Goodreads

Erin's bookshelf: read

Private Pleasures
Vampyres of Hollywood
HellFire
Religio Duplex: How the Enlightenment Reinvented Egyptian Religion
Four: A Divergent Collection
Fated
Mighty Dads
Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied: A Kinky Guide to the Best Sex Ever
Heatstroke: Nature in an Age of Global Warming
Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self
The Casual Vacancy
Middlemarch
Middlemarch
Midnight Crossroad
Play Him Again
Just My Typo: From
This Star Won't Go Out: The Life and Words of Esther Grace Earl
Reasons My Kid Is Crying
Crave
Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack


Erin O'Riordan's favorite books »

Monday, January 26, 2015

'Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied' Revisited

I want to circle back around to a couple of things: yesterday's long, rambling dream post; that stupid Canadian serial killer movie I made myself watch last week; and Jaiya's Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied. I was going to touch upon this in the Gone Girl post and somehow I forgot.


While I went to great lengths to explain the inspirations behind some of the disparate elements of my hormone-addled dream, I left at least one out. In the dream "I" had a sexual relationship with a person I had met only earlier that same day.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it. Consenting adults can make their own sexual choices without my input, and I was never a "not until the wedding night"/purity ring/don't-get-down-on-the-first-night type of a person anyway. I really like what Ayelet Waldman tells her kids: you should love everyone you ever have sex with, to some degree, although not necessarily all to the same degree.*

I'm saying that particular story line may have been influenced by the scene in said Canadian serial killer movie, Karla. The movie showed Paul and Karla enthusiastically stripping off each others' clothes on her hotel bed maybe not even an hour after they'd met, while two of their friends are still in the room. It's very early in the movie and maybe the only part of the whole sordid thing you can actually point to and say "That part's kinda hot" without being a complete sociopath.

Laura Prepon, who played Karla. Creative Commons image by Giliveira
The Jaiya book I read in August 2014 comes in where I think back to another scene that happens shortly after the hotel room scene. The incarcerated Karla is up for parole, but first she must undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The evaluator suggests to Karla that she was the one who introduced role-playing into her relationship with Paul. Karla's flashback shows her giving Paul a set of handcuffs and insisting he put them on her. Paul goes along with it. As he puts the cuffs on Karla, he says into her ear, "What if I was a rapist?"

She answers, "That would be hot."

The evaluator wants to know whether that was a red flag for Karla. After all, we the viewers already know Paul had committed a series of rapes and been questioned by the police before he met Karla. But apparently Karla didn't know that yet. She dismissed the evaluator's concern by saying it was "just fuck talk."

For a normal couple who aren't narcissistic, sadistic psychopaths who kill people for pleasure, would such a role play be a red flag for real violence? I don't think it would - at least, not in every case. It makes me uncomfortable, but that doesn't mean it makes you uncomfortable.

Misha and Laura look super creepy as Paul and Karla. Those blond highlights are not helping his case any. Via Fanpop:
http://www.fanpop.com/clubs/supernatural/answers/show/216350/does-any1-know-misha-cass-married-whats-name
I'd written in my review of Cuffed, Tied, and Satisfied, "On page 125, Jaiya shares that she gave her partner a list of words and asked him to choose the ones that turned him on. One of the words he chooses is "rape." She never addresses this or mentions it again. I understand the adults are perfectly entitled to role-play and act out whatever fantasies they care to have with their consenting adult partners, and I don't have a problem with that. I don't consider myself overly "vanilla" and I'm not usually uncomfortable around discussions of sexuality (erotica writer here), but I am uncomfortable with this book skirting around issues of nonconsent without strongly addressing them." 

So I agree with Karla to a point - if you feel comfortable within the confines of a relationship, then you can role play whatever turns you on, even if it turns you on precisely because it's transgressive. A woman-man couple might, for example, role play mother-son incest, and that doesn't necessarily mean the guy wants to have sex with his actual mother.

