Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013: The Year that Was

So today is the last day of 2013 and I slept for 10 hours straight.  The last time I did that was when I had plastic surgery and the drugs were awesome.  And just so you know, the bags under my eyes have still not grown back.  That is a plastic surgery win in my book.  But this blog post is not going to be about me being nipped, tucked, getting laser treatment or getting Botox.  I am saving that for my forties.  The nip and tuck part that is because the rest I have been doing for years.  This blog post is going to reflect on the highs and lows I have experienced during 2013.  Seeing as I live a very boring life this blog post is going to be short.  I don’t want to bore you with all the insignificant details that make out the plethora of my meager existence.  So like the time when I worked in intelligence and had to write boring reports for politicians who were too lazy to read I will make it concise and hope it doesn’t give you a sudden urge to take a nap.  So here goes…

Like most years I like to start off the year being all optimistic, you know, making up silly New Year’s resolutions that nobody ever stick to.  New Year’s resolutions like “this year I am going to live healthy, exercise and lose weight”.  Yea right.  Well I did not do any of that and I should really be ashamed of myself.  In 2013 I gained 8kg and, like I like to see it, it is just more of me to love.  In 2013 we also learned what gay guys really think about vaginas and it really should not have come as a surprise that most of us are terrified of them.  I mean we all know that if it wasn’t for vaginas we would not be here but that doesn’t mean that we would want to revisit one, now do we?

On Valentine’s Day one of my far flung family members shot and killed his girlfriend and an international media circus started.  Oscar Pistorius shot and killed Reeva Steenkamp, a woman very few of us ever heard of before this.  Being sad and of great media interest the attention seeking homophobic Pastor from Cape Town also wanted his five minutes of fame and stated publically that Oscar was cursed for supporting gay rights.  Naturally I lost my shit over this a little, but they say you should take it from whom it comes.  Something I sometimes find hard to do.  This year I also realized that Google is making us stupid.  These days there really is no need to learn anything.  If you want an answer to a question you just ask Google; if you want to be shown how something is done you ask YouTube.  As technology evolves making life easier for us we as a human race are becoming ever lazier both mentally and physically.

This year I also had a rather unpleasant encounter with a drag queen that lost her mind.  I answered some questions straight people always wanted to ask a gay guy and gave you reasons why I don’t want to friend your cock.  And in an even stranger turn of events my cat almost got her own book deal.  This year also saw me coming to terms with menopause.  My own menopause!  I. Almost. Died.  I was diagnosed with early onset male menopause earlier this year and was started on hormone therapy.  Luckily, or unluckily, I have not yet grown a second dick yet but the hormones did see me grow some extra man hair.  Luckily there are wax as I don’t think I will rock the cave man look.

My long suffering husband and I also celebrated our 15th year anniversary this year.  That’s like 40 in straight years.  I also shared some stuff I do that annoys my husband which makes our 15 years together so amazing.  This year was also a turning point in our relationship with us making one of the biggest decisions a couple can make and that is to have children.  This year we started with the adoption process.  It was a huge step to take and a somewhat arduous journey but we are looking forward to becoming a family of three in 2014.  I know looking forward to 2am feeds, nappy changes, being thrown up on and many sleepless nights are not something most people get excited about.  But hey, you all know I am different and I am super psyched about it and you can be sure to read all about poop, formula, sleep deprivation and all that goes along with new parenthood on my blog in 2014.

During 2013 I not only dealt with the lighter side of life but also with some of the darker sides.  I wrote about addiction and how I have been personally affected by it and why I have not had any contact with my father for the last six years because of it.  I also shared with you my dirty little secret with my life long battle with depression and why sometimes wallowing in self-pity can be liberating.  I also dealt with religious inspired homophobia which is something I hope I will see disappearing in my lifetime as well as how the gay community can inspire hate and discrimination amongst ourselves.  Also during 2013 I hit a low point in my blogging career where I briefly wondered whether I should not just quit my blog.  But as you can see I pulled through my blogging slump and am still here.  We also lost a great man this year.  Nelson Mandela passed away and he was a man from which I drew great personal inspiration and he will be greatly missed but never forgotten.

2013 was by no means an easy year.  Looking back over the last twelve months I am amazed at how much I grew both personally and spiritually.  As I sit here writing this I am aware that I am almost at the beginning of what will be a new chapter in my life.  2014 will be a year of change, challenges, inspiration and great joy.  We will be welcoming a new member into our family and I am sure our priorities will shift.  2013 has taught me patience, the importance of resilience, focus and that change is a good thing.  So on this last day of 2013 I am not going to make any silly New Year’s resolutions, what I am going to do is make a promise to myself:  I promise that in 2014 I will be the best version of myself that I can be, accept myself and all my flaws and embrace life.

Till next time.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Prevent the Zombie Apocalypse

So I might be over exaggerating about the Zombie Apocalypse being upon us.  Please don't panic.  It. Is. Not. Real.  But it totally could be.  One day.  In which case you can panic and stay the hell away from me.  I know how to use a gun and I am not afraid to use it. Also, if there is a Zombie Apocalypse I will totally steal your shit in order to survive because apocalypses really brings out the worst in people. If you don't believe me just watch The Walking Dead seasons 1-3.  But this is not what this blog post is about (for now at least).

This year I have again, against my better judgement, decided to enter the 2013 SA Blog Awards.  I always enter these things but never win.  I totally have low self-esteem because of it y'all.  I may even start drinking or abusing prescription medication as a result.  And this year there wasn't a category that completely fit my blog but that did not stop me either.  In the past I was a runner up in the categories for best LGBT blog (it no longer exists), Most Controversial Blog (it no longer exists) and most recently for Best Political Blog (it may possibly also no longer exist in 2014, because I am noticing a trend, don't you?).

So this year I got entered for Best Political Blog and Best Lifestyle and Entertainment Blog.  Both categories kind of fit my blog if you squint your eyes and have downed six tequila shots.  Look, I am not complaining.  I will take it where I can get it because I am a blogging and social media whore like that. AND I NEED YOUR HELP.  I need you to vote for my blog.  Your vote will mean a lot to me and could possibly help me at least make it into the Top 3.  Your vote could prevent me from developing a drinking problem and/or becoming Xanax and Codeine addict.  You don't want that to happen to me, do you?

