Sunday, August 14, 2011

On the Lonely Death of Jani Lane

Jani Lane: 1964-2011

So it's true... the first big, professional, arena-level rock band I ever saw perform on stage... was Warrant. 

I didn't go to the concert for them, but they made me laugh and I enjoyed the show anyway.  My most enduring memory of the whole thing was the pretty girl in the front row who handed Jani Lane a note (which he read out over the mic): "Jani how I love you, let me suck the ways"...  Jani's response was swift.  "Get her a backstage pass!" he grinned.  And we all cheered.

It was January 1991, and I was 12.  'Cherry Pie' was still on high rotation.  Warrant were opening for Poison on the Flesh & Blood tour.  The camaraderie between the bands seemed strong enough that CC DeVille actually played on 'Cherry Pie' (a fact that many didn't realize at the time).  Looking back, we didn't really understand that that year was to be the big swansong for Hair Metal.  Some pretty strong and decent albums came out in '91 and '92, but fashion was moving on, and the 12-year-olds like me were about to fall in love with Eddie "I hate to be a rock star" Vedder.  I'm sure that bands of adult men don't really like to think that they're marketed to pubescent girls, but it's really outside of their control.  Record companies know that older kids just don't create a "phenomenon" the way that a bunch of passionate pre-teens do.  If you want Beatlemania, you need to find the mania... and then pretend that the band is really being marketed at the over-18s who can legally do all the stuff they're singing about.

Maybe it should have been a sign.  A few weeks after I watched them in awe, Warrant ditched the Poison tour and made a bit of resentful noise about how they weren't being given enough room.  They apparently felt that they were above the level of an opening band, and ought to headline on their own.  I'll admit, I thought that Jani Lane was being an ungrateful dick.  But I was 12, and my blind devotion was strong.  Looking back, Warrant had good sales in the US and a handful of top ten hits.  They were at the level where other bands had begun their headlining careers.  If they'd got a record deal a couple years earlier, they would have become one of the big names of Hair Metal.  But they peaked too late, and their next album (1992's Dog Eat Dog) sold a measly 500,000 copies.  The party was well and truly over.  The pretty girls had moved onto another bus someplace else, probably after pulling a flannel shirt over their halter tops.  And the new bands showed them not joy and appreciation, but public disdain.

Excuse the subject matter, but this really is too good a song to let it go by unmentioned...

Yet the musicians don't just disappear when the spotlight turns off.  We quit paying attention, but they still have mortgages to pay and kids to feed.  They have to figure out how to make their way in a world where the rules have changed yet again.  Most keep doing what they've always done: playing music and trying their darnedest to get paid for it.  If I had that kind of burning talent, I'd struggle to quit playing too.  But it can certainly be a rough life.  You end up in yesterday's clothes, with a constant flu, eating a half-cold burger at 3am - the soles of your shoes all taped back on because you just can't stop needing them.  After so many demands from promoters and agents who care more about making money off your hide than offering any kind of support or job security, I've heard plenty of people say they end up feeling like a used-up old whore.  Not just on the outside: on the inside.

That's also often the point where all your good intentions can't reach that person anymore.

Of course, old rockers like Jani Lane meet far more spite than good intentions.  I'm the first to admit that even I had a few jabs at him, in private.  When I saw him on some rockumentary, complaining about the success of 'Cherry Pie'... well, it still sounded like ingratitude.  Pretty sure he wasn't cursing 'Cherry Pie' when he was a fit young man who got that girl back to the bus on a cold, January night.  I never made fun of his drinking problem though.  I know how easy it is for men in his position to get that way.  I've met those guys.  It's embarrassing to watch what they do to their lives, and I guess even the fans who loved him would occasionally wish that he would just get off the stage and stop showing the world his gradual decline.  Sometimes you can like someone and still want them to go away for their own sake.  But I don't think they ever wanted him dead.  It would have been a better, and much more deserved fate, to see him clean and healthy and ready to rock.  He had a huge amount of brains and talent that he seemed to toss away.  What we all need to understand (Jani included) was that that was a choice he had to make for himself.  It sucks, but the only person who can really save you is you.

