February 23, 2008

The Problem with Porn

I was out having drinks last evening with a small group of women and, as sometimes happens, the conversation turned to the topic of sex. Of course, we were discussing the current season of The L Word (TLW) and why it's been much more entertaining this season than the last few seasons. Among other things, we all agreed that, for a straight woman, Jennifer Beals gives a hot and believable performance in her lesbian love scenes (or sex scenes, if you don't buy that love is actually part of the equation). We also pretty much agreed that those scenes were, for all intents and purposes, soft porn (except those with Jennifer Beals, who, unlike some of the other actresses on TLW, appears to have it in her contract to not actually show any "skin"). But, as also sometimes happens, the conversation was interrupted and we never actually return to this academic discussion.

Before we were interrupted, I had started to give my observations about WHY the sex scenes from TLW, and other similar shows or movies, are so much more of a sexual turn-on for women than the porn flicks often favored by the male of the species. So, for those who are interested, I offer now to provide my observations on the topic. For the purpose of fair comparison, I'm limiting this short discussion to woman/woman sex scenes in movies or shows like TLW and the woman/woman sex scenes in porn flicks (yes, I've observed a few of these scenes, so I'm mildly qualified to comment).

Here's how I even came to be thinking about this topic. Recently, I was chatting with an online friend who works in the Adult Entertainment Industry (AEI). For the record, she has a heavy duty college education and is therefore very well spoken (which means she uses proper grammar and spelling). Of course, she likes to share about her latest exploits (and I like to change the topic to something more palatable like movies). She also enjoys sharing porn clips that she likes in order get my opinion (partly to see what might work for her show and partly to see if she can turn me on, which I usually tolerate for awhile). But mostly porn doesn't really work for me.

Now it just happens that I had watched a movie, that very day, which had a really hot love scene (I usually buy that love is in the equation because I'm a sucker for romance). Since another online friend has that particular clip (along with several others) on her website, I sent my AEI friend there to see what I thought was way sexier. She pretty much agreed with me, although she went right back to sending me porn clips (oh well, reform school probably wouldn't have work either). Then, by fluke I think, she sent me a clip of two women who, she said, were actually lovers (and not just in the video). The difference was totally obvious. Here's why: THEY LOOKED IN EACH OTHER'S EYES!!! Yeah, it was hardcore show-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink porn (well, I might have seen a kitchen sink too), but they were actually really into each other on an emotional level. And that is what works for me. That same eye contact and emotion is what makes scenes in shows like TLW believable to women.

The actresses in TLW are really there to sell subscriptions to a TV channel using a show which is primarily about the relationships between women. It's acting 101 that eye contact and the projection of emotion is what makes the acted relationships believable. Porn, on the other hand, is produced by an industry that is basically filming sex acts in order to sell videos for a lot of money. The focus is on the sexual performance and nothing else. If you've ever watched porn, then you probably noticed how bad the "acting" part of the scenes are in comparison to the sexual performance which is not acted, but really happening. That's the primary reason it usually does little or nothing for me. There's no connection between the performers except physically. Therefore, there's no emotional investment. Most of the women I know are way more interested in the relationships between people (not that they don't enjoy some skin with those relationships).

So my conclusion is, if the porn industry wants to really open up a new market (i.e. sell a lot more porn to women) they need better actors and stories. I do hear there's a burgeoning niche in lesbian porn which is of course written, directed and produced by women not men. I haven't seen it though, and I refuse to pay for it, so unless my AEI friend manages to find it and send it to me, I doubt I'll ever see it.

February 18, 2008

Blogging Boo Boo

So I've discovered that some blog entries can not be corrected here. For a prime example, see my previous post. In it I give credit to a member of AfterEllen.com for the fun time waster and reference links to the left of the blog for those wanting to go to AfterEllen.com. But oops, the links are to the right. So I attempted to edit my post only to find that I can't. It appears that the "html" code that I pasted in the body of the post is somehow interfering with some editing features here. Oh well. Live and learn. Enjoy the day anyway and have fun discovering your superhero lover if you haven't done so yet. Or if you have, try answering the quiz in the opposite way to see which superhero to avoid! And by the way, for those of you who pop by, but never comment. You can leave your own observations anonymously.

February 15, 2008

Which Superhero I Should Date...or Be...heh.

