Monday, December 14, 2009

Uncle Ben and Gay Pride

Yeah, I never saw Uncle Ben with a lady. 'Confirmed bachelor'? Come on Uncle Ben, you don't have to hide anymore. It's okay!

No wait.. that's not what I was going to talk about. The title is 2 different topics.

From the Food Banks Canada's site, partner program page:
Over the course of the curling season, Uncle Ben’s is pairing up with Team Kevin Martin to support Food Banks Canada. Every time the team wins a curling match, Uncle Ben’s will donate funds to Food Banks Canada. The goal is to raise funds to assist those in need across the country.

Huh? Wait a second. Uncle Ben only cares about those in need when some shmuck wins a game of curling? What kind of douche-baggery is that? What's the point? To hype up CURLING? To get the curling team and Uncle Ben a photo op?

Next year maybe they'll bet a million dollars on the Canucks winning the Stanley cup, with the promise that if they win, the money goes to the United way. Maybe they'll hold a knife to a puppy's throat, and promise to release it if you can win a round-robin tournament of paper-rock-scissors.

Every time a curler loses, this puppy kills a needy person.

In a related story, (related to food banks, not the homicidal nature of puppies) my wife is working with her church to set up a program called 'Open Hands'. It's kind of a foodbank on wheels that plans to focus on a batch of families in need with regular supplies as well as consultation about fixing whatever got them into the tight spot they're in. My wife's a counselor in an outfit that deals with families in trouble all the time, so she has the experience, know how and contacts to get some good stuff moving!

And now for something completely different.

A man with three buttocks. Sorry, couldn't resist. No, I have to be a little serious here. As most people could tell you, I'm all for gay rights. I'll spare you the rant on that, we've all either heard or given it, I think. (although my version of it as delivered by William Shatner is.. Whoops! I was supposed to be being serious, wasn't I?)

Okay. Here it is. Gay pride parades. I have a few friends who go to the one in Vancouver regularly, and when I told one of them that I didn't approve of the parade, I made her jaw drop in shock. "JOE! What?! You? Of all people?!" To be fair, it would have shocked her more if I were gay, but my novels speak quite plainly on my stance on gay people, and how they're... you know... people.

What's my problem then? You've likely at least seen clips on the news of these parades. There's almost always a guy in a tiny g-string running around on roller skates, and other 'shocking' things that aren't so shocking after the bajillionth year. Am I offended? Not really. Would I want my two year old seeing that? Well... she'd be more amused by the roller skating factor than anything.

Why is it that being in a gay pride parade makes it acceptable to run around exposed like that? (The news rarely shows clips of the opening volley of topless lesbian cyclists) If it was any other parade, this kind of display would not go unchallenged. But that's not even really my problem. If 300 straight guys wanna walk down Hastings once a year. Whatever. (on a side note, I attribute much (not all) of the exhibitionism on being young, overly enthusiastic, and having an excuse)

It is BECAUSE I'm rooting for gay rights that I can't stand the pride parades! How does this help gay rights? It gets on the news, and we see 'leather queen' #244572, and it paints the image to some people, (such politicians, my dad, and many many others) that this is what all gay people are really like, and would like to be all the time. The vast majority of gay people are SHOCKINGLY un-shocking! And would like people to know THAT.

I thought that I was thinking innovative thoughts with all that. I really did, and then I find out that it's not new at all. Well of course it isn't new. It's logic. Even last night I saw an episode of "Rick & Steve: The happiest gay couple in the world." A cartoon that has fun with gay society, balancing social commentary with tasteless jokes. Whether it's good or bad for entertainment or gay image is up for debate, I suppose. In this particular episode, the gang went down to San Fran for the BIG pride parade. The following quote is from memory, but anyway:

"Know what I like most about the pride parade?"
"The way it sets back the gay right movement ten years?"

If even a cartoon is summarizing what I thought was an original insight... I guess I should be watching more cartoons.

"Free Tibet!" Tom and Jerry

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Site re-tuning. And Lifehack being read by the military...?

Not much to say today. I have a rant that's been perking for a while now, but I don't have the energy right now. It's past my beddy-bye time. has just had a bit of reorganizing and graphic replacements done. Much more organized and simple, which isn't a small feat when trying to manage two and a half storefronts for trade paperbacks, (each with thier plusses and minuses, so I want to offer both) one for hardcover and PDF e-books, and another for e-books in a variety of formats... which threatens to make a very muddled front page, but I think I've got it pinned down. I also officially introduced the 3rd book into the site (other than this blog, where it's been mentioned before).

In other news, the e-books are being 'shipped' free to deployed soldiers, mostly towards the middle east. "Operation E-book Drop" has just surpassed 300 contributing authors. OEbD serves MOSTLY U.S. and U.K. troops, but some of out Canucks have caught wind of it. It's all word of mouth, organized by Ed Patterson, who can be found on facebook easily enough if you're a troop having trouble finding stuff for your e-book reader, or an author who wants to throw their hat in the ring. Regardless of your stance on the war as a whole, these boys & girls out there deserve our respect, and I hear most of them like the connection OEbD creates to home.

So yeah.... a fair handful of troops have grabbed Lifehack and Watching Yute now, and I KINDA cringe to think what actual soldiers think of how I handle the military situations that pop up in my book- even if it's a fictional military in a fictional country, in the near future.

