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Tim Lieder

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An open letter to an old friend but mostly something that I have to write [Aug. 28th, 2015|05:53 pm]
Tim Lieder
This is to the person who wrote the FB message in the last post. I did not rise to the bait and he sent me the obituary and said that he didn't want to be my enemy and apologized. I said "ok" and he either blocked me or left FB. Which is probably for the best. However, I was thinking about this former friendship and the question he asked before - "are you obsessed with Nanda" - so this is what I would have written.

C -

You asked me if I was obsessed with Nanda. No. I am not. But I was obsessed with her. After her, I was obsessed with a girl named Talia and a Yemenite woman and then this woman that I met when I moved to New York and thought there was something there. That obsession ended when I started dating a woman in what was the kind of relationship so dysfunctional that it pushed me into the "moment of clarity." Seems like I am attracted to women who are emotional messes. I am also prone to infatuation and no matter how much I know that I am being irrational, I keep it going. Last summer, I met a woman and I fell hard for her. I wrote her long PMs and wanted to tell her everything about me. She was not just an ideal of someone just fucked up enough to be interesting; she was my muse. I got over her with great effort and hard cold honesty about what I was doing and why. The rush of infatuation is fun. The rush of feeling like you met someone that you can be completely yourself (or your best self) with is fucking amazing. But if you are wrong - or more importantly, if you try to force an intimacy that isn't there, it's just obsession.

By that same token, I have been obsessed in the same way that you have been obsessed - with enemies - usually former friends with their micro-aggressions and their delusions of grandeur. I have gone over the facts of old friendships when they ended and looked at every exchange with an eye towards prosecuting these former friends. All those evenings when I enjoyed listening them to run down mutual friends who were out of the room come back - only this time I am not thoroughly enjoying the bitch session. The sharing of writing is no longer a fun thing to do with friends but an example of holding someone back. I have named former bosses, incompetent managers, cousins who turned out to be racist, famous writers who I met on bad days who told me to fuck off, people who preach beliefs that I once fully believed in. I get that. I don't get obsessed over people I hate as much as people that I think I am in love with but I still do. So your question is interesting since the last few years of your hit-and-run insults - which began when I commented on one of your "all religious people are fucking morons" posts with "maybe you shouldn't be such a jerk about it" that led you to sending me a nasty note and blocking me on FB - have proven obsessive. Hell, you even apologized and for a time I thought we could be friends again but again you decided to push things with your aggression and insults and then pretended that I was the one who was irrational. And you believed it.

But regardless of these obsessions - they aren't about me. They are about you. Now that you think that you want to avoid poisonous anger, you will avoid me for awhile. But even if you don't do another hit-and-run hate parade on me, you will do it for someone else. I've seen your reviews of Buddhist books which you wrote after you stopped being a Buddhist. I have seen your comments. You are very angry. If you don't get a handle on it, you will just repeat this behavior. Whatever you have to do to deal with it - anti-depressants, actual therapy, etc. - you need to do it and work on it.

Otherwise, you will be obsessed. And these obsessions have nothing to do with your objects. When that guy in Virginia killed a reporter and a cameraman, he thought that THEY personally attacked him, but they didn't. They tried to deal with him as best they could until he was fired. Two years later they had forgot him and he killed them - either as individuals or representatives of all that was wrong with his life. Every stalker who ends up killing someone (or doesn't kill anyone) does NOT love the object of affection - but sees something in that person that is supposed to heal them and make them whole. But it never will.

My obsessions were all about me. I did love Nanda but after it was over with Nanda, I was not desperate to get Nanda back. I was desperate to get the ideal of being with a sane rational woman and being an adult back. I did not love D or T or Y - but they represented something that I wanted to be like - even if I wasn't. I wanted to transform myself into someone that they would love - either normal or more learned in Talmud or frum - but I was just projecting my own insecurities. When I hate an old boss or a friend who hurt my feeings, I am also projecting my self-loathing.

Oh sure, that's not to say that hating people is bad, but it can't be an obsession. There needs to be balance. And if you hate someone, you should be able to just block them and move on with your life.

I have been making up Perfect Lovers and Hated Enemies out of the raw material of actual people and my own angst and then living with them. But I don't want to do that anymore. And you shouldn't either.
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Ghosts of a life when I was much skinnier [Aug. 26th, 2015|06:13 pm]
Tim Lieder
Got this FB message today.
Tim, you should know that Edgewood die in july after falling off a ladder. Don't contact Bridget, you cunt. She doesn't want to communicate with you. That whole thing about her not wanting to talk to you happened in 2003 . Have a nice life, creep!
I'm not going to name the person who sent it. He was once a friend. He's not anymore.

The irony of this message is the fact that I stopped talking to Bridget because of him. There was a time when he was a good friend and while I didn't really want to hang out with him at MiniCon/Convergence, I still genuinely liked him for all his weird energy. He had sent an out of the blue FB message a couple months ago asking if I was still obsessed with Nanda which was another ironic question. Short answer - no. Longer reflective answer - no and I haven't even sent her a "how are you doing" email for years and I feel like a bad friend, but in many ways it feels strange to not be that obsessed with anyone anymore - like I feel free to not want to be with any woman so hard that it hurts to think about - but I kind of miss being so miserable. I know that's weird. Irony answer - I actually talked to him on one of the best nights with Nanda. Valentine's Day. We had been broken up for a few months but we were still friends and since she was no longer seeing the shithead that she left me for (still don't like that guy), I invited her to come over so I could cook for her - as friends. Somewhere in that evening this friend called because the girl he was flirting with/dating went back with the boyfriend that she had momentarily left. I tried to build him up and tell him that he should not give up so easily since he's the new guy and the guy that she wasn't sick of. After I got off the phone Nanda laughed at me for giving relationship advice since what the fuck did I know? Also, I was trying to help a friend be the guy that I hated at the moment. And then the evening went on with drinking and lots and lots of sex. Some memories.

(side answer - for a time I held up Nanda as proof that I don't just date women who are abusive and make me feel like I'm walking on eggshells. Nanda was a nice rational woman and I stayed with her for almost four years. Only I realized when I stepped out of my own bullshit and reflected a lot more on the history did I realize that I was part of HER unhealthy choices when it comes to romantic partners. She has a type - dreaming losers who aren't really doing much with their lives but have pretensions to artistic careers that will probably never happen - and did I ever fit that type.)