I started thinking about this while reading about how Glam fans have been affected by Jani's death, and how we all get so conditioned to defending the bands we love.  I started thinking about it because I realized that time has tempered me in a way that it never did for Jani.  Once, I would have agreed wholeheartedly that our knee-jerk defense of Warrant was a fundamental part of our love for their music... but I grew out of that.  Their lives are not my life.  I don't feel the need to defend the music I love anymore, simply because I genuinely don't give a shit what other people think of it.  I'm not wounded by others' spite.  I like what I like, and am peacefully contented to be outside of the herd.  To many, my lack of a roaring defense means that I am no longer a "true fan"... but I couldn't give a shit about that either.  I gained the self-confidence and self-assurance that Jani never really did.  And I don't tend to assume that these grown men are in need of my protection.

But I didn't know Jani Lane.  To me, his presence on this earth became something like seeing a guy you went to high school with.  You were never really friends, but after a while you get old enough to forgive all the times you thought he acted like a douche, and hope that he forgives you for being kind of douchey too.  You stop being jealous of his success and stop expecting him to be grateful for a life and career path that often kind of sucks anyway.  And you just get comfortable with the idea that he's around, and you feel a bit sad when you see that he never really achieved everything he might once have achieved.  If you pass him on the street, you'd probably say "hey" and ask after his kids.  The confidence that allowed me to shrug off his critics was the self-same confidence that allowed me to forgive him in the first place.

What I know now was that Jani was lonely in a way that nobody should ever be.  Nobody's dad should ever be left to die alone in a hotel room.  I didn't wish him harm, but I never tried to help him either.  I don't remember ever stepping up to his defense.  I'm not totally convinced that it would have made a difference.  I've tried to help people in Jani's position before, and I know it's hard for them to recognize love (or even benevolence) through the mist of so much contempt.

And how arrogant would it be to assume that the love of a "true fan" would have reached him in a way that the love of his wife and kids could not?  I'm sure both Jani and I knew that the "love" expressed by fans is generally neither benevolent nor altruistic... nor, in fact, real.  As Janis Joplin (another lonely death in a hotel room) once piqued: "Onstage I make love to 25,000 people - then I go home alone".  That's not love, man.  It looks like it, even smells like it, but it's not holding you day after day.  It doesn't care about your worn-out shoes.  It doesn't put up with you being a dick (and let's face it, we're all dicks sometimes). 

Ironically, Warrant's first big hit was a pretty ballad about being blessed by the love of the right girl.  And if Jani still believed in that, he might well have been waiting for an angel to drop down and rescue him.  Shortly before he died, he wrote warmly about how he'd recently married "the love of my life".  If we all want to reassure ourselves that our love and affection could have saved him... how shitty does that make his wife feel now?   The fact is, all the love in the world is only a band aid if you haven't yet learned how to love yourself.  The "right girl" might well come along, but you choose whether or not you let her in.  It's easier to ignore that level of self-determination and pretend that it's all up to other people - it's easier to feel self-pity - but the only person who's ever really able to help you is the one who faces you in the mirror.

A friend of mine described Jani's death as "another R&R sob story", and... well... he's right.  When you're in front of a crowd you might be able to convince yourself that these people really like you - the real you.  When you're alone with your vodka on a day off... it's not that easy.  We all probably "get" how Jani Lane ended up the way he did.  Perhaps the most tragic fact of his death is that the world will gain neither insight nor compassion from his passing.  We already knew how these stories tend to end.  I don't know that anyone will be saved by his example.  All that happened was that his kids lost their father in a way both demeaning and avoidable.

Another aging, good-looking rocker, Sebastian Bach, made a very good job of eulogizing how the Jani Lane's of this world end up where they do.  Again, people may snipe, but (at least from what I've seen, across the other side of the world) Baz has always had a remarkable level of common sense and wit that can shine through at the most surprising moments.  "The solitude of the empty hotel room becomes the diametric parallel of the adulation of strangers."  Baz reminds us all to offer kind words to someone, before it's too late.  And he's right.  But we're grown-ups and we ought to have known that already.  Jani didn't have to die in order to teach us to be nice.  He wasn't Jesus Christ.  And the people who were the most cruel will be the least affected by his passing anyway.

