Beloved has shopped...
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Beloved called... he has shopped...

 

He has a network of friends who work in various food service industries – butchers, abattoirs, someone who does something unspecified with fish. No doubt there are others. While I appreciate the yumminess, it does mean there is food shopping going on I am unable to supervise.

 

And with the holidays coming up, it is the season to eat until we explode in big messy chunks. There's a lot of feasting, a lot of hosting and enough left overs to last until February, it's always how we keep the holidays.

 

So high quality but heavily discounted meat is definitely high on my bonus list

 

Beloved buying it though?

 

His message (he is now out of contact as he always is when he suspects I may Ask Questions) tells me he spend "over £100".

 

"Over" is a vague word. Over can mean a lot. Over could mean we have a new mortgage. 

 

But it's not actually the money I'm too worried about - yes, despite Beloved's previous... issues. I am concerned that if he has spent a copious amount of money on high quality HEAVILY DISCOUNTED meat that that means he has bought a lot of meat

 

The man who bought the 22lb Turkey

 

The man who bought the 8 whole chickens

 

The man who bought the 5lb ball of mince

 

 

 

I fear there may be a whole cow in my kitchen with Beloved next to it saying "at least it's dead!"

 

I fear even more there may be a whole cow in my kitchen, with Beloved next to it saying "it's alive so it's fresh!"

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Apparently there are lots of LGBT people on TV?
Sparky
sparkindarkness

 ...but I don't see it? What am I missing?

Article after article start off with "there's so many gay people on TV!" "there's so many LGBT characters on TV!" "ZOMG SO MANY CHARACTERS!" but usually very light on specifics.

And I'm not seeing them - not only am I not seeing them but I'm reviewing a vast amount of media for 
Fangs for the Fantasy and still not seeing them. We're reviewing 14 shows at the moment: Walking Dead, Z Nation, Resurrection, Once Upon a Time, Forever, Originals, Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow, American Horror Story, The 100, Vampire Diaries, Grimm, Haven and Constantine and only 4 of them have LGBT characters: Walking Dead has a background, near-silent lesbian who makes T-Dog look positively involved in the group. Vampire Diaries and Originals have GBFs who do nothing but support the straight characters and disappear for several episodes at a time and American Horror Story has a sexualised intersex woman who tried to "convert" gay men and 2 gay male villains (and several murdered gay men).

4 of 14 and none of them a major character. Most of them really really tiny tokens.

And this isn't just a bad season. Summer had precious little extra - in fact all year the only notably LGBT characters we've had were on In The Flesh (a mini-series) and Orphan Black (which came with the bitter taste of a grossly stereotyped and walking joke, Felix).

In fact, in
 2012 we looked at the LGBT characters on all the shows we'd covered at the time - when we'd watched 39 TV series and it was pretty dismal. Well, it's 2014 and we have now covered or looked at 81 different TV series - and of those 81, a full 41 have not one single LGBT character. A further 9 have a tiny LGBT character for 1 single episode and 11 have an LGBT character as someone minor lurking in the background (like Tara on The Walking Dead or Carolyn on Under the Dome).

That's 61. 61 out of 81 have no LGBT characters or teeny tiny walk on roles. Of the remaining 20 with meaningful LGBT presence, 11 (maybe 12) of those shows have been cancelled and 1 is on its last season. 3 of them had a bisexual female characters briefly mention their bisexuality before the whole show focused ferociously on opposite-sex relationships and lots of we-shall-never-speak-of-this-again so while they had a major LGBT character (which was great) if you missed one episode you'd probably not know it. There's also a lot of dubious tropes in the remainder

So, I'm not getting the hype. Is it the genre? Are there lots of LGBT characters out there but if you're a fan of speculative fiction then tough? LGBT characters have always been more common in soaps (large cast, no focused protagonist - lets you "dilute" the inclusion) and sitcoms 
(LGBT people in general and gay men especially are a common and cringe-worthy thread of dubious comedy). Which always leaves me having to choose between shows that annoy me (because a lot of these shows rely on offensive tropes - like the sexually predatory lawyer apparently solving every case with his cock) or shows that completely erase me - and if I want a show that's actually in a genre I enjoy AND acknowledges I exist? Well... they're rare. If I want that AND without homophobic tropes as well? Yeah, it's slim pickings

But even considering the possibility I just enjoy a very heterosexist genre, I look at 
GLAAD's extremely generous report and I see Under the Dome, Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Dracula noted as highlights... and... damn. It would almost be funny to have these teeny, tiny and often insulting tokens be considered "highlights". So is it even a genre problem so much as even a minority of shows including near non-existent tokens considered something to jump up and down about?