But Bridget. I met Bridget in high school. I got to know her better in college but not always so well. She was always breaking up and getting back together with Tim Sauve who was a hippie. At one point I called him Zenflake and I pissed off other friends with that. And we were a gossippy bitchy bunch who talked shit about each other as soon as one of us was out of the room. I think I would have liked Sauve better without everyone pointing out his flaws. He had a pompous way of speaking and there was a great deal of condescending attitude. But mostly I felt small compared to him - like he was out trying to change the world and go to these Rainbow gathering and getting arrested at anti-war protests. He was shaving his head because he felt like he was too egotistical. I would hit him with all the "impress my friends" attitudes that I had been spouting since high school and he would just not be impressed. He would even defend the Zendik Farm assholes and he seemed genuinely concerned with the world. I did not really have the language to truly elaborate on why I felt uncomfortable with the Zendik Farm types and their newsletters to really say that they were very cult-like and dismissive of everything that is not within their definition of purity and that never goes well. I don't know what happened to Tim. I try to look him up online but I think he's trying very hard to be off-the-grid. He also followed Osho/Bagwan Shree Rajneesh (an odd coincidence is that Nanda's dad also followed that guy and much more - I really liked Nanda's dad when I met him - felt like I was meeting someone to aspire to). The few people with that name seem to be preachers or organizers.

But I guess with Tim Sauve, I knew that he was full of shit. But I also knew that he was trying to grow in ways that I wasn't. And I felt intimidated to a certain extent by his push to get out of his definitions.

With Bridget, I did't really get to know her until Tim left on one of his pilgrimages - to Osho or Rainbow - and she seemed interested in me. So I went back to visit but I was really clumsy about hitting on her. Instead of saying "hey I'm attracted to you and you seem attracted to me so want to hang out more" like a mature adult would do (and it would be many years since I could even aspire to being a mature adult) I hung out and kept looking for a chance to kiss her and then just kind of backed off when she said that she wasn't interested in a one night stand. Not that serious dating was really possible, but at least I could have tried it.

So years pass and I hear news of Tim and Bridget from this friend. Tim ends up in the mental hospital. Tim takes too much acid. Bridget hasn't heard from me lately. Bridget broke a vertebra. Bridget got married. Tim was calling her to demand closure (Sauve did like his pop psychology). And at one point I called Bridget and left a message, because I missed her.

And then this friend told me that she did not want to hear from me. She thought that I had changed. Or she thought that I was not the kind of friend she wanted in her life. Regardless, I was hurt. And instead of just trying to get ahold of her to ask HER what she had said, I left a message on her answering machine telling her that I had heard what she said about me and that if she wanted me out of her life fine. I probably said a lot more things. It was all anger and hurt feelings. She called and left a message but I didn't listen to it. This friend told me that she didn't know what I was talking about and thought that I was just crazy for leaving a message out of nowhere.

At the time I believed that I was going on valid information. Of course, given the message quoted above I have to wonder if Bridget ever did have a problem with me. Mostly I wonder if she even said what he said. I suspected that he exaggerated what she said and I flew off the handle on the exaggeration. I know that I reacted badly. I know that I should have ignored it, no matter what she said, because how much have I talked shit about friends when I was angry or upset or annoyed with them? (just go find a random entry on this LJ to see evidence of that case) Even if she had said that, I should have known better.

Yet, this friend went really hostile in the last few years. I have blocked him on FB and unblocked him. I got his hit-and-run comments on this journal and saw him posting comments in blog posts dedicated to telling the world that Tim Lieder is a shithead (there are a lot of them). And that hostility has made me wonder if Bridget ever said ANYTHING bad about me. Perhaps he just said that she didn't want to talk to me for his own reasons. Perhaps he just knew two friends who seemed to have lost touch and wanted to get back in touch and decided to be an Iago, poisoning the well against both. Maybe he told her several lies about me talking shit about her.

Or maybe it's on me. Maybe I had offended her and I had become someone she didn't want to be friends with. Maybe my skittishness about knowing things about her that she had not told me herself had soured her on the notion of staying in touch with me long before we lost touch (there was an apartment where all the roommates wrote in a journal and the journal was a testament to the kind of dysfunctional ways that 18-20 year old people treat each other. She was one of the people in that journal - but there was more.) Maybe she felt like she needed to cut people out of her life and I was one of those people. And maybe I should have accepted it.

Either way, I hope she's ok - well relatively ok - I think that Edgewood was her husband.
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On guilt and shame [Aug. 25th, 2015|10:13 pm]
Tim Lieder
I usually liked going to summer camp because I was never the weirdest kid in the cabin. This meant that not only was I not bullied, I could join in on bullying that kid. Sometimes that kid cried and others felt bad. Other times, the kid was pushed into trying to beat up the most obnoxious kid in the cabin (the one that would have been the shit if the one kid wasn't). One time there was a kid who loved slugs. And damn, we would slam on him for that. All the time. I even joked about killing his slug collection which sent him crying.

When I was visiting my uncle on his last day on earth, he was in the hospital and in the coughing and gasping phase. He was dying of AIDS and lung cancer and he looked like a Holocaust victim. I spent a lot of time fighting with my mom and at one point I just looked at him with pure horror and I know that he saw that. He shouldn't have had one of his last moments being that look. I did walk out and my mom almost followed me, but she was told to stay because that was it. I came back twenty minutes later and she was telling him to go to sleep. He was dead somewhere in there.

One time I pushed my mom - I was a teenager and she was yelling. I pushed her and she fell and she just lay there like I had knocked her out. I don't know if I did. But it was scary.

Another time I was going to the movies with my mom and I was like 12-14 - don't know. And she wanted to see Three Amigos but I wanted to see Little Shop of Horrors. And we fought so much that she just sat on the ground and started crying. I acted like I was pissed and just stood there.

More than once, I had a friend or an acquaintance who was perfectly nice, but he embarrassed me so instead of being friends I avoided him (or her) as much as possible.

I have old letters where I am trying to be witty - letters I never sent - letters where I am angry - letters where I am trying to say that I didn't say what I said - mansplaining is a good term for it - but in all cases I am being condescending.

I go on twitter and call strangers dumb fucks. They aren't always dumb fucks. Sometimes they just care about people and they don't have my perspective so I think that they are caring about the wrong people. Or they aren't caring about the people that I care about.

I sent a girlfriend emails where I just let out all the anger and frustration in writing - and just sent them - and then I felt bad, but I had already sent those abusive things.

I didn't take no for an answer and acted like a stalker. I thought I was doing it out of some romantic comedy cliche like if she REALLY got to know me, we wouldn't be just friends. But really, I was just being creepy. Imposing on someone who didn't want me in her life - at least not that way.

Guilt, shame, remorse.

I almost think that I read many of the internet trolls (Puppies, Encyclopedia Dramatica, Requires Hate, Vox Day, John C. Wright calling for his enemies to repent of the sin of disregarding his work, the nasty fuckers that pop up whenever you hit one of those trending stories on Facebook) because I am jealous. Or maybe I am reminding myself of something.

