Category Archives: surreal

Startle: Swots

three-tailed-tawse
First, a confession, I’ve definitely got a thing, so to speak for BBC radio quiz shows and panel games for purely vanilla reasons (as pure as anything is for me).  I’m devoted to News Quiz, Just a Minute and a number of others.  The comedians working off each other just plain appeals to me.

On the kink side, I love that comments about CP seem to appear at pretty regular intervals in all of them.  My all time favorite was the moment on “I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue” when the irreplaceable Humphrey Lyttleton said “I was caned at school at it never did me any harm” ::3 beat pause:: “…though it did almost make me late this evening” or something close to it.

The Radio Scotland program, Swots, which was hosted by Miles Jupp and Susan Morrison and broadcast last summer, takes this to a whole other level.  The premise of the quiz show is that it’s set in a 1960s Scottish classroom where “the belt” (in the form of sound effect belt slaps and “ouch”) is used for any wrong answers to spelling and maths questions.  Wonderfully funny with an added thrill (for me anyway) of the sound of belt whackings and references to having to report to school masters “in vest and pants.”

Startling and delightful!

For more information (but you’ll need to find a download site yourself).

Restraints Startle

restraints
So this morning I biked to the gym just after 7AM (not usual for me on a Saturday morning but I had a bout of insomnia). The morning was foggy misty grey, something which added to the surrealness of this startle which almost caused me to ride my bike into a parked car.

You see, coming up on the sidewalk beside me, there was an older (at least in their 70s) Japanese couple. This is not unusual — lots of people go out for walks early in the morning. However, as I got closer, I noticed the woman was carrying what looked like a dog leash, but there was no dog. As I go closer, I realized to my surprise the leash was attached to the wrists of the male half of the couple which were
fastened behind him. Cue double-take and me almost riding into a parked
Honda.

My first thought was, well maybe he has some sort of dementia and she
needs to keep hold of him. But were that the case, why pin his hands
behind his back? There seemed no explaination beyond the obvious — she
was taking her husband for a walk.

Even after thinking about it throughout my workout, I still came up
empty so I thought I’d share. Any ideas?

[The restraints looked a lot like the ones in this picture if you imagine them fastened behind and the strap being held by his female companion.]

O how I pity me!

pity-me
The Story of Little Miss Scabby.

Okay, the title is a pretty good summary of where I’m going with this.  The second half of May, despite a lovely visit from a friend, has sucked and involved the bad sort of physical discomfort.

What’s happened?  First, I had to have a root canal (which would suck enough) only to have them get halfway through (that is, get to the point where they were poking at the nerve or whatever it is dentists do) and discover the tooth in question had a crack in it and needed to be extracted.  Then, just as my mouth was starting to heal, I woke up covered in red hives. The assumption was that I was having one of my allergic reactions to pain meds and so had a trip to emergency for steroids.  But no, Tuesday I find out it’s possibly shingles — which while I’m feeling pretty old lately, I’m still 20 years too young to be getting.  Except I have the marks all over so it’s even more likely, given that I was exposed to shingles a few weeks ago, I’ve got chicken pox.  Again.

Yes, you read that right.  I’ve caught them again.  Assuming this is chicken pox all over my face, neck, chest and shoulders (which is what my Dr. Mom thinks), it’ll mark the sixth time in my life I’ve had it.  Four times as a child, once in my 20s and now again in my 40s.  I’ve never been able to develop immunity to childhood illnesses and tend to catch them whenever I’m exposed (which is why you see me react with horror when I hear of children not being vaccinated — I’m not just worried about them, but also me).

The only positives, if there are any, is that first, everyone I work with is apparently immune so I don’t need to miss three weeks of work in order to heal up (since I get paid by the hour in the summer, missing 60 hours of work would add poverty to the general suckage) and I’ve had eczema for so many years now that the chicken pox really doesn’t feel that bad.  Certainly not as bad anyway. What it is is unsightly, itchy and, well scabby.

