Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cat Visit II: Cats and Wheelchairs, Jasmine, Harley, blood and heat

My apologies for the disruption of broadcasting. The lesbian sleepover went very well, all things considered, producing a goodly number of postcards, and of course the problems of the last day, waking up, “Where is my massage oil?” and “Have you seen my thong” along with, “Do you want to shower first, or shall we shower together in slo-mo mode, randomly shaking the water off our hair?”

There is a heat wave in Victoria, which means I am a prisoner of a small room. The room is with bookcases about 9 feet by twenty but I only sit in three by two feet: right by the air conditioner. Not even a window to see out. Because, for example, when I left that room to take some pictures for the blog, my legs turned purple, as I had vascular failure (my particular brand of Autonomic failure) in my legs, so yes, purple legs. And not only that, once they reached a high temperature, they were covered with Goosebumps as were my arms while my body went into shock. That was in an hour, in a room with an portable air conditioner and a fan. So yes, for all I know, the end is here, riots are going in the street and government as we know it has fallen. Someone cheer me up and tell me that is true, because then the Student Loan people will stop calling me trying to get me to sell my organs on ebay while I still ‘have viable assets’. Or do you think they have a secure bunker deep beneath the earth? That people will wander days to find a working phone for help and when picking it up, they hear, "Is that you Brad Bury? You are behind in your student loan payments, please seek a student loan officer at the nearest decontamination centre."

On Sunday by working hard on postcards I was able to go to the RSPCA Victoria branch, where I met with cats, and with the officer who does the inspections of anywhere that sells, trains or has public display of animals.

There was a shy by very cute 1 year old cat, if that. I got her a stuffie which they have around, and she was quite content to ride along with me for about half of my visit to the Cat Rooms. The cat rooms consist of about 40 cages on two walls, some of which are open some of which are just sitting spaces, then a two room wide outdoor and two rooms of indoor enclosure.

It turned out that Elizabeth (the white and orange cat), and Betsy and Murray (the psudo mother) had been adopted in the short time we were gone. I was a little sad and went to visit the one cat who I had seen a week or two ago, Jasmine. Remember how Jasmine liked to play ‘catch and eat the fingers’? Would she still want to play that? Geee…maybe.
I can’t tell if Jasmine recognized me or my fingers but after we played ‘gnaw on Beth’s finger” for a while she would lick it, which she didn’t last time and I took to be a positive thing. If you remember Jasmine liked to grab, then rip off the head of what she caught. It was a fun game.

So here she is in stalking mode, looking at the finger, her deadly opponent, sizing it up.
Then she pounces and comes in for the attack. Jasmine is just under two years old and is pretty lively. I have the added advantage of having peripheral neuropathy so I can’t feel what is going on except sometimes some extra pressure. I like to think that Jasmine remembered me, or my hand.

This Shelter, due to ‘Victoria being pet crazy’ is the best in Canada and while we thought we were seeing the cat area, the 40 cats we saw were nothing to the 200 housed in the building. These were the ones healing or ready for fostering or adoption. Kittens would go in days, but unbelievably, the majority of people who take kittens from the RSPCA bring them back once they become adults. Okay, this is not like a DVD rental store, okay!

The cats who were let out of the cages were of two types, first were the very friendly kind, who could stand the amount of people going through, like Rose and my new young (1 year plus) wheelchair loving friend I call Jasper. Jasper, seemed to have no problem with my new technology and soon adapted to hiding under it and watching the other cats.

The second form of cats which are let out are cats that it is too dangerous for them to be kept in a cage. This seems a little odd, but it comes from the RSPCA officer. Cats who cannot be fed, or helped in a cage need to be let out so they go find a place to hang out because they simply cannot be caged. So, the super nice and gentle and the near feral, and you don’t know which.

But the problem is that this is not where a cat is happy, anymore than one of us leaving our home likes to be in a shelter. We want a home, and they want a home: Not some place where they can’t have their own space, and people come through all the time. They would visit one another, and I suspect that ones like this who had to be shaved for disease or injury had bonded or made friends with this cat before.