I guess that's a big part of what makes his death so sad.  We gain nothing.  His family gains nothing.  Not even peace of mind.

The best we can hope for is that he found some kind of peace for himself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011


So I said we were looking for a new place to rent, and then we found one.  R is very happy because it's in the country.  I am slightly less thrilled to be moving to the country, because I've lived in the country before and I know it's full of cows and grass flies.

However, it's a larger house (three bedrooms, with a small section of its own) for less money.  It's only three years old and has a nice big kitchen, a separate laundry, a fireplace (with a wet-back), and a bath.  I'm very excited about the bath.  

A couple of years back, I wrote on another website about how my electric heater had broken down and how miserable it is to live in an older New Zealand home (i.e.: early than 1970s) in winter.  We don't have insulation, and it's not required by law in older houses.  It doesn't snow where I am, but NZ is still home to penguin colonies and such like, so it's not exactly tropical.  My house is cold enough (even with the heater) that the olive oil goes white and gluggy just sitting in my kitchen cupboard.  A couple of foreign friends were very surprised to hear that we don't have insulation.  Still more friends were just interested in the penguins.  If it helps, I've held a penguin before.  R has also held a penguin before, only it got all upset and shit on him.  R doesn't like penguins now.

But anyway, the new house not only has insulation (and a fire), it also has double glazing!  This makes me doubly excited about the potential power bills.  R is such a Kiwi that he didn't know what double glazing was when I pointed it out... because he's never seen it before.

Still, he has made promises to now do a lot of manly, country things - like mow lawns and chop firewood... which might be nice, because it might stop him from doing the vacuuming while I'm out, because then I just feel guilty about not doing the vacuuming.  I will also be stuck in an isolated country house a lot, so I might end up online a bit more... or just start talking to the cows... or write a book about someone stuck in a house who goes stir crazy and tries to murder everybody (except everyone's already read The Shining anyway, so there's probably only so far I can go with that plot).  If worst comes to worst, I guess I can chop firewood.

My mother has also seen the new house once (today) and already found fifty things wrong with it.  She's good like that.  My dad says "she's just trying to be helpful".  I don't believe him.  Instead, R and I celebrated a hard day's packing by sitting down to watch Star Wars Episodes 1-3... and I sat there for hours and loudly jumped on everything that was wrong with those movies.  I figure shit has to roll downhill.  And Hayden Christensen is apparently downhill.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sadness is a Blessing

It's been a few weeks since I last posted.  There is probably a lot to report, but I can't remember any of it.

Instead it's been weeks of medical tests punctuated by grinding days of work.  I have band-aids on my hands and a bruise on my shin the size of a beer coaster.  I start getting more work at this time of year.  It sounds good but the money doesn't carry me far.  Other event-people snipe and try to steal my jobs.  But the clients are sometimes a grateful boon.  In between times, I sleep like I'm dying.  We're also trying to find a new place to rent.

What brings me back here is more than just the first evening off.  It is the need to record a thought so that I will remember it tomorrow.

Another webpage led me to this video, in the depths of 2am last night:

I'm not sure I like the song.  It's growing on me with repeated listens, but it's really the video that made me stop and pay attention.

I've said before that when I write my book, it plays out like a film in my head.  Indeed, each scene is largely dialog, so it's a lot like a script to begin with.  I see the characters talking to each other.  I hear what is said and see what is not said.  A great deal of the story goes unsaid.

And this delicate little video appealed to me immediately because it looks a lot like I imagine my novel looking.  It also speaks to a same theme, and I feel it in the same way.  All this would probably make more sense if you'd read my novel... or it still might not make any sense, as the case may be.

In any case, I can see a girl confrontational and defiant, reckless in her own attempts to deny despair... and ultimately not in control of her own fate.