Bryson and the Doctor

bryson2

For those of you not following me on Twitter, I’ve had an amazing time during April (and part of May) which explains the radio silence here and elsewhere.  Here’s my attempt to explain it all in one fell swoop though I suspect more news will come out as time goes on.

First, and honestly the most wonderful and exciting, after two months of being lost, Bryson Bear was returned to me twice over this past month.

He first returned via eBay where, once we had identified him as of the Wuzzy clan (many thanks to Doug of Doug’s Bears for his help in communicating with GUND to identify him), an identical “new” Bryson was located in Glasgow, Scotland (as some of you pointed out — many thanks to all of you too!).

My mom purchased him for me since it was important that Bryson came from her as you probably guessed from the LOST post, The new Bryson flew across the ocean, braving volcanic ash and the U.S. Postal Service to arrive with much fan fair and packing in a large-ish cardboard box.

excellent-defense
I was naturally very glad to see him — he was clearly the right bear with the right intelligent expression.  But as my Doctor Who friends will know, like the new incarnations of the Doctor, while I knew the bear I was looking at was Bryson, because he very much felt like Bryson, he also very much wasn’t Bryson. There was, however a difference.  I could hardly remember Bryson ever looking so new.  Bryson yes, but not yet my Bryson.

Still, he snuggled close in the night and talked to me in a comforting fashion as Bryson always has.  And I needed Bryson and a great deal of comforting because my life had become insanely stressful — more so than I’d ever experienced.  You see, I found out in mid April I had to finish and defend my dissertation before the term ended the second week in May.  If I didn’t, there was a good chance I might not get to finish at all.  I wasn’t sure if I could do it (in fact, I was pretty sure I couldn’t) but after ten-plus years of graduate school, I couldn’t quit without giving it a try.

bryson1

So, I dropped out of life in order to cope and do what needed to be done — Paul handled all things social, phone, email and Twitter related.  I just worked.  I worked at my university job and I worked on my dissertation, ultimately writing more than one hundred pages in less than four weeks.  Given that ten pages a week is my normal “working very productively” speed this is pretty amazing.  It was actually liberating though, as said, very stressful.  I don’t ever want to experience it again.
Less than two weeks ago, five days before my defense, I was writing my final chapter (or “coda” as my chair called i)t and I got a phone call from a number I didn’t recognize.  Though I hadn’t been taking calls from anyone, I took this one for some reason.  The call was from LAX Marriott’s housekeeping supervisor.  She believed had found my bear.

The picture I had sent to everyone at Marriott (or so it seemed) had worked.  He had been recognized, even though, as I was told, his “timeline” was off.  More than two months after he had been lost, my original Bryson had been found at another hotel, having been sent there from the laundry.

both-brysons
Or that was the story that made sense to the hotel housekeepers.  I had my own which involved travel across both time and space, but either way, his being found and returned was a very good omen.  Someone a week from her defense is looking for omens.

Anyway, Paul went and claimed the Bryson the next day as I prepared to print out my dissertation and give it to my committee. The distraction of knowing he was coming home kept me calm enough to compile the document (well, almost). So Paul brought him home, leaving me so overwhelmed I couldn’t stop crying.

Part of me was a bit worried about new Bryson.  Naturally he was insecure, because still having his tags his tags on some 15 years after he was made, he seemed a bit worried he was about to be put up on the shelf again now that Bryson 1 was returned.  I reassured him that there was always room in the bed for another bear and he and Bryson 1 shared a Coke and seemed to become friends.  That said, Paul did point out that the Doctor never gets along very well with his other selves.

What I Think Happened

It seems clear to me that somehow, during Gallifrey, Bryson did have the opportunity to travel in the Tardis.  It being a time machine, I’m sure he figured he’d be back in literally no time and never be missed from the bed.  In the manner of time travel though, the Tardis brought him back a month late. By then, the sheets had been through the laundry many times and were far from our room.  He ended up at the wrong hotel and it took him a while to both figure out what happened and make his presence known.

Thank goodness Maria recognized him from the picture.  Of course he felt terrible for having abandoned and worried me.  Just make sure you always take pictures of the ones you love best.