All the examples above fucking hurt to remember. They hurt because they are moments in my life where I acted like the piece-of-shit that I hate. They are the kind of stories that make me want to apologize for everything. And hell, they are almost the kind of stories that make me want to stay inside all day and never interact with the rest of the world because how much can I keep fucking up? But it's not about fucking up because I did a lot of this on purpose. I was cruel when I should have been nice. I had a chance to be kind and I decided - fully chose - to be utterly shitty. In some cases I had excuses, like I didn't know any better and I know more now, but really, I don't know.

There was this really sweet movie with Ben Whishaw playing a man who feels obligated to take care of his dead boyfriend's mother or at least make sure that she's ok. The mother is Chinese and can't speak English which is kind of part of why the boyfriend took so long to come out (and then gets hit by one of those convenient car accident plot devices before he could) and at one point Whishaw just yells at her for making her son feel so responsible and she says that it's not like that - children just feel guilty about their parents and it only increases as they get older.

And the older I get, the more guilt and shame I carry around with me. And as painful as it is to have this kind of guilt and shame, it's better than the alternative. Just go read John C Wright declaring that he is the innocent Christian crusader and that his enemies should repent. Or read Vox Day crowing about how he "won" the Hugos by being utterly rejected by fandom again. Requires Hate has been on the RH pity part since Laura J. Mixon was nominated for writing an expose of her bullying and like all posts, Requires Hate believes herself to be the only victim. Unlike Wright and Day, she apologized. But like Wright and Day, she thinks that this means that her words should not matter and that no one should be angry at her or think ill of her.

All the shitty things I have done and all the shitty things I will do - it's kind of dangerous. I can sink into the quagmire of my own bullshit. I can read the Wrights and the VDs and the RHs of the world and go "well I'm not that bad" and then just spread the hate, but I don't think that will work.

So I try to find roommates for my friends and promote the art of people that I know and respect and genuinely let people know that I appreciate them and try like hell to seize every opportunity to be kind and avoid those so so tempting offers to be a nasty shitbag knowing that I am going to fail probably most of the time.

But if I am not trying to grow and be kind, I could become the kind of people that have been dominating the Hugo Award/Gamergate slate. That's much worse.
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Books Read in 2015 # 66-67 - More graphic novels (with a return to Palomar) [Aug. 23rd, 2015|11:56 am]
Tim Lieder
66.Love and Rockets New Stories, No. 5 by the Hernandez Brothers - This was published in 2012 and while it's still interesting, there's a lot of going over old material. And usually I love that aspect about Love & Rockets. In another one of these "new stories" collections, Jaime Hernandez wrote the story of Maggie's friend who died in a car accident as a teenager and the story just abruptly ends with the accident, while there was a story about migrant workers that Speedy tries to start a fight with. In this particular book, there are minor characters from the Hoppers series but I think that my brain is now ramped up for Gilbert Hernandez's Palomar and Luba stories so Killer going back to Palomar is the main point with the story of Chello saving Vincente from his drunk parents and seeing them drown as soon as she takes him away from them is interesting. But the main story in this particular book is Proof that the Devil Loves You.

Oddly enough, I thought that this was a straight Palomar story even though the ditzy mentally challenged character who is holding a screwdriver (?) and flitting about trying to be powerful but just getting everyone's way is named Bula, mostly because there are scenes with Killer and Chelo within the story itself and they are canonical characters. So I was actually affected when the sheriff (who is not Chelo - but a much younger woman walking around like a duck and lording it over everyone) kills a resident and is killed by her son just as Bula drowns in her attempt to become a swim instructor. The fact that this entire story turns out to be a movie with Fritz starring as Bula feels like a bit of a cheat - mostly a way to bring that old mixture of pathetic humor and tragedy without actually killing anyone off (there is a dwindling supply of Palomar residents and Luba relatives). It's cool that Gilbert Hernandez only tips his hand subtly with the movie poster and Chelo declaring that she's sheriff until she dies (in other words, there was never another sheriff walking around Palomoar) but I still feel like I am getting a small piece of a larger picture.

67.The Sculptor by Scott McCloud - I once went out with a woman - and I still don't know if it was a date or just a friend thing - and we ended up in the Urban Peasant (in fiction I will always refer to the place as The Identity Crisis because it would become The Cafe Expatriate and then Hard Times Cafe) and writing in notebooks - which might have been my idea. Anyhow I wrote shitty experimental poetry, the kind of word association that is fun but not very interesting - like those refrigerator magnets. She was writing about a boyfriend (ok it wasn't a date) and how afraid she was that he would get sick of her. And it impressed me. It wouldn't impress me now, but at the time I was so intent on hiding myself behind walls of obfuscation and smartass statements that any sliver of real human emotion was like a mirror showing me just how much bullshit I was pushing up a hill in order to not confront the ways that I was truly sad, lonely and angry.

Of course, I didn't confront these facts about myself until much later and I still don't know how much of a handle I have on these issues - the pettiness, the smirking asshole behavior, the anger that comes out in short bursts, the boredom that sees me looking for twitter fights and FB drama - and I have made several people miserable and have courted misery throughout these times.

So this book - well, it's quite lovely in the way that it uses art as a metaphor for the way a character finds himself and learns to understand that he needs other people. And this is Scott McCloud we're talking about - a man who explained how panel transitions can work in several different ways and how these panel transitions determine the story. He is using a lot of interesting techniques throughout and his art is still amazing.

And yet, it's still about a sad sack artist who chooses to become world renown and die young instead of giving up his art and living a nice peaceful life. And then to jump on that Achilles trope, he winds up with a Manic Pixie Dream Girl - who is not surprisingly also suffering from bipolar depression. When the MPDG ends up in the logical end it seems like a mature way of dealing with the woman who is so fun and popular and witty and caring and everything that sadsack white guy can't really access in himself. Yet, she never goes on the medication and he is pretty cool with her black moods if it means he gets to be with the woman who is the bike messenger actress, etc.

It's still a beautiful book and worth reading, but the fact that McCloud based the characters on himself and his wife (even naming the woman after his wife's sister who died after being born premature) gives me the feeling that there's a better story lurking underneath the young lovers - a story about young lovers growing old and frumpy and changing but still loving each other. I guess that's a story that I have been failing to grasp in my own life.
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And the trolling of the trolls continues. [Aug. 20th, 2015|11:05 am]
Tim Lieder

Yes, I have posted a new chapter of The Angel Vox Day, And the War for the Heavenly Gamergate Puppies Give Me a Hugo! (The Chronicles of Angel Vox Day and His Flaming Sword!!!!!!)