Ok, techie people, a little help
Sparky
sparkindarkness

Since it's that time of year again, we're looking at presents and Beloved, very kindly, wants to upgrade my tablet.

 

The thing is, I'm not convinced that a newer tablet is especially necessary given my current - so I need people more technically minded than I to counter Beloved's shiny addiction.

 

My tablet  is

 

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

 

One of these: http://www.samsung.com/uk/consumer/mobile-devices/galaxy-note/tablets/GT-N8010EAABTU

 

Beloved is thinking of the new google Nexus 9


One of these: https://play.google.com/store/devices/details/Nexus_9_32_GB_Wi_Fi_Indigo_Black?id=nexus_9_black_32gb_wifi

 

To my untrained eye, the difference between the two appears to be pretty negligible - and certainly not worth £399.

 

 

Other things to note: 

The smaller screen doesn't bother me

I do not need 3G, 4G or any number of Gs.

My current tablet DOES have a damage screen (all the colours are wonky after being dropped) which means I want to get this one repaired anyway... which may end up cheaper.

 

By all means do run in and say "no, forget Samsung and google, you need this one!" but I do prefer Android over IOs and Windows

 

So techie people, help me out - is Beloved being wise and prudent as well as generous? Or is his shiny addiction overcoming reasonable common sense?


Well, that was vexing
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Things that annoy:

 Metal handled pans. Why why why would you make a pan handle conduct heat? Isn’t that one of the most ridiculous design ideas in the history of the world? Isn’t that up there with chocolate teapots and fireguards?

 Metal handled pans that are also supposed to be oven safe – so you put said pan in, say, a 200oC for that handle to get stupendously hot.

 But what really really really annoys is that, despite the aforementioned ridiculousness of metal handled, oven-safe pans, if you firmly grasp said handle, after it comes out of the oven, with your own bare hand you really have no-one to blame but yourself.

 And that’s really really annoying because that kind of screeching pain of quite nasty burns over the entire palm of your hand and fingers really really REALLY demands you scream at SOMEONE. Screaming at one’s self is not sufficient.

 On the plus side, I didn’t spill dinner.

 On the minus side even an hour after the burn, removing my hand from a bowl of cold water or an ice pack was quite painful – to an extent of not being able to keep it out of water for more than 5 minutes before being quite willing to murder a rather large number of people if they were stood between me and that water. This was not a productive way to spend the evening.

 Thankfully, it has reduced to being merely excruciatingly painful so I am not forced to keep it stuck in ice – but typing one handed is vexatious. Typing two handed is… unpleasant. The cold water is still nearby to top up.

 What does surprise me is the relative lack of blisters – I mean, there’s a lot of redness and several blisters all over my hand –but the blistered areas are no more/less painful than the none-blistered. The blisters seem to be quite quite random.


I think a cake may be more expressive...
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 My cousin is getting engaged and, against my usual habits, I am getting her a congratulations card (I disapprove of cards for various reasons)

 

I just need to find the right one. I need one that says:

 

"Congratulations on the whole wedding thing" while at the same time also saying "good gods girl why would you do this? Were you drunk?!" and "STOP! STOP! IT'S NOT TOO LATE!" with a nice subtext of "when the time comes, I will help you bury the body."

 

And, of course, "just because I'm willing to help you bury the body doesn't mean that, in 18 months when you realise what an arsehole he is, I will be saying 'I told you so'"

 

See this is the problem with cards, they lack eloquence.

 

 

Maybe I could go with a cake - it could be full of butter and sugar symbolising something you will definitely regret later with a heavy lemon kick for the bitter bitter regrets that are sure to come and maybe some spiced caramel for the warming assurance of murderous support in the future.


The best laid plans of Sparky...
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Thankee to everyone sending good wishes for this weekend, I managed to escape most of my usual angst by being ILL WITH THE NINJA DEATH FLU!

 

Honestly, this was the stealthiest disease ever. Here I was, healthy and fine, ready to actually go out and be social. Yes, I was not only strong enough to go outside without worry but I was *gasp* almost eager to do something vaguely social.

 

Yay!

 

And then the DISEASE HIT. And it was like being hit with a sledge hammer. My nose became the evil volcano of erupting snot of doom, gushing like the Niagara Falls of mucus. That was unpleasant.

 

My energy crashing like I’d just run 3 marathons while juggling elephants while singing opera and wearing cement shoes. It was not good. It was very not good.

 

But the worst element was the sledgehammer to the gut. No, really – it isn’t a sharp pain, it isn’t a twisty pain or a burny pain. It just felt my whole abdomen was one huge nasty bruise (it wasn't, but it felt that way) with the joyous side effect of EVERY position hurting and not having the energy to move but having to move anyway and then moving not actually making anything better.