He’s back now, living a quiet life among The Animals of the Bed.  But there’s an extra twinkle in his eyes.  You can tell he’s had an adventure.

Oh, and my defense went well.  A few revisions and I’ll be a Dr. Mija.  Imagine that.

LOST: Bryson Bear

bryson-closeupIntroduction
The blog has been a bit quiet lately even though I’ve been having some great adventures, including going to Gallifrey with kink friends and meeting up with lovely people in San Francisco at SF-CP, the first of hopefully many San Francisco spanking parties.  I’ve been working on my calligraphy (yes, caligráfica has also been quiet) and have been pretty active on Twitter (I helped with live-tweeting SF-CP until Twitter crashed that night). There’s a reason and it’s not that I’ve been too busy to blog. Rather, it’s been that while we were at GallifreyOne (the Doctor Who convention at LAX) the day after we’d heard the sad news about Alex, my long time companion Bryson Bear vanished from our room. Despite a great many phone calls, meetings with hotel security and housekeeping, he has not been found. A month later, I have to admit he’s unlikely to be returned.

This blog entry, were it a Usenet post, would be labeled COREDUMP. It’ll be my way of letting go and saying goodbye. Those of you who have followed the saga of Bryson on Twitter, well, I’m sorry for dragging it out and give much thanks to the many of you (especially Barrister) who were happy to talk bears with me when I needed it.  Your kind thoughts were much appreciated.

Bryson’s History
Bryson is the oldest of my stuffed animals, though he is only 12 or 13. There’s a reason for this — when I married the first time I was quite young (21) and married someone significantly older than me. Though he was the sort of person who was attracted to teenagers — I had just turned 18 when we met — he was uncomfortable with reminders of our age difference. When we started living together he convinced me to stop sleeping with and eventually to give away my few plushy animals.

My parents, especially my mother, didn’t understand why I had to leave my ex-husband. It wasn’t until later that his drinking problem and abuse were revealed to them. I had been too ashamed to talk about it and didn’t think anyone knew. When I left him in May of 1997, my parents didn’t exactly shun me, but they were distant, so much so that they didn’t make contact with me for six months, even on my 30th birthday (Paul’s gift was the only one I opened that day), though they did talk to me whenever I made the effort to contact them. It was, except for daily calls from Paul, a lonely time.

Unknown to me when she lived with us, my sister had actually seen and heard a great deal so she understood the problems in my marriage. She told my parents what had been going on and why my leaving was a good thing, perhaps the only thing I could do. When I saw my family at Thanksgiving, my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas, her way of reaching out. Normally I can never think of anything when people ask me that, but at that moment I knew. I told her I wanted a bear. She was surprised, but she told me in retrospect she was touched. I’d never really been the sort of child who was into dolls or animals. This was the first time she remembered me asking for either.

shaun-and-brysonAt Christmas I unwrapped the bear. I named him “Bryson” after the author Bill Bryson, whose books Paul had given me for my birthday that past July. It immediately felt like I’d had him all my life. From that night on, I slept with him every night and within a month found that I woke up whenever he fell out of the bed. When Paul came to visit the following May, I introduced them, and, in something of a test, asked him if it bothered him to sleep with me if I kept my bear.

Paul passed of course, so much so that from then on when he’d call me at bedtime he’d ask if Bryson was there too. When he wrote the glossary for the The Treehouse, he made an entry for Bryson so people would, if they liked, understand how important he was to us.

Bryson traveled with me pretty much always. This means he went to England and Scotland a large number of times. He went with me to Chris and sparkle’s wedding, to numerous Shadow Lane (among other) parties, to Oregon where I cared for and said goodbye to my nana and grandpa. I held him and passed him over when bookbabe and I talked about dying, when Paul and I broke up and when we got back together. Bryson was on the bed while I played with Alex and other dear friends. I wept on him, talked out loud to him and, well, just played with him — he was well balanced and with little effort could tumble and adopt an amazing number of yoga poses. Sometimes when Paul spanked me, he’d make sure I had Bryson somewhere within reach. Bryson posed with Shaun under our first Christmas tree, when Paul moved to the US. Bryson was always comforting, with just the right amount of soft squishy-ness.