So here is what you can do.  Please click on the Pink Vote For Me picture below.  It will then take you to the website to vote.  Select both categories and provide your email address and press submit.  They will then send you a vote conformation email and when you get it click on the link to confirm your vote.  It is that easy.  Voting closes on this Friday the 13th at midnight C.A.T.  

Friday, December 6, 2013

Nelson Mandela a World Icon

With Nelson Mandela's passing last night I have decided to repost this blog post I wrote about him.  He has touched so many lives, changed South Africa for the better and he will be missed but always remembered.
Some generations are fortunate to be part of historic moments, moments so profound that it changes to course of history and the path of a nation. For some these historic moments are tragic like the events that unfolded on 9/11 and most people remember where they were and what they were doing when the planes hit the twin towers. For others historic moments are joyful and fill one with hope. It's been more than 20 years since Nelson Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison that was the beginning of the end of Apartheid. More than 20 years ago Madiba took his first steps as a free man after serving 27 years as a political prisoner and would continue on his march to free a nation.
I vividly remember that Sunday of 11 February 1990 when Mandela was released. I was 12 years old at the time but did appreciate that the release of Mandela was a momentous occasion that would change the course of history in South Africa. At the time South Africa was in a national State of Emergency which meant martial law was applied and enforced by the military and many civil liberties were temporarily taken from us - we were not living in a democratic country. Much fear still existed and the African National Congress (ANC) was still viewed as a terrorist organization even though they had been unbanned. When Mandela emerged from prison all knew change was coming and this provided hope. His first speech signified a new era, a new path and the birth of a new nation.

Sitting in front of our television Mandela’s distinct voice said “I greet you all in the name of peace, democracy and freedom for all”. He appeared strong and focused but uninfluenced by his iconic status. “I stand here before you not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people. Your tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today. I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.” He ended his speech by quoting himself during his trail in 1964, quite appropriate as this was the words he spoke before being imprisoned and with these words he would leave “I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die.”
After Mandela’s release he worked tirelessly so see his ideal for South Africa come to fruition. With the first democratic election in 1994 an uneasy partnership was established between him and the then president FW De Klerk. Having been enemies they now had to work together and the apartheid regime had to relinquish power and make way for democracy. Seeing the country change was tremendously exciting. I saw and lived in history. However, not all South Africans took well to change.

The birth of our democracy saw many labour pains and the birth was difficult. I remember my grandmother one day telling me not to play with my black friends when she was there visiting. I was shocked and angerd by her remark but came to realize that not all South Africans readily accepted change as easily as others. Certain generations would cling to old ideologies and would actively resist progress. Some generations would never accept that the beliefs they were indoctrinated with was wrong.
In the years to follow Mandela received many awards most notably the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize which he shared with FW De Klerk. An award he is most deserving off. Countless people lost their lives, got maimed by bombs and wear scars of torture on both sides of the battle; together with De Klerk he brought peace to a country that was on the brink of collapse. People were finally free and the civil war was over. I remember watching smoke rise from a bomb explosion in Pretoria, having had to evacuate shopping centres due to bomb scares and not being allowed to go out in the city at night due to fear. I remember seeing images of murder and violence. I remember reading signs that read "Whites Only" and I was relieved that all of this was now in the past.

Now more than 20 years later South Africa is no longer the same country Mandela saw when he left the gates of Victor Verster Prison. South Africa no longer is a country divided along racial lines and democracy has prevailed. However, South Africa still has its problems: We still battle with crime, curbing the rate of HIV and AIDS and there still are pockets in society that are racists. In spite of this, when I look at the next generation I am proud of the legacy Mandela has helped us leave behind. Children today don’t see the color of their friends’ skin; they don’t distinguish between rich and poor and they were born free of oppression and hate. Yes, we still have much to do to leave our country better than the way we found it but Nelson Mandela can be proud that he lived to see and achieved the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities and rights.  Rest in peace Nelson Mandela, you will be missed and never forgotten.

Till next time.

20 years since Nelson Mandela's release from prison

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

We are pregnant y’all

So we are officially pregnant you guys.  Well, at least on paper that is because, you know, we have certain "reproductive issues".  Yesterday we had our panel interview which concluded the screening phase of our adoption process.  It’s been four months since we started the process and we have been emotionally and psychologically poked and prodded more times than your average alien abductees.  But now that it is all over I can honestly say that we feel relieved and that it was worth the effort.  We have now been screened and found to be fit and proper adoptive parents.  In other words we will be able to keep a baby alive and be able to provide a safe and loving home.  Now the only thing that is left is that wait for “the call” that will forever change our lives.

I must admit that hubby and I were rather nervous prior to our panel interview yesterday.  I mean, it is the last hurdle of the screening phase and the point where you will know if you have successfully made it through the screening or not.  Even though we did know that we would pass, human nature can be a bit of bitch and self-doubt kept on creeping into the backs of our minds.  So when we arrived for our panel we were slightly anxious.  I more so because I suffer from “foot-in-mouth disease” and sometimes my filter for socially acceptable conversation is broken.  Hubby also says that I sometimes lack tact, but I prefer to see it as being direct and honest.  We agree to disagree on this but I digress…

Our panel interview lasted just under two hours and everything was covered again.  We discussed the whole adoption process, our motivation for adopting, our support structure, our marriage, interracial adoption and its challenges and also what we look for in a child.  We were asked during our home visit, by our social worker, to cut out pictures of babies that we thought were cute.  It felt like were busy shopping for a baby out of a catalog which we both had a problem with.  It seemed rather superficial and neither one of us were terribly comfortable with the idea.  But after coming to realize that our social worker merely needed to get a better idea as to what our vision of our child is we complied.  Sort of.

The most challenging part of our panel was the part where we had to specify what we were comfortable with, or like I like to call it – our shopping list.  We agreed that we want to adopt an interracial child; that we have no preference as to the complexion of the child’s skin, type of hair or sex of the child.  We are willing to adopt a baby that was conceived by means of rape (which is rather controversial), was abandoned and babies that the mothers decided to put up for adoption.  Naturally we want to have a healthy child but also specified that the child should be disability free.  What health issues concern we agreed that we would be willing to adopt a baby that is HIV exposed (the birthmother is HIV+ but the baby doesn’t have HIV) and babies whose mothers may have taken drugs or abused alcohol prior to finding out they were pregnant.

