Monday, April 9, 2018

Ori Uplift Music - Uplifting Only 268 (incl. transLift Guestmix)

Heard this on Epic Trance. All instrumental Included some Shostakovich and lovely New Agey woman singing. Forever In My Heart and Afternova feat. Andrea Becker are also especially nice.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Guilty Pleasure - Lara Croft and Tomb Raider

I recently saw the new Tomb Raider movie with my husband, Bill. Tomb Raider is one of my favorite game series. In fact, it was the second video game I ever played. Although heroine Lara Croft started out as not much more than a series of pixels with big boobs designed for male players, she outgrew her limitations and became in my mind something more. She was much more than a sex symbol to me. Lara was popular with men and women, boys and girls. The guys wanted to possess her. Women and girls wanted to be her.  When I worked lighting for stage, TV, concerts, and movies I was as buff as Lara Croft. I even had the ponytail. She was everything I wanted to be – confident, strong, cheeky, gorgeous, energetic, rich.

I didn't see the character fleshed out until I read some of the comic books. Those comics gave her a backstory. She was very close to her father and relished the idea of traveling the world in search of puzzles to solve that helped her find answers to the biggest puzzle of all – herself. The first two movies starring Angelina Jolie brought more of these ideas forward. When I first heard the first movie was being shot, I told Bill the only one who could play her was Angelina Jolie. Jolie had all the make-up to play Lara. She was bigger-than-life. A little weird. Cheeky sense of humor. Beautiful. Full of energy. A bit of a loner (according to the types of roles she played). Had daddy issues. She certainly looked the part.

When the game first appeared, Bill was working as a producer at Hasbro. Due to his contacts, he managed to pick up a CD of the original soundtrack that included songs that weren't on the final soundtrack that was released to the public. I grabbed that soundtrack which consisted mostly of my favorite music genre, techno, and played it day and night. This was before the movie came out. On the way to the movie theater to see it, we played the CD in the car. I loved the movie despite it faults mainly because Jolie did such a good job depicting Lara.

Lara has evolved over the years. She's now less a pair of gigantic boobs and more a person in her own right. I've always seen Lara as a blank slate upon which I and I'm sure other female fans projected their own desires and aspirations. Through the character, those of us on the shy side could experiment with expressing ourselves. We became stronger both mentally and physically if that's what we wanted.

This is all very ironic since Lara was originally envisioned by British game company Eidos (now Square Enix) as a male Indiana Jones-type character complete with fedora and bullwhip. The character was changed to a Hispanic female named Laura Cruz, and then evolved into the English heiress Lara Croft as a hat tip to the developers. The latest movie, which sadly has garnered horrible reviews, depicts Lara more realistically, with a muscular and athletic build that doesn't focus on her breast size. The cheekiness of the character reminiscent of the earlier games and the Angelina Jolie movies has evolved to a more serious even dark manner. Judging from the end of the movie, I see a sequel in the works. I'll likely see it no matter how badly it is reviewed assuming it's made. I simply adore Lara Croft.

So I'll dig up and enjoy my Lara Croft dioramas, my pewter Lara Croft, my Tomb Raider socks and beach towels, my Lara Croft iPhone case, and the rest of my extensive Tomb Raider collection. It's a good thing to have such a fun template to aspire to. I can be anyone I want. And I'll enjoy the hell out of it.

New Column - Naughty Words

I have a new column at Novelspot I've called Naughty Words. I'll talk about romance, erotica, writing, and whatever floats my boat. Next up here - my first blog post at Naughty Words!

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Cactus Blossoms - Mississippi

I heard this song on "Twin Peaks: The Return", episode 3.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Women Who Refuse To Take Their Husband's Surnames

I found this article about women who did not take their husband's surnames upon marriage interesting and I do agree with it to some extent. I took my first husband's surname. That marriage ended in an ugly divorce. I kept my maiden name when I married my second husband, and we're going strong over 20 years later. Take all that as you like.

I kept my maiden name because it's my name. I am already known well by that name. I  used it for my past political and feminist writing. I am aware of the irony of my maiden name coming from my father – another man – but I didn't sign over my identity by changing my name upon marriage. That's how I see name changing for me personally. I already have an identity and I didn't want the hassle of changing a multitude of legal forms. I could have taken my maiden name as my middle name and my husband's name as my married name but I rejected that, too. I did that for my first marriage. Switching back and forth before and after that marriage was a pain in the ass.

The problem is that the description of men whose wives do not take their surnames as being perceived as being "less masculine"  in the article from the Independent seems to be seen as a negative thing. Far from it. How do we define what is masculine? The traditional definition seems to me to be somewhat harmful to men. Some positive attributes considered masculine include being assertive and ambitious. However, "Real" men are also strong who keep their emotions in check. Big boys don't cry. Brute force is a positive thing. And what's wrong with a man being seen as more feminine? A balance between stereotypes would go a long way towards showing more humanity.

Those who decried the research (the term "hostile sexism" was thrown about) thought of men whose wives did not take their surnames were "disempowered as a result of their wife’s decision." That's a load of crap.

This statement also intrigued me: "A woman's marital surname choice therefore has implications for perceptions of her husband's instrumentality, expressivity, and the distribution of power in the relationship," explains lead author Rachael Robnett. My marriage is not traditional. The power is evenly distributed throughout our relationship. There is no God-ordained leader in my household. I'm not submissive and when I'm upset or angry I feel free to express myself without repercussions, unlike my first marriage. That's not related to whether or not I took my husband's name but due to the nature of each marriage.

I also kept my maiden name upon my second marriage because I had taken his surname for my first marriage. I had done it once and didn't see a need to do it again. I also didn't have a traditional white wedding for my second wedding. We had a nondenominational ceremony in our backyard with me in a green lace dress. The town clerk officiated. Our sons and my son's best friend attended. Then we went inside, had my chocolate sachertorte wedding cake I had baked and watched Hellraiser. Hey, there are newlyweds in that movie! It's appropriate!

I am probably viewed as non-traditional in my marriage, my actions, and beliefs. According to previous studies, "women who violate the marital surname tradition are viewed differently from others. They are described in terms of instrumental traits that in a gendered society are typically assigned to men. These include having a higher status, wielding more power, being more self-focused, ambitious and assertive. These traits contrast with the expressive characteristics that are typically assigned to women, such as being more nurturing, kind and having less influence and power." My husband freely expresses his emotions like sadness and insecurity as well as anger. Why is anger seen as a masculine emotion? I see why nurturing is seen as feminine since women traditionally have raised children, but that is not an exclusively feminine characteristic.

My point in this rambling post is that keeping my maiden name was a personal choice between my husband and I with my feelings being paramount. Maybe it reflects the dynamics of my second marriage, maybe not. I just know that traditional definitions of masculinity and femininity can be harmful to both men and women. It's time we viewed ourselves as individual human beings with our own wants and needs and not be held hostage by stereotypes.