And I should definitely write a new product description because I was a little too honest in this one. Basically, I am moving from parodying Theodore Beale's stupid fucking book to writing in such a way that would preview what it would be like if someone who wasn't a completely talentless piece-of-shit was writing it. I had actually wanted to do that with the Left Behind books (but never wanted to re-read the first three books much less keep reading the damn things) since the idea of a bunch of Christians going to Heaven and leaving everyone around to deal with Dracula ruling the world is pretty cool. The execution is just unbearably awful.

So instead I write this book, even if the angel character - the one that was watching Christopher doing his homework in chapter 1 - got sidelined (it was a female character so of course Vox Day couldn't deal with writing a woman) and we get stuck with Christopher, one of the quintessential MRAs in training (he is talking to a demon woman and he thinks that he can take her to prom because that will show Julie, the bitch that laughed at him when he asked her out - oh wait, it's Homecoming. Who the fuck asks women out to Homecoming. You either go as a couple and make out during the slow songs or you go by yourself and spend your time watching your classmates making out to saccharine music as you realize that you will never be loved).

So I named the main character Christopher Beale in order to make it obvious that I am still shitting all over Vox Day's big break - his masterwork, the greatest thing he would ever write.
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More great moments in Vox Day literature [Aug. 19th, 2015|02:38 pm]
Tim Lieder
From page 41 of Eternal Warriors: The War in Heaven
"So tell me," he said, "what's a nice girl like you doing at First Avenue?"
There are places of power where the spiritual realm and the material realm intersect," Kaym explained as he made a face and returned his glass of cheap read win to the table. Their small party had moved upstairs and were sitting at a table overlooking the dance floor, just a few feet from the DJ booth. "This is one such place."
"Here? But they filmed Purple Rain here!"
Christopher looked down at the packed dance floor, the elevated stage, and the backlit curtains where the most daring dancers showed off their silhouetted moves. From what he could see, he didn't think they were wearing anything. It didn't feel very spiritual to him.
"Didn't you love that album?" Melusine asked early, nearly knocking over the poisonous looking bright blue drink sitting before her. "Prince has such an innate understanding of the Tantra. You can feel it in his music."
So much to hate in this half-page. So so much hatred. First, I went to First Avenue a lot when I lived in Minnesota and there weren't a lot of naked dancers in the place (it's fucking Minnesota). And most of the nights there was A BAND playing at First Ave.

Also just because Prince sings sex songs (a moment of silence for all the Nikkis in the world who had to hear that song - also I always thought that Darling Nikki was risking some pretty awful papercuts by masturbating with that magazine) does not mean that he's KNOWS the Tantra. And seriously, there are very few songs on Purple Rain that you can fuck to.
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Fucking Vox Day - another phrase from War in Heaven [Aug. 16th, 2015|04:29 am]
Tim Lieder
"No way, Kaym. She's too hot to be an angel. She looks like something out of a Lords of Acid video."
Kaym was unoffended. He only laughed as Melusine's red lips curved downward in a pouty frown."
Motherfucker, how the fuck am I supposed to parody something that shitty? And this is the fifteenth time that demon-chick (in hot hot sexy outfit) has POUTED since she was introduced. At this point, I am no longer parodying the fucking book. I am improving on it, pulling quotes from Paradise Lost and Dr. Faustus, because I feel like the mission is changing. It's like I want to write a book that reads like what would happen if this piece-of-shit wasn't written by a piece-of-shit.

But fucking hell man. This prose is painful.

And what's worse - read Vox Day's stupid fucking blog and you have the George Carlin maxim of "who would have thought that Sociopaths tend to have high self-esteem?" because the dumb fuck really thinks that he's a genius. Forget about all the doubt and the self-reflection that bugs the rest of humanity. Just throw all that shame into a grinder. VD is never going to admit that he's wrong, is never going to consider it. He's just moving along in his little trajectory as the guy with the "above genius IQ" (his own fucking quote) and touting his imaginary talent. There is no place where he will ever get that it's all over for him. He will never understand that he is fundamentally an asshole without a shred of talent.

I know I guess I am fascinated by these types. Is VD worse than BS/Requires Hate/Vanesa the Thai Heiress because he doesn't have a shred of passion? Or is BS/RH/Vanesa the worst one because she's been screaming about how she is the real victim?

And hell, what about Nick Pacione? At least with Pacione his hostility and his attacks are so over-the-top that he has no followers. And he is obviously mentally ill. VD and BS actually are manipulative enough to have fans and followers - playing at the alpha/beta game.

I suppose what we should come away with from this is don't read VD's blog. The man will always declare victory too. When the Puppies lose at Hugos he will call it a victory. When the Puppies pissed off everyone to the point that they are the most hated fuckers in fandom he calls it a victory. When teh gamergate followers lost all credibility, he called it a victory. And when John Scalzi (a man that he has designated his rival) got a fucking huge book deal, the kind that is the envy of all writers, he declared that his shitty little self-published books were "braver" because he was self-publishing and no one was standing behind him with millions of dollars assuming that he would make back the advance - because that's a victory.

I guess that's what we need - good villains - and VD plays the role well. I suppose declaring victory when losing is a requirement for these losers.
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Books Read in 2015 # 65 - Back into the most rewarding convoluted history imaginable [Aug. 14th, 2015|11:52 am]
Tim Lieder
Luba by Gilbert Hernandez - One of the earliest Love & Rockets books I picked up wasn't even part of the continuity in a major way. It was the "real story" of a movie that starred Fritz who is the half-sister of Luba. That might have been a great way to get my feet wet before diving into the massive generational saga that keeps going back and forth in time but it did not clue me into just how much these stories build on each other.

This collection confused me at first, mostly because I didn't remember Petra and Fritz from previous chapters and I think that's partially because they are not tied into the Palomar stories. They are Luba's half-sisters sharing the same mother that abandoned Luba and represent the fucked up American branch of the family. Familiar faces show up but most of the stories seem to focus on these two characters and they have so much sex in the first half of the book that I was planning on starting this review with an anecdote about a guy in high school claiming that the band Love & Rockets got their name from a pornographic comic and how that didn't seem accurate until now. But like with all Love & Rockets comics the humor and fucking gives way to something sadder and deeper.

In their own ways, Fritz and Petra are trying to control their worlds with Fritz using sex and psychoanalysis as a way of guiding people (including a boyfriend that she sets up with Petra) while Petra is the champion body builder who sometimes dresses up like a man to beat up people such as her boyfriend's stalker ex-girlfriend and her sister's girlfriend Pipo. In relation to these women Luba is almost a side character with constant references to life back in Palarmo including a husband who is badly burned from when he attempted to save the character who lit herself on fire (and served as the comic relief until she began to get serious). Luba's children like Guadalupe and Doralis play major roles, but the heart of this comic is the sisters.