And a man.  Brilliantly fleshed out in little more than an impassive expression.  His embrace is all at once menacing and paternal, even erotic though not really sexual.  He runs everything.  And as much as I suddenly want to sweep my hands across his shoulders, I know he would destroy someone like me...

I am only passingly familiar with Stellan
SkarsgĂ„rd (the actor in this) but it's interesting how a well-directed music video can show off his acting talent in such an achingly powerful way.  Nothing is said.  And I'll admit that in my head, I'm measuring him up for the role of Max in my book.  This is much as I imagine Max's face.  He is too tall for Max, but that's easily forgiven.  There's even a scene where Max wipes the hair from her face and holds her while she breaks...

Ach!  I must be tired.  I am casting fantasy movies at midnight...

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Maybe it would all be explained if I could read Chinese...

Okay, we're back to this again...  Adult subject warning.

I'm sure it will shock no one to learn that the Internet is a very strange and dangerous place.  However, even I was quite surprised to discover just how quickly my innocent curiosity can see me fall down the rabbit hole of web weirdness.

This was how my evening began: on the apparently safe ground of iTunes.

I was looking for music videos to add to my phone.  I'm partial to a good music video, but I think there are scarce few of them that I'd bother buying.  A lot of the "great classic videos" now bore me a bit, just for the fact that I've seen them too many times.  However, when I like a video I generally like it for the sheer production value and composition, rather than just the music.  I treat them like little movies - an art-form in themselves.  I'll buy videos of songs that I don't like, but not bother with bad videos to otherwise great songs.

My quest led me to quickly purchase REM's Everybody Hurts, as well as The Prodigy's Smack My Bitch Up (both classics in themselves - and I apologize for YouTube pixelating all the naked women).  As I searched through categories like a rummaging bag-lady, I tried to remember things I'd seen in the past and enjoyed.  I cursed how few good videos are available for sale on iTunes.  One particular video played on my mind, but I didn't know who the band was.  "... you know... that one set in the Forbidden City... with all the Last Emperor bits... and the singer with the pretty eyes..."  

It was a video that I first saw on TV about four years ago, and used it to irritate R.  He hated the song the moment it came on and wanted to change channels.  I just stared intently at the screen and replied "Shush!  The singer is making googey eyes at me!"  I thought the comment was a whole lot funnier than R did (he just gave me that "oh really?" look), but I still remembered the video four years later, and wondered if I should find it just to annoy him.

A very quick search of Google revealed the song to be From Yesterday by 30 Seconds to Mars.  Yes.  This is how old and uncool I am.  I have no idea who 30 Seconds to Mars are.  This is possibly the reason why they don't anger me in the same way that they anger R... but I'm really too old and uncool to be bothered about liking the "right" bands and disliking the "wrong" ones.  I like what I like.  And I liked the video.  It was clearly expensive and had nice cinematography.

Still, I wanted to be sure that I'd still like it on a second viewing.  iTunes was being its usual copyright-enforcing self and only giving me a short preview.  However, Google took me to the full length Vevo clip on YouTube....  Which is right here (all 13+ mins of it)(sorry about the ads):

See?...  Very purdy eyes.  I think he kinda looks like a Siamese cat.

Now, after watching the video for a second time, it occurred to me that I knew that singer from somewhere.  One of those little niggly thoughts that eats away at the back of your brain when you're sure you recognize the face but don't want to say so in case you make a dick of yourself and discover that they just resemble some person who once served you in a shop...  So I went to Wikipedia to find out where I knew him from.

His name's Jared Leto.  As it turns out, beyond just being a singer, he's also an actor (yes, I know, I would probably have known that if I ever bothered to read a celebrity magazine... ever).  He's also a bit older than I thought he was.  Either it's good make-up or he's aged well.  I must have seen him in Fight Club.  And American Psycho... 

"Who the hell was he in Fight Club?"

Wikipedia took me to his profile on IMDB.  Turns out he was "Angel Face" - the hot blond guy who had his face caved in by Edward Norton.  Now I know...  