Having to go through the checklist of what we do and do not want when it comes to our potential child is a very difficult and deeply personal thing.  We spent many nights talking about it and painstakingly weighed up all the different options.  We decided not to focus on the outwardly appearance of the child, because that does not really matter.  We also decided to include rape, even though it is a horrible crime, but why should the child be punished for it.  The most difficult part of this choice is the fact that we will never be able to tell the child the true narrative of his/her conception.

Also at the panel we handed in our adoption book that has been finished for three months now.  Yes, we are overachievers like that.  Our book will now be put into circulation for potential birthmothers to choose from.  Compiling the book was rather complicated:  It is the first and only impression potential birth mothers will have of us and the book should be an accurate reflection of who we are.  There was also the balancing act between how many photos, and which photos, to include and how much or how little to write.  In the end I think we found the perfect balance and that the book will give a potential birthmother a good idea of who we are.  I also believe that things work out the way it is supposed to.

When the panel interview was concluded and we were told that we were now paper pregnant it was a huge relief.  It meant that we had done everything we could do and that it was now out of our hands.  It is now time to let go and let God.  The next time we will hear from our social worker will be when our baby is there.  It could be two weeks, two months or at the very worst case scenario two years.  No matter how long it may take, the fact is that we are going to have a baby.  I also believe that the right baby will come to us at the right time.  Now the only thing we can do is be patient.  Something I am terrible at.

To follow our adoption journey click HERE.

Till next time.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fight for your right to be Queer

Sherry Vine and Mistress Formika are here to kick down the closet door with their new parody music video "Fight for your right (to be Queer)".

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to tell if your boyfriend is gay.

Do you have a straight girlfriend? Do you suspect her boyfriend is gay?  Well if you do then show her this video.  It will clear things right up.  It's a public service I'm providing with the help of Davey Wavey and Tyran Southern.  You should thank us, really.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Interracial Adoption and Racism

Last night I watched an investigative journalism program doing a piece on adoption obstacles in South Africa.  They featured a South African couple who wanted to adopt a boy and a doctor from the United Kingdom who, after many years of struggle, managed to adopt her HIV+ daughter whom she had fostered.  Both stories were heartbreaking and only one had a happy ending.  Being in the process of adopting ourselves these two stories touched both my and hubby’s hearts.  Perhaps it was because it is a little too close to home or because we could so deeply empathize with both.  Either way both stories just brought the message home, once again, that adoption is not easy.  There are no short cuts.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster and not everybody is up for the challenge.

Next week hubby and I will be completing the screening phase of the adoption process.  This phase ends with a panel interview.  It’s hard to believe that we have been in this process now for four months.  It feels like it has been years.  Luckily, this is the last part where the adoption agency and our social worker decide on our suitability to become adoptive parents.  Thus far everything went well and I am really pleased with how PROCARE has treated us.  I am also sure the panel interview will just be a formality.  I am fully expecting to he asked some difficult questions during the panel interview but I think we are prepared and ready for it.  After the panel it is the long wait for “the call” informing us that there is a baby and that the placement is to be made.

During the last couple of months the adoption process has caused hubby and I to do some serious introspection about ourselves, our families, our marriage, our careers and our ability to be parents.  It is amazing how far we have come in the last fifteen years and how much we have grown individually and as a couple.  We have weathered a couple of storms, went through highs and lows and always emerged from difficult times stronger and more connected to each other.  Through the adoption journey we also found that we have grown even closer to each other and as we stand on the verge of a new chapter in our lives we do so with excitement and also some nervousness.

To be completely honest, there are some days that we do feel the tingling of cold feet.  We do get days when we ask ourselves if we are doing the right thing, if we will be able to cope.  There are days when the gravity and the enormity of the responsibility of raising a child sink in.  Fortunately, the days when we doubt ourselves and have little miniature nervous meltdowns are outweighed by our intense excitement and readiness to take this next step together.  However, there are also days when little things really upset me and one such thing happened on Friday.

As many of you already know we are busy with an interracial adoption.  Put bluntly, our child will not be white.  Living in a country with a history of racism this seems to not sit well with some sectors of our society.  There are still loads of ignorant people out there, black and white, who do not want to see couples with children outside their own racial group.  On Friday one such asshole posted a statement on the Facebook fan page of the program we watched last night.  The ignoramus posted a response to a woman’s comment who wrote that she had adopted two daughters and that they are colored.  He asked her why she adopted two monkeys (amongst other rather nasty and racist things) and needless to say I lost my shit!  Just as I was about to respond to him with a fiercely worded response the administrators of that page deleted his racist, boorish and ignorant statements.

Being a gay couple we do realize that we already face some prejudice because of it.  Throw in a gay couple with a child and the prejudice increases.  Add to that an interracial child and you have a recipe for a lot of potential prejudice and discrimination.  For some reason some people cannot look past the color of people’s skin and I say the hell with them!  If they want to live in the dark ages it is their choice but they should leave the rest of us who embrace diversity alone.  My only concern with adopting an interracial child is that one day, while out in public, some person will come up to us and say something racist and that our child will be old enough to understand it.  Knowing us, we in all probability would have prepared our child for such an event but what really pisses me off is the fact that we would even have to do so.

Luckily none of our friends who have adopted interracial children had any racist comments directed at their children.  However, the comments and questions that were raised had an underhanded racist tone connected to them and were directed at our friends.  The question they are most frequently asked when they are out alone in public with their child is if their partner is black.  Isn’t it odd how perfect strangers feel entitled to ask you such inappropriate questions?  I decided that if I am ever asked this question that I will respond with a very confident “Yes.  My HUSBAND is black.  What race is your spouse and children?

For those of us with certain reproductive challenges who want to have children adoption and/or surrogacy are the only options.  My husband and I chose adoption because there are many children in South Africa who need and deserve a loving home.  Sure adoption is not the easiest process.  Sure it is not something that happens overnight.  Sure there is red tape, bureaucracy and the whole process seems rather daunting and invasive.  But once you understand that all this is done to ensure that the child is protected, the child’s best interest is taken into account and that the child is placed in a safe and loving home, the red tape, invasiveness and bureaucracy seem less intimidating and are indeed necessary.