Before we leave Jasmine, I should note that Rose in my lap seemed to have a vivid interest in all the grabbing of my fingers and leaping on me and biting and paws coming in and out of the cage. A real fight fan, I wasn’t sure if she was rooting for me or for Jasmine.

As you can see, the wheelchair and technology seemed to attract the cats with Rose on my lap, Jasper under the wheelchair and now a new older cat checking out my oxygen concentrator.
Here is Jasper in my lap. As you can see, I am still having difficulty with them smelling my fingers, but ones with developed day vision like Jasmine have no problem attacking them and putting her scent on them but Jasper needed to smell the gloves I wore. Jasper is younger so thin and has a white paw and chest tips. Now tell me the truth Jasper, do you love my wheelchair and me for my winning personality…..or because of string?
Truth is that Jasper just LOVED being around the wheelchair period. We have many, many photos where I am wheeling forward and Jasper is just walking underneath the chair. Then outside, all was good until I wanted to go inside, and Jasper deliberately sprawled across the entrance so that I could not go inside. Jeez, subtle much? By this time, the older black cat seen examining the oxygen concentrator and a large dominant black cat I called Thomas with all white paws decided to team up and sort of ‘take over’ the wheelchair, or most importantly....the string.

By this time I was playing with Harley, and yes, that is his name. Harley plays rough and he likes to play with anyone who goes within reach of his claws whether they are just walking by or not. He also likes to play the catch with claws and then gnaw on game but being older the teeth fangs were longer and Harley just liked to play harder. He quickly stopped that moving finger by grabbing it with his claws.
Then Harley came in and took that plaything and grabbed it with both paws, claws out. Then it was into the mouth. There was also the roll-over technique for beheading. Since Harley was a lot larger, I was less worried for my finger but the owners would get lots of beheaded birds, animals, small children? Because this is what Harley looks like in full ‘play’ struggle mode.
At this point I had to stop, and take out my handy ‘Hello Kitty’ wet wipes because it turned out that two of my fingers had some flowing blood coming from them, and two others had flaps of skin hanging off. Let’s hear a hooray for peripherial neuropathy! Here you see me cleaning my hand and bandaging it, with Thomas in the dominant spot under the wheelchair string, with the other large black cat, and now poor Jasper is playing with the footplate and the outside of the wheelchair.
Blood? Well, yes, it turns out that out of ALL the cages there were only two that had padlocks on them just in case someone might accidentally let a cat out and those two were: Harley and Jasmine. Or as the RSPCA officer said, “Oh yes, Jasmine likes to express an opinion!” which I figure means likes to ‘play’ or beat up many of the younger or milder cats in play time.

You may also notice that I am not showing a lot of these cute cats, but a lot of the black cats. And while this cat is a cutie: it may be the one that was attacked by a dog and was waiting for the foster family to pick it up. The sad fact, says the RSPCA officer is that people can’t tell most black cats apart and so the other coloured cats are more quickly adopted, leaving a large amount of black cats, even cute, mild kitten type black cats like this.
If you look back to the picture of me with the three black cats playing with my chair, three pictures up, you will notice that Thomas, the dominant cat, is starting a shoving match with the other older black. Yes, unknown to me, the string from my h.naoto backpack had caused a dominant terrain issue and Thomas was saying, “Hey, this is my space, and I decide where I am going to sit.” It was kind of like watching a playground fight with a bit of pushing and then backing up. Oddly, I kind of thought it was MY wheelchair. Thank goodness Thomas didn’t figure out I thought that or he would have been up to teach ME a lesson like, “You can go, but leave the wheelchair!”

Well, that was pretty much our visit. And until the heat lets up, there isn’t much I can do as the heat causes all of my conditions to increase in intensity. So more TIA’s, more seizures, more headaches, more nausea, etc, etc. But no fear, once the heat wave is over, I will be FREE AGAIN to spread my own kind of…um…presence onto the city of Victoria.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Cat Visit II: the preview (cats like wheelchairs!)