It also turns out that he directed that From Yesterday video himself (under a pseudonym).  That made me grin a bit, because even though I'd say it was very nicely directed and he seems to know how to compose a shot, it might explain all the lingering close-ups.  Like the time I sat down in front of the video of Van Halen's Jump and snarked to somebody that whoever the director was, she was obviously madly in love with David Lee Roth because he was onscreen pretty much all the time and he got all the nice, soft, slow motion bits...  And then I discovered that David Lee Roth directed that video himself, and it all made a lot of sense really.  Call it Lead Singer Disease.

Now IMDB is kind of a half-fan/half-trade site.  If you subscribe, you can get contact details for the guy's agent and such like, in case you want to hire him.  A lot of the info on IMDB is pretty well vetted, and designed to make the performers (and films) look good.  However, at the bottom of everyone's IMDB profile, there's a message board section where anybody can post things that link to a particular actor (or a particular film).  Usually they're fans asking very specific and geeky questions (eg. "What was the name of that song that played for ten seconds behind that one scene where they're in the kitchen?").  Attractive men also seem to have lots of message posts about their "hotness", which appear to have uniformly been written by squealing teenage girls.  Attractive women tend to get less of this lecherous posting, but I guess there's still a bit of it.

However, what drew me to Mr. Leto's message board was that the top post is titled: "This is absolutely untrue..."  .... Hmmm.  Well you can't just pass by a statement that intriguing, can you?  What is untrue?  And is it really untrue?  Why post it here if you don't want people to believe this lie?  Why give it a wider forum than it has already attained?

One click took me to this post (which I'm just going to repeat in its entirety):
by Samantha2013 (Sun May 1 2011 22:13:46)
A friend and I were discussing something absolutely irrelevant in which she went to look up the irrelevant thing we were trying to figure out, in which she found this little gem, and sent me the link to laugh in delight or possibly in sorrow for the poor man who had this written about him..
I responded there when I read it, but it said something about a moderator having to allow it to be posted, so I'm stating it here too.. This story is either absolutely untrue or he treats the women he dates completely different than the groupies he sleeps with. I don't know why but I felt like I needed to defend the guy in saying this. I don't know where all these stories began and where they started but I know this is not true. Bits and pieces are true but I highly doubt this girl really had this experience.

I use to live out in California for years and I happen to still be friends with a girl who Jared dated on and off for a couple years. We talked, as all girls do over drinks about our private and sex life, her included, and I never once heard her ever say that she was fantasy raped by the guy, or that he was overly rough or that he enjoyed choking a girl out during sex. These are all lies, unless like I said, he treats other women he doesn't have relationships with different. I happen to know alot about things she had said in the past about their sex life and she knows about all us girls who are a group of friends, and the only thing I do know to be true is that he does sometimes enjoy spanking and he does have a above average size...other than that, I highly doubt the rest of this story to be true. Our friend had been raped as a teen so I highly doubt she would have enjoyed being fantasy raped over and over again for 2 years to kick up old memories.

I remember, while living in Cali, I would meet up with her on occasion at parties at mutual friends homes in the hills and sometimes he would be with her, and he seemed like a nice and attentive boyfriend by all accounts and everything she ever said to us. He didn't seem like the guy who was going to slam you down and make you feel pain lol. I do remember her talking on occasion about how sex was difficult for them when they started sleeping together because of the size of him and the fact that she was not a whore, and how she sometimes needed to take baths or get frozen vegetable bags out of the freezer after she had sex and I remember when she was telling this issue to us, me specifically asking her if he was gentle, because that's something you think of when you hear something as that, and she had said that he was gentle, and that he had gone to a pharmacy one night to buy different kinds of lube to see if that helped at all because he felt bad when she was in pain so these crazy stories about him hurting girls just isn't adding up when I personally know someone who had slept with him many, many, many times and what she tells her girlfriends. I also remember when they would every once in awhile take small weekend trips when their schedules allowed it, and I remember her talking about one weekend in specific where she was talking about him taking her to San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara and how romantic he made things and how they spent most of the weekend in their cottage making love, so once again, if he was fantasy raping or choking her out and being rough, I seriously doubt she would be able to keep up with a full weekend.