In fact, I cried on Bryson his last night at the Marriott LAX as Paul and I talked about Alex and how much we’d miss him.

What Happened to Bryson?
The answer to that is we don’t know.

Here’s what we do know:

On Friday morning I woke up early, went for a swim and then came back to the room. After showering, I got back into bed for a bit, played with Bryson and mapped out the day using the Gallifrey program. Finally, I posed him on top of the pillows, next to the still-sleeping Paul, got up and went down to the Marriott LAX lobby to use my computer. Paul met me there and we went out to a late breakfast or early lunch at the local IHoP.

When we came back to our room it had been made up — bed made, bathroom cleaned, floors swept. Bryson, almost always placed in the center of the bed by housekeeping at any hotel we visit, was nowhere to be seen. At first I wasn’t too worried — sometimes in the past he’d been placed in chairs. Then I started searching under the bed, in drawers, in corners and finally in our luggage. Paul started looking too. I even looked in the room’s safe. Within a half an hour it was clear, barring secret panels, there was no way he was in our room. Somehow he must have been swept up by the cleaners.

I made my first call to Marriott housekeeping, asking them to check the laundry. Housekeeping took a description of Bryson but then stated that the sheets hadn’t been changed so there was no way a 16 inch tan bear would have been picked up with the linens. I got off the phone, re-searched the room, again with Paul, and then checked the sheets which sure looked and smelled like fresh sheets. I called again, got connected with lost and found and then re-connected with housekeeping. After a few minutes of discussion, I started getting more and mo
re upset and they decided they should send up security to search the room. Security wasn’t able to find Bryson in our room (I think they assumed we hadn’t searched) and promised the laundry would be checked and they’d get back to us.

At this point, it never occurred to me Bryson was gone for good.

I’m not sure how well Marriott searched housekeeping or the laundry (which is subcontracted off-site) but we’ve been pestering them every few days for the past month. Last weekend someone from housekeeping gave me contact information for someone from the laundry service. They did a detailed search of their lost and found, finding one bear from the weekend in question. Sadly though, when a photo was sent, the bear found was very much not Bryson.

Unable to stop myself, I’ve searched all my luggage over and over, as if he’ll somehow appear. But he hasn’t.

Bryson is gone and I can’t find him.

zille-and-tardisDespite all this searching, is Bryson sitting on a shelf somewhere waiting to be found? (It doesn’t seem likely at this point, but maybe.) Did he get thrown away by someone who just saw an old be and didn’t realize how important he is? (A terrible thought, and the one that bothers me most.) Did he get taken home and given to someone’s child who’ll love him at least as much as I did?  (The best thought of all as he deserves love and appreciation.) Or, being as how this was a Doctor Who convention after all, did he take off in Tara’s TARDIS? He was a bear full of adventure, always up for a trip. Had Bryson met the Doctor, perhaps he wouldn’t have been able to resist, especially if he thought, given that the TARDIS is a time-machine, that I’d never realize he’d gone, if he believed he’d be back before he was missed.

I understand that, I would have said yes too.

What now?
This morning I got a phone call from Marriott claims telling me that, though this in no way accepts that they have any responsibility for his loss, they are sending me (well, actually Paul since the room was in his name) a check for $20 as a gesture of goodwill. I bit my tongue, thanked them and restrained my real thoughts. They’re sending the check, though I suspect we won’t cash it, silly though that sounds. And for sure, I’ll never leave another animal on a hotel bed.

animals-of-the-bedMeanwhile, Doug, an expert on teddybears is helping me track information on the sort of GUND bear Bryson is. I’m not sure it would be right, but I think I’m going to try and get another like him. My mom is planning on searching again for just the right bear. And as this last rather bad picture (taken the week before we went to the LAX Marriott) shows, there are plenty of animals in on our bed — Milton (a manatee) came with us to San Francisco. Bryson was my first animal, but isn’t the only one by a long shot.

I’m not going to forget about Bryson. Nor will Paul, though I don’t think much more can be done with either the hotel or laundry.  If you find him out there, let us know. We’ll make sure to come get him and bring him home.