 

This all came along in the period of 2 hours much to Beloved’s shock and F’s incredulity

 

In fact while I was convinced the end was nigh, cowering in bed making a positive art form out of self-pity, F arrived at the door and loudly declared (F does everything loudly. Low volumes are for people whose voice and ideas are not wonderful blessings to everyone within a 5 mile radius of them) that I was definitely faking to try and avoid the evils of socialism

 

One of the terrors of illness no doctor will tell you about is a bellowing F bursting into your bedroom while you’re naked, cowering in bed and feeling like death. It’s a terrible terrible thing to face.

 

Of course afterwards she had to be stopped from running down the street ringing a bell and yelling “UNCLEAN! UNCLEAN!”. Also no painting red crosses on our doors. I heard Beloved and her have a spirited discussion on the subject

 

Of course, Beloved, seeing me suffering so badly, naturally hid as far away as he could. Loving and supportive through the worst of my mental illness moments, but the minute anything germ related rises its head he will hide in the basement (we don’t have a basement, but he would dig one so he could hide in it).

 

 

 


Cats!
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 So I am cat sitting sibling kitty and she and my old mog are doing their usual posturing and duelling. The worst thing is getting used to the old mog’s habits and finding they don’t work with the bundle of (aging but vibrant) energy from the sibling kitty.

 

For example, Old Mog likes to be petted – she shows this by laying next to you and staring at you. When you stroke her she melts into a puddle of contentment and you occasionally stop so she raises her head in outrage and you can confirm she’s not actually dead and you’re not actually petting a corpse. Because that would be creepy.

 

Now Sibling Kitty screams and begs for attention until you finally pet her at which point she has a near seizure of joy because ZOMG HUMAN TOUCHED HER AND IT’S AWESOME! All four limbs flailing as she twists around and probably does herself an injury. The worst part is she kneads with all four claws – the air, the sofa, cushions, fleshy bits of human – just flexing away little razor blades in every direction. She also demands attention because while the Old Mog will just puddle, Sibling Kitty will not only flail around with razors but every now and then will suddenly decide “KILL THE HUMAN!” and you need to pull your hand back quickly or be flensed to the bone. Doubtless this is to ensure human reflexes are kept at peak efficiency.

 

Old Mog is tolerating Sibling Kitty’s presence. She still hisses, but it’s more a “I would like to formally announce that your presence in this house is unwelcome and I disapprove most strongly” hiss, rather than a “I will kill you and wear your skin on weekends and high holidays” hiss.

 

However, she has developed a “you have betrayed all that is good and pure in the world, there is now a desolate wasteland where hope once resided and barren void where kindness once lay” glare every time she sees me or Beloved with Sibling Kitty. It’s a very eloquent glare.

 

Feeding time is… vexing. Both kitties will appear at exactly the same time and demand food. At which point both kitties are convinced that a) I have put the sublime ambrosia that the gods would kill for in the bowl of the other cat while simultaneously dumping goat excrement in their bowls; and b) that their bowl must be protected at all cost, under no account must the other cat come within a yard of their bowl or Death Must Follow.

 

This is more complicated by Old Mog needing medication for her super-scabby skin which now has to be hand given to her (oh dear gods cats and pills) because there's no guarantee who will eat the food

 

The most annoying habit of Sibling Kitty is her yowling. Now Old Mog yowls. Old Mog yowls a lot – but she’s adept at communicating what she wants with those yowls. If she yowls near her food bowl, she wants you to fill it (that doesn’t mean she’s hungry and she will, inevitably, walk away from said food. She just wants to test her human’s obedience). If she stands near a door and yowls she wants you to open it (again, not necessarily to go through it, she just wants it open). If she yowls near a chair she wants you to sit down and pet/comb her.

 

 

Sibling Kitty will sit in the middle of the floor and just yowl. She can keep it up for hours while you play a guessing game as to what this silly creature actually wants. I suspect she likes to hear her own voice.

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Suspicious Sparky is Suspicious
Sparky
sparkindarkness
Annoyingly, my friends page takes a long time to scroll back more than one page unless I endure the much hated, tumblr-wannabe new layout. Which is suddenly fast and efficient.

A more suspicious person than I might be consider that intentional

uh-huh

Berries!
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 The beginning of September's coming up which means I should be seeing the end of Beloved's first harvest from the garden. I could ask him if there's a lot more summer fruit to pick, but I live in fear of him saying "yes."

 

Don't get me wrong, i mean he has managed to stick to this obsession for years now - that's almost unprecedented with him! Normally his attention span wanes 12 minutes after he's found out how to load the credit card with useless things we'll never ever use (like his tropical fish which are still in our living room and he still has little to do with them). So a hobby that lasts this long? Excellent!