Sorry, just a preview post again which I hope to finish in 8-10 hours, as it has been a hard 36 hours, with a couple of health emergencies.

Went down to the cat shelter again. Murray and Betsy had been adopted, as had Elizabeth which you saw me holding.

This is a picture of Rose on my lap, a one year old who would sit there while I wheeled around. I stopped to play with Jasmine who is playing, ‘grab and bite the finger’ with me.
When playing with Jasmine, make sure NOT to let her get a grip on the camera strap. First it is the squirrels and now it is the cats that want to steal this camera.
For some reason, the cats REALLY like my wheelchair and oxygen. I can’t explain it except that there were three cats, all of which did NOT want to be picked up who kept following me everywhere I went to play under the chair.

Sometimes, there was a bit of a face off, then pushing as the cats were determining who exactly gets to play under my wheelchair. I am really trying not to feel offended that my wheelchair is more popular than I am.

Off to bed, I hope you had a great weekend.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Living. Suffering.

I have had a headache for most of three weeks. I wasn’t sure how to start this so I would start with that, a binding headache, make your eyes bulge out, the back of your head blow out but held by hair and skin headache.

For me, the entire day is a racing against time, against sleep, to try and get things done. There are people who need caring, and I do care deeply. I cry for others because I don’t know how to cry for myself. I know what it feels to be alone and pounded daily, to have acid pouring down from people, from faceless organizations, raining acid. I want to save anyone from having to feel what I feel. I act, I reach out so that no one will ever be me. Never like me. Because I don’t know how to stop the pain, and emotional pain makes my own body ache, the bones old and brittle, the body ripped apart and set on fire until if feels like the skin holds only a shell and smell of ash. I want others to smile because I rarely do.

I was to see a cat on Wednesday, but that was cancelled by the cat owner. I don’t see people. I have not had an eight hour night sleep in over a month, or a six hour night sleep in over ten days. I am not getting better, as I require 11 hours sleep a day or systems will fail and the most common is oxygen. So it fails, and my muscles cry from oxygen deprivation. Because the body is a survivor, it rips oxygen from anyway or any part it can, from muscles from organs, from the structure of cells themselves, leaving them broken and oozing. The pain it leaves is exquisite.

I cannot remember a time when I did not lie for a hour or more in pain instead of sleeping, where I did not wake after two hours in pain: the pain that would make me pace or walk to endure it. But I can’t walk so I just writhe in bed, and cover my mouth so as not to wake Linda. At times, when I can’t stop moaning, I have begged for a gag. I cannot stop suffering but that doesn’t mean Linda has to.

I have chosen living because living is choosing. I try to clamp off my body, which shrieks pain in my bones, my joints, my muscles, my skin, lungs, heart, organs every minute I am conscious, and often unconscious. As I was recommended by USA specialist and Canadian doctors to have better pain killers in April but my wait for an appointment for the pain clinic was cancelled. So the seconds pass in pain, 1, 2, 3 until 60, and the minutes until 60, and the hours, and the days, and the months and I am still in pain. If I did not have pain, I would not if I was awake.

Here is a dream I had recently:

I was a detective, and this man was in a frenzy because his wife and baby were missing, and off he went with his gun. In trying to find out the solution I ran into people, one shot me in the shoulder, another stabbed me, and another broke my foot. But I found out, and I found the man who had taken over an office meeting room full of people. So I confronted him, bleeding and limping on a broken foot, and in the way of dreams it was both the boardroom and his bedroom. He had set his wife and child on fire. I got the people out and confronted him, trying to tell him that the bones on the bed were his wife, and he had killed her. That is why she was missing. He set fire to the room, trying to block it out. So I stood in the fire, cradling a dead baby, burnt, the black skin sloughing off in my hands, slick from mucus and slippery, the face sliding off and showed him that the baby was dead. Talking to him while I burned, the flames obscuring my view. I burned on, and on, and even after he put down the gun I kept burning, and the pain of it, radiating everywhere woke me.
I lie there, the pain the same, and realize that my maximum strength pills for sleeping had worn off early.