Meanwhile, fare thee well, beloved faithful old friend.  Come back if and when you can.

World’s Cutest Police Car?

smart-police-carThe other day I was at my calligraphy class, which is held at a middle school in Beverly Hills.  When I came out I saw the following very cute SmartCar police car.  It’s a real police car, complete with lights and siren.  So very cute — and like all SmartCars it looks like you could pick it up and tuck it in your pocket.

SmartCars have long held a certain fascination for me. Back in 1999, the first summer I spent in Edinburgh, I spent hours wandering the city, stalking a green one I desperately wanted to tae a picture of.  When they started appearing in Los Angeles a couple years ago, again I stalked them, less for pictures than just to look at them and smile.  It’s not just their smallness — they somehow look confident — they remind me of a small terrier hanging with the big dogs, all the cuter for not seeming to know that it’s tiny.

Another oddness about them is the way so often in Los Angeles they seem to have two people in them — the maximum capacity.  Maybe it’s fuel economy, but I like to think it’s because, like me, other people love the little cars.

Now all I need is to find someone with one to drive me around.  Though it’s probably not a good idea to try and get arrested, even in Beverly Hills.

iPhone: Kinky Apps

I’ve made a more serious post about how Paul and I use technology in our discipline / punishment scenes over on the Punishment Book including our more recent use of the iPhone in conjunction with Apple’s MobileMe. This blog entry is about the more fun and kinky iPhone apps I’ve discovered since Paul gave me one for my birthday this past July –I mention this in case there’s any doubt that Paul keeps me very indulged and spoiled. The screening process Apple uses hasn’t screened them out, at least not so far as I can tell.

ispankThe most obvious of the kink apps is iSpank. No really and for true, it’s there in the iTunes store, in both a free and $.99 version (you get more implements for the money). It’s fun — some of the sound effects are better than others. While the paddle is only okay, the belt or strap always makes me start a little even when I’m holding it. One danger of the app, however, is what I think of as the Wii problem — it encourages the spanker to swing their iPhone around. So make sure you have a tight hold. You then get rated on the strength of your swing. I rarely get more than 5/10, though Paul thinks I don’t need swing so much, that it’s all in the wrist.

But the kinkiest one I’ve found is called either iGrounded or UrGrounded. Its makers market it as a “parenting tool” claiming, “Kids need boundaries. This app helps parents set and enforce consequences.
-urgrounded games-makes grounding easier for parents and kids.” Nothing too kinky there (well, except the idea that punishment’s a game) — but then it goes on to say

igrounded

WE ARE A GENERATION OF WIMPY PARENTS…and we are creating a generation of kids that are lazy,rude, entitled and who show a lack of respect for RULES.

iGrounded is A QUICK POCKET GUIDE FOR PARENTS
When kids break the rules,they need immediate logical consequences.

wheel-of-consequences
iGROUNDED INCLUDES:

  •  UR GROUNDED WHEEL OF CONSEQUENCES GAME..
  •  THE MYSTERY DOORS CONSEQUENCE GAME!

Parents, YOU enter and edit the consequences in both games.

Guide to:

  1. LYING
  2. CURFEW BREAKING
  3. STEALING
  4. NOT CHECKING IN
  5. DRUGS /ALCOHOL
  6. SEXTING
  7. DRIVING ISSUES
  8. ATTITUDE
  9. POOR GRADES and more…

Parents, YOU enter and edit the consequences.

Keep track of who’s grounded in your home.
E -mail your child (and yourself) with the consequence as a friendly reminder.

Excuse me? Let’s just look at that last sentence. Are we talking about Girl’s Boarding School here?  I mean, I don’t have kids, but do most parents really need to have emailed reminders sent to themselves to remember which child has been grounded and for what?  How many teens are living in this “family” anyway?  The offenses also look like something out of video (or story) plot — parent scolding and punishing teen for breaking curfew, or better yet, catching them “sexting.”  Lovely stuff.  The app has scolding prompts to remind parents why lying is bad (seriously).