But I think the psychiatrist was trying to get across to Karla that if she had been a psychologically healthy person, she wouldn't have felt comfortable being in an intimate relationship with Paul at all. There are some people - and let's hope they're only a small percentage of the population - who aren't able to handle role playing because they accept it as validation of their antisocial urges. 

That, I think, is the issue I wanted Jaiya to address. I wanted her to come out and say that some people will never be safe to role play with, and some people will never be safe to engage in restraint play with. Some people don't have the capacity to understand that it's okay to use people as sex toys for as long as those people consent to be used as sex toys as long as they're also being treated as living beings with feelings at the same time. I don't just need the authors of sex guides to KNOW how important consent and empathy are. I need them to WRITE how important consent and empathy are. 

Vicki Vantoch, Misha's actual, not-creepy, intellectual-hottie wife, with her dark hair and glasses, kinda looks like Alex Vause.
Laura-as-Alex is the girl all the bad girls want.
http://dorothysurrenders.blogspot.com/2014/04/will-real-alex-vause-please-stand-up.html
*Ayelet Waldman tends to be painted in the media as some kind of difficult woman and/or as some kind of appendage to Michael Chabon. Do not come to me with your Ayelet Waldman hate. If you do, I will assume both misogyny and antiSemitism and fight you so hard to defend lil' Yiddish mama. 

As I will for my Arab and Muslim sisters, too. Because there was an attack on a kosher food store in France, the media will try to separate European Jews from European Muslims like they're supposed to hate each other. Don't fall for that crap, either. Don't pretend like the Frenchy-Frenches wouldn't turn all their Jews and Muslims over to the Nazis faster than you can say allons-y, along with the Romany people

Asiatics of the world, we all gotta stick up for each other. Don't fall for divide-and-conquer. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Stream-of-Consciousness Sunday: Currently Reading and Erin's Dream Diary

Now that I've finished Gone Girl, my current reads are:


I'm about 70 pages into Great by Sara Benincasa. It's a contemporary YA retelling of The Great Gatsby with some of the characters' genders reversed; Nick and Jay are now Naomi and Jacinta. The writing style isn't super-literary, and in spots it borders on the ridiculous, but I'm still interested in how the tale proceeds. I started reading this at my cousin's birthday party for her kids the other night, when my husband and the other men were engaged in watching an incredibly stupid MTV show in the bar. (The party took place at a bowling alley my cousin had rented for the occasion.)

This is a book I got free from Amazon Vine. Another Vine pick I'm about a third of the way through:


So it's a silly PNR about a weretiger princess who finds herself attracted to a warrior vampire. So what? It's fun, and I love big cat shapeshifter stories. In my mind I'm picturing Russell, the vampire, as Christian Bale. Russell is supposed to be an American - well, Christian Bale is now a naturalized American. I think they kicked him out of the U.K. because he was born without a British Charm Unit.

In the car on my hour-long commute to the Corporate Marketing Day Job, I'm 11 of 15 discs through Dan Brown's Deception Point. I borrowed it from the library. I've begun mentally casting the movie:

Michael Tolland - George Clooney
Corky Marlinson - Jeffrey Wright (my beloved Beetee from the Hunger Games film series)
Wailee Ming - Ken Leung

I don't have strong feelings about who should play Rachel Sexton. Any Generic White Girl will do. I can't stop thinking of Gabrielle as Halle Berry because it's written right into the text that she resembles the actress.

The book I sometimes read on my lunch hour at work is Cover Him With Darkness by Janine Ashbless. I got the paperback from Cleis Press in exchange for an honest review.


It encompasses one of my current obsessions - angel sex, although of the hetero variety in this case - and one of my deep-seated, ongoing obsessions - That Yugoslavia! Thing. It takes place in Montenegro, partially. Also, the writing is fantastically good.

You may remember Yugoslavia! from previous installments of Erin's Dream Diary:

A Wonderful Vampire Dream
The Adam Levine Dream
The Beltane Fertility Dream
The Boy
The Inspirational Zombie Dream
Wall Street
Window Into the Mind of an Erotica Author
Yugoslavia!