Another dream I had recently was where someone take a sledge hammer to my hands and feet. These are not nightmares, not the burning, not this as I feel no fear, it is just, ‘Oh, I wonder how I will escape now that my arm is broken, I guess I will drag myself.” And then they used a hacksaw with my feet and eventually cut them off, and I thought only, ‘I wonder if I can escape on the stumps.” Why would this be a nightmare as how would a stabbing or shooting make pain more? Why would I fear someone making me feel what I live every day? I saw a movie with a plane crash and people were burning, part of their body on fire and they were running and screaming, even avoiding help in their screaming. I could only think puzzled, “Why are they screaming....that doesn’t stop the pain?” I guess, if they would show it, I would be the person on fire hunched over a desk, doing.

I tried screaming in the first while, maybe months, maybe a few years and some times I do scream from the pain but now, I look at my feet and wonder which toes are broken and then have a shower, what is the point?

I guess I am surviving, except that I don’t know if I have the most basic level on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: love. I suppose it is hard to see the love when a hug puts the pain so high I pass out. When touching me sometimes makes me stifle a scream and a ‘sorry about that’. It is important to be polite.

I have been pounded emotionally on a daily basis for at least three weeks. I have had hope taken away. I have been turned into a non-person. My actions of buying, my desire for manga is a form of nesting I do....a last resort to find an escape, an emotion or feel emotions I don’t have, even for a time. The last time I had collected 25 DVD sets to watch, to make sure I was safe, but that didn't build a wall to stop the emotional pain and so tried to kill myself. And Linda kicked down the door, and later I tried to kill myself, and I tried to kill myself until I had a safe room with no way to throw myself out; where Linda could lock me in, with books and other things but nothing I could hurt myself with. And I had a contract on when to put me in the safe room.

But here, and now I don’t have a safe room, or a contract, just pain and a life without hope medically: no GP, no specialist, the approval for IVIG but no one will sign to say, "I'll give it." I went to the doctor and they would not look at anything, not a bruise, not a vaginal sore, they said, 'you need to go to the ER', they don't deal with me except for prescription refills anymore. I don’t get my medical treatment at a walk-in medical clinic but at a pharmacy. The rest just goes on, or rots, if there are bruises or breaks. Without hope.

I am so far from joy that I don't know how to even consider it.
I’m sorry. I think I am a disappointment. I’m blogging every day because I said I would. But I don’t know if the phrase ‘better’ makes sense in applying it to me.

I still try to collect manga, even if I am too frantic or too much in pain to read it this moment in the hopes that I can find a place a space where I can and I won’t kill myself. Is that hope or survival?
I cannot think of autumn and winter, of snow and rain and being inside and with frostbiten hands. I am not joking as much anymore about the indignities and pain. I cannot think about it because I am climbing mountains every day just to stay in the living and the struggles of winter is too much to think about. It is the alps and I don’t know if I can want to imagine things getting so much harder, so much more painful.

When I wake in pain there is nothing Linda can do. So I lie there until there is no skin on my bottom lip from biting and the pillow is wet from the tears that run down the sides of my face.