When it comes to adopting an interracial child you are also faced with a whole new set of challenges, but a child remains a child no matter what the color is of their skin.  After all children are not born racist; they are taught this from their parents.  In conclusion, what last night’s program clearly showed is that if you decided you want to adopt you need to make use of a reputable and accredited adoption agency, make sure their social workers are dedicated and passionate about their work and accept that the whole process is a journey and that it takes time.  We are lucky that we found just such an agency in PROCARE and that the adoption horror stories that we saw last night is sure not to happen to us.  My heart would just not be able to take it!

(To read about our adoption journey click HERE)

Till next time.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Should I quit while I’m ahead?

In January 2014 my blog will turn five years old.  In blogging years that is like fifteen human years.  When I started blogging there were many blogs that I read and enjoyed, but as the years gone by many of them simply ceased to exist.  From the pool of blogs that I enjoyed reading only a handful are still active.  Many bloggers simply grew bored with their blogs or moved on to newer better things or died.  But I am still here.  Why?  Well, I am not sure.  Blogging is a lot of work and updating my blog’s social media presence is a seven day a week job.  It’s not like you get days off and, even worse, it’s not like you get paid to do it either (or at least I don’t).  So I am left wondering, why do I do it and should I not just quit while I am ahead?

Many people think that blogging is easy.  I mean, you just scribble a few thoughts down, try not to murder the English language with shitty grammar et voila – you have a blog post!  Well it’s not.  Many weeks I would message my friend and fellow blogger GeeGee with the words “What the fuck must I blog about this week?”  She will attest to this.  Yet, every week I manage cough up 900 to 1200 words, even though it’s seldom very cerebral and most certainly won’t cause you to have an epiphany about your own life.  But people seem to enjoy it.  I am not really sure how I do it, it just happens albeit sometimes forcibly and accompanied by an army of four letter words that I always have to edit out.  You know, because you can’t curse like a sailor if you are about to become a dad.

Through the last few years I also made some “enemies” and I have received my fair share of hate mail.  Luckily I’ve not receive any dead animal parts via FedEx or any credible death threats.  Yet.  Even though I am sure in some people’s minds they have thought about ways they’d like to permanently remove me from society.  Fortunately for me I have grown use to hate mail and it doesn’t really affect me anymore.  You can only be told that you are going to hell so many times before it completely loses its impact.  I have also found that even within the LGBT community there are many folks who dislike me personally and my blog.  Perhaps it’s because they envy what I have; a stable marriage of fifteen years, a career, a mildly successful blog and the fact that my husband and I are about to adopt a child.  Who knows and who cares.  We are all bitches sometimes.

Initially when I started my blog I wasn’t quite sure what it should be and I must admit that in the beginning I really sucked at it.  But, as I continued I found my voice and my blog started to evolve into what it is today.  Every time I hear or read about the plight of my LGBT brothers and sisters, how they are being oppressed and discriminated against, both locally and abroad, a little part of me dies.  It saddens me and I have found that the only way to make it better is to write about it here on my blog.  I am under no illusion that there are better forms of activism and of having your voice heard, but this is what I am most comfortable with.  It is what it is and I won’t apologize for it.  Being somewhat of a misguided optimist I also don’t like dwelling on negativity and firmly believe to look at the brighter side of life - hence my sometimes warped sense humor.

I firmly believe that if you cannot laugh at yourself you have not had enough therapy.  Life can suck sometimes and the only way I get through those days that are just determined to be filled with assholes is by laughing.  You’d be surprised how a sense of humor can get you through the toughest times.  Well, humor and medication that is.  They make a fabulous combination.  Even at times when I am depressed and wallowing in self-pity I manage to find something to giggle about.  And if I can’t then there are antidepressants.  Coincidentally, the antidepressant I am on now is making me fat and it puts me in an impossible position:  Do I stop taking them and have a Sylvia Plath moment or do I remain on them and become chubby(er)?  I mean even my cat is making fun of my weight on her fan page because she to can be an asshole!  And she is way more famous than I am on Facebook.  But I digress...

You guys I have been blogging for a fucking long time and many weeks I thought about quitting my blog.  I have even spoken to friends about it and their opinions have been varied.  Some say yes quit and others say don’t.  But in the end the final decision lies with me.  So why do I still continue?  Well the answer is simple – because you are still reading it.  Some of you have been here since my blog was started, some of you left and came back and some of you are new.  As long as there still is an audience for my blog I will continue write.  I can’t promise that I won’t use shitty grammar, the odd F-word and I can’t promise that each week you will get Pulitzer Prize worthy mind meanderings to consume.  But what I can promise you is this - each week when you return I will still be here.  And to all my haters I have only one thing to say to you – suck it bitches!

Till next time.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Coming out of the closet

Ash Becham's very inspirational speech about closets, the different closets we all have, what is hard and how to break free.  This is a video that I recommend everybody watch, even if you are not gay.  It's filled with truth and inspiration that we all need to hear and can benefit from.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


One day to go until the official release of Lady Gaga's ARTPOP. Are you excited?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blind kitty, soft kitty, little ball of fur…

Pets are like family members.  Or at least they are to us.  We share our homes with them and our lives.  Most times we also share our hearts with them.  I mean how can you not?  They stay with us through the good times and the bad.  They see us at our best and at our worst.  Through all this they stay loyal to us and never judge us (or at least not often that is).

I believe that if you have animals you have a great responsibility towards them.  After all, they did not choose to live with you, most time we choose them.  As such we have a responsibility to them to make sure that they are safe and that their physical, mental and emotional needs are taken care of.  So what happens when one of your animals grow old and sick?  What happens when one of your furry family member’s cycle of life creeps closer to its end?  What do you do?  This is what hubby and I had to face this week and sometimes it is heartbreaking.

You see Mizou, one of our oldest cats and matriarch of the house, who just celebrated her fifteen birthday in September with her sister has lately been having some medical issues.  A couple of months ago we noticed that her eye sight was failing.  She also developed incontinence and you could see that her body was growing old.  Fifteen is old for a cat, even though some cats can live well into their early twenties.  However with each breed it is different.  Not worrying too much about some of her symptoms, due to her advanced age, hubby and I decided to monitor her and if it got worse to take her to the vet for checkups.  And she did get worse.