Because my uterus refuses to play nice, like my other bodily organs do, I awoke to pain and blood. Despite, or perhaps because of, the hormonal flux going on beneath my skin, I vividly remember what I'd been dreaming before my internal Nagini decided to shed her skin:

My dad's dad was still alive. He and my Irish Granny owned a restaurant, where my parents and I both worked. I was 19 years old. My project of the morning was making a pot of soup, the base of which included the concentrated juice of pomegranates.

http://thatwritererinoriordan.tumblr.com/post/109060935600/beautiful-bibliophile-day-17-biggest-plot#notes
This lovely photo, which I found on Tumblr during an idle moment yesterday, may have been responsible for my dreaming of pomegranates.

Here I must mention that in my dream, the Earth was under the control of the Empire - the Darth Vader empire from the Star Wars series. We all know that the events of Star Wars happened a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. But maybe I was dreaming about Star Wars because I am a nerd drove through fog the other day, and when I drive through fog, I like to pretend I'm in Cloud City. Yeah, I grew up in the '80s.

The time of year is late April/early May - the time of Beltane - in my dream. I kept thinking I wanted to ride my bike into the woods to make my prayers and sacrifices to the God and Goddess. But I had to wait to go to the temple of the woods, because a storm trooper came into the restaurant.

Eve Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons
FYI, the reference to Beltane might have come about because I've reblogged a few Howl's Moving Castle posts on Tumblr in the past few days. I love Howl and Sophie as a couple, and as you may recall, they met on Beltane/May Day. It's their anniversary. Yesterday was my maternal grandparents' wedding anniversary, although both are deceased, and they had gotten married on the same day as my grandfather's parents.

My mother's father's parents on their wedding day, circa 1915. That day was a January 24th. 
But I digress. The storm trooper came in, and I felt very threatened and intimidated by his presence. I considered the fact that he might kill me and my family. But he took off his helmet, and he was a regular guy. He looked just like Ben Affleck.

I told you I would get attached to Nick Dunne.

So the storm trooper, whose name I must have known in the dream but cannot now remember - we'll just call him Ben - flirted with me. I let him come upstairs to my bedroom, to the family living quarters above the restaurant. Somehow I managed to sneak him past my parents and grandparents, even though all four of them were there.

We kissed. I took my clothes off. He took off his uniform. We had sex. For me, it was the first time.

Currently obsessed with the song "First Time" by Ghost Beach, an indie rock band named after a Goosebumps book

Several weeks later, when I realized my period was late, I knew I was pregnant. I surreptitiously bought a pregnancy test and sneaked off to the woods, to the very place where I would have made my obeisance to the God and Goddess on Beltane, to take the test. My family found out shortly after that. I don't know how - I didn't volunteer that information.

Soon I found myself hauled in to the Empire's nearest outpost. The Empire had some kind of interest in children who had been conceived on Beltane, and they considered my offspring to be their property. I would be held as a prisoner until I gave birth to my daughter, then released back to my family. I was never to expect to see my daughter again.

It was bad, but not as bad as it could have been. Ben was allowed to visit me and bring me things. On his home planet, he was also a witch. He showed me a book of the Craft from his home world that told him which roots to dig up and give me for morning sickness. Fortunately, they also grew on Earth, but he could only dig them up by the light of the full moon, and he had to chew them up for me. (This is oddly sweet - the father having to chew up the roots that will benefit his child in utero.)

In actuality, the time I had to live without seeing my daughter was only a few months, because the Empire was defeated and the troops got to go home. I know I got my child back, but I don't know whether Ben stayed on Earth, if I decided to take the baby to his home planet, or if we parted ways.

That is how my hormone-addled subconscious mind works.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Not Sure How I Feel About 'Gone Girl' (Spoilers)

Please be aware that the following book post is not spoiler-free and that it mentions sensitive topics that some readers may find disturbing.

