Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Hunger Games

Reading a good book is somewhat of a luxury to me.  Normally I don’t have much time to sit down and finish a book apart from when I am on holiday and/or on an island somewhere totally removed from technology.  But last week, while strolling around the airport waiting for my flight, I sauntered into the book store.  I had a ninety minute flight ahead of me and I had no intention of making friends on the plane.  Then I saw “The Hunger Games”, a relatively thin book but with a lot of hype surrounding it.  It’s been rumored to become the next “Twilight”.  Being thoroughly sick of glistening vampires, ripped werewolves and nerdy looking sorcerers, I decided to buy it.  The next few days I spent reading it and even ended up watching the movie.
The Hunger Games is a novel written by the American television writer and novelist Suzanne Collins and it was first published in 2008.  The book is part of a trilogy and is written from the perspective of the 16 year old girl called Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where the countries of North America once existed.  The Capitol, a highly evolved metropolis holds power over the rest of the nation.  The Hunger Games is an annual event in which one boy and one girl (ages 12 to 18) from each of the 12 districts surrounding the Capitol are selected in a lottery to compete in a televised battle until only one person is left.  There are no vampires or wizards, just regular kids fighting to the death in the cruelest circumstances imaginable.

District 12, where the book begins, is located in the coal rich region and this is where Katniss quietly carves out a path of meager survival for herself with her younger sister Prim and their widowed mother under the strict control and absolute dominance of the Capital.  On the day of the reaping (when tributes are selected for the games) for the 74th Hunger Games, Prim is selected to the horror of Katniss who then bravely volunteers, to the astonishment of everybody watching, to be a tribute on her sister’s behalf.  Also selected from district 12 is Peeta Millard, a baker’s son who Katniss knows from school and once gave her bread when she was on the brink of starvation.

After the reaping, Katniss and Peeta are whisked away to the Capitol where they are prepared by the drunken Haymitch (victor of the 50th Hunger Games).  Even before the games begin, Peeta declares his unrequited love for Katniss, during his public interview, and from there they are known as the “star-crossed lovers”.  Katniss struggles to accept this and questions Peeta’s true motives for declaring his love for her.  After all Katniss does have a love interest back in Disctict 12, Gale, albeit an unspoken love.  Then the Hunger Games begins and bloodshed and mayhem follows.  With unsettling parallels to our present appetite for reality television The Hunger Games is the deadliest reality television show you will ever see.
In an ominous twist of fate or calculated move by the Gamemakers, it is declared midway through the games, that if a boy and a girl survive from the same district, they’d both be declared victors.  This forces Katniss and Peeta to work together, still playing off the “star-crossed lovers” bit to the great adoration of the viewing public.  In a climactic final battle they are the last two survivors but one last callous twist in the game awaits them.  Against all odds they outwit the Gamemakers and both survive and it is a victory won in defiance of the Capitol and their stark rules; a victory that in all probability will have dire consequences for Katniss and Peeta alike.

The Hunger Games is a book about survival, rooting for the underdog and the evaluation of your own moral compass.  What would you do if faced with the same circumstances, would you have the will or the hope to survive?  But one word of warning, do not read this book if you are hungry, a lot of time is spent dealing with food.  I know it is called “The Hunger Games”, and it did have me crave bread and stew on a few occasions.  The book is an easy read and paced well.  Sure it is violent and I did find myself questioning its suitability for the target age bracket for which it was written, but the violence is not gratuitous or exaggerated.

I must admit that I was somewhat disappointed with the movie though.  Many parts of the book were omitted from the movie or certain things changed.  Sure this may have been done for the book to translate better into a film, but there are certain subtexts that went unexplored or unarticulated such as Katniss’s development of feelings for Peeta, how and why she met Rue and the reason Rue’s death affected her so deeply.  The final climatic battle was also vastly different from the book, with the mutants not being the mutations of the fallen tributes but instead being dog like monsters, which contributed little to the trauma and angst of the final battle as depicted in the book.  And the movie is a smidge too long for my liking, so make sure you pee before the movie and have enough popcorn and soda– it’s just over two hours long!
Whether The Hunger Games will indeed be the new Twilight, only time will tell.  For me the book was money well spent for burning 6 hours on a plane round trip, another couple of hours at the airport and for the time spent alone in my hotel room.  The movie was well acted (better than Twilight) and even though it is long I didn’t find myself getting bored or fidgety and it demanded my attention from start to end.  I do recommend that you get yourself a copy of the book and drag your butts to the cinema to watch the movie.  Enjoy The Hunger Games and may the odds be ever in your favor.