About a month ago we noticed that she had what looked like blood in her one eye and the vet told us that she suffered from glaucoma and hypertension.  All of which were directly related to her age.  It was sad to hear that the vet could not really do anything for her affected eye and that she had gone blind in that eye due to the optic nerve being damaged.  The vet also indicated that she only had about 20% vision left in the other eye and that, in all likelihood, she would eventually lose her vision completely.  But we did not expect it to happen so soon.

When I got back from work on Monday I heard Mizou meowing in the back garden.  I called out for her but she did not come to me as she normally does.  Eventually I made my way to her and I found her standing in the backyard looking completely lost.  It was clear that she was disorientated and did not exactly know where she was.  I picked her up and immediately noticed that the eye which had the last 20% vision left had also now gone blind.  I felt immense sadness for her and gave her a reassuring hug and told her that everything will be ok.  “So what if you are blind now, it’s not the end of the world.  You still have many years left in you and we will make the best of it” I told her and she gave me a soft purr and a meow as if she understood what I had said.

I was told that we should go about our lives as we had done before and not to change anything.  Mizou will adjust to her blindness but it will take some time.  She will learn to make her way through the house based on her other senses and memory.  The only thing that we must not do is move furniture around or change where we feed her.  We should also move one of the litter boxes inside the house as she will struggle getting in and out of windows.  Watching her slowly move through the house, occasionally bumping into things is rather sad to watch.  We are not allowed to help her too much as she will have to learn to get around on her own.  Sometimes this is difficult and I literally have to stop myself.

It was advised that we voice train her and she picked this up right away.  Being guided by our voices seems to come naturally to her.  The other cats have not really noticed that Mizou has gone blind and they appear to be somewhat confused about what is going on with her.  The bunnies on the other hand were the first to pick up that Mizou is blind.  They no longer try and chase her and they are much gentler when they are around her than they were before.

My only concern with Mizou and her disability is how she will cope outside.  On Friday evening she almost walked straight into the pool and that was when she had 20% vision left.  Now that she is completely blind the garden poses quite a few risks for her, the pool and the pool net being just one of them.  Also, when our adoption is finalized and we finally have a baby in the house this will also have an impact on her: the pool will be covered with a net which could make it impossible for her to get out of the pool if she falls in being blind; and a baby won’t understand what blindness is and Mizou could accidentally get injured.  I guess there are a lot of “what ifs” here but I am sure that we will cope.

Good friends of ours also went through a traumatic event on Monday.  Their dog also went blind a couple of months ago due to a medical condition.  On Monday his condition deteriorated to the point where the vet told them there was nothing more that could be done for him and that it is recommended that he be euthanized.  This is the most awful news a vet can ever give you.  But it was what was best for him and they had to say goodbye.  I am fortunate that I have never had to euthanize any of my animals and I dread the day that I will be told it is our last option.  I’d rather pay a shit load of money on medical expenses in order to make sure my animals get the best medical attention there is and euthanasia is only the last resort.  But sometimes we must make hard decisions and what is best is not always easy to do.

Our cat has gone blind, has no bladder control and is old.  I guess this is what happens when you get old – you pee yourself and walk into things.  She has been in our lives for the last fifteen years and she loves us unconditionally as we do her.  I don’t know how many years she will still be with us but as longs as she is here I am going to make sure that her retirement is as comfortable as possible.  Just because she is blind and possibly may need a kitty diaper doesn’t mean that she cannot enjoy life.  I hope that one day when hubby and I are in the retirement home we will be afforded the same courtesy.  Wouldn’t you?

Till next time.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Growing Up Gay and Amish in America

Last night I was sent a book entitled “The Literary Party:  Growing up Gay and Amish in America” by the author James Schwartz.  It is a collection of poetry and essays that deals with growing up as a gay boy in the very conservative Amish community.  A community in which homosexuality is strictly forbidden, as quoted from the Bible, and coming out means being excommunicated and shunned from your family and community.

In his book James deals with issues ranging from growing up in the Amish community, realizing he was gay, sex, gay clubs, politics and love to mention but a few.  Also, perhaps more amusingly, what it takes to take a horse and buggy to a gay club.  He deals with these issues in the form of beautifully constructed poetry and poignant essays.  I have been sent many books since I started my blog and must admit that I rarely read them, but this book was different:  I literally finished reading the book before my 9am meeting this morning and plan on reading it again.

Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a copy.  It gives you a unique insight into a person breaking free from a suffocating and restrictive environment to discover who he is and provides a sense of optimism that maybe one day the Amish community will become more enlightened and accepting of LGBT people in their community.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon.com by clicking HERE

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

My Cat from Hell.

Let me tell you a secret.  Some days I am terrified of my cats.  They are vengeful little fucks who always find new innovative ways to take years of my overall life expectancy.  Don’t be fooled by their fury cute exterior, inside they hold grudges and plot evil little plans for payback.  And with payback I mean creating situations that could be lethal for you.  But the vengeful little pussies are bright bastards too.  You see, they know exactly what plausible deniability means.  Hence, they create potential deadly scenarios for us that could never be directly traced back to them.  So if your neighbors find you dead and decomposing on the floor it will always look like you had an "accident".  A few weeks ago Killer Pussy and her clowder coordinated just such a plot and it caused us 14 hours of unadulterated terror.
That Sunday night started out like any other.  The weekend was winding down and hubby and I were relaxing on the couch watching movies.  The fortress was locked and armed and we felt pretty safe and secure.  The bunnies were merely hopping around doing their best to be cute and all felt fine and right in the world.  At around 9pm I realized that none of the five cats were around and there was some commotion going on at our front door.  On closer inspection I saw what the upheaval was about and that was when our nice and relaxing Sunday evening took a turn for the worst.