I resisted reading Gillian Flynn's bestselling thriller Gone Girl for a while now. My grandma read the e-book on her Nook and said it was "just okay." She's much more a thriller fan than I usually am, so I deferred to her opinion. Then Meagan at work brought her copy to the office and insisted I had to read it, so I read it dutifully.


It was much more interesting than I expected it to be. It did not go in the direction I expected it go - not at all. And no, I did not know any spoilers beforehand, even though I feel like I'm the last person on Earth to read this book.

I thought it was going to be a story about a man who killed his wife. After the first few chapters, I kind of liked the husband, Nick Dunne. He's a writer, a smart boy, the kind of fictional boy I usually end up attached to. Since I feared he'd turn out to be a killer, though, I asked people on Goodreads, "Is it okay if I like Nick?"

I got two answers: "Kind of" and "He's not as bad as he could be."

Nick does one REALLY bad thing, and that is cheat on his wife, Amy, with a 23-year-old student at the college where he's a part-time professor. That's a jackass thing to do, for sure. I don't judge people for being non-monogamous, but I do judge lying to and hiding things from your partner to be unacceptable behavior. Honest polyamory is good behavior, but cheating without a partner's knowledge and consent is bad behavior.

That said, Nick is not the villain of this novel. Although we don't really begin to suspect it until Nick discovers what's hiding in the woodshed, Amy is the real monster in the story. She lacks empathy utterly, is self-centered to a narcissistic degree, and brilliantly plots the destruction of anyone who stands in the way of what she wants.

Hence my mixed feelings about this novel. Amy is a psycho bitch. Isn't that what practically every guy says about his ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, though? Isn't that the refrain of misogynists everywhere: "Women - they're all crazy bitches?"

I'm not saying that Gillian Flynn is a misogynist. I don't think that at all. I think she wrote a fascinating "what if" story line centered on an interesting, complex, and problematic fictional character. I do think the novel might, inadvertently, reinforce societal stereotypes about female behavior.

One of the awful things Amy does in this novel is falsely accuse an ex-boyfriend of raping her. Being falsely accused of something as horrific as a sexual assault is a frightening prospect, and it's natural that we sympathize with any innocent person - in general, an innocent man, much more rarely an innocent woman - to whom this happens.

Realistically, though, false rape accusations are far, far less common than actual incidents of sexual violence. Society has an unfortunate tendency to blame the victim and defend the accused to a ridiculous degree. It has a lot to do with internalized misogyny and other outdated ideas that have long outlived their usefulness. As a result, too few rapists are prosecuted and victims too seldom get the support they need and deserve post-trauma. This is a societal trend that needs to die a quick death.

Therefore, let us not in any way support the myth that women are inherently self-interested and deceptive. Let us not support the myth that women in general tend to lie about sexual assault for our own gain. Instead, let us give all our support to spreading the idea that a culture of enthusiastic and freely given consent is a win-win for all human beings who engage in sexual and romantic behaviors.

I wanted to finish reading the story to see how it ended, but I didn't so much enjoy it as feel a deep and dreadful concern for the characters. Which is the mark of good writing, by the way - Gillian Flynn made me feel things, and I applaud her for it. I haven't been this wrapped up in a book since The Fault In Our Stars made me cry, then drop it, then call it a stupid book because it made me cry and drop it.

The ending is a hideous nightmare of spousal abuse, a husband being victimized, trapped, and held against his will by his wife. A weaponized pregnancy. Forced domestic bliss.

What's perhaps a little coincidental is that just yesterday I watched a movie called Karla on Netflix. It's an awful movie I wouldn't recommend it to anyone, ever. It's based on a true story, an exploitative "woman in jeopardy" movie about a Canadian couple who kidnapped, raped, and murdered several women. The title character, Karla, is played by Laura Prepon, whom I much prefer to see as Alex Vause on Orange Is the New Black.