According to the Superhero Dating Quiz, Black Canary is my ideal superhero. I took the quiz several times and she was either the top one or tied for the top one at least 3 times...maybe 4 times. Black Canary is actually two different characters (the original and then her daughter). She has an ability called the "Canary Cry," which she sends out an ultrasonic sound from her mouth by screaming. The sound is strong enough to destroy solid objects and incapacitate her opponents. The Black Canary is also a master martial artist, and is considered one of the seven best fighters in the DC Universe. At one time, she was elected to be the new chairwoman and field leader in the new Justice League of America due to her strong strategic mind. Additionally, she was once a member of the Birds of Prey (a female superhero group!). Interesting. My observation is that I must be attracted to strong yet unattainable women as it appears that the Black Canary generally prefers the intimate company of men or male superheros...sigh. Thanks to a reader and the folks at AfterEllen.com (see link to the left) for today's fun time-waster. Let me know which superhero you should date (and there are options to select a male superhero too).

February 7, 2008

Caucus & Delegate Updates

2-7-08 UPDATE: The Denver Post had a good article about the presidential nominating process and the difference between delegates and "super-delegates". It went through the more recent history of this process since 1968. Essentially, delegates are chosen by popular vote, either at a caucus or by primary and those votes are considered binding. This means the delegates have to vote the will of the voters by percentage. I represent a vote for Hillary Clinton and I can not change that vote because it's not MY vote to change. Super-delegates have direct party connections are NOT chosen by popular vote, therefore their votes CAN change. Since the race for the democratic nomination is rather tight, the people who are super-delegates will be directly (and personally) contacted by the candidates or their people to try to sway those votes. This is because they could choose to back a candidate other than the one who actually won the majority of the popular vote. Their votes combined with the "losing" candidates regular delegate votes could change the outcome of the state's nomination. Read more here: Denver Post 2-7-08 (until the article is no longer available). But again, this is just to NOMINATE the Democratic Presidential Candidate. We still get to vote for the actual president later. Of course, that will lead to the ongoing Electoral College debate (which is similar, but different from the delegate debate).

2-6-08 UPDATE: The caucus system is WAY older than primaries, but is not a substitute for the presidential election in November (we still ultimately get to vote on a ballot for the President). Both the caucus system and the primary system are for the division of delegates. Delegates are people chosen to attend the state assembly to vote for the NOMINEE for their party to run in the Presidential Election. In most state's primary vote, each party "spends" it's votes in proportion to the way the vote went. In the caucus system, the ACTUAL delegates go to the assembly to vote and I haven't determined this yet, but I think it's possible I would be allowed to change my vote from Clinton to Obama if I wanted to do so. And for sure, if there are uncommitted delegates, they can vote at the assembly which ever way they want based on who remains in the running for their party.

February 5, 2008

Went to Caucus, Came Home a Delegate

"What the heck is a caucus," I asked myself awhile ago when it finally registered in my brain that Colorado was no longer doing primaries for some types of candidates...like the president of the United States. So I did some googling (internet searching for those of you that don't use google as a verb). I kind of gathered that caucusing was where a group of people in the same party (and precinct) get together in a room and peer pressure each other into voting for a potential candidate. Well...not exactly, it turns out. So here's what happened when I went to caucus this evening:

Step 1: Showed up at the neighborhood school where I usually go to vote since that's where I was told to go to for the caucus meeting and promptly determined that I was in the right place. Whew! I was pointed to the cafeteria and told to go to the last table to sign in for the meeting.

Step 2: Chat with a few people and found out that I needed to sign an official form indicating that I was there, but had to wait until the list showing my voter ID number came around with it. Of course, there were lots of sign in sheets, but only one list of voter ID's. Mild frustration bubbles below the surface of the crowd. Also, we're told that after the rules of caucusing are read that we might go to another room. So...hurry up and wait. That's when I commenced to taking notes and looking around. Lots of people, of all walks of life, are there. More than half were definitely older (and by that I mean they had this retired or soon to be retired look about them). Despite concerns that women don't vote, it appears that half the crowd is female, too. I also notice that there's a larger number of people of color than I thought lived in my precinct (they must all live in my condo complex, because I know we have good diversity there...but the precinct covers a much larger, and whiter, population than that).

Step 3: Got tired of waiting for the list. So I chase it down, get my number and fill out the sign in sheet. Later I decide I better double check that I got the number right (I did!).

Step 4: Listen to the rules about caucusing...sort of. I can't really hear the woman very well. At some point she reads about how to count votes as well as how delegates are chosen and then I hear something about a coin toss (!?!).

Step 5: The different precincts go to different rooms after to having to listen to directions to those rooms and before knowing which room's directions to follow. Mass exodus occurs. But our group gets to stay and share the large cafeteria with another smaller group (they turn out to be mostly Obama supporters as they cheer for the Obama supporters in our group when we take our final vote).

Step 6: Listen to a letter from the head of the county for the Democratic Party. People continue to fill out the sign in sheets.

Step 7: Elect someone to be the chair of the caucus and another person to be secretary. We pick the woman who's been running it so far to be the chair and another woman volunteers to be the secretary (she ends up doing a good job...we're so smart for allowing her to pick herself...).