All five cats were sitting outside the glass front door playing, or so it seemed, with something.  And that something was a fucking snake!  In this world there are only two living things that I have no problem having killed, and those two things are snakes and spiders.  I am utterly terrified of both!  Living in the suburbs a snake in our yard was the absolute last thing I ever would have expected to find. Especially not a Rinkhals Spitting Cobra!  But that was exactly what Killer Pussy and her minions found and now were throwing around in front of my front door.  The fact that they were playing with a venomous snake that could kill us all was mortifying.  But at least there was a barrier between me and the snake, I thought, and that caused me some comfort.  But that comfort would soon be vaporized!
My cats know my worst fears and unfortunately for me they like to exploit it and scare the living shit out of me.  So naturally they brought the snake inside the house.  This involved some screaming.  Well, actually it involved  A LOT of screaming! The cobra was lying on the floor in our living room and we were standing on the couch screaming our lungs out “Take that fucking thing outside.  For fuck sake KILL IT!  KILL IT NOW!”  I swear that I could hear Killer Pussy laughing over our screaming.  After a few minutes, that felt like an eternity I might add, the snake finally appeared to be dead.  I mustered up all the courage I had to go and pick the ungodly creature up with my bare hands because I was suffering from PTSD and wasn't thinking clearly.  In retrospect I could have died but clearly didn't because I am writing this.  By now the snake was limp and seemed to have died.  I took a plastic bag, put Satan’s serpent in it and then tied it closed and placed the abomination into the kitchen dustbin.  I then went to the bathroom to compose myself seeing as I looked and sounded like an insane asylum escapee. I mean really you guys, I picked up a snake with my bare hands.  Sane people don't do things like that and they also don't whisper "oh god have mercy" ten billion times while doing so.

After the snake was out of sight and dead we finished watching the movie and then went to bed.  The next morning hubby asked me where I had thrown away the snake.  I told him in the kitchen dustbin.  He looked at me like I just raped the Virgin Mary.  The snake was dead and I failed to understand why he seemed mad at me.  Then it happened and I understood exactly what he meant.  Hubby came running screaming out of the kitchen “Oh. Dear. God.  IT”S NOT DEAD!”  He screamed.  I screamed.  Everybody screamed!  For a brief moment I considered leaving the house with only my PJ’s on my back and never returning.  Then I realized how crazy that would be and then my life flashed in front of my eyes.  In that moment I also realized that my life is pretty boring and made a mental note to be a more interesting person from 2014 onward.  Then the adrenalin kicked in and I rushed into fight-or-flight mode.
The rational side of my brain started working at light speed.  I ran outside grabbed the BBQ thongs yelled at hubby to get a spade and then I had a standoff with the spitting cobra.  There was no time to grab my diving mask to protect my eye and I decided that should that asshole spit at me I will make it suffer.  A very delicate and intricate dance between me and the cobra followed.  After several failed attempts to grab it with the tongs I finally got it.  It was the most disgusting experience of my life!  Also, I peed myself a little.  As the fucker was squirming and curling around the tongs it felt like my skin was literally crawling and I had to concentrate very hard not to throw the thong as far away from me as I could.  I managed to take it outside and I fucking Quentin Tarantino’d its ass with a spade.  This time I made damn sure it was indeed dead!  Like in four pieces dead!

I hacked the snake into four pieces in a primal and very violent cathartic manner.  All the while the cats were watching me kill it and Killer Pussy gave me that look that says “Don’t fuck with me again.”  Till today I am not sure what I did to piss her off.  More concerning, however, is the fact that I have no idea where she got the snake.  And you know what they say, if there is one there probably are more.  This has caused me to be very cautious when walking in our garden.  Also seeing that we are not going away for the holiday in December and staying home, I view Killer Pussy’s action as cruel and unusually harsh punishment.  I mean summer just started and most of the snakes will now have come out of hibernation.  Cats really are assholes and I really don't like being threatened with snakes.  My bladder can't stand it!

(You can Like Killer Pussy's Facebook Fan Page by clicking HERE).

Till next time.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Adoption Screening: The Penultimate Phase.

In the next couple of weeks hubby and I will be completing the final phase of our adoption screening process.  We are super excited to get it done and dusted and for the waiting game to begin.  Well, not really.  I hate waiting and I have been known to lack the virtue that is patience.  But I am working on that.  And with working on that I mean I am trying not to interfere with processes in an effort to speed them up and I am trying to let things happen naturally.

However, to let go and let God is not something that is in my nature and being a bit of a control freak burdened with optimism and a sense of purpose, I tend to be proactive to the point of extreme annoyance.  Just ask my husband; he has had to put up with my shit for fifteen years.  He gets me and understands many of my eccentricities and has the patience of a guy called Job from the Bible.  I had to Google the last bit and the search term was “who was that patient guy from the Bible”.  I am embarrassed to say that I never paid much attention in Bible class.  But I digress…
Last week hubby and I went in to our adoption agency to write our psychometric tests.  We were scheduled to take these tests for two hours.  We ended up completing them in less time.  There were only two tests and the first one focused mainly on our emotional states, how we deal with stress, dependency issues, socialization, self-image and possible pathology among others.

The second test dealt solely with our marriage covering everything from our sex life, finances, perceived roles, children, religion, conflict and family.  I think one of the reasons we finished the second test so fast is because we did not really have to sit and ponder over the questions or the answers.  We know each other well enough by now not to have to speculate over what the other would do.  Our marriage is solid and, for the most part, I believe that we are able to deal with issues, if and when they arise, in a mature and constructive manner.  After all we have honest and open conversations about issues and trust and respect each other enough so that we don’t have any secrets from one another.
Don’t get me wrong.  We do not have the perfect marriage by any means, as I don’t think one exists.  Being human we are all flawed and make mistakes.  It’s normal.  But having been a spectator to some other people’s marriages I am truly lucky to be in one that is in such a good place.  Sure there are things that we can work on but there always will be – it’s called growth.

As for our individual tests that is a whole other ball game.  There were questions like “Have you ever felt like you wanted to kill yourself? Do you think people are watching you?  Do you sometimes need to take something to cope?”  Going through the test hubby at one point said “Paranoid much?” and we both had a giggle.  But, then there were the other questions that caused me to feel rather confused.  For instance “Are you sometimes scared of your own thoughts or ideas?” and I had to sit there and think about it.  Sure sometimes when I am driving and a taxi cuts me off I imagine it veering off the road and bursting into flames.  But does that qualify?
Also, I have been in boring meetings before and imagined how cool it would be if we could reenact a scene from the Hitchcock film The Birds.  But then I would think about all the poor birds and how they would die a cruel senseless death all because some asshole in the meeting was laboring a point to death.  Then I would think that I should really focus on the problem.  I would then imagine the guy who is still laboring the same point but this time with subtitles explaining how he is an idiot and how he loves his own voice.