Till next time.

The Hunger Games Official Trailer - Watch more Movie Trailers

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It Doesn’t Get Better for Homophobes.

The pro-gay equality group FCKH8 wants homophobes to know that hating gay people will not enrich their lives.  This new in-your-face video comes courtesy of FCKH8’s Tyler Oakley.  Watch , enjoy, SHARE with your friends, TWEET and LIKE on Facebook.  Also support this worthy cause by clicking HERE.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Gay Panic Defense

Recently I read an article about the “Gay Panic” defense.  It is a defense tactic offenders of anti-gay violence use to try and circumvent getting their asses thrown in jail.  In the “Gay Panic” defense the defended claim to have been the object of homosexual romantic or sexual advances and found these advances so offensive and frightening that it brought on a psychotic state characterized by extreme and unusual violence.  In other words they committed a hate crime in self-defense because they feared being butt fucked by a penis or scissor’ed by a vagina.  It’s a pathetic pretext, if you ask me, and does nothing but distracts from and trivializes the real issue of “Gay Panic” affecting the homosexual community which is far more prevalent and traumatic than what you are led to believe.
Gay Panic” in the homosexual community is not something we talk about.  To be honest, it is one of those taboos like porn before genital grooming became popular and the darkrooms at certain gay bars.  We all know it exists, we have all seen one, experiences one and none of us are willing to publically admit it.

But if you have ever seen a gay man trying to fit into a pair pants a size too small, realize the new designer couch he just bought is in fact too large for the lounge, been the tragic victim of a dye job gone wrong, or saw the coach of a lesbian softball team watching her them loose, you will know exactly what “Gay Panic” is and what it looks like.  It isn’t pretty.  It isn’t fun and it isn’t an excuse to commit a crime.  Or is it?

Just the other day I suffered from gay panic.  I was driving home from work and decided to stop at the shop to buy some essential items for that evening’s dinner.  As I drove into the parking area I noticed a guy parking in one of the disabled parking spots.  I thought nothing of it, until the man climbed out of his car that is.  The man wasn’t disabled.  He didn’t even have as much as a limp and it pissed me off.
So I did what any self-respecting homosexual would do.  I walked up to him and shouted “Praise Jesus!  Praise the LORD! It’s a miracle!” To which he responded by telling me to go and fuck myself.  Ok, so I didn’t suffer so much from gay panic as I did from gay anger but in circumstances like these they are closely related.  I wanted to key the asshole’s car but I didn’t.  But if I had and got caught I would have used the Gay Panic Defense.

Gay panic can strike at any time and at any place.  It’s especially bad when I take public transport and flying in economy class.  When I am on a plane I like to be left alone and that is why I always insist on either getting the window seat or the window seat.  By doing so I can turn away from the person sitting next to me and pretend they are not there.  If I remembered to charge my iPod it further helps me to exude that antisocial “if you touch me or talk to me you will die” vibe.  But unfortunately there are some people who are immune to this and in one out of every three flights I take, they end up sitting next to me.

A couple of weeks ago on my flight to Cape Town one such immune person ended up on my flight.  She was a recently widowed retired high school teacher, misses her kids who now live in the United States and to fight loneliness she travels and makes friends on planes and at airports.  She had an uncanny fondness for orthopedic shoes, a dog that is a diabetic, is allergic to onions and is a Sagittarius.
When she boarded the flight she was like a little loud tornado which headed straight for me.  I remember praying that she would not to occupy seat 19B.  As she got closer and louder I could feel the gay panic swell up inside of me.  To my horror she was to sit iseat 19B, I checked her boarding pass.  Her ass had not even touched the seat yet before she started asking me questions.