Just this whole thing seems ridiculous. I am not there to know for sure whether these stories are true or not but I do know they exact opposites of everything I ever heard from a girl who was with him on and off for quite awhile. Like I said, maybe he is different with groupies, and goes all out on weird fantasies that he would never try with the ones he actually loves, but it just seems like such polar opposites that I have to wonder the validity of their stories when everything I've ever been told about the guy doesn't even touch these stories being spoken about on the internet, and had I seen something like this sooner, I would have said the same then. 


So, wait...  Is this lady mad about someone writing about the man's sexual habits?  Because she proceeds to go into quite a bit of detail herself...

So, you know I have to go to the link she's given, just out of sheer morbid curiosity.  A casual "who the fuck is that guy?" has now turned into a full train-wreck rubber-necking kind of thing...

The original post (which got IMDB lady so angry) is actually on a groupie message board, on a different site.  It's titled (cringe): "Subject: Jared leto fucking RAPES his hookups." ... Oh, this can't be good...

Date Posted: 16:06:18 06/24/08 Tue
Author Host/IP:
In reply to: Susie Sawdust 's message, "Re: 30 Seconds to Mars (Jared Leto)" on 08:34:27 03/05/08 Wed

He's a fucking dick and an asshole and doesn't give a shit about the girls he hooks up with in the least! I know that's NO surprise and I didn't expect him to care about me or fall in love or anything HAHA. Alot of rockstars don't give a shit but at least they treat you like a person. This guy is one of the most selfish lovers i've ever experienced even to this day. I hooked up with him several years ago and I was about 4 months over 17. He was the 4th rockstar I hooked up with "all the way" not just sucking off , at that time.

I'm not fully blonde but I had blonde highlights then over light brown hair, blue/green eyes, and I'm about 5'6 115 lbs-slim but not too thin and my boobs are a B so not huge. If I had to compare myself to a celebrity, I'd say I look like Jennifer Aniston so not a huge knockout but not entirely ugly. I'm sort of sweet-faced and he made several mentions about my face looking innocent.

Anyway, the choking is 100% true as well as restraining and alot of holding you down. He fucks hard and rough and quick. There's alot of movement and position shifting and tit biting and sucking. There were marks left. He doesn't give a shit that his cock is fucking giganto and it hurt like satan. It's not only long, had to be about 11-12". It's thick and it burned and he wouldn't slow down even when I told him to. There were times were I had to bite down on him because of the pain down there and he didn't give 2 pisses about it. I think he got pleasure out of hurting me, in retrospect but I was too young and didn't know that then. He was a major dick when I would tell him to slow down or to change position to ease the pain a little. After that, I'd get attitude.

I didn't like the choking and at least he eased a bit on that but he still did the wrist restraining and ramming. I like rough sex but he seems to zone out and it's scary.

I liked the ass smacking, that was a huge turn on and I didn't mind his name-calling but basically the whole time I was fucking him, I felt as though I was being raped and not even a "play rape". In his mind, it seemed like he thought he was fucking raping me. It was very odd.

So girls, if you're into this whole thing then by all means, Jared's your man. I'll say one thing, if you can handle a big cock, go for it.

Oh awesome...  I really regret clicking on that now.

And it occurs to me that, within ten minutes, I have gone from not knowing the foggiest thing about this guy (up to and including his name) to suddenly knowing that his alleged sexual partners report that he has a huge penis and enjoys choking and name-calling....  Great.

I spend the next ten minutes scrolling through the various posts on that groupie message board - both before and after this woman's rant... and shaking my head a bit, and wondering why the fuck I'm reading this stuff.  There are lots of other posts apparently disclaiming or corroborating bits and pieces of her story.  The size thing seems to have several witnesses.  The choking too... but some women claim to like it.  Other than this lady, nobody else has anything really bad to say.  Who the fuck knows if anything is true?

