel incredibly confused and guilty. Why me? What did I do to deserve this sort of attention? No one needs to feel as if they exist for the sole purpose of entertaining men and I'm sick of it.

But what can we do, other than teach our brothers, cousins, nephews, friends not to perpetuate this behaviour? What can I do that will get the message across that I do not want to be part of this anymore? Where can I move to in order not be bombarded by the disgusting leers? Or should I just accept it as another unfair part of life and try my best to pretend it doesn't exist?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Ganked from [personal profile] ldragoon : Skirt Chasers: Why the Media Depicts the Trans Revolution in Lipstick and Heels by Julia Serano.

Very well-written pieces on transgenderism. The one that got me to smack my forehead was the women-born-only policies and the arguments supporting them (negative male energy, I kid you not). And it really gets me upset that others would treat them as freaks of nature, because they're somehow 'unnatural'.

Bryan Sykes' Adam's Curse is what truly made me believe gender is more complicated than XX and XY. Researchers have found men with XX chromosomes. This seems unlikely, as males have XY and women XX chromosomes. As it turns out, these XX men have only tiny segments of the missing Y chromosome. It's enough for the maleness genes of these individuals to be switched on. And it's enough for me to believe when someone says they feel trapped in the wrong gender.

Serano also states:

It is no longer enough for feminism to fight solely for the rights of those born female. While that strategy has furthered the prospects of many women over the years, it now bumps up against a glass ceiling that is partly of its own making. For while the movement worked hard to encourage women to enter into previously male-dominated areas of life, many feminists have been ambivalent at best, and resistant at worst, to the idea of men expressing or exhibiting feminine traits and moving into certain traditionally female realms. And while we credit previous feminist movements for helping to create a society where most sensible people would agree with the statement “women are men’s equals”, we lament the fact that we remain light years away from being able to say that most people believe that femininity is masculinity’s equal.

Oh, I'd love to see that. But seeing how these days feminists are busy fighting amongst their own, I don't know how successful this push will be.
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Last week Anu Garg's monstrously popular A Word A Day daily e-mail mailing list was guest-hosted by a veg advocate. In response to the very first word of the week vegan, Garg received a large volume of e-mails regarding the use of the mailing list as a platform for veganism/vegetarianism.

At first I couldn't for the life of me understand the hubbub. What exactly prompted the rage? I'm thinking maybe it's the theme itself that's at fault, that no one wants to feel as if they're being lectured on something as personal as food choice. Fair enough, but I thought there were no overt lectures during the advocate's period. Maybe I've been too veganised to recognise when it's overt rather than covert?

The first day of the week's word was vegan. The second was speciesism, the assumption of superiority of humans over other animal species, especially to justify their exploitation.

Uh oh. Okay, yeah that might be the trigger.

The third word of the week was factory farming and included this little tidbit:

Some of the characteristics of a factory farm include intensive crowding of animals, trimming of birds' beaks, cutting pigs' tails, force-feeding of ducks, injecting artificial growth hormones, restricting mobility, etc.

Cue the angry AWAD-ers who wrote in to unsubscribe from the mailing list, least the ones who hadn't done so after speciesism. Yipes.

See, I'm fine with people eating meat. As long as the happy meat-eaters are aware of the conditions of how their meat was raised and processed, it's cool. I don't feel the need to force veg issues down people's throat or feel superior because I don't partake in meat. To be honest, if I could I'd break out the bacon too.

But there's truth and there's nice. And blindsiding people with ugly details and raising the idea of speciesism just makes them defensive and less likely to listen to the arguments. If someone came up with a folder full of horrifying statistics of farmed animals, then challenged me to defend my meat-eating ways, I'd tell 'em to fuck off even if I could explain I'm practically a vegan. Telling someone innocent animals could be saved by not eating them produces an unhelpful tense environment because it's forcing that person to look at themselves in a bad light i.e. like animals but like eating them too= evil.

It's not that simple. Food is essential, food is personal, food is cultural. You want to convince people to stop or at least look at the arguments, pass around the information given from a neutral point of view. Have faith that from your example, people will follow.

Same goes for those who sneer and dismiss the reasons why people go veg. There's no need to fly off the handle every time someone brings up the issue of factory farming, or cruelty to farmed animals. These are valid points and are in need of a major overhaul. You may not like the idea of giving up meat, but surely you're not okay with animals being abused before meeting its end in the slaughterhouse?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (sickens)
From the BBC: Mehdi Kazemi has said his life is in danger if he is returned to Iran, where he says his boyfriend named him as a partner before being executed. Homosexual acts are illegal in the Islamic republic. A Dutch spokesman said Mr Kazemi would now be sent to the UK, the first European country he entered. A claim for asylum in the UK had already been turned down.