The titles at the end of the movie mentioned that the real-life Karla is now out of prison, but still has limitations on her freedoms, as apparently is legal in Canada. The legal system felt she lacked remorse and that her actions couldn't entirely be blamed on her husband's influence and his well-documented, horrific spousal abuse. These titles were somewhat in opposition to the rest of the movie, which portrayed Karla as a scared and reluctant partner in the things her husband did.


The husband, Paul, was played by Misha Collins, my reason for choosing this disturbing film. I really hated seeing his as a serial rapist/sexual sadist who frequently backhanded his wife. I much prefer to think of sweet-faced Misha as a fictional character living in domestic bliss with a fictional Jensen Ackles. He looks too kind to be evil, but I guess that was some of the point of casting him in this Canadian catastrophe. Look, photogenic white people can be evil, too!

Karla was sort of a mixed message, but overall it seemed to tell the story of a man who was so evil and abusive, he twisted a young, impressionable woman by exploiting her sexually adventurous side. Gone Girl is almost the opposite. Nick, mostly-innocent husband victimized by his abusive father, falls into the trap of psychopathic, manipulative Amy, and he's forced to play her game...at least until she decides to kill him.

Male psychopath, female psychopath...one is no more palatable than the other. I didn't exactly "like" Gone Girl, but it certainly wasn't as boring as my grandmother made it sound. I'll have to watch the movie, which stars Ben Affleck as Nick Dunne. I don't have a particular fondness for Ben Affleck (Jennifer Lopez has said she was in love with him, but he broke up with her abruptly and broke her heart), so maybe I won't get very attached to movie-Nick. Maybe.

More Blogger Reviews of Gone Girl

Jenn @ Going the Distance

Shoshanah @ From L.A. to LA

Andrea @ Andrea's Adventures

Kristine @ Living Barefoot and Crazy

Lil @ Faster Than Forever

Victoria @ Mine to Live

Carly Ann @ Carly Chubby Cheeks

Sunday, January 18, 2015

'The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven' Recanted, Publishers Weekly Reports

In October 2010, I reviewed the nonfiction book The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven by Alex and Kevin Malarkey. I reviewed it in exchange for a free hardcover copy of the book from the publisher. Now, according to an article posted at Publishers Weekly on Jan. 16th, its publisher is pulled the book "and its ancillary products" out of print.


The article by Clare Swanson reports that Alex Malarkey wrote in an open letter to religious booksellers that he didn't die or go to heaven and that he made up the story to get attention. The article quotes Alex as writing, "people have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough....Those who market these materials must be called to repent and hold the Bible as enough."

Swanson's article links to a National Public Radio story by Bill Chappell. The NPR story says Alex's letter was posted on a website called Pen and Pulpit. Chappell states that Alex's mom, Beth, has been speaking out since last year saying that Alex no longer wants his name to be used without his permission, effectively distancing the family from its bestselling work already.

Mario the Vigilant Christian (you may remember his YouTube channel from "Ellie Goulding's 'Lights' Interpreted According to MK Ultra Theory") posted on this same topic yesterday.


This isn't the first time Alex's story have been questioned. In 2011, prolific religious author D. Eric Williams wrote The Truth About the Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.


Goodreads summarizes Williams' book thusly: "Should we take seriously a story about a boy who routinely visits heaven? And what measuring stick should we use in answering that question? Is it enough that this tale employs Christian terminology or is there a higher standard we must look to? Find out in the booklet, The Truth About The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly."

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Elle Chase Announced as Fourth Panelist for ‘Women in Porn’ Panel at XBIZ 360


HOLLYWOOD, Calif. [Press Release] – Mindbrowse.com has announced sex educator, writer and coach Elle Chase (AKA “Lady Cheeky”) as the fourth panelist for the upcoming “Women in Porn” discussion, which is to take place Wednesday, January 14 at the XBIZ 360 conference in Hollywood, California.

