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Current television consumption

Stuff on which I'm current, since that's the shortest list:
  • American Gods
  • Legion
  • RuPaul's Drag Race
  • Twin Peaks (the return)
Shows on which I'm behind, but trying to catch up:
  • The Americans (10 episodes behind, but actively working on this one)
  • The Flash (3 episodes behind)
  • The Originals (3 eps behind)
  • Feud: Bette and Joan (7 eps behind - FX has pulled it from its web site. I've no idea why they set such short viewing windows. Who knows when I'll finish it?)
Shows on which I'm a season or more behind (mostly due to two DVRs failing us):
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
  • Arrow
  • The Expanse
  • Gotham
  • Legends of Tomorrow
  • Orphan Black
Shows I want to watch but haven't started (I'm sure there are many more I'm just not thinking of right now):
  • Supernatural
  • Westworld

This entry was originally posted at http://pointedview.dreamwidth.org/577407.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Twin Peaks is back

It has been a very stressful day (two hours on the phone with zero results from Dell -- their customer service now beats AT&T and Netflix for being the worst I have ever encountered). However, I did want to say that one of my favorite shows in the whole world (see default user icon) has returned.

Spoilers for the first episode of Twin Peaks 2017Collapse )

Addendum: I just cancelled the entire order with Dell. I was that frustrated. I lost three hours chasing around with them on the phone, talking with people in India some of the time, but most of it spent on hold. I'm back to the drawing board for a good gaming laptop that isn't hideous.

This entry was originally posted at http://pointedview.dreamwidth.org/576548.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Gay concentration camps in Chechnya

Gay men are being held for weeks; at least three have died. Some who have been returned to their families are "barely alive" after being severely beaten.

It is important to note that this is being done with the official support of the government: Ramzan A. Kadyrov is the head of the Chechen republic. Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's entry about him:

In April 2017, reports emerged that gay men in Chechnya were being arrested, detained in concentration camps, and tortured as part of a region-wide pogrom.[11] Russian President Putin said on May 5th, that he would personally ask the Russian Prosecutor General and Interior Ministry to help Kremlin rights ombudswoman Tatyana Moskalkova check the reported abuse. [12] It is reported that Kadyrov has promised to "eliminate" the gay population of deeply conservative, Muslim Chechnya before the Islamic holy month of Ramadan starts, at the end of May 2017.[13]

Here is an except from Wikipedia's page on gay concentration camps in Chechnya.

Since February 2017, over 100 male residents of the Chechen Republic (part of the Russian Federation) assumed to be gay or bisexual have been rounded up, detained and tortured by authorities on account of their sexual orientation.[1] These crackdowns have been described as part of a systemic anti-LGBT purge in the region. The men have been held and allegedly tortured in what human rights groups and eyewitnesses have called concentration camps.[2][3]

Allegations were initially reported in Novaya Gazeta on April 1, 2017[4] a Russian-language opposition newspaper, which reported that over 100 men have allegedly been detained and tortured and at least three people have died in an extrajudicial killing. The paper, citing its sources in the Chechen special services, called the wave of detentions a "prophylactic sweep."[4][5] The journalist who first reported on the subject has gone into hiding,[6][7] There have been calls for reprisals for journalists reporting on the situation.[8]

Chechnya and Russian authorities have denied any knowledge about the arrests. In response, the Russian LGBT Network is attempting to assist those who are threatened to evacuate from Chechyna.[9][10] Human rights groups and foreign governments have called upon Russia and Chechyna to put an end to the internments.[11]

The New York Times reported the following on 04/21/2017, corroborated by the Human Rights Watch:

Maksim said it had started with a chat room conversation with “a very good old friend who is also gay,” and who suggested that they meet at an apartment. When Maksim arrived, however, he was greeted not by his friend but by agents who beat him. Later, they strapped him to a chair, attached electrical wires to his hands with alligator clips and began an interrogation.

“They yelled, ‘Who else do you know?’” Maksim said, and zapped him with current from time to time. “It was unbearably painful; I was hanging on with my last strength,” he added. “But I didn’t tell them anything.”