Sweet heart, can you please ring my phone?  I think I lost it” she asked while rummaging through her handbag which could carry two dead backstreet boys and a medium sized dog through customs without any problem.  “It’s not ringing, it goes to voicemail” I mumbled.  “Oh sweat child, you can call me M’am.  I must have left it at the check-in counter” she said in her annoying old school teacher authoritative voice.  Realizing that there was a real possibility that she might never see her phone again (it was Johannesburg after all) she made a beeline for the cabin crew, consequently delaying our flight with 15 minutes.

As it turns out she did leave her phone at check-in and she spend the remainder of the flight talking to me only pausing briefly to breath.  I wanted to die!  Had I lost it and strangled her with her lilac scarf and got arrested, I would have used the Gay Panic Defense and also blamed the altitude and poorly controlled cabin pressure.  However, I did kill her (a couple of times) in my head and worked out a new ingenious method for in-flight murder involving a seatbelt, the food tray and two barth bags.
Sometimes episodes of gay panic can also be predicted.  You see this coming Saturday there is a high probability that I will experience a gay panic of sorts.  You see it is my godson’s baptism and it will be happing in a Catholic Church.  We all know how much I adore the Catholic Church and how much the Vatican loves me.  Holy Sea, Vatican City still pops by my blog every now-and-again and I am surprised that they have not issued an arrest warrant for me yet or at the very least banned me from all their premises.

With the countdown to Saturday, I suspect that I will either be truck by lightening, be kidnapped and tortured by the Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Citta del Vaticano or worse.  But hey, the day is not about me and even Pope Benedict XVI will concede that making a scene would be in bad taste and not very Christian like.  So in nomine Patris, et filii, et spiritus sancti I shall keep my mouth shut, head down and hide my gay panic as best I can.  All the while keeping an eye out for and staying clear off cars with tinted windows and men in dark blue uniforms.

Yes people, gay panic is a real problem.  We all suffer from it from time-to-time for various reasons.  It can strike without warning on a plane in cattle class, in a parking area at your local mall, in your living room, at your hairdresser’s, next to the sport field and even in Church.  Currently there is no cure for gay panic and it has not been tested in any court of law as a viable defense, but is does exist.  Ask your doctor about Gay Panic today, even though it cannot be cured I am sure it can be treated.

Till next time.

Monday, April 9, 2012

What if Jesus was a bullied high school teen?

Bullies, Punks and a Pontius Pilate Principal are the players in this bullied teen as Jesus Christ music video from New York City based recording artist Danny Blu for his new track "Set Me On Fire" .  Check it out.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Facebook, Twitter & Skype

I just love vintage advertisement.  Usually they are a great source of amusement to me.  So imagine my delight when I stumbled across these three ads on Pinterest this morning.  They were too good to keep to myself. (Click on the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Public Toilets & the Diseases You Can Catch

It is no secret that I detest public toilets.  They are nothing but Germ Incubators used by people with questionable personal hygiene.  I say this because you do not know what a stranger’s hand washing habits are like, whether they are wearing clean underwear and fresh socks or where their hands and butt cheeks have been.  Until proven otherwise it is always wise to assume the absolute worst and wipe every surface that is to touch your skin with antibacterial wipes.  Sure this might sound excessive to you but I promise after you have read what I am about to share, you will view Germ Incubators with the same disgust as I do.
I squirm at the thought of creepy germs that lurk on toilet seats, faucet handles and door handles in public toilets.  For this reason I spent as little time in them as possible.  And during those nerve-wracking moments when I am forced by my bodily functions to venture into one, I usually find myself opening the stall door with my elbow, crouching precariously above the toilet seat while avoiding touching anything and flush with it my shoe.  Sure this might sound a tad neurotic, but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