“Elle is the perfect addition to our already-impressive panel,” said Sssh.com owner Angie Rowntree, who produces all Mindbrowse.com events. “Elle’s open, sex- and body-positive approach has really resonated with people, as evidenced by her over 100,000 Tumblr followers and the large and loyal readership of her sex blogs.”

In her capacity as a sex educator and coach, Chase speaks and gives workshops across the country about all things sex. Chase also operates LadyCheeky.com, which she describes as a “curated, feminist, sex and body-positive, sexual/sensual images,” as well as SmutForSmarties.com, which received the Best Sex Blog award from the L.A. Weekly in 2013.

“I’m honored to be included in this panel attended and moderated by such accomplished and trailblazing professionals,” said Chase. “I’m looking forward to an intelligent, healthy and lively debate that informs and educates, as well as leaves space for everyone’s unique personal views.”

Chase is the final addition to the Women in Porn discussion panel, which also includes Penthouse Managing Director Kelly Holland, author/attorney Frederick Lane and award-winning director/performer Courtney Trouble. As in previous Women in Porn events, sociologist Dr. Chauntelle Tibbals will moderate the session.

During the discussion, the panel will be assisted by “celebrity tweeters” who will encourage viewers to tweet their questions and observations for the panel to address. The identity of the celebrity tweeters will be revealed sometime in early January, Rowntree said, “to leave a little suspense in the air.”

“Each of our previous Women in Porn discussions has been excellent, with an energetic conversation with and highly engaged audience,” Rowntree said. “I think having a live audience in the same room with the panel will heighten the experience for all involved even further, as being together physically should result in a more intimate feel than we’ve had in the online debates.”

For more information about the Women in Porn debate series and to watch the previous panel discussions, please visit www.MindBrowse.com. For more information about Sssh.com or #SexTalkTuesday please email Angie Rowntree at editor@sssh.com, For more information on the XBIZ 360 conference, go to www.xbiz360.com.

Monday, January 12, 2015

This Might Replace 'Shameless' As My Favorite RPF

Remember the time I couldn't stop reading an RPF - real person fiction - called Shameless by Helens? (I mentioned it in this blog post; you can read the fic here. Do. It's sooo gooood.)


It has Christian Bale and Sean Bean. Sean Bean doesn't die in this one, but he does have a lot of sadomasochistic same-sex sex. And it is glorious.

It's been many and many a year since I actually wrote an RPF - since my college days, I reckon. These days I prefer to work with fictional characters, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy an occasional RPF read.

This past week a series of fortunate events occurred. The 2015 Peoples' Choice Awards were held on Wednesday, January 7th, One of the winners was my latest celebrity crush, Misha Collins, for playing Castiel on Supernatural.

So on my Tumblr blog Something Kitten This Way Comes on Thursday, I blogged a few PCA photos. It's a book blog with many, many diversions, and one of those diversions is that I sometimes blog red carpet photos for actors I particularly like - the Hunger Games cast and whatnot.

On Friday, I blogged nothing but Misha Collins all day, just because he is pretty. A lot of what I reblogged came from the archives of my fellow Tumblrer Alexandra on her blog Your Bittersweet Company. Including this:


And that graphic links to this, a Misha Collins/Jensen Ackles RPF. (They have a ship name, and it is Cockles.) I couldn't NOT read it. I simply couldn't. The author goes by NamiChan89, and the artist of the lovely banner is petite_madame. There are 8 chapters and an epilogue, all awesome. It's not plotless porn.

I mean, it's really sad at first. Fictional-Jensen's brother and very-pregnant sister-in-law are killed by a drunk driver, but his infant nephew survives the crash. Since their other sister is still in college and they can't stomach the thought of the little boy being raised in foster care, Jensen has to take care of the little boy, named Andrew or A.J. for short. He gets paternity leave from his engineering job, but he's a little depressed after the trauma of losing his brother. The sister lives too far away to be much of a support system for him, and AJ is fussy. Uncle and nephew get very little sleep at first.