Homosexuality is taboo in Chechnya and the mostly Muslim surrounding areas of the Caucasus region in southern Russia. “This society is highly homophobic,” said Ekaterina L. Sokiryanskaya, Russia project director for the International Crisis Group and an authority on Chechnya. “Homosexuality is condemned. It is believed Islam considers it a great sin.”

Ways to help:

  • Sign this petition created by Amnesty International.
  • Use this contact form to e-mail the Russian embassy to your country.
  • E-mail the Russian LGBT network directly at kavkaz@lgbtnet.org to find out how you can do more to help.
  • Get involved in your community by finding out about local protests of the horrors currently happening in Chechnya. Spread awareness among your friends and family.
  • Donate to the Rossiykaya LGBT Network

Sources:
Medium; Out.com

This entry was originally posted at http://pointedview.dreamwidth.org/576487.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

I do not consent

Dear SUP, current owners of LiveJournal:

I am a citizen of the United States. I am stating publicly, here and now, that I do not consent to the new Terms of Service that were implemented with no e-mail, no warning, and no notice whatsoever on 04/04/2017.

I am a Permanent paid user. I've had this account since well before you took ownership, and money changed hands. I expect what I paid for to be honored. It is my understanding that those servers are still in the USA, but even if they aren't, I do not consent to the altering of the legal contract that was made originally with Danga Interactive, and then honored by Six Apart.

Many people I know have now moved to Dreamwidth. SUP has damaged LiveJournal's brand by handling customer relations so poorly.

Farewell, Starman

I am not sure why, even two days later, the death of David Bowie makes me so damned sad.

When I first heard the news, I tweeted:

David Bowie is gone? Impossible. Surely it's another theatric, another reinvention, a new incarnation? My heart is full of wishful disbelief.

And I went and hugged my Labyrinth worm plushie for a bit while a hot tear or two escaped.

A user with the handle EwaSR tweeted:


I still feel like I would if someone had told me Mount Everest had died. "Well that's stupid, that's not how mountains work."


And that was exactly it. The wrongness of Bowie's death is that ... somehow, I don't quite know how, but I think on some level, he convinced everyone that he was a magical alien or Goblin King; that he was a creature who fell to earth.

And this one from Commander Chris Hadfield, the Canadian astronaut who performed "Space Oddity" while in orbit above our planet:


Ashes to ashes, dust to stardust. Your brilliance inspired us all. Goodbye Starman.

I keep getting choked up about this man I never met.

And I ask myself, "Am I more emotional since losing Mom? I was upset about Michael Jackson, but it didn't feel like this."

Maybe it's the planning ... the fact that he wrote Blackstar, his final album, when he knew he was dying. He prepared. He planned. He was deliberate and in control of his image at all times, and he left us a gift.

I feel sorriest for his 16 year old daughter. He will not see her milestones. I know he and Iman set firm boundaries on their privacy, and I applaud them for it. I hope she had a lot of time with her dad.

And while I feel sorriest for her, I feel an ineffable sorrow for the rest of us. Like a really important human left. Not because he was famous, but because he made being different okay for an awful lot of us out there. Not just okay - cool, even.

I don't know. It's hard to explain. I just know that I've cried a number of times about it. As one cartoon said, "The stars look very different today."

He really mattered, even if he was just a talented musician with amazing costumes. He used these guises to teach us. How we reacted to them said a lot about his elegance and grandeur, and spoke volumes about our secret selves.

In the video for "Lazarus," he enters a closet at the end. I like to pretend that he's heading off to Narnia to see his friend, Tilda Swinton, the Ice Witch.

And this reimagining of the scene from one of the Men in Black movies:

"You do know David Bowie is dead, right?"
"No, Bowie is not dead. He just went home."

May God's love be with you on your journey, Major Tom.

I mourn

I mourn the lost potential activities; the adventures we'll never have together.

I mourn all the things I'm not going to get to do with my mother because my parents retired too late.

I mourn the lost time.

I wanted to take her to Taste of Atlanta; wanted to take her to Cirque du Soleil; wanted to take her to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra's Christmas concert.

None of those things will ever happen now. Until the last year, it was because the store was open and it never seemed to be a good time. In the last year, it was due to transitioning away from the store and the cancer treatment. In the last year, she told me she didn't think they were going to get to travel. Did she know? Was she telling me? Warning me? Or just voicing her own legitimate fears? I will never know.