 

And he's shockingly good at it- at least, so I can guess from the actual harvests he produces which is a) bountiful b) tasty and c) not mutating into evil monstrous plants that try to eat us. Now, my gardening prowess involves going to a wonderfully "wild" (i.e. "completely ignored") part of the garden and sitting down with a book (sitting on a blanket or bench - not on the actual GROUND with the DIRT and the INSECTS!) and I would actually rather murder the neighbours and be covered in arterial spray than get covered in dirt and fertiliser - so I admit some level of being impressed by this.

 

So this is all of the good, yes? Well, yes. It's just... too much of a good thing hits at times. And in July and August we have the SUMMER FRUITS DELUGE! Cherries, Strawberries, Raspberries, Brambles, Gooseberries, Black Currants, Red Currants (what do you actually DO with these anyway?).

 

Last year I made a lot of jam. Which we still have because we don't actually eat much jam; I gave some away but everyone starts to get that "looking for the exits" look because they fear I may press more fruit preserve on them. Also, jam is one of those things that you never ever wants to eat again once you've actually made it (and realised that it's actually 50% sugar. You thought you were eating healthy fruit? Ha! You might as well crunch your way through a bag of caster sugar).


And yes there's loads of cakes and pies you can make with fruit - and we have, all the lovely things. But there comes a time when you've eaten the 9th creamy, meringuy fruity desert that you just crave chocolate. Or treacle. Or cheese. Or anything without berries. 

 

There is one solution to this inundation - ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream. Exactly how long can ice scream freeze anyway? I worry about the ice cream. Ice cream always seems to be something that is oddly random compared to most of what we make - there's always chance of us producing odd, pykrete like blocks of indestructible yumminess

 

So... either I have a freezer full of tasty, fruity ice creamy goodness

 

Or I have the makings of a Summer Fruits Aircraft Carrier.

 

And gooseberries. Why do we grow this many gooseberries? Does anyone truly love gooseberries this much? I don't know what possesses him, I mean between us we eat just about everything. We're not fussy eaters, we'll try anything 3 times (the first two times it could have just been cooked badly. Third time and still awful? Yes, that's just awful). and usually like what we eat - yet he has this truly magical talent for producing large amounts of the few things we don't love: Gooseberries, Kale, broad beans and worse.

 

It's a special talent.


I have games
Sparky
sparkindarkness
 Some people probably know Steam had a summer sale

 

It was a very good summer sale. 

 

So many shinies. So very many shinies. I had my usual conflict - I see a shiny. I sensibly tell myself that I don't need said shiny. I don't want said shiny. I don't have time to play the shiny. So I will ignore the shiny

 

Then I spend the next several hours doing nothing but obsess over the shiny, staring at the shiny, checking the shiny every 5 seconds, until I finally give in and buy the shiny

 

This time was a little different because I rarely had to perform the last step - because Beloved had got there before me. Naturally, since he is irresponsibly buying a megafuckton of games on Steam that he will never play and this is Irresponsible and something I would Never Do, I confronted him ready to Shame Most Cruelly

 

He does have a good excuse - having seen my constant agonising over not buying these he has decided that I waste far more time, energy and productivity than I would actually lose if I just bought them in the first place.

 

He is SAVING me from MYSELF. Oh what a saint he is. And there is absolutely NOTHING self-serving about this excuse, of course

 

Needless to say, these excuses do not work. Especially since we know, oh boy do we know, that Beloved has absolutely zero impulse control when it comes to shinies and credit cards (do I need to mention the BBQ again? Because the BBQ is totally relevant here).

 

So now we have a gazillion games I do not have time to play and he does not have time to play. I haven't actually had time to play any computer game. But we have them, taking up hard drive space. And they're caaaallllling to me. 

 

See, for this you have to understand the Sparky brain. The Sparky brain likes - no - NEEDS things to be complete. This is why when I start reading a series of books I have to finish them EVEN IF EVERY WORD IS AWFUL. The incompleteness nags at me. As to how this affects me with computer games?


I have Civilisation V. I have played it several times. I have played as the Moroccan, Greek, Assyrian Songhai, Hunnic, German and Celtic Empires. What is the connection? Their leaders are in alphabetical order. No, really. The next one is Casimir of Poland.

 

This is how my brain brains. It cannot be healthy

 

And now I have games. Games that haven't been played. Games that need to be played. Games with Steam achievements that now need to be filled. They're calling to me...

 

Of course this is helped a lot by Beloved reading my Steam library aloud, reciting achievements I don't have and, occasionally, just saying "plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeeeee! Plaaaaaaaaaaaaaay meeeeeeeeeee!" in a ghostly voice. 

 


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