In other news....? I have no idea, I need sleep. I'll get to that rant eventually.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Ant-Hating Ant-eater

The following is my 'homework', assigned to me by the Writer's guild I meet with monthly. The criteria was a story about an anteater who couldn't stand ants.
(once again, blog format has forced me to use double returns instead of indents. sorry)

“FLEE!” Antonio screamed to the others near the exit of the hill. “The serpent returns!” It had been almost half a moon since the serpent had attacked. Many of Antonio's closest friends had been taken that day. Antwon, Anthony, even dearest Aunty Antonella, among countless others were pressed between the serpent's sticky body and the tunnel walls, only to find themselves helplessly stuck to the serpent as it retreated.

Beyond all the rest, the soul-shredding shriek of his true love Antoinette had haunted him the worst, keeping him awake far more often than even memories the slim, sticky serpent itself. Antoinette had been crushed by a cave-in during the attack, but lived long enough to have her dying body dragged out of the hill by one of the serpent's many strikes.

And now it was back. Antonio was ready for it. The others laughed when he trained for combat, laughed as he taught himself to stand on only four legs, so that he could wield a sharp twig as a weapon. “Come, monster! By Antoinette, I will SLAY you this day!”


Ack. That was even worse than the last time, two weeks ago. The little buggers taste like shit, and as insane as it sounded, Herbert would swear that one of the brainless twerps was trying to stab his tongue with a tiny stick or something. Herbert was grateful for that in an way. Even a stick tasted better than any ant.

Putrid little things. A couple months ago, Herbert had found a great source of termites. They had some real flavour! After the big rainstorm, the wood's subtle taste almost marinated them alive. Even 'untreated', the termites were a welcome alternative to those dirt-dwelling little snots.
Unfortunately, the humans wanted to add their own spice to the termites. After wrapping the house in a huge tent, they pumped something into it. It was quite fatal to the termites. Herbert saw this as quite foolish. For one thing, it meant that the termites couldn't make any more termites. And after that, do you want to know how many termites the humans ate?


Not a single one.

Herbert had decided that he should gobble up as many as he could before they were wasted, but upon trying the first one, he found it to be quite inedible. He spent the next two hours dragging his tongue against the dirt, eating grass, anything to get rid of that taste. It was even worse than ants. This was likely why the humans didn't eat of the termites. They should have tried their spice on just a few of the termites before saturating them all with it.
Damn, humans are bloody idiots.

Herbert had, on occasion, been lucky enough to find a dead grasshopper. They're far too quick to catch live of course. They didn't taste all that amazing, but if he could choke it down, it would keep him going for a while without having to go back to an anthill.
Spiders were not an option Herbert liked that much. They usually sat in their webs. Have you ever tried to catch a spider with your tongue while it's in its web?. Don't.

This didn't seem like a life befitting him. His brother was happy sucking dirt for ants, and thought Herbert to be some kind of snob. Look at our bodies! Such a narrow nose, and such a large tail. Sometimes when he ran, Herbert felt like he was a living weapon. Zip! Zip! STAB! Take down an elephant, like a huge arrow!
Oh there's a lovely thought. Dislodging one's head from the side of a dead elephant.

Outcast from the other anteaters, Herbert trodded along aimlessly. Ahead, he spotted something he had never run across before. A farm. Around the side that faced him stood a modest fence. And inside? A group of fellow animals... of some kind. They were not much bigger than Herbert, but were hairless. They had pinkish skin, little twirly tails, and stubby snouts that looked entirely inadequate for eating. He walked up to the fence, and saw that some of them were eating from a trough in the middle of the yard. He called over to one who was standing near the fence.
“Hey. Hey pink thing! What are you?”
It snorted and looked over to Herbert. “I'm a capricorn, what the heck are you?”
“I'm an anteater. Technically. I'm kinda hungry though, would you mind if I came in there and had some of that capricorn food? What's in it?”
The capricorn furrowed his brow. “Corn, and...” he looked over to the trough for a moment, then back to Herbert. “Stuff.”
Stuff. That didn't sound too bad. Herbert fumbled his way between the widest gap in the fence that he could see, and stepped up for a taste. The other capricorns were staring at him, but they didn't seem to particularly mind that he was there. They'd warm up to him. This 'corn-and-stuff' wasn't too bad!

Once Herbert had his fill, he backed off, trying to decide what side of the fence he'd sleep on. Could this be his new home? Could these capricorns accept him as family, or was that just wild optimism?
Just then, he felt a sharp pain. Maybe he had gas, maybe the corn-and-stuff didn't agree with him. Maybe he was allergic. That would be so disappointing. Thankfully, he was not allergic to anything. Unfortunately, he coughed up blood. (and corn). And lots of both. He fell down, rolled onto his side, and as the capricorns looked on with curiosity, Herbert convulsed violently and gagged. His final breath came with one last sputter of blood, bile, and corn coming from both ends.

The capricorns stared silently. They stared at Herbert, they stared at each other, and they stared at the trough.

The silence was broken by a tiny sound from the mess around Herbert. A tiny movement, as a tiny black arm reached up holding a tiny sharp stick. Antonio the ant emerged. Antonio stood in this vast plain of blood, vomit and pig filth, surrounded by 'capricorns'. He dropped his tiny weapon and cried out, “Oh god, This is the light at the tunnel?!”