You Must Be This Tall To Ride
Let's talk about condoms.

It is important to recognize that latex condoms for men are a well-made medical device that laboratory studies have shown to provide an essentially impermeable barrier to particles the size of STD pathogens. FDA has oversight responsibility to ensure that condoms are manufactured properly, and manufacturers - in turn - follow quality system regulations, including design controls, to ensure that their products do what they are intended to do: protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

So far so good. I like the idea of condoms being regulated in that who wants a malfunctioning condom??

So I have always been wholeheartedly behind the idea of making condoms available to ANYONE who needs them. Use 'em for balloons, cover the end of your rifle before swamp forays, and hey why aren't they sold in women's restrooms at the bars and clubs?

Even if that anyone is a (precocious) boy experimenting for the first time. (Don't waggle your eyebrows at me. I'm talking the son of a friend's friend. Jeez.) And his penis isn't exactly adult-sized. My first instinct would be to contact Planned Parenthood. Which is what I told my friend.

Planned Parenthood wasn't particularly helpful. Condoms for a kid? No way. Kid that age, just say no. Discourage him. Don't let him! (I am sorely disappointed. I thought PP would understand the necessity of prophylaxis and contraceptive for anyone actively indulging in sex, even when presented along with "Don't do it" messages. But I understand. They've been harmed by certain scam artists lately and are defensive.)

Drug stores carry one-size-fits-all, so that wasn't particularly useful, either. No, seriously, drug stores carry various and glorious variety of sensations, ribbing, flavors, colors, but size is fairly static. Size is large. Or, as a certain email reassured me, "condoms regularly available are at least 8” long with nominal width 49-56mm." Length? You can roll up the damned thing. Width is an issue. The kid is apparently too slim.

The internet was my third suggestion. And there we hit bingo! TheyFit in the United Kingdom ... Condoms in 95 sizes! A veritible smorgasbord! Yay! Actual instructions for measuring your penis length and width. Yay!

My friend acquired measurements and placed an order.

The confirmation email assumed it was shipping to Sweden. When the friend sent a clarifying email to TheyFit, he got this email back in return:

Thank you for contacting TheyFit.

Condoms are regulated medical devices and as such require regulatory approval for each country or region they are sold in. Currently TheyFit have clearance for sale in all 27 European countries, to nearly 500,000,000 people.

We are working hard on regulatory approval for sales into the US (approval is given by the FDA) and encourage US citizens to sign up here to receive updates on the situation.

There are simply no similar products currently available in the United States – the E33 has a nominal width of 41mm and length of around 4.5” – the FDA rules on the other hand insist that all US condoms are at least 6.8” long and must have nominal width 47-57mm (until 2008 it was 50-54mm). In reality those condoms regularly available are at least 8” long with nominal width 49-56mm.

I am sorry for any confusion caused. I have cancelled your order, refunded your money and added you to our notification list to receive news of TheyFit’s US clearance which we hope will happen in 2013.

Kind Regards,
TheyFit Customer Services

Condoms are medical devices?

Check the blockquote from above. I copied it from an FDA report regarding labelling of condoms. Apparently condoms were first classified as Category II Medical Devices in 1976 when a lot of things were categorized.

But I've been unable to uncover the sizing rationale.
This leads to some jokes:
President Boris Yeltsin called Clinton with an emergency: "Our largest condom factory has exploded!" the Russian President cried; "my people's favorite form of birth control! This is a true disaster!"
"Boris, the American people would be happy to do anything within their power to help you," replied the President.
"I do need your help," said Yeltsin. "Could you possibly send 1,000,000 condoms ASAP to tide us over?"
"Why certainly! I'll get right on it!" said Clinton.
"Oh, and one more small favor, please?" said Yeltsin.
"Could the condoms be red in color and at least 10" long and 4" in diameter?" said Yeltsin.
"No problem," replied the President and, with that, Clinton hung up and called the President of Trojan. "I need a've got to make 1,000,000 condoms right away and send them to Russia."
"Consider it done," said the President of Trojan.
"Great! Now listen, they have to be red in color, 10" long and 4" wide."
"Easily done. Anything else?"
"Yeah," said the President, "print 'MADE IN AMERICA, SIZE SMALL' on each one.
for lots of easy-to-understand info about condoms, with diagrams and links.