Finally, I would get bored and eat some breath mints.  Sure, my thoughts can be scary and super judgmental at times but that is called being imaginative.  Having a lively imagination is what enables me to get through some rather dreary shit and helps me take a break from analytic thinking and keeps me creative.  Without creativity my soul would wither and die.  You don’t want my soul to die?  Do you? If you do then you are an asshole! And this was basically my train of thought throughout answering most of the questions on my first psychometric test.
Next week we have our personal interviews with our Social Worker where the results of our first psychometric tests will be discussed.  I am really looking forward to that.  You know, so that I can be told how completely normal or completely abnormal I am.  It should be fun.  Then after that we have our home visit where our Social Worker will make sure that our home is child safe.

Child safe is like animal safe just cleaner, more restricted with pool nets, child safe drawer locks and making sure there are no sharp knives lying around or razor blades or crack pipes on the carpets.  Personally, I believe that if we could bunny proof our house then child proofing will be a breeze.  Then after what I believe will be a thorough inspection, our marriage psychometric tests will be discussed with us.  This too should be interesting.  Mostly for our social worker I presume.

To be honest, it feels like we have been busy with the adoption process now for ages but in reality it has only been three months.  We are also not sure how long it will be before our placement will be made.  I firmly believe that as adoptive parents we don’t choose our child but that the child finds and chooses us.  It is weird to explain, but I feel in my heart that the right child will find us.  It might be weeks, it might be months or, god forbid, it might even take years but when it happens we will be a perfect fit.  We will then be a family of three.  (Well technically we will be a family of eleven but I was told that I should not count our animals because “normal” people don’t do things like that).

To follow our adoption journey just click on #adoption to read all about it.

Till next time.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Gay Teen and Homeless

The L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center released an emotional new video this week that documents the first week of a gay teen's life after his parents discovered that he was gay and threw him out of their home.  It is emotional and heartbreaking.  The film is titled "Any Given Tuesday".  Have a look.
Written & Directed by Trent Kendrick,  Produced by Michael Fossat, Cinematography by Gaul Porat, Music by Fernando Arroyo Garcia-Lascurain

Monday, October 14, 2013

Gay Confessions

There is nothing more venomous than a bitter old queen with an axe to grind.  They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, but a rancorous queen with a vendetta and the morals and ethics of a crack whore who has run out of smack can be far more hazardous.  Now throw Social Media into the mix and you have the perfect storm of bitchiness, slander, malicious gossip, debauchery and character assassination.

There are some seriously fucked up people out there.  And yes y’all, there are also some really pissed off queens out there too who like nothing better than pissing on other people’s parades.  Perhaps it is out of jealousy or maybe it is born from insecurity, who knows.  Either way, some disgruntled self-hating queen recently decided to create a Facebook page called Gay Confessions SA and this caused some major unhappiness in the gay community mostly because it was utter smut, tried to create some controversy in the community, slandered some people (including myself) and was mostly based on anonymous lies.  I know the LGBT community don’t always get a long, but seriously you guys?  What the fuck is wrong with some people?

We all know that Social Media, apart from being an easy way to connect, also has its dark crevices where sinister motives lurk.  Not everyone on Social Media is all rainbows and butterflies.  Some people are callous and vindictive bullies.  Now don’t fool yourself.  It’s not only children who fall prey to cyber bullying, adults do as well.  Only when it comes to adults the bullying is slightly more sophisticated and many times much more vicious.  Not all cyber bullies have the guts to belittle, taunt and slander their victims in person.  Some create fake profiles and recently a whole page was created solely for this purpose.  Gay Confessions SA was conceived from a demented mind and was clearly aimed at discrediting and embarrassing certain members of the South African gay community.  Its aim was to slander them disguised as “anonymous confessions” which was the perfect recipe to bring out the absolute worst in our community.

Now, is it just me who thinks that the person(s) behind that page and the participants thereof were cowards?  I use the past tense because Facebook has shut down that page twice already for violating their terms of service, yet it resurfaces every time like a stubborn yeast infection.  It is very easy to write insults, accusations and blatant lies in an “anonymous confession” without taking any responsibility for what you’re saying and/or not caring who you are hurting in the process.  It’s easy to slander people and to assassinate their characters on line while hiding behind the anonymity of a faceless Facebook page that is devoid of any accountability.  But what is in it for the perpetrators of these devious, baseless and malicious “confessions”?  And what is in it for the creator of that page?  What do they get out of it and what do they want to achieve?

Well, perhaps the answer is simple.  I guess it makes them feel better about themselves and their mediocre lives.  How sad and unfulfilling their lives must be that they feel compelled to live vicariously through others albeit in a very pitiable way.  If you have to break others down to make yourself feel better, perhaps therapy might be in order or a dose of self-esteem.  I know we in the LGBT community don’t always get along and that is fine.  I mean you can’t like everyone you meet, right?  But if there is someone that gets your tits in twist why not just ignore them?  I mean really, I don’t like drinking banana milkshakes but I don’t force myself to drink one just so that I can tell everybody how bad it tastes.  So why do it with people you dislike.  Sure some people are assholes and that is why I avoid them.  Why can’t other people do the same?

I must be honest; I also do like the odd bit of gossip every now and again.  I most certainly am not above that.  I do listen to it and I also sometimes participate in it.  But there is a line that should not be crossed and Gay Confessions clearly crossed that line.  For one, I not only blame the creator(s) of that page for the damage they are doing to our community I also blame the people who liked and participated in that page:  The people who submit their anonymous confessions and the people who consume and enable the loathsomeness which was that page.  You are part of the problem.  Do you even realize that?  Maybe you should ask yourself this: if some of those posts were about you would you still be happily supporting that page?  If you read shit about yourself that is not true, would you be fine with it?  If you answered NO to any of these questions, why should other people be?

As for whoever’s brainchild this Gay Confession Page is/was , you are a pathetic asshole.  And I mean that with all the contempt it deserves.  If you find joy in slandering people and doing it either for the fun of it or to settle some scores you should take a long hard look at your own life.  Are you proud of who and what you are?  Are you proud of what you have become?  Do you find delight in breaking people down?  You are putting out so much negativity into the world all of which will eventually come back to you.  Perhaps it is time that you stop fucking with other people’s lives and start focusing on having one of your own.  You know, like in the real world and not on your fucking computer.  Some fresh air might just do you some good.