I want to fight for life, for living. If I have a disease so rare, then why not be the person who is also so rare in the statistics that I live on for years. Except I can’t imagine this winter. Except my heart and lungs were collapsing this morning. Except that I had help breathing yesterday, and the day before. Not help with oxygen but the breathing too. The pain of breathing is like running your little toe at full speed into an oak table. It hurts like that to open my ribs. And I have to do it, consciously, breathe in, try not to scream, breathe out. Until the pills kick in and I sleep. I wake 90 minutes later begging for more pain pills. I have given up praying for no pain, or even for death, I just pray that Linda can sleep.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Elizabeth and Manga: four reviews of summer reads

We all know that Elizabeth and Manga are like peanut butter and bananas, you can’t separate them in a sandwich no matter how hard you try (did you have those as a kid in your lunch? I also had peanut butter and cucumber sandwiches – try trading that!). Manga is both Cheryl and Beth’s pain control, allowing them to take a mental break from the constant pain. They also are a good media form for depression because while they have multi-layers (sometimes), they are fairly easy to read. So when you have a chronic illness which REQUIRES constantly monitoring of yourself for oxygen, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, liquid intake, excretion, food intake, core heat, extremity heat and frostbite, and mental functions, it is hard to be allowed to express being depressed. One cannot ‘shut off everything’ because the consequences are too high, but manga allows that indulgence and escape which the mind needs for its’ good health.

Thank you to every single person who has helped me by getting a manga, or a gift card (from Amazon). Cheryl or Linda puts post it notes on the manga so every time it is read or re-read, even if that is 4 a.m. with pain or in the bathroom with G.I. problems, I can be thankful to you. And I am. It is like having a room of friends as I see the names on the front of the covers. Friends here to help me though the dark times.

But, for those who would like to start into manga, I am not going to go on about how it is an important and growing form of book, or how it can accommodate those who have problems reading close text (like me now), I am going to give four reviews. Last time I reviewed some of the manga for the serious or literary minded. This time I want to review four books for ‘light’ reading. Almost a guarantee that there will be no life changing reading going on here, unless you have never tried ‘escapism’.

Tsubasa: Those with Wings – this is by the Creator of Fruit Basket and is a hefty 400 pages of short manga stories all tied together around the Kotobuki, a female short nimble thief and Raimon a military commander who has a mysterious past (and present). This is your basic fun fantasy, which like Nephilim involves plucky determined girls and teasing yet oddly super-capable guys. For instance in Nephalim, she lives in the jungle and is seen naked by him. According to village law he must die by her hand. So for the rest of the book, while he is going to rescue a princess (she assumes for money) she tries to kill him with her knife by dropping out of trees, throwing daggers, etc. He on the other hand always seems to know and for example blocks the daggers with a book he is reading and says, “Hey, I wasn’t finished with that!” or “I thought I told you, no killing during meal time!” In Tsubasa, Raimon is ‘supposed’ to catch Kotobuki but he prefers to watch her antics as she leaps and bounces avoiding the other military. When she decides to quit the thief life and work a job, he quits the militiary and gets a job near her. “Why?!” she demands.

“You are fun to be around.” He says while she fumes and stomps her foot.

Each manga story in this volume is about 40-60 pages long, some shorter. And as they travel through a post-apocalypse world the stories loosely revolve around Tsubasa, a legendary device that grants any wish, and everyone from the military to greedy rich people want it. Meanwhile, Raimon and Kotobuki go from place to place, some towns, some houses, to help people, create justice or just survive themselves, all the time bickering with Kotobuki both angry at the way Raimon doesn’t take her seriously enough and lonely when he isn’t teasing her. I am not sure why I am attracted to stories of nimble 5 foot 2 inch girls who do backflips and all sorts of leaping about with knives. Or why I like the romance of her hanging around a 6 foot guy who holds her up off the ground while scolding her for scaring him by almost getting killed. Maybe it is because the six foot woman are usually some sort of villian who bash things. Not to mention there is no being swept up into anyone’s arms, not when EMT’s discuss how many people have to carry you (“She a big one!”). So this is TOTAL fantasy for me and the stories were drawn before Fruit Basket in volume 1, a bargain for $10 at Amazon, light action stories with a tingle of romance. Raimon is of course a leech who never touches her but is always suggesting things or who will only save her if she kisses him (he works out this theory that if she can learn to kiss him once a day, they might finally sleep together). Good for 15 year old and up. The second book, also $10 at amazon and 400 pages is out in a week and I think is drawn after Fruit Basket. I am curious to see how the whimsical fantasy of a 20 something manga artist changes after the experience of several major series. I hope the light humor leech of Raimon and the ‘I don’t need anyone’ attitude that is being worn down by Raimon still exists in Kotobuki.