Part of the genius is that the move from sex farce to tragedy is so gradual that you hardly notice it. When two characters die in a car accident another character is telling everyone that she is just a little tired and getting nosebleeds. That character later dies of cancer in 3-4 devastating stories where she is last seen talking about how she felt so alive on the day she publicly came out even as both her mother and aunt can't hide the sadness.

The notice that things are even more serious comes toward the end when the narrator tells you that in only a matter of time the three sisters will stop talking. And the timeline is imposed on fairly happy stories - with "in a year the sisters would stop talking", etc. What makes Gilbert Hernandez so interesting as a writer is just how much he lets other characters reacting to the events tell the story. While he never explicitly states why Luba, Petra and Fritz stopped talking but the reactions make it seem obvious.

Even the control freak nature of the characters is not explicitly stated except when the sisters stop talking and fall apart. Petra gets fat and Fritz begins drinking all the time and the comic skips 8 years into the future with Venus as the only sane one trying to make everyone talk.

Like all Love & Rockets books I cannot recommend it enough and attempting to unravel all the narrative threads is way too difficult to accomplish in a book review.
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Books Read in 2015 # 64 - Israel American (or American Israel) Fiction [Aug. 14th, 2015|10:42 am]
Tim Lieder
64. Whereever You Go by Joan Leegant - This is one of those random literary books that I don't even remember obtaining. I know I didn't buy it. It's a literary book by an author I don't recognize so I either got it from one of those Jewish Book giveaways or I was working at a place that had plenty of review copies to give away. Regardless, I was pleasantly surprised by how good the book was, even if it was moving towards a predictable climax.

Three characters with three separate stories, all tangentially related to Israel and Jewish extremism, are completely isolated from each other and part of the fun is seeing how they are going to end up in the same story. Yona is the American woman who is trying to unite with her settler sister who stopped talking to her 10 years ago after Yona shtupped the sister's boyfriend. Greenglass is a scholar-in-residence rabbi who has come to America to teach for a couple weeks even as he is losing his passion for frumkeit. There's also a drug addict back story and a junkie ex-girlfriend as well as two cranky parents who don't quite get the whole religion thing. Finally there's Aaron Blinder, son of a writer who made a living writing Stalog type Holocaust books, who ends up in an extremist settler camp with a leader who is definitely based on Kahane. All characters are compelling in their own way, but Greenglass and Yona are probably the most personal as their fluctuating religiosity is tied up to their inability to come to any common ground with their families.

This book is a fast read and enjoyable throughout as the author gives you enough character to care when the plot kicks in. Everything revolves around a Kahanist terrorist attack which affects all three characters and the author is good at checking most of the major concerns when it comes to Israel, including the check-writing Americans who take a hardline approach to Israeli politics even if they would never let their kids live in Israel, the Kahanists who see everything as Holocaust related, Baruch Goldstein hero worship and the most heartbreaking terrorist attack where a father and his daughter were killed on her wedding day. The style is so good that it's easy to overlook the faults when you are reading it.

Only the faults get more glaring towards the end when suddenly the THEME of the book is no longer in the background but has to get spelled out. Aaron's father is castigated by Israelis for making a living off the Holocaust and giving fuel to the extremist Zionist actions. It's at this point where the extremist characters seem most like cartoons. Aaron is not so much mentally disturbed as a loser date rapist with daddy issues. Yona's sister Dena never really gets to talk for herself and since it's all from Yona's perspective, Dena can simply be Settler Bitch # 1 - the kind that will explain to you that Obama is a secret Muslim. The rest of the extremist characters are more prone to speechifying than inspiring anyone. Granted, it's tough to write sympathetic characters from people that are fairly repulsive in real life (seriously get stuck talking with some Uber Zionist who goes on about the Arabs and how they are taught to hate Israelis and this is why they should be all killed and notice how little they get the irony of embodying the same extremist bullshit.) but it doesn't appear like the attempt is being made.
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love letters on FB [Aug. 7th, 2015|04:10 pm]
Tim Lieder
This one comes from Kaos Chandia. I don't think that's his real name so if you are on Facebook, why don't you report him? Apparently he blocked me. I actually don't remember what I said to him but he tried to say that his brother said something "wise" about how killing a pregnant woman counts as a double homicide (it doesn't) and why can't that be applied to abortion. He then said that "feminism" is going to far (he used those quotes) because you know, women only want to be equal when they - um - I'm not really sure why women getting abortions is unequal.

I think I was most unkind to Kaos Chandia and I said that he and his brother were both dumb fucks. I do remember that I pointed out that even the MOTHERFUCKING BIBLE doesn't support the idea that an aborted fetus is life and used that quote from Exodus about a man hitting a woman so that she miscarries. He pays a fine unless he kills her. (there are wimped out Bible translations that imply that the tragedy is the abortion but those are bullshit translations).

Anyhow he sent me the following
You are a piece of shit, a fungus who needs an education. Your lack of brain cells show you dumb mother fucker
So that's why you must always check your Other Mail file on Facebook.

That is again Kaos Chandia - and most likely not his name. Also who wants to put the periods and exclamation points in that sentence.
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So it was late and I decided "why don't I check into the Requires Hate controversy again?" [Aug. 5th, 2015|11:15 am]
Tim Lieder
So my hope for the Hugo awards - beyond Vox Day being humiliated again - is that Laura Moxon's article on Requires Hate and her sustained campaign of harassment and stalking wins for best fan writing. And in that context, I went and looked for what she was up to these days - meaning Benjanun Sriduangkaew/Requires Hate. I can see why her stories are bought, she does have quite lovely prose even if the story doesn't seem to be going anywhere, but in Medium and Tumblr she roars again - full of wounded feelings and accusations of stalking and harassment.

It's like she hasn't learned a damn thing. Not that anyone believed that any of those "apologies" were genuine, but she's been claiming that she has been at the receiving end of harassment and stalking - two things that she loved to do as Winterfox/RH on a regular basis. And like all good sociopaths, she acts like she is a victim. Repeatedly. For example, in an article claiming that she is being stalked she writes "Nothing there is healthy or okay. Nothing there sounds like a person; there’s no humanity on display, just a raging need to experience power rush." That is TOTALLY HER. That defines every single internet exchange she's had since she was Winterfox.

And then there are her longwinded Medium stories where she attempts to justify herself but claims that all the accusations against her have been debunked (which then leads the reader to a tumblr with a lot of verbiage for no payoff especially no debunking). The latest one is called "Surviving Online Mob Abuse and Smear Campaigns" - yes, she is giving advice on surviving the kinds of things that she SPEARHEADED repeatedly.