Now someone who knows me in real life will know that I'll bring sex into any conversation.  Amongst my friends, I'm famous for it.  I'm totally happy to talk about sex in grossly clinical detail.  I'm a complete sex-nerd.  So the graphic nature of something like this doesn't offend me at all...  But I rarely, if ever, talk about MY sexual experiences.  To me, that's someone else's secrets I'm sharing too.

So this was definitely more train-wreck than I was expecting.  I'll be honest: I don't give a shit what the man allegedly likes in bed, or how endowed he is.  I'm never going to fuck him, so why would I care?  It just made me feel sorry for him.

However, I'm not going to get all judgey about the women who DO get together and compare notes on this stuff.  Because, if banging rock stars is your thing, then it only makes sense to get a bit of background info.  I accept that the problem with any one-night-stand is that you never really know what you're going to get.  And if your post-show hook-up is into something that you're not into, then it's probably better to know that beforehand.  It might enable you to make a more informed choice.  Let's face it: at the end of the day, a lot of these ladies are out for a bit of fun, rather than just fixating on one performer in particular.  You might think this musician is hot, but if you know that you're not sexually compatible, then you're probably going to choose someone else.  No harm, no foul.

Of course, it should always be remembered that one person's experience of a one-night-stand may differ from another's.  Nobody has sex the same way every time.  Not even famous people...  Probably.

I can still see the value of the message board though.  If I was into banging rock stars, I'd probably read that post and (taking everything with a grain of salt) decide to find someone smaller.  When you're in a relationship, you can find ways to make things work - but if you want the sex to be enjoyable the first time around, it helps to be anatomically suited.  I've met big before, but big does tend to make things more tricky.  I suspect that other women would read that message the same way.

Naturally, I'm never going to downplay an allegation of rape (helllll no!), nor am I going to suggest that "nice" or "pretty" guys don't do such things...  But for what it's worth, the lady who claimed to have such a bad experience with him doesn't actually specify whether (after having given consent in the first place) she ever withdrew consent.  It would appear not, considering she describes it as "it seemed like he thought he was fucking raping me".  Emphasis on the words "seemed" and "thought" - as though she was trying to interpret his fantasy, rather than making a clear allegation.  If you told him to stop, and he doesn't, then you both know what's going on.  It sounds rough, painful and unpleasant... but not forced.  I'm sure I'm not the only woman on earth who's had painful and unpleasant sex that was still fully consensual.  Sometimes you just suck it up and give him a bit of "Oh, alright already...  just make it quick."  And sometimes you're just young and stupid and don't know that sex gets any better.  The word "rape" is a heavy one - about as heavy as four letters can be - and shouldn't be thrown around without due consideration.  But that's just my opinion, and I'm not going to chastise the woman for venting.  It sounds like she'd pissed.  It's just that she could have found another way or another place to let go of this experience.  Bad sex or hurt feelings are not justification enough to try and bring another person down in flames.

I guess what surprises me about all this is that I found this page without really looking for it, and linked off some very mainstream websites.  It made me wince for this guy - remembering that I still know basically nothing about him.  But he's a person too, and probably not so keen to have himself described in this way (... well, he might be okay with the "huge cock" thing).  Regardless of whether the story is true or not, its publication is about as justified as some angry ex-boyfriend posting naked pictures of you in a chat room... only to have someone then link them off your personal profile on your company's website.  Not cool.

But perhaps I'm still very old-fashioned.  I value someone's ability to keep it civil, even when they've been hurt.  It wouldn't be cool if a man wrote about a woman in this way, so I'm kinda surprised that this post has been up for three years without it being removed (or the lady getting sued).

Am I wrong?...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chicken & Black Bean Enchiladas

Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas... that's what I was doing.  I was making dinner.  A decent dinner for the first time in a couple weeks.  ... with corn and zucchini and a dry Sauvignon Blanc.

And it reminded me that these little moments pop up every so often in life, where we will always remember where we were.  And so often we are doing something very banal.

My mother once told me she was helping her dad to change the oil in their car.  It was a Saturday here: that fairly sunny, spring morning when JFK got shot. 