You will fall in Love is Boy Love Boy love are two adult males who are in love and means that there is a kiss, or maybe some implied activity but nothing is graphically shown (is is often called Yaoi). A lot of females find that romance is romance and nice looking guys falling in love romantically is still romance. And so do Cheryl and I, two lesbians, enjoy this award winning book. So this a good introduction to this particular artist, whose art and style is highly regarded. The story is both fluff and universally complex: a love triangle over time. Haru is a teacher who ends up back at the school where he did Jyudo, or Japanese Archery as a high school student. This is painful for him as he was a brilliant archer who competed nationally with a beautiful style of archery but left archery suddenly. The reason was never told, and it was because he had fallen in love with Reiichiro, his competitor at school. He felt that his love was shameful, never told anyone and that it was destroying the purity of archery. He returns only to find that the younger brother of Reiichiro, named Tsukasa, is not only leading the archery club at school but has been carrying a crush for him, Haru all this time. Tsukasa knows why Haru left archery as he could see the love in the face of Haru but declares his own love. Though the book, Haru struggles with his feelings of shame and Tsukasa with is insecurity that he will always be second place to absent older brother Reiichiro. The students meanwhile are trying to get Haru to be the club advisor and get him back into archery.

Finally Tsukasa confronts Haru and demands to know if he cares for him. Haru won't answer and says that he will not destroy Tsukasa’s chance to go to the nationals by responding. Tsukasa says that love is love but Haru believes that his archery became erratic due to this ‘forbidden love.’ So Tsukasa tells him that he will prove him wrong, that he loves him and he will win the next tournament, DUE to thinking of his love of Haru, and if he wins, then Haru should kiss him. Haru (the uke, though older) sort of is pushed into agreeing. But during the tournament, who shows up but the lost love and older absent brother Reiichiro, and Tsukasa looks over to see them close together in coversation during his shooting. Can he still win or will he be distracted, and if he does, will it only be to find that Haru loves Reiichiro? It is a highly entertaining book with great art and a good depiction of the sport of Jyudo including a scene where he goes home to find his brother practicing in their own archery range with the lights off (the idea that the zen of pure form means the target is hit whether you see it or not), much like I asked at Sakura-con. Oh dear, does that make me a raving fan-girl? I honestly like the sport of Jyudo and want to try it, just as a sport.

For those who enjoy this book there is a follow up, You will Drown in Love. Here the loser in love in the previous book takes over as manager of the family kimono cloth business (and is horrid at it to start), but finds that the person who he annoys the most is maybe interested in him. Is there love for both brothers? A highly enjoyable series and a good introduction to the non-comedy style of romantic boy love/yaoi books.

If any action readers have made it past all the romance, the next manga is the manga adaptation of Vampire Hunter D. I have Volume one while Volume two and three are on my wish list, going for $9-$10. Each book is the DMP oversized volumes (higher and longer) and 200-250 pages, so a good value of reading. The artist Saiko Takaki has done a great job of making a stand alone series where no previous knowledge of the anime or books are needed. In a different post-apocalypse world with radiation mutations teamed up in the wild lands and vampires are now the nobles of the civilized land, and keepers of the technology. Humans live simple lives and are like serfs to the vampire nobles, who occasionally require an offering. A select few who are well trained take up the job of Vampire Hunter, those who will eliminate those who are wild vampires preying on a town to the nobles themselves. We follow the adventures of Vampire Hunter D who is a Damphir,. A damphir is a long living offspring of a vampire and human, an outsider despised by both. Some vampires have lived 1 year, some 100, and some over 1,000 or 3,000 years in this long period, being the only people left to remember the ‘pre’ earth of today. In Volume 1, D agrees to help a woman freshly bitten by the noble who vows to make her his bride. She is a beautiful woman and the son of the town’s bully sheriff is determined to force her to marry him. D has to play both diplomat and warrior as he is between the townspeople who want to use the woman to appease the noble; the sheriff and son, and the vampire lord and his daughter. Towards the end of the book, we finally get a clue as to what D might stand for, or who D’s vampire father really was. An exciting action book and I am looking forward to the next two in the series.