I commented on her twitter feed - full of idiot assertions that she is the victim and then today I saw that she did a storify about me, including things that I tweeted to a respected genre poet when the Gaza War was happening last year and the main issue was the fact that more Arabs were dying than Israelis (which of course was happening because Hamas knew that it would get its own people killed more than it would "strike a blow") - mostly along the lines of "Sorry that Hamas doesn't get a chance to kill more Israeli children" which I still stand by - as sarcastically dismissive as that is. Weirdly enough, I am very critical of Israel and accept all matter of anti-Israel discourse from friends and the internet; to the point that Furry Jew likes to cite me as one of those liberal Jews that just doesn't understand that Netanyahu is awesome and that Obama is anti-Semitic. But then it went to BS/RH and her wonderful accusations of online harassment. Everyone is an online harasser but her. So the half hour I spent reading through her twitter feed and responding with "are you fucking kidding me?" and "you do realize that you are accusing people of your modus operandi, right?" becomes more fuel for the BS/RH victim train.

I suppose there's no real end game there. BS/RH will continue to be an asshole online. She will continue to believe that she is the only victim and that she is crusading to save WOC from assimilation or cultural imperialism or something. Even if she never publishes again (doubtful - she is talented) she is apparently an heir to an extremely wealthy family (the fact that her identity has been stated is out there - she also killed about six people due to criminal negligence when she was running her father's hotels and sprayed illegal bug spray throughout the floors. Apparently bedbugs were a problem, but most of the guests might have preferred the bedbugs if they knew that the alternative was death) so she's a Thai Paris Hilton.

The problem is that the guy who outed her real identity might actually be a stalker. And she herself is a notorious stalker, I don't feel comfortable linking to his page. But then again she accuses everyone of doing what she does and she writes the kinds of accusations that sound less credible the longer they go.

And she will continue to act as if every single critic is Vox Day, just ready to impose their white male privilege. And she will have fans and allies stupid enough to fall for her bullshit. And since she comes from a very wealthy family, she has already grown accustomed to the fact that she never has to apologize or work on herself. She will simply go through life using allies and attacking people and all the while claiming that she is the real victim.

I suppose there's a lesson there. Like why do I care? Does it go back to the cheesy movies about idealistic teenagers who join mind control cults that I was forced to watch? Does she remind me of that Upper East Side email client who never paid me for the 14 hours of work that I did for her personal statements? Or does that kind of manipulation and toxic bullshit just rankle regardless? But if it's the last one, why does this example of manipulative toxic bullshit bother me?

Or maybe I am seeking free publicity and nothing quite gets your name out there like poking an internet tough guy with a stick.
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Books read in 2015 # 63 - Ok, ok, I got it - Richard III killed his nephews. [Aug. 3rd, 2015|04:57 pm]
Tim Lieder
63.The Princess in the Tower by Alison Weir - Ever since The Children of Henry VIII, I have been a huge Weir fan. She always had an ability to make even the most foregone conclusions seem dramatic. However, I also must admit that all of her books have parts that drag a bit. In many ways that is the nature of the beast. As much as the reader may want to read about court intrigues and conspiracies, there must be a part where she stops and starts talking what kind of food they ate or how much fabric the royal exchequer bought.

However, there are some subjects that are more interesting than others and unfortunately the most recent two books I've read from Weir have been boring, very boring. The book I read before this one was Elizabeth of York and as much as I admire Weir for trying to illuminate the life of a woman who was known more for whom she was related to (Richard III's niece and Henry VIII's mother) than anything she did, the lack of compelling information about Elizabeth of York (no diaries, unofficial histories, etc. survive) meant a 400 page book about the kinds of clothes the woman bought and how much she was known for being virtuous (meaning she didn't really say much).

Since I read Elizabeth of York already, I already read the main arguments from this book - namely that Richard III killed his nephews and as entertaining as all of the conspiracy theories might be (Richard was framed, Buckingham did it, the nephews lived on in the tower indefinitely, etc.) they are all contradicted by the evidence. So an entire book of these arguments can get very wearisome - actually it does get wearisome and tedious as well.

I imagine that the ideal audience for this book are the people who still care - and usually the people who disagree with Alison Weir and want to hold on to the idea that Richard III was innocent. And certainly there are some weaknesses. She relies too heavily on Thomas More's history which is taken from Tyrell's confession of killing the kids (Oh hey, that's the name of the family in Song of Ice & Fire where Margery marries Joffrey and her grandmother kills him - so yeah like you didn't need further proof than Martin's word that he relied heavily on the War of the Roses for material). And since the confession is gone, we got to take More's word for it and Weir's argument that Henry VII had a very good reason for suppressing the original confession. Also Thomas More is very melodramatic in that he has the nephews sighing and going "if only Richard would let us live."

The more interesting aspect of this story and one that Weir has yet to really delve into is the ways that Henry VII kept locking up children and conspirators to keep himself in power. More importantly, why was Henry successful where child-killing was Richard's big downfall. There are some differences such as Henry waiting until one of those possible rivals was old enough to be publicly executed without censure, but it's still an interesting contrast.

But mostly this is a pretty boring book and unless you really care about those royal brats, might as well read everything else by Alison Weir.
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Published in the Saturday Evening Post [Jul. 24th, 2015|02:47 pm]
Tim Lieder

It's an odd story. I think I wrote it at least 10 years ago - well the first draft. It's obviously informed by breaking up with Nanda, but it's not like the stories I wrote in that first year when everything was raw and I didn't know how to respond (anger, extreme religiosity, obsession with a woman who thought that I was too weird?) and it kind of captures a best case scenario - like ultimately both agree that it's not working and hasn't been working for a long time and they don't have any bitterness left.

So total fantasy story.

But also involves the other kinds of breakup talks.

But yeah, go to the Saturday Evening Post and there it is. They even still have a Norman Rockwell picture on the site.

(and I only quibbled with the edit to change "asshole" to "ass" - I suggested jackass and jerk since "I called you an ass" sounds like a Jeeves & Wooster line).

So that's nice. And 5 hours to finish this literature review.
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Mixed Feelings about Publishers Weekly (well at least they spelled my name right) [Jul. 19th, 2015|05:58 pm]
Tim Lieder
So in that "no such thing as bad publicity and just keep telling yourself that" category, we have this review for an anthology that is going to publish my short story -

Daughters of Frankenstein: Lesbian Mad Scientists!