Research have found that the average public toilet could harbor E Coli and the Shigella bacteria, Hepatitis A, the common cold virus and various sexually transmitted organism like Crabs, Chlamydia and Gonorrhea.  To make matters worse, the average person touch their face between two to three thousand times a day and it is possible that you will touch your face in the toilet before you even get a chance to wash your hands, thereby contaminating your face with bacteria, viruses or STD organisms!  That’s right.  You can innocently stroll into the public loo to number two and leave with crabs or the bird flu or BOTH!
Just the other day at my office my bowels needed to move.  Normally my very personal bodily functions are on a strict routine and timed in such a way that I never have to sit on any foreign toilet seat.  But this day my timing was off.  Whether it was due to the Chinese food I had the night before or whether the universe decided my life was too boring and needed some spicing up, I do not know.  Being the public toilet phobe that I am, I ignored it.  You see I function better under pressure and if it wasn’t “I am about to shit my pants” time, I saw no need to expose myself Cholera or the Ebola virus.

An hour passed.  Then it happened and my body gave me the signal that it was time.  So I made my way to our floor’s men’s room.  It should be noted that my department share our floor with the IT department and they have some very nasty fast food eating habits and their eating habits translates into a lot of bad smells and confused and angry stomachs.  In light of this, combined with my Germ and Bubonic Plague Phobia, I approached the restroom hesitantly and with utter dread.
After opening the door with my elbow I was horrified to find that I was not the only one in there.  The stall next to the one I was about to use was occupied.  Another thing you should know about me is that I can’t pee if someone is watching me and I can’t poop if I am not alone.  But my body didn’t care, I needed to expel some waste and I needed to do it now.  After wiping the toilet seat down with antibacterial wipes I sat down and tried as best I could to go quietly.

Half way through my bowel movement I heard the person next to me finishing up.  He opened his stall’s door, flushed the toilet and left without washing his hands.  He just had a shit, wiped his ass and didn’t wash his hands!  While breathing in his feces air particles that were released when he flushed his toilet, I sat there hyperventilating and freaking the fuck out!

“It’s 11:30am and there is a person on my floor touching stuff, touching stuff I touch with feces on his hands!  I am going to have his feces on my hands!  Motherfucker!” I thought with utter dismay.  Who does that?  Who goes to the toilet, takes a dump and then leaves without even washing their hands?  Are people who do things like this raised by fucking homeless people?  If a person does this at work, what the hell goes on in their homes?  The more I thought about it the more disturbed I got.  Till this day I still don’t know who it was but I do have my suspicions.  But this is not the worst of it.
Not washing your hands is one thing but shedding your pubic hair is a whole different story.  You see not only do we have a non-hand-washer and feces spreader to deal with at our office, we also have a guy who sheds his ball hair.  I have found pubes on the toilet seat, the urinal and the basin.  It evokes a similar reaction in me as that time I found dry cum stains on a certain hotel room’s wall.  It’s disgusting.  It should not be there.  It makes me feel violated.  It is just plain wrong.

What if this jungle bush pube shedder catches the crabs or the syphilis?  Are we going to get it to?  Does he even know he is shedding worse than my five cats combined?  Going to the restroom and finding his pubes is upsetting and always serve as just another reminder that I am sharing that space with other people.  People who I don’t always know.  People with questionable personal hygiene.  The same as with the feces hands guy, I do not know who pubes guys is, but with him I too have my suspicions.
Going into a public toilet is like playing Russian roulette at the CDC’s most secure virus vault.  Every time you go in there you run the risk of contaminating yourself with other people’s germ, catching a super virus or helping a new virus mutate.  The worst must be restrooms at airports especially in Muslim countries.  I remember my experience at Cairo’s International Airport vividly.  The floor was wet, stuff was floating around my feet and it smelled like shit.  That’s exactly why I now won’t eat anything strange or spicy before a long trip and why contracting food poisoning by eating crab cakes from a buffet before an international flight never ends well.

Yes, public toilets are perilous places with a gauntlet of viruses, bacteria and fatal diseases you must successfully navigate and avoid.  Sure, public toilets are needed and we sometimes have no choice but to use them but when we do we must try and be safe.  Remember just because you have excellent personal hygiene doesn’t mean the gazillion other people who have been there before you do too.  There are some pretty disgusting people out there and chances are they used the loo before you.

Till next time.

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