The final book is another yaoi, but this is not only a romantic comedy but also one for animal lovers, or furries called Part Time Pets. It is by Deux books and a collection of short stories. Deux have book that look like they have more explicit sex but often just imply it and have great romantic stories. For example Ruff Love, by the same company is just as fun. While Idol Pleasures by Deux is another comedy romance about an idol who doesn’t smile and a stuffy man out of work who is made his manager by his sister (he finds out later to make him an eligible catch for dating and marriage). To give you the idea, the serious faced Idol has a room full of teddy bears but the manager doesn’t make him feel bad about it (while all others did), so the next day, all but one teddy bear is gone and when the manager questions why the idol says with a very serious face, “I have you” and then leans on his shoulder. This seems to be the manager’s job and meanwhile the photographers are going, “Did he almost smile? He’s never done that before, on or off camera.” You can see where this is going.

Back to Part Time Pets which is not only a funny take on temp agencies but a wonderful romance of seme’s and uke’s (uke’s are the more compliant ones, who are openly affectionate). The people with cat, dog, or rabbit ears are pet/human hybrids and the book starts out with the advertising pamphlet given to offices which advertise how they can be very efficient in the workplace but also need to be taken care of as a pet. The ‘sales pitch’ has full picture accompaniment of the pro and cons including the humorous warning, “Some of our pets are not fully office trained” picture.

After the intro there are three stories (a bunny, a cat and a dog) about the part time pets. Each is endearing, particularly Tama, the ‘wild cat’ who never keeps jobs, but ends up working with an author who is stern and a good match for Tama’s wild ways. The middle of the book has a two part story about Koimoko: the Love Shrine. Our hero Enishi is the Koimoki, an inherited god-gift from the temple keepers. Anyone who touches the Koimoki increases beauty, anyone who kisses the Koimoki gains success in love and if you have sex with the Koimoki then you WILL be with your true love. It is sort of implied this used to be a job of a female miko (shrine maiden) but Enishi got the gift and hates having it. He hates love and he hates how love makes people crazy, always trying to touch or kiss him, or have sex with him. The story quickly become much more complicated and multi-layered as Enishi himself finally feels the yearning and pain of one sided love (he goes to the doctor to have his heart checked from this pain). However, Enishi’s gift has a dangerous side, which Enishi ignores because he believes that the Koimoki, (he) is only able to bring love to others……never to themselves. Can the Koimoki find love?

We end with a bonus part time pet story of Tama again (the ‘wild cat’) which is the favorite of the author and most readers. Then there is a section from the author about how the book came to be. It was a fun read from beginning to end, and my only wish was it was twice as thick or had a sequel already out. I really can’t emphasis enough how enjoyable this book is (Cheryl liked it too!). If you read Yaoi and want it hot and heavy then maybe this will seem tame, but if you want relationships with humor, love, romance, and some of the cutest Uke’s around, I heavily recommend this book. Mature teens and above though.

So there are the reviews of four of the manga which were bought for me (well I bought Vampire Hunter D 1 but I live in hope for 2 and 3!!!). I hope you find something there that will interest you. I do recommend that only who likes a good summer read or light romance to give one of the yaoi books mentioned here a try as 70% of romances sold in Asia to women are yaoi. Now from teenage girls (and boys) to adults more and more North Americans are buying yaoi or boy love – it has been added to most libraries and is on every major publisher’s lists. The guys are nice to look at, the romance is tense and gives a bit of a thrill, or funny and gives a laugh. Perfect escapism.