Steve Berman, Author

Berman’s (Wilde Stories 2014) collection of 18 stories—mostly originals with a few reprints—is as offbeat and expectation-defying as the title suggests. The contents range from whimsical to serious, from romantic to tragic, and from historical to futuristic. The book might as well have been subtitled Women Who Misbehave, given how many of the protagonists flout custom, challenge authority, and make a mockery of the laws of both society and nature—by robbing banks, raising the dead, or building mechanical wonders. Standouts include Gemma Files’s “Imaginary Beauties: A Lurid Melodrama,” in which college geniuses become innovative drug dealers, and Traci Castleberry’s “Poor Girl,” wherein an ambitious alchemist uses her concoctions to heal grievous wounds. Among the most unusual selections, Tracy Canfield’s “Meddling Kids” is an oddball riff on Scooby-Doo, and Sean Eads’s “Riveter” is a truly unexpected take on Hitler’s mistress, Eva Braun, here envisioned as ruthless but sympathetic. Lesbian protagonists can be found in every story, but their sexual orientation sometimes feels a little tacked on, as in Tim Lieder’s unsatisfying “The Moorehead Maze Experiment.” Even when specific stories fall short, this intersection of mad science and lesbian leanings is entertaining and wonderfully weird. (Aug.)
So yeah, mentioned by name. Woohoo unless you read that bit about the lesbianism being tacked on and the story being unsatisfying. Then fuck me.

And since it's my blog and I can bitch about PW if I want to here - the lesbianism is not tacked on. She's in a relationship. Her girlfriend (and later wife) provides a counterpoint to her enthusiasm for the experiment and she befriended police in order to avoid getting arrested and those friendships were cultivated in order to get her the PCP that she needed for the experiments.

Of course, the "unsatisfying" part is just going to have to be something that I hope readers disagree with.
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Books read in 2015 # 61 & 62 - YA Comic Books [Jul. 19th, 2015|04:54 pm]
Tim Lieder
61. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, art by Cassandra Jean - I did not know that this was a novel first. I actually had to look to make sure that the fake photographs were in the original book because I did not think that those were just the invention of the artist. But Cassandra Jean is particularly brilliant in her use of shadow and colors in a way that puts the reader into another world. The story is fairly annoying in that "set up for a major trilogy" way, with the protagonist finding out that all of his grandfather's stories were true after all and that there is a place in the UK where everyone is hidden in a time loop. But it's a fun book and I will read the next one eventually (even if I feel manipulated by the open ending).

62. Young Justice: Invasion by Greg Weisman & Christopher Jones - One of the main truism in genre shows is that no one likes the kid. Producers insist on putting a kid in your favorite science fiction show aimed at kids to be the audience surrogate but he is inevitably hated as an annoying distraction. Just ask Jake Lloyd how life is treating him after his "Yippeeee!!!" starring role in Phantom Menace. Of course, there's also Boxy from Battlestar Galactica (and his robot dog), Adric from Doctor Who and Robin. Robin is a particularly fun example since DC comics actually gave readers the chance to vote on whether Robin would live or die (even if that Robin was Jason Todd and not the original) and readers voted to kill the little fucker.

This is a nice exception. Of course, I'm not a kid so I don't feel like I'm being pandered to when I'm reading the exploits of teenage superheroes, but I still think I would have enjoyed this book as a teenager. The art is the art you expect out of DC cartoons and the story may be a little pedestrian but it's fun enough (with a weird twist about two different aliens trying to kidnap earthlings for their purposes and both kind of going "well I guess I was wrong, see you later!" at the end) and it gives more character motivation which is more the point, especially when you have the contrast between five years in the lives of these heroes. So overall, pretty good but I probably won't remember it.
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The serialized slam on VD got a review! And I am very confused. [Jul. 17th, 2015|05:37 pm]
Tim Lieder
So I am writing another chapter of the great War in Heaven mockery (holy fuck the book is terrible) and I looked up http://www.amazon.com/Angel-Heavenly-Gamergate-Puppies-Give-ebook/dp/B00ZEHHVE2 to see one review by a guy who doesn't quite get that it's a hate letter to the fuckers of the puppy storm. Only, this part -
Unless I am utterly, totally, hilariously missing the point, this is supposed to be mocking Vox Day. If it is intended to praise him, then sorry, I just totally misread it. Here's what bothers me, though:
Why is it that when mocking someone, you have to describe them as homosexual? Why does 'bad,' to use the least amplified adjective I can, have to be linked with homosexual thoughts and behaviors? It really sounds like the 8th grade playground in 1967.
Well, I could have totally missed the point. Tim Lieder may be a great friend of Vox Day, Brad Torgersen, and John C Wright, and this may be the sort of humorous slam that friends do to each other. By not being privy to what's going on behind the scene, I may have just missed rolling on the floor in laughter.
Even if I didn't miss the point, I still think having the angel Vox Day hop around screeching "I'm GAY, I'm GAY!" is in poor taste. It's almost funny, though.
- I actually had to check the story to see if I did that. I did not. I definitely didn't include that scene.

I did have Torg declare that he was not a homosexual but beyond Vox Day - the angel of the story - reenacting his creepy chapter where the angel is watching a 16-year old boy do his homework (yes, the novel is really that stupid), there's really no gay jokes. I'm not really into the whole "He's Gay! Isn't that hilarious!" routine. Not just because it's homophobic but also because it was always lazy laughs. Now granted, an angel sitting around watching a 16-year old boy obsessively is already pretty damn homoerotic but fucking VD wrote that scene. I just pointed out the weird eroticism.
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Books read in 2015 # 59 & 60 - New York Stuff [Jul. 12th, 2015|10:08 am]
Tim Lieder
59. So Nude, So Dead by Ed McBain - The first novel. That rough first novel. There are two types of first novels. The first novel that a writer publishes and the first novel that a writer writes. The "lost" written is almost always in the drawer for a good reason while the first published novel is sketchy at best. Some writers only have one great novel in them and that's the first and the last book (Ralph Ellison, Harper Lee) and other writers struggled for years before that first novel hit the shelves and it's amazing. Then there are the pulp writers who struggled for years, honing their craft in a public setting and steadily getting better until they are at the top of their game.

Ed McBain is the latter. His 50s books as Evan Hunter were all over the place. Some were pretty good and many were silly as hell. His Ed McBain books by contrast were slim thrillers which held the fascination long after they were done. Unfortunately he started writing Ed McBain with the same bloated silliness that he wrote Hunter. Characters drop in and out of the narrative. The heroin junkie complains about his life. Everything is heightened by ridiculous coincidences and a heroin addiction that is always referenced but not always followed through on. Ultimately this becomes a 120 page book bloated to 200 pages (with a short story about a detective running around until he gets to the main guy added) that is not really up to the McBain standards.