Yes, hell hath no fury like a woman scorned but a disgruntled old queen can be far more dangerous.  Unfortunately, the gay community is full of jealous people and we so do like to fight amongst ourselves, don’t we?  It is pathetic really.  This Facebook page embodied everything in the LGBT community that I dislike and even though I cannot be sure that it will not resurface again but if it does and you reading this are one of the people who participated in it, I only hope you realize what it says about you.  I know that we in the LGBT community cannot all get a long but can’t we just stop being such bitches and mind our own fucking business for once?  How can we expect the rest of the world to respect us if we cannot even respect each other?  Maybe next time when we have a Gay Pride we should stop and really think for a moment about what that means.  Are we really “proud” to be a member of the LGBT community when we treat one another like this?

Till next time.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Homosexuals: The Terrible Truth.

Call the police.  Form a committee.  We are literally EVERYWHERE and our numbers are increasing at an alarming rate.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Famous Gays in History

Some people believe the world would be a better place without gay people.  But can you imagine the world without the most famous gay people in history.  It doesn't matter with whom you sleep - It matters what you DO!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I Don’t Have Gay Pride

Pride season upon is in South Africa and with four Prides to choose from this year one would say that we are spoiled for choice.  But are we really?  Last weekend there was Soweto Pride.  Pretoria Pride and The People’s Pride are taking place this weekend and Joburg Pride the end of the month.  This year we have four Pride events that are supposed to bring the LGBT community together, events that should show our community’s solidarity and events that are supposed to bring awareness to LGBT issues.  But instead of doing this, this year’s Pride season has done more to divide our LGBT community than ever before.  There has been infighting, scandals, alleged death threats, social media campaigns that have done more harm than good, all of which caused many queer folk to wonder whether Pride is still relevant and causing many others to consider boycotting Pride altogether.  I am one of those queers who decided that I will not attend any of the Pride events this year, and this is why.

The last couple of years I have seen Joburg Pride on a gradual downward slide.  The event became more of a money making scheme exploiting gay folk rather than the Pride event it should have been.  All of this led to some serious questions being asked in the gay community as to how the Pride event’s finances were being managed, whether the event still had any importance in our community and why the event seemed to have been getting more poorly organized each year.  Many people, including myself, became unhappy and started not attending the event.  Then earlier this year Joburg Pride’s board resigned and all hell broke loose.

A group of well meaning LGBT people decided to organize a new Joburg Pride and with their first public meeting it was clear that they faced a rocky road ahead.  Since that disastrous initial meeting many of the initial organizers have dropped out and the activist group 1 in 9 decided to form The People’s Pride and distance themselves from Joburg Pride.  There was also the incident regarding a certain sponsor, of which we dare not speak, which caused a huge uproar in the gay community leading to certain gay websites publishing contradictory articles about the debacle, threats of lawsuits ensued and some not so friendly mudslinging occurred on social media.

In the end Joburg Pride, that was supposed to take place last weekend, was postponed/ cancelled at the eleventh hour.  One of the senior organizers claimed that, amongst other things, she received death threats, was the victim of intimidation and safety concerns of the Pride participants on the marching route and location as the reasons why the event was “postponed”.  Whether Joburg Pride was indeed just “postponed” and not actually cancelled we will have to wait and see.  I am not holding my breath and due to the obvious unprofessionalism and lack of proper organization I will not be attending it, even if it does indeed take place.  Besides who cancels an event, only two days before it was suppose to take place, without even informing the talent they had hired to preform at the event anyway?  Some of these people only learned about this through Facebook and NOT from the organizers.  So instead of spending my money on shitty overpriced food and booze to fatten the new Joburg Pride's coffers, I will spend my hard earned gay money somewhere else.

As for The People’s Pride, it is more of a political demonstration than a Pride event.  It was organized by a group of activists who caused a major incident at last year’s Joburg Pride in which people were injured.  Their tactics last year seemed militant and disruptive and even though I do believe their intention was to create awareness and was not malicious, the manner in which they went about it was questionable.  Personally, I do believe there is place for the politicization of LGBT issues that we believe are not being addressed by government but there is a huge difference between a Gay Pride March and a Political Demonstration.  Sure they are not mutually exclusive but their intentions are quite different.  Also not being clear on exactly what The People’s Pride short term and long term objectives are, I don’t feel comfortable attending their Pride either.

As for Pretoria Pride I believe that it was incorrectly named.  It should have been called Babylon Pride, because that is exactly what it is.  It is a “Pride” event that was organized by the owners of Babylon nightclub and much of the event centers more around the nightclub than the city the Pride event is suppose to represent.  Even the location of the Pride march is conveniently located within a stone’s throw from Babylon nightclub.  They also do not even have an original theme for the event.  The closest they came was “Gay by birth.  Proud by choice”.  Honestly guys, did you steal that off a gay bumper sticker.  Really?

Seeing as “Pretoria Pride” does not appear to me to be a legitimate Pride event but is, in my opinion, nothing more than a cleverly architected Public Relations and Marketing ploy by Babylon I do not plan to participate in it either.  I mean honestly, doesn't Babylon make enough money off the gay community already?  Do they really need a bogus Gay Pride to line their pockets any further?  Besides, I don’t even consider Centurion to be part of Pretoria anyway.  If I wanted to participate in a marketing event I would go to one of VW family days.  But this is just my opinion.

So this year we have four Pride events none of which I attended or plan to attend.  I know I did not say anything about Soweto Pride and the reason is simple - I don’t live in Soweto!   Besides my husband and I were hosting my father-in-law’s 60th birthday party, so we wouldn’t have been able to attend it even if we wanted to.  Whether I will attend any Pride events in future, I just don’t know.  If things keep on going the way it is now, I don’t think I will and that will be a crying shame.  At the moment I don’t have gay pride, and it is a pity because I am proud of who we are, how far we have come and I know how far we still need to go.  Let’s hope that one of these days Gay Pride will be restored to an event we can all be proud of – an event we will be proud to be a part of.

Till next time.

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