Keeping with this theme, I do find it odd that “not checking in” appears between “stealing” and “alcohol/drugs.”

Which brings me to the Wheel of Consequences.  As downloaded, the wheel, which spins with a flick of the finger does not have corporal punishments.  Insteadm, they start out with punishments like forced runs, losing game consoles, cleaning the cat box, losing pet (!!!) or having to stay home or in ones room (bliss!), but can be easily edited to fit a more CP turn.    The thing is, I can imagine this “spin and be punished” game being used at a Shadow Lane Party a lot more easily than I can by a parents as a means of deciding how to punish a teenager for a drug offense.

One last gem. The maker claims this app is “Recommended by Pediatricians”  — I’m  imagining a conversation a bit like this:

DOCTOR: Good Lord Sir / Madam!  Your child is clearly an out of control brat  who is both lazy and rude!  You are a wimpy parent!

PARENT: I know doctor, he/she has no respect for the rules. Maybe it’s because I can’t figure out what the logical consequences of their misbehavior should be. For that matter, I can’t even keep track of whether or not my son/daughter is grounded. Whatever can I do?

DOCTOR: I’ve no idea.  Your situation seems hopeless. Unless… I say, you wouldn’t happen to have an iPhone by any chance?

There’s nothing I can see that’s serious about this app, but it might be a great help for spanking story writers or roleplay enthusiasts.  And what could be more fun than that?

I killed Niki Flynn

True! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why will you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

niki-dead

By the dark of the night, far past the English witching hour, I put the final touch on the death of Niki Flynn. Yes she survives on in memory, Google is filled with pages of links to her images and even some of her words. Amazon continues to sell her books. But Niki’s site is no more.

Do I have your attention yet?

Okay, then that’s probably enough of the gothic for now. I’m afraid I lack the flare for it. But what I wrote is true enough. Late last night I did click the “delete” button on Niki’s Not Blog — Paul removed it from the ‘net at her request. If you go there today you’ll get the Laughing Squid “page not found” message. Those who have been following her blog writings are probably not surprised. Niki announced she was leaving earlier this month. Galleries had been disappearing even before that. The blog already was closed for comments. Still I’m sure some people are surprised this morning / afternoon / evening to find it gone altogether.

This chapter of my friend’s life is closed.

Earlier this week I read Ludwig’s insightful thoughts on Niki’s demise — both his last interview with her and a final blog entry on her leaving and wondered if when the time came I’d have anything to say. Clearly I’ve found something.

My thoughts are a little different than some who’ve known Niki Flynn. She was a surprise to me despite (or maybe because) I’d known the woman behind the masks of Niki and Fiona years before they appeared on the ‘net or in text and know her still. For all the mystery behind Fiona Locke, she seemed to evolve organically as an author / ‘net identity. Quirky, reclusive and oh so fine a writer, I knew her of old as it were.

Niki, emerging, as she did, out of my friend’s need for an alternate identity as she made first one film and then more and more, was someone else entirely. She was not the mad writer in the garret or a lost little woman-child. When I met her at her first Shadow Lane appearance, I was dazzled. Don’t get me wrong, she had always been beautiful and sexy but Niki radiated a sexual confidence (and just a general confidence) I hadn’t seen before, especially when meeting people. Niki was definitely another aspect of my friend — a public one, seen, as it were, through a glass brightly. I’d seen the pictures and films Niki was making, but this was my first experience of her as a distinct personality.

The same sense of the surreal washed over me as I read (and re-read) Dances With Werewolves and Over the Knee. I know a few people have commented that people should have guessed sooner based on the writing style, but I disagree. Even knowing they were both penned by the same person and having read other writing by her, the author’s voice in Dances With Werewolves has always seemed distinct from Fiona’s work. There’s a easy confidence and even extraversion to Niki I’d never associated with the woman I knew. That said, both, of course are her. Niki was just, to paraphrase Tori Amos, pieces of her I’d never seen –but was glad to know as I grew to recognize her voice (as did so many of us) through her blog.