New York The Big City by Will Eisner - I think I read this one already. I am almost certain that I read this one already. Eisner's take on the city is full of people sitting on fire escapes, hanging out in the streets, turning on the fire hydrants and losing their change. There are also the portraits of people looking out their windows to the next windows as their main source of entertainment. He does present a panoramic view of the poor neighborhoods before the gentrified part happened.
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Books Read in 2015 # 57 & 58 - the stories that make up our world. [Jul. 11th, 2015|11:54 pm]
Tim Lieder
57. Don't Bet on the Prince: Contemporary Feminist Fairy Tales in North America and England by Jack Zipes - I never got a chance to take Professor Zipes' classes when I was at the U of M. I bought his complete Grimm's Fairy Tales collection and I did get the feeling like there was a lot of repetition in the stories - particularly the "princess makes the prince run off looking for diamonds" theme - and that's probably why his books focused on feminism. I was also in college and my ideas about feminism were fucked up. So this book was a relief in the way that it both examines and subverts the ingrained sexism of many of these fairy tales. There are three sections after the introduction - fairy tales for kids, fairy tales for adults and academic papers. In the first two cases, Tanith Lee is the star (of course) as her children's fairy tale turns the whole prince being tested to win the hand of the princess story on its head where the prince decides that he would rather be with the the swamp witch who has been helping him. The adult story of Wolfland is particularly beautiful as Little Red Riding Hood and Grandmother both turn out to be the wolves of the forest. Her journey to grandmother's house is also her journey to grandmother's worldview where the werewolf curse is a blessing against the patriarchy. There's also a contemporary Margaret Atwood story where the woman has to deal with her husband and compares him to Bluebeard. The fun part is the academic section including a history of Little Red Riding Hood as a story that lost the heroine's independence over time and made the father out to be the hunter.

58.Dance Hall of the Dead by Tony Hillerman - I wonder if Hillerman is still selling books. I wonder if he is still alive. Regardless, his books are fun mysteries with the hook of being about Navajo detectives and the reservation life. This book seems to be more guesswork than the other ones since it is about Zuni ceremonies and young boys who are going to take part in it. One goes missing and the other one takes off to the hills. The rest of the book is a search for the killers. You kind of know how it's going to go when the archaeological dig becomes part of the story but it's still a fun book - especially for airplanes.
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My intentions weren't creepy but the actions were. [Jul. 8th, 2015|12:50 am]
Tim Lieder
I was at Convergence and at that weird time when it's late and you run into random people, many of whom are drunk, and one particular girl was much more drunk than most. I chatted with her for a bit at the smoking lounge outside and her friends were there. Later I saw her inside near the pool and I went and got water and filled a second cup and gave it to her.

I still don't know if I should have done that. I know that my intentions were just to help someone out, but there are two major problems - one being perception of me and the second being this stranger's acculturation to taking drinks from strange guys. I think that my own image was salvaged because I made sure that I identified myself and that her friends stayed with her. And she left with her friends and I did not follow - instead I talked to the one woman who was sober and also pretty worried about this con-goer (also not really happy with me just showing up and giving her something to drink).

I swear I am not a creeper even though I am bringing random drunk girls cups of water to drink (there were notifications throughout Con about not doing that and not taking strange drinks - which I agree with, but that girl seemed on the verge of falling on her face). But I am more worried about the fact that she took it and didn't even think before she drank it. Damnit. We live in a shitty culture.

Fuck. I shouldn't have done it. It was up to her friends to keep her hydrated, not me.

Mostly I just wish that the roofie rape culture was so rare and so unheard of that one can see someone that needs water and just give it to them and not have these thoughts. Fuck you Bill Cosby.

The other anecdote is on New Year's Eve when I tried to crash until the morning but the one person who was still awake kicked me out. I didn't resent her because as I was shivering at the train stop (fucking outside trains), I completely got that she made a choice between two risks - 1. I think that she's a bitch for kicking me out and 2. rape. So in essence when I was going "Oh yeah, the hostess said that I could crash until morning" to the woman who was not the hostess (the hostess was asleep), I was basically saying "Hi. Woman who I met 2-3 times in the last couple years and whom I just had a couple conversations with. I am going to sleep upstairs from you and ask you to trust me not to attack you in a culture where 1 out of 3 women are sexually assaulted. That's cool, right?"

I think what is even worse is the fact that in both these cases, I can see myself pushing back at a younger age. Granted, I never would have gone "well just because Cosby has done some questionable things..." like some people. Still, I do not like being this oblivious.
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Books read in 2015 # 55 & 56 - Hey, Comics are now JUST for kids! [Jun. 28th, 2015|01:48 am]
Tim Lieder
55. Batman 66 vol 1 by Jeff Parker, Jonathan Case et al - I must say I admire the audacity of creating a Batman comic book that mimics the 60s television show. I can even see the audience for it since I had burned out on the grim and gritty Batman of Frank Miller and rather loved the Adam West movie when I saw it. I was even a little hopeful that the George Clooney Batman & Robin movie would be along the same campy lines (I did not see it though since I was warned away by various sources). But more importantly, I am rather intrigued by the adaptation of an adaptation of an adaptation aspect. It's a cool game of telephone from source to source.

Unfortunately, it is diverting but it's not memorable. I had to look at the book just to remember that there was a Joker story where he inserted his mind into his old red helmet and a Penguin story with an ice berg becoming a sovereign nation. It's not as insultingly stupid as the Batman comics from the 60s, but it's not quite as fun as the television show. Oddly enough, that television show was an ideal adaptation that fell into disfavor when everyone wanted the Miller Batman that didn't candy coat the fact that Batman was a sociopath who went around beating people up (and yet still tried to make him the hero). Still it was fun but I won't remember that I read it in a month.

56. Constantine vol 1: The Spark and the Flame - I was curious what they were doing with Mr. E. Actually the original Books of Magic mini-series is still a classic and it is rather sad that neither Timothy Hunter or Mr. E (who existed before that series but never quite as crazy or weird) got much story after that one. Yes, there was a Mr. E mini-series where he against tried to kill Tim Hunter and died. There was even a pretty damn great run on Books of Magic before the writer left the series and took that whimsy-serious balance with him. He also made everyone promise not to use his character Molly even though she was one of the few characters that made the series worthwhile.

But knowing that Mr. E was in this series made me curious to see what had happened to John Constantine since I had seen him last and yeah, it just isn't the same. It's kind of like the television show - all the plotting and swagger is there but there's nothing earned. And as much as I got sick of Jamie Delano, his first year at Hellblazer really established John Constantine as a fuckup who was haunted by his past and the dead people. There was some serious mental trauma swirling around John Constantine that made his victories all the more important.

This just isn't the same. He swaggers. He tries to get out of London because there's a curse. He even meets Papa Midnight again (I almost wrote that as Papa Voodoo) and the stakes aren't nearly as high. Even as he is dealing with killing another ally it just doesn't work to be anything other than an inconvenient plot twist.
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