Step 8: Now we get to figure out how many delegates we get to select. We automatically get 2 per precinct. We get a bonus delegate because our precinct voted the current governor (a Democrat) into office. Last we get the number of people there for the caucus divided by 5. We have 60 people so we get 12 delegates, bringing our total to 15. Then we have to figure out the threshold number of straw votes in order to bring a candidate to a "hard" vote. That's 15% of the 60 people in attendance (which turns out to be 9, except in the middle of this calculation, one person leaves so now we have 59 and the math gets funky for a minute until we determine that 9.4 is still 9). What that means is, if a candidate has 9 or more people voting for them initially, then they can be voted for in the final voting to divide the delegates (more on that later). It later occurs to me, that my precinct is large, although probably way more Republicans, so 60 people is sort of a small turnout.

Step 9: Straw votes: 18 for Clinton, 34 for Obama and 3 uncommitted (by the way, if 9 or more voted uncommitted then qualifying delegates could be sent to the state assembly meeting as uncommitted and decide then who to back). These votes don't add up to 59, so it appears we have some uncommitted uncommitteds.

Step 10: The chair and another guy helping with the meeting attempt to start the final vote, but one of the older guys stops the vote with a request to speak on behalf of the candidates. Everyone agrees this is a good idea and the guy shares why Clinton is the best choice based on his having lived through way too much time with Republicans in office (8 years of Reagan, 4 years of Bush, Sr. and 8 years of Bush, Jr.) and the only time we had a balanced budget was with Bill Clinton. The next guy is young. He points out that Hillary is not Bill and if the older guy wants what Bill did back then, well then Obama is actually closer to that than Hillary is now. He goes on to talk about what a great orator Obama is. The next guy is also young and also praises Obama's speaking (meanwhile I'm sitting there thinking...is good speaking a reason to vote for someone?). Thankfully, a woman gets up and speaks about Clinton. She points out that Obama will have a serious learning curve if elected, where Clinton's knowledge and experience means change will happen much faster (and I'm thinking that's exactly where I landed when I finally decided earlier today who I was going to back).

Step 11: Straw vote to see how many are still uncommitted. Only 6 votes, so uncommitted's can not qualify for a delegate because they needed 9 to get a delegate.

Step 12: Hard votes to divide the delegates. 22 vote for Clinton and 37 vote for Obama. The delegates are divided as follows: 6 for Clinton and 9 for Obama. Then the chair explains the delegates' responsibilities. The Clinton group is ready to move over to another area, when a guy who missed the recitation of the math rules at the very beginning starts to argue with me and the secretary over the math as he is wrongly convinced that we're to pick 9 delegates not 15. He thinks he's right because he attended a whole training on the caucus process, but of course I'm right because I was listening to the math rules (and don't argue with me over math...unless you're my brother [because he knows more than I do when it comes to most math]).

Step 13: The Clinton and Obama groups separate in order to chose delegates and alternate delegates (like back ups). And the math debate rages on. Finally it's resolved and I get over to the Clinton group. Oh boy, I've been chosen as a delegate. Okay, actually there were 5 volunteers when I arrived at the table and they asked if I'd volunteer to be the 6th. Then Mr. Math whiz-not arrives and wants to be a delegate (dang, I can not have him be a delegate instead of me). Fortunately, another woman immediately states she'd rather be an alternate (and looks relieved). I begin thinking, maybe I don't want to be a delegate now.

Step 14: The whole precinct reconvenes to pick the senate candidate and house representative nominations as well as the corresponding delegates. Oh yea...I'm delegate for those, too! No one opposes the candidate running for the senate. The House of Reps candidates actually go through an assembly process (or in the case of a third candidate, attempt to circumvent the assembly by getting enough signatures to just be added to the ballot), so just delegates are chosen but a not a candidate.

Step 15: We have to elect 2 precinct committee people and the Democratic Party suggests we pick one man and one woman (for gender parity). They have to go to 2 meetings a year as well as occasional other meetings, hand out flyers and call registered voters to get out the vote. Fortunately, a woman and a man volunteer. I don't know if anyone noticed, but the woman was a Clinton supporter and the man was an Obama supporter. Nice.

Step 16: The chair asks for volunteers to be polling place election judges. Fortunately there are many who step up.

Step 17: The last caucus business involves the reading of county Democrat Party resolutions that will be submitted to the state Democrat Party at the State Assembly. Most of the many resolutions focus on education, labor issues, and child welfare including heath care. Then a convoluted resolution about the peace process in Israel is suggested by one guy. This has most of the voters confused or uncomfortable and another guy suggests a substantial change in wording. Almost all of us like his wording better so it passes with the new wording. Then a woman suggests a resolution regarding opposition to drilling in national parks (and other similar places) and again almost all of us agree with her. The last resolution is brought up by the guy who suggested better wording on the Israel resolution. His suggestion is that we resolve to use paper ballots with mail in ballots optional but not required. We pass that one too. He later explains to me that most of the companies that manufacture the electronic balloting machines have indirect ties to the republican party (for example, the key owners or executives are registered republicans).