What I do know is that cancer robbed us of all our plans. Cancer, and my father's reluctance to close the store. He knows he failed irreparably. I do not say this to him. I do not tell him. What good would it do? What would it change? Besides, I feel sure his own guilt attacks him during the Hour of the Wolf.

There's a reason the saying, "Do it now," exists. Because you might not have tomorrow.

We don't have tomorrows with my mom. Only yesterdays.

Tags:

Astonished joy

On November 3rd, 2004, I despaired. 77% of Georgians had voted against marriage equality.

Today, not quite 11 years later, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.

I wept tears of joy when I heard. I called Terrance; I tried to call Scott. I need to e-mail Baxter and other friends.

But Terrance was the first person I called. I think of all his Red and Black articles, his feisty debates, his activism, his determination, him and Rick being the "poster couple" for gay parents taking their children to the White House's Easter egg hunt. He has always been such a passionate fighter, and I admire him so much.

He and so many have fought so long and so hard for this moment.

Things aren't perfect. As I type this, you can still be fired for your sexual orientation in 29 states.

But what an enormous victory. Some of the dearest people in my life can now safely travel from coast to coast, knowing that they won't be married in one state and not married in another. Knowing that they now have all the rights that result from marriage: they cannot be barred from a hospital room on the grounds that they are not kin to their spouse; insurance must recognize their marriage as legal and legitimate. There don't have to be any more euphemisms, no more "longtime companion" entries. So many things.

Much love to all of you. I haven't been this happy for anything in a very long time -- I am overjoyed. I wish Charlie, Bobby, and other friends who are now gone were here to see this moment, but I take comfort from seeing the pictures of couples in their eighties for whom it was not too late. My niece will scarcely remember a time when this wasn't the norm. I thought of Terrance and Rick's children: their sons may remember, but it will be a distant childhood memory. For their adult lives, it will be the norm. SCOTUS changed the future today. Going forward, it will just be the way things are. As it should be. :)

Somebody That I Used to Know

I was testing the "Detect Music" feature of Semagic (not quite working, by the way), and happened to use Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know" as the song I was trying to detect. I hadn't heard it in a while, and I'd forgotten how powerful it is (my apologies to Mr. De Backer for mistaking this for a new Sting song at the time):


"Making Mirrors," indeed.

Tags:

First crochet project of 2015 complete

I just finished a scarf for my mom's best friend, who is a Clemson fan (nobody's perfect ;) ). It's the first time I've ever worked with two colors, and I'm reasonably pleased with how it turned out:

Clemson scarf for Courtney

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Ripper Street

I finished the second season of Ripper Street last night. This BBC America show takes place in Whitechapel six months after the Jack the Ripper killings (hence the name). Its citizens are on edge and jumping at shadows, fearing every death is related to the predator in their midst. In this environment, Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and the police force at Leman Street try to fight the good fight.

What I find engaging about the show is the atmosphere and the history. I'm not one to watch CSI-style shows (the show is often jokingly referred to as CSI: Whitechapel), but I think it's interesting to see the theoretical origins of forensic analysis and to witness the beginnings of medical examiners finding their way as detectives. Yes, it's fictionalized, but much of it is plausible.

On the other hand, I find two out of the three principal male characters somewhat off-putting.

SpoilersCollapse )

Amazon has purchased a third season of the show, but it's unlikely that I'll stay with it. I'm not sorry that I watched it, but there are just too many other programs vying for my attention right now.

Side note #1: I found it interesting that at least five actors from Game of Thrones have made appearances on the show (the aforementioned Jerome Flynn, Iain Glen, Joseph Mawle, Kristian Nairn, and Paul Kaye). I don't know if the sets are near one another or what, but it's been kind of fun spotting them. :) Mawle reminds me a bit of Daniel Day-Lewis as Bill The Butcher in his role as Inspector Jebediah Shine.

Side note #2: I'll grant that the show is educational: I'd never heard of phossy jaw until I watched the third episode of the second season, "Become Man." I rather wondered if the special effects team was paying homage to Sandman's Mazikeen with their depiction of the symptoms. Their visual appeared much more extreme than the sketches and period photographs of the admittedly horrible and deadly disease.

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Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie
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