Fictional Misha is their new neighbor across the hall. Jensen and Misha flirt a little right from the first day they meet. It's casual, though. Fictional Jared Padalecki shows up as AJ's pediatrician, which is very cute.

In Chapter 2, Misha seems to know something about caring for a baby, but Jensen doesn't dare ask him why that is. Misha lives alone, so no wife or children appear to be in the picture.

Chapter 3 has the sister - Mackenzie - babysitting AJ so Jensen and Misha can go to dinner and a movie. It's a date that Jensen somewhat ruins at the end by blurting out that it is not a date.

Chapter 4 is very sweet. Jensen has made himself sick by drinking milk that was a little spoiled. While he's recovering, Misha takes care of him and AJ. They both seem to accept that Misha will help take care of the baby, but the two adults are just friends.

In Chapter 5, with his paternity leave coming to an end, Jensen is complaining to Misha that it's hard to find a good babysitter. In the midst of explaining why he doesn't feel comfortable hiring the potential nannies who seem a little too flirty, Jensen very clearly states that he's gay. Misha doesn't flinch, but he's not forthcoming with any more clues about his own orientation, either. Not surprisingly, Misha ends up taking the 2-day-a-week nanny job, since he mostly works from home. (He's a translator.) Mackenzie, meanwhile, gives her brother the number of a definitely-gay potential date named Tom, since Jensen's flirtation with Misha doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Chapter 6 is mostly dates that Jensen goes on with Tom. Their relationship is progressing, even if Jensen can't seem to get past his seemingly-hopeless crush on his hot neighbor/babysitter. At the end of the chapter, Misha interrupts their date calling Jensen and telling him to meet him at the children's hospital. Uh oh.

Chapter 7 returns to the melancholy. AJ is fine, but Misha narrates the sad story of how he came to be experienced with caring for babies. He was married, and he had a baby girl. While he and his wife were working on a humanitarian project in Africa, their daughter got sick, and she died. Misha and his wife couldn't stop arguing after that, and they got divorced. Not only is the story sad, but now Jensen's romantic hopes are crushed, because now he believed Misha is a straight guy. At the end of the chapter, Misha is contemplating taking a job in Russia.

In Chapter 8 - well, we can all see where this is going. Jensen breaks down and admits to Jared he's been in love with Misha for the past 8 months (because every chapter is a month). Jensen breaks up with Tom, and Tom admits he saw it coming, because clearly Jensen is smitten with his babysitter. Faced with losing Misha forever, Jensen goes across the hall and begs Misha not to take the job in Moscow, and they both admit to having feelings for each other. Then they kiss. That night, after AJ has been put to bed, they go to Jensen's bed together.

In the epilogue, a 15-year-old AJ - now just going by Andy - doesn't quite know how to tell his two obnoxiously-in-love dads that he, Andy, has a crush on a girl. He comes out to them as straight.

And it is adorable.

Sometimes you just have to say "fuck reality," suspend disbelief, and enjoy a romantic drama.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Imagine 'A Wrinkle in Time' with Rory Gilmore as Meg and Dean Forester as Calvin


One of my very favorite books when I was actually in the young adult target audience - 12 years old or so - was Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time. It's a little bit fantasy and a little bit science fiction. Its protagonist is Meg Murry, a smart but socially awkward girl with whom I strongly identified.

In 2003 we got the A Wrinkle in Time TV movie. It wasn't great, but it was better than nothing.


Meg Murry is played by Katie Stuart, a Canadian actress perhaps best known for the CW drama series The 100. It only lasted one season, but I didn't mind that so much, because I'd rather have Paige Turco playing her recurring role as Zoe Morgan on Person of Interest than on some CW show. Stuart also made a single appearance on Supernatural, as a comic book store clerk.

Meg's 14-year-old schoolmate Calvin O'Keefe is played by Canadian actor Gregory Smith. He's perhaps best known as Epstein on Rookie Blue. I never watched that show, but it lasted four seasons.