Step 18: The caucus is deemed closed and we all go home after about 2 hours of work. Whew. NOW, I know what caucusing is. Oh, and I get to be a delegate. Who knew!?!

February 2, 2008

A BAD Experience

Last night I attended THE monthly women's party (Babes Around Denver), which I attend about once a quarter since I have other things to do. Yeah, right. Fact is, the older I get the less energy I have for all things partying. Shall we enumerate them?

First there's the drinking. I've turned into a one or two drink kinda gal. The thing is, the buzz isn't what it used to be, but the hangover still happens. And who needs that? Besides that, the drink prices are ridiculously high these days and that's on top of the door charge and the price of gas to get there. Yeah, okay, I'm cheapskate (I think I might have mentioned that before).

Second, there's the music. I have a wide range of likes when it comes to music, however the DJ plays less of them as the night wears on. I noticed that the "house" music of a few years ago has given way to predominantly rap music (is this actually music or spoken word diatribes set to music?). This was a party for women, yet there sure seemed to be a lot of misogynistic lyrics pumping out of the speakers (not to mention a lot of F bombs). So, it just makes me feel old, which is really unfair because I do enjoy most of the current top 40 tunes that are not rap and that are highly danceable (but not a word apparently).

Third, there is the late hour until which these parties run. This would not be quite the issue, except they occur on Friday evenings and actually start right after most people's workday at 6pm (happy hour time). As an acquaintance pointed out, she was going to party for EIGHT whole hours (of course she also mentioned that she might be getting a job soon...uh yeah...). I know I could arrive later, but the parking is horrible later in the evening (especially when the event center in the same building is hosting another "special" party...with valet parking taking up all the usual street spaces). And the music is better earlier unless you prefer the misogynistic rap (see above). Of course, I could also just leave after a few hours but that leads into...

Fourth, there are the women themselves. Or shall we say OLDER women. This is where things become rather interesting and kind of disturbing. At 6pm the women are decidedly older. I arrived a bit after 6:30pm. When I walked into the room where they started the party, I was close to the youngest woman there. We're talking GRAY hair and wrinkles everywhere. Unfortunately, I have them too, just less of them (I have seen the future and it's not pretty). I think it sapped my energy just watching (and vaguely worrying). Later, when the party moved into the main club area, someone pointed out a woman on the dance floor (dancing to something that was not quite rap, but close) and stated that the woman was over 70 years old and she's known her for years and years (AGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHH). No kidding, she didn't look a day over 60. I know this should make me feel better about growing old. But seriously, on one hand I was relieved about my future partying energy prospects, and on the other hand, a vision of my mom popped into my head (and up on my Treo 700 because I had to see the concept visually) which kinda freaked me out...a bit. You know how they say you should meet your girlfriend's mother if you want to know what she'll probably look like when she's her mother's age? Apply that concept to yourself (or look at your dad if you're a guy). My mom doesn't look the 70 something that she is, and she's fairly active too, but she didn't look like that woman on the dance floor either...

Fifth, there are, in fact, really young women that show up much later (but over 21...barely...I hope). Right in time to remind me that I'm not young anymore. Or hot...like that anyway. What is it about youth? They think they own the place when they strut into the club (I know this, because that's how it was when I was in my 20's and what I observed when a friend actually owned a club when we were in our 30's, because the 20 somethings acted like THEY owned it). Now it's like those of us on the top of the hill don't really exist
(I refuse to think I'm over the hill, despite item number four). It takes alot of energy to get noticed by those 20 somethings (and so not worth it). But it is fun to watch them do their thing (drink, flirt, dirty dance, practically have sex on the dance floor, etc.). So many potential observations, so little energy left by the time they arrive.

So in about 3 months, I'll probably try it again. Maybe I'll take that particular Friday off and have a long nap before I go out. I could fortify with some extra caffeine perhaps. Maybe then I'll have enough energy to describe the super femme hot body in a low cut dress with a totally androgynous hairstyle and face dancing with the really heavy set butch in a tie (and apparently really loving it). Or comment on the large number of raunchy young gay boys who showed up around the same time as the 20 something girls and didn't seem to care that it was a women's party. Or maybe share about the rather skeezy yet oddly sexy woman that kept dancing with some equally skeezy gay boy while staring me down...while I was perched above the dance floor (not even sure how that is physically possible). Yeah, catch me sometime when I'm more awake.