If you're having sex, use condoms. If you happen to have a small wanker, tough.

(I've enjoyed relations with men with small equipment... the condom situation was uneasy.)

Travels Elsewhere and Quantum Visions
I've updated my wordpress site with information about my recent doings, including the two chapbooks I've produced this month.

Travels Elsewhere is a book of 3 short stories: Slim And Benny-Be-Damned Take It On The Lam, Compass Rose, and Hellbend For Leather.

Quantum Visions is the chapbook filled with stories from my writers group, The Orange County Science Fiction Writers Orbit.

Both can be had for minimal amounts of cash. Call me maybe? (er... email.)

Jude-Marie Green at Wordpress

LosCon room party
Tonight there will be a room party on the 17th floor at LosCon in memory of Jim Young: He's dead. Jim.

Also: Release party for the Orange County Science Fiction Writers Orbit chapbook, QUANTUM VISIONS. Jim has a story in it, Spamhead. We plan live readings of the stories.

We have "NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH" and plan to show it.

If you want to bring something edible to the party, we'd appreciate that too!

Friday night, after the ice cream social until whenever.


The editors of INSATIABLE kindly bought a reprint of my story, ORTHOGONAL TO THE ASTRAL PLANE, for their premier issue.

Orthogonal To The Astral Plane isn't about new age maths, it's about a woman haunted by demon lovers. Starring a handsome guy in a plaid shirt.

The original publication was in Quantum Kiss. The editor there said, "We all know that there's a whole other world on the other side of the dream curtain, right? A surreal place where the true gods and demons dwell? Not to mention passionate love and bitter rivalry.Strap in tight because this story is a wild and fun ride."

My story, SISTERS, is live at The Colored Lens now.

This is a deeply introspective, not at all action adventure type story of two very unsimilar sisters. Sarah has a special gift: she can access the multiverse and call forth her doppelgangers. Her invisible friends not only aren't invisible, they're all, literally, her. Linda, 10 years older, has the burden of responsibility for her sister, the burden of mentorship and failure, and the burden of love.

The Colored Lens editors call this a slipstream story. Oh boy is it ever!

Also, they found some amazing art for this.

In an effort to wake up my brain, I've been taking classes via the internet on Coursera.

I've completed a world music class that wasn't what I expected (more socio-political overview of first people's music, not a "this is what they're doing in India!" class) though the section on Tuvan throat singing was fantastic.

I completed the Science Fiction & Fantasy class where I read a list of novels from Grimms Fairy Tales through Cory Doctorow's Little Brother (exactly one novel on the entire list that I hadn't even heard of before ("Herland.")) The instructor (Professor Eric Rabin) presented wonderful video essays as his lessons. The class rocked!

Currently I'm working through a Modern Poetry class and reading poetry I don't know from names I've heard before. Most wonderful so far is the almost-incomprehensible stuff from "The Baroness" (Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven). Lots of good poetry and instructor videos where he's leading a class at the Kelly Writers House (!) through deconstruction of the poems. The construction is a lot more work than I generally even consider giving to poems and it rewards me with a deeper understanding of my cleverness.

Also ongoing is a logic class (symbolism, not practice) that is somewhat boring. The instructor is teaching from the book and not giving much insight. Still, it's nice to work through the grammar of the logical symbols.

Today the introduction to genetics and the genome class began. So far the instructor videos are fine. This should be fun.

All the classes have embedded quizzes in the videos, separate quizzes for general testing, and written assignments requiring analysis and feedback. I'm rather enjoying this. And signed up for classes through next summer.

Writers Workshop of Science Fiction
I have a wonderful interview with Larry Niven in here. Plus, you know, other people. Considering kicking in a piece.

A collection of essays and interviews by many of science fiction and fantasy's greatest writers today on the craft of writing.

Launched: Sep 12, 2012
Funding ends: Oct 12, 2012

The Writers' Workshop of Science Fiction and Fantasy

In seeking publication for his newest workshop project, Bram Stoker award-winning editor Michael Knost sought a small press, for the care and enthusiasm a good one harbors for the genre and its fellow writers. Seventh Star Press is that kind of publisher, bringing its own love for science fiction and fantasy to the project, and its "got your back" attitude for genre writers and other small and independent presses.

Hour of Maximum Danger
Originally posted by frankwu at Hour of Maximum Danger

What I love about the