From what I understand of listening to Radio 4's excellent past series on asylum and asylum seekers, a person wishing to apply for asylum must do so on the first friendly soil. Kazemi was correct in seeking asylum in the UK, but unfortunately the level of success is low. There have been cases where perfectly suited asylum cases were denied. Farhat Khan was trapped in a violent marriage to a man who was planning to marry his young daughters to violent relatives. She argued her return to Pakistan would mean her death, as the men in her family believed in 'honour killings'. The UK's response: Khan would not be in danger if she simply moved away to another part of Pakistan. Eventually she won her case, but she was lucky. What about the women who haven't the education, or the skills to convince the Home Office of their predicament? In this case, they may be detained or imprisoned as failed asylum seekers, before being deporting to their country of origin.

When Kazemi's asylum application was denied, he left for the Netherlands where it's better for LGBT asylum seekers. I say better, because that country has accepted seekers from Iran because of the punishment for homosexual acts: execution.  However the Dutch government will not listen to his case because he had landed on the UK first. There was a similar scandal when controversial former Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali admitted she lied on her application from which country she arrived from in order to speed up the process. She came to the Netherlands through Kenya and Germany, two countries where she might have applied for asylum. What's frustrating is that no one is denying homosexuals in Iran are executed, and that two Western countries with all their liberal talk are not willing to protect one man from certain death.

Applying for asylum based on sexuality is tricky. Even in the US there's a strong possibility the application will fail and the seeker will be deported. The UK Home Office haven't given any details of why it turned down Kazemi's application, but a commenter mentioned the stance of the government is that gays and lesbians in Iran may not fear danger if they were 'discreet'. There's no chance of that now for Kazemi, who feared for his life in the first place because his ex-lover outed him before execution. The resulting publicity from Kazemi's fight to stay is only making it worse, basically targeting him for death. Once Kazemi is sent to the UK, that country will begin deportation proceedings.

It's sickening that the current climate is so virulently against asylum seekers. This is not just happening in Europe, but in Asia as well. Australia regularly detains or turn away asylum-seekers, Malaysia imprisons. Why is this? After World War II, millions of refugees left their homes to resettle in the Western world. Has this experience forced some sort of backlash? See this article where an immigrant to the UK says problems in the neighbourhood was caused by asylum seekers who 'waste' tax money on beer. He'd like nothing better than to deport them all. His opinions however are shared by many who believe asylum seekers are really economic migrants who lie on applications in order to gain benefits.

I can't believe anyone who could be so cold-hearted as to refuse help to an asylum seeker who may be subject to abuse, or torture, or death even if you don't agree with their positions.  Could these asylum decisions ever be justified?
stinglikeabee: classic denny colt  (Default)
Had to post this after the incredibly stupid and wasted interview with Megan Wallent. The interviewer went around asking Megan's assistant and those who worked with him if they thought it was 'confusing' Megan used to be Michael. The interviewer also asked if they saw Megan as a man or a woman.

Uh, newsflash. These people continue to work with Megan, and at Microsoft no less. Do you think they would say anything negative about Megan in these circumstances? Also, why the stubbornness at trying to paint Megan as a freakshow? Why succumb to the shock value of 'is it a man, or a woman'?

You know what was the worst part of this piece? When the interviewer asked Megan's wife if Megan is her husband, or wife. I nearly slipped on the floor whilst doing the laundry.

C'mon Nightline. Don't pander to narrow-minded viewers. Believe it or not, there are people out there who will accept Megan and other transgenders without a second thought. And the questioning of Megan's wife should have been handled more delicately; she looked as if she would start crying.

Should have asked more intelligent questions, like since Megan has changed her name and sex on ID papers is the marriage still legal? After all, same-sex marriages aren't legal in the US. How hard was it to change Megan's old identity (paperwork)? Did she make the decision by herself, or was there a support group? <-- See what I mean by 'wasted'? Nightline had the opportunity to shine a spotlight and educate viewers on this issue, but instead squandered it.

Do yourself a favour and don't read the comments on the ABC News article. How people can remain judgmental on things they are most ignorant I'll never understand.

EDIT: I'm pretty sure that last sentence will come bite me in the arse one of these days. The 'people' I'm referring to are the posters who say Megan should remain a man 'as God intended'. Screw that.

Megan's and family's brave for going through with the interview. After reading her blog entry on the experience, perhaps I was hasty ripping on ABC. Maybe the GMA segment was different from the Nightline cut? It's the tone of the piece that irks me, not the content. I did not see the level of sensitivity the topic needed.

Additionally, I do realise that not everyone wants to be a poster child for something, and just want to tell their story. My bit about Nightline and the chance to 'educate viewers' is probably too much :(



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