For me, the best performances in the WIT movie are by Alfre Woodard as Mrs. Whatsit and Kyle Secor as The Man With Red Eyes. The red-eyed man is a detestable representative of pure evil, but Kyle Secor is still my sweet, sweet baby. Even post-Veronica Mars I can't hate him, because he'll always have played Timothy James Bayliss on Homicide: Life on the Streets. Detective Bayliss remains one of the few canon!bisexual fictional characters on mainstream U.S. TV series.

But what if?

Netflix recently added The Gilmore Girls. I've seen the first four seasons or so, but never finished the series. I'd love to revisit it...but I can only watch it when Tit Elingtin isn't around. Lorelei Gilmore's mom, Emily, reminds Tit of my mom - his mother-in-law - and he gets upset at my mom. I can't have a TV series causing me family discord. It's just not worth it.

Given my recent Destiel fixation, it's only natural that I occasionally remember Jared Padalecki as Dean Forester. Wouldn't young!Jared have made an excellent Calvin O'Keefe? He's neither red-haired nor blue-eyed like the book character, and it's Jensen Ackles who can lay claim to the most freckles, but these details are minor.

In my overactive imagination, Dean and Rory would make an excellent Calvin and Meg.


Charles Wallace: Tell me about him, Meg.

Meg: What would I know about him? He's a couple of grades above me, and he's on the basketball team.

Calvin: Only because I'm tall.


Calvin: Okay, old sport. I'll tell you this much. Sometimes I get a feeling about things. You might call it a compulsion. Do you know what compulsion means?...When I get this feeling, this compulsion, I always do what it tells me. I can't explain where it comes from or how I get it, and it doesn't happen very often. But I obey it. And this afternoon I had a feeling that I must come over to the haunted house. That's all I know, kid. I'm not holding anything back. Maybe it's because I'm supposed to meet you. You tell me.


Calvin: He's not handsome or anything. But I like him.

Meg: He is too handsome.

Calvin: Nah. He's tall and skinny like me.

Meg: Well, I think you're handsome.


Meg: You’re good in school. Everybody likes you.

Calvin: For all the most unimportant reasons. There hasn’t been anybody, anybody in the world I could talk to. Sure, I can function on the same level as everybody else, I can hold myself down, but it isn’t me.

Meg: I’m all confused again.

Calvin: Oh, so’m I. But now at least I know we’re going somewhere.


Calvin: Do you know that this is the first time I've seen you without your glasses?

Meg: I'm blind as a bat without them. I'm near-sighted, like Father.

Calvin: Well, you know what, you've got dream-boat eyes. Listen, you go right on wearing your glasses. I don't think I want anybody else to see what gorgeous eyes you have.


Calvin: Go ahead and cry. It'll do you good.

Meg: I cry much too much. I should be like Mother. I should be able to control myself.

Calvin: Your mother's a completely different person and she's a lot older than you are.

Meg: I wish I were a different person. I hate myself.


"Now instead of reaching out to Calvin for safety, Meg took his hands in hers, not saying anything in words but trying to tell him by the pressure of her fingers what she felt. If anyone had told her only the day before that she, Meg, the snaggle-toothed, the myopic, the clumsy, would be taking a boy's hand to offer him comfort and strength, particularly a popular and important boy like Calvin, the idea would have been beyond her comprehension."


When he is 14, Calvin's home life is rather sad. The O'Keefes have 11 children in all; Calvin is somewhere in the middle. (I think he has two older siblings.) His mother is an unpleasant woman who beats her children. She's like Peeta Mellark's angry, abusive mother in The Hunger Games. But...

SPOILER ALERT! When one gets to the third book in the series (and by the way, I've never finished reading any of the sequels, although I took a stab at the second one once), nine years after A Wrinkle in Time, Calvin and Meg are married and she's pregnant with their first child. The third book is called A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I think Meg becomes a physicist like her parents, and I know Calvin becomes a marine biologist. For some reason I think the total number of children they have is seven.