I hope you have a good weekend, I am off to a medical appointment so ug, but once that is over it is postcard creation time!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moss Street Paint In III and the lesbian sleepover

Continuing down Moss Street I was stopped by the visual art of Lisa Hebden (www.lisahebden.com) who had the ‘Wheatfield’ piece from the end of Part I and the ‘Unfinished’ from Part II. This painting is the one that stopped me, a portrait. Now, true I love redheads, and this isn’t the best lighting to show the painting: the portrait was compelling, but darkly evocative. Margritte had played with the ideas of what a portrait should or might be, but this seemed to be continuing an idea.

It was an idea I found in one of the newer pieces here, with the children playing in the tall grass. I talked to Lisa and asked her about that piece and she said that it was really quite a dark piece but that she had added some color and it brightened up and she stopped there in case she ruined it. I asked her if she had done the ‘Wheatfield’, then this one with the grass, and then the ‘Unfinished’ as they seemed to start a new theme. It was not so much humans swallowed by nature (something us Canadians get obsessed about) but darker, as if it is the humans we are not supposed to look at too closely. She was very surprised and said that was the exact order. I think the portrait is one of them as well. She can paint faces and had one of those but I didn’t take a picture. These paintings called out as they are trying to obscure something. The Children in Grass, the more we talked about it later, the more creepy it became, as while it appears a nice playful picture, why are the children so far away? Why are they running off? Where are parents? It is like the image one sees or a description of children lost or never seen again; this glimpse known as, ‘last seen….” See, THAT is a picture I don’t want over my bed either.

She also had an earlier series of bird on wires paintings which she had sold one that day, Linda liked them, I think either because she likes birds or it reminds her of home.

Lisa was the one I went back and asked about buying Wheatfield but it was sold. The Portrait is creepy to me, seductive, yes, but also, do you really WANT her to turn around, in such a bleak, void environment. Do you want to see what she has for a face, or what her eyes say?

Afterward we walked around looking at some of the nature pictures of the west coast, like this one which depicts the island view, looking out.
Another one was of a waterfall, I am not sure if that is the one at Goldstream or not as I usually see it at the bottom and not the top.

After that, it was back UP the giant hill known as Moss Street and home for food and a nap. Then of course it was back to the shenanigans of a lesbian sleepover. Which I will not disillusion you was about work or postcard but no, it was about pillow fights and whipped cream and strawberries in chocolate (gee, that sounds good, invite me!).

I thought you might like some portraits of the three of us during our lesbian sleepover. Here is Cheryl, all you have to do is add a volume of one of my manga she is borrowing to read in her hand (Would she still visit if I didn’t have the manga…I don’t ask). The whole, “What do you want, I’m BUSY” look is there along with the pocky. And I am not joking about that, she loves her pocky and goes to many a west coast city in search of it. Every new flavor is tried and tested.

Now here is Linda, in a typical scenario, the ‘Do I HAVE to get up?” one. Actually, now that I think about this, that look and position work for weekends, vacations and workdays! But, yes, the only thing wrong with this picture is she had not grabbed BACK the covers with one arm while the other arm is heading for the snooze button.

As for me, well I could be this nice sweet loli with my rabbit Eiki Eiki just sitting waiting for someone to play with me.Well it could be me....after the lobotomy! I mean, sure I regress in age mentally but I am still ME. So while I might get vulnerable and withdrawn, I usually don't put on thigh highs and I don’t get ‘sweet’ (never really a word used to describe me...odd). THIS is me, complete with tattoo! (remind myself to get that tattoo later, it fits me to a T) I am not sure if I dressed as a maid in order to flash tattoo and panties or if someone (Cheryl? Linda?) has done that for me, or if I am just pissed at life, a Victoria doctor, or some other injustice and giving it my opinion and my hand gesture. Oh that gesture is subtle and yet works on so many levels! No Future - yeah baby! (I am trying to make AAN and Autonomic Failure into a cult icon)