I do believe closing and deleting the blog and site is the right thing to do. Niki isn’t writing any more and the site was always intended to be for fun (no money was made of it — indeed I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it was a break-even proposition) and a way for her to get feedback from others in the scene. In the almost three years it was up, it was never neglected by its author, this despite her having told a number of us when it started that she didn’t see herself as being much of a blogger (hence the name “Not Blog”). Rather than let it lapse into dis-use and be taken over by spam or become a chore rather than a pleasure, it’s better for it to be gone.

Nothing on the ‘net is ever really gone — Niki in archived form certainly won’t vanish. Even knowing this though, I did feel a tiny twinge of guilt as I pushed “delete.”

A final note. As Ludwig pointed out on his blog, our friend has opted for privacy — she removed her site and didn’t leave a forwarding address. Don’t write to me asking me to forward any mail. It’s not that I can’t — it’s that I won’t.

[…]ere long, I felt myself getting pale and wished them gone. My head ached, and I fancied a ringing in my ears; but still they sat, and still chatted. The ringing became more distinct : I talked more freely to get rid of the feeling: but it continued and gained definitiveness — until, at length, I found that the noise was NOT within my ears.

No doubt I now grew VERY pale; but I talked more fluently, and with a heightened voice. Yet the sound increased — and what could I do? It was a low, dull, quick sound –much such a sounds as a watch makes when enveloped in cotton. […] Why would they not be gone? I paced the floor to and fro with heavy strides, as if excited to fury by the observations of the men, but the noise steadily increased. O God! what could I do? […] It grew louder — louder — louder! And still the men chatted pleasantly , and smiled. Was it possible they heard not? Almighty God! — no, no? They heard! — they suspected! — they knew! — they were making a mockery of my horror! — this I thought, and this I think. But anything was better than this agony! Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die! — and now — again — hark! louder! louder! louder! Louder!

“Villains!” I shrieked, “dissemble no more! I admit the deed! — tear up the planks! — here, here! — it is the beating of [her] hideous heart!”

The photo was taken by Billy of Monkey Twizzle fame. The fiends ignoring Niki’s death are Paul and Lucy of Northern Spanking.

Angry & Evil Little Girls







girl-scoutsSomeone forwarded this “motivational” poster to me today. I love it.

Confession: I’ve always been fascinated by stories and films about little girls who do bad things.  Really bad things. Not naughty things like Eloise (though who doesn’t love a naughty girl in a short short skirt) or even kind of bad things like Minnie the Minx. I’m talking about girls like Rhoda (from The Bad Seed – the play, not the film) and Hayley (from Hard Candy) who do things that are really really BAD.  It’s why I was disappointed that Orphan chickened out of their creation of Esther as another cinematic Bad Girl in the end.

It’s not really whether they do terrible things in the name of something “good,” like Hayley’s torture in the name of justice or Rhoda’s basic, inherent evil that’s important.  What I love is the conflict between the assumption of sweet, harmless innocence that little girls always carry, even more than little boys, and their violence based on cleverness rather than physical strength or even conventional weapons.  I love the way they exploit our expectations of girlhood sunshine and light.

I think it may be time to order myself a DVD of Heathers to watch while snacking on some thin mints.

How Real?

Reading Neil Gaiman's blog today I saw that he'd posted a letter from a fan.  The fan was discussing a recent court ruling in New South Wales regarding the issue of cartoons and child pornography.  It's humorous and chilling at the same time.  Here's a portion of what he wrote:

A New South Wales judge has found that a man found with crude, fan made pictures depicting Simpsons characters Bart, Lisa and Maggie having sex.
  Apparently these drawn images are "people" in the eyes of the law and there is no distinction made between this and actual photographs of pedophilic acts.


An actual quote from the ruling was:

The magistrate was correct in determining that, in respect of both the commonwealth and the NSW offences, the word 'person' included fictional or imaginary characters . 


As Gaiman points out, the Simpson children not only aren't real people, but given the age of the show, they're all over 18.

Oh this world we live in!

How 'bout we try saving the real abused children out there and leave the fictional ones to be victims of the twisted imaginations of people like me?