For some reason, the Challenger sticks in the mind of a lot of people in my generation.  Perhaps it was because we were studying it at school.  We were going to witness the first teacher in space, and our teachers were all so proud.  It had been in the Weekly Reader.  It was a cold, snowy January in Arizona.  And back then there were only ever two or three TVs in any school - all huge, old things on metal trolleys.  My brother's year, Fifth Grade, were going to get to watch the launch live on TV.  But there just weren't enough sets for everyone else.  Third Grade would have to read about it instead, and just wait until we went home if we wanted to see it on TV...  I think we were doing math.  My brother's teacher came in.  All pale and shaking, like she was going to cry.  And she said something very quiet to Mrs. Emerson, and then we all got told to get up and walk down the hall to the Fifth Grade classrooms.  We were trooped into the back of my brother's classroom, along with some of the Fourth- and Sixth-graders.  About 150 kids, all packed together in standing room only, just gawping at reruns of the shuttle exploding.  In retrospect, I don't know what our teachers were thinking.  I guess they were just frightened and upset, and wanted to be together.  They cried.  Only the most dramatic, attention-seeking girls cried with them.  Far from being traumatic, I actually remember it as being vaguely interesting.  We didn't know those people on TV, and so it wasn't scary.  Later on, we made lots of jokes about teachers exploding.

As for Diana...  I was cleaning the make-up tables after rehearsal.  Can't even remember what the show was now.  But we had heard about the crash on the radio as we drove in to rehearsal.  And a few hours later, I was cleaning the tables when my lead actress came rushing back inside in tears.  She had gone to leave, and switched on her car radio, and then flown into hysterics.  She threw herself down on the bench and wailed "She's dead!" in the sort of tone that howling dogs use when you kick them.  Actors.  And I just raised an eyebrow at her ridiculous performance and went on with my cleaning - probably a bit annoyed that she couldn't deign to clean up her own mess.  It's not like any of us knew the lady.  And I'm honest enough to admit that I never liked her when she was alive, so why would I have fallen into such grief when she was dead?  Sure, death is tragic regardless, and I didn't revel in it... but I hadn't ever bought into the tabloid narrative about the woman's sainted "victimhood", and simply saw her as manipulative and narcissistic.  Loudly proclaiming her "truth" as the only truth, and making hay from the fact that her enemies had few friends in the press (and little interest in making friends).  Sometimes people seem to equate physical beauty and good PR with virtue and/or integrity...  I just felt sorry for her kids.  But I felt sorry for them when she was alive too.

So I guess there's a difference...  R watched the BBC online while I finished cooking.  Fresh hydroponic lettuce, and low fat cheese.  A JDs and Coke for him.  A wine for me.  A kiss when the plates hit the table.  And then a quiet raise of the glass.  From me.

I do not usually feel vengeful, or celebrate anyone's death...  But I'm glad he's gone.  I'll be straight up about that.  I saw no redeeming features.  I have always regarded him as nothing more than a murderer.  He was neither a martyr nor a freedom-fighter.  He was unimaginative and less intelligent than he liked to think.  Incredibly selective in his medievalising, and a poor student of history.  Just a recalcitrant criminal who had tried to disguise his self-obsessed power trip as some kind of philosophy, and who preyed on others' abysmal education and low self-esteem in order to build an army of disaffected teenagers.  A man who pretended to suffer while others really suffered on his behalf.  A Manson.  A Hitler.  An overlooked son of privilege, recooking the old "race-war" chestnut like he'd fallen across something new and original.  A tyrant.  To raise him up to monster-hood simply gives him more time than he was worth.  Last I heard, he was a 44-year-old man who married a 17-year-old girl ("gifted" to him by the girl's own stupid family).  He wasn't worth my attention.  He would have been so terrified of someone like me that he'd probably have shot me on sight... or simply got someone else to shoot me.  Because he was too much of a bitch to risk going to prison.

But I will remember the enchiladas, because the enchiladas were good and I should write that recipe down.  A worthwhile invention that would be good to revisit someday.  Some things in life are far more important than Mr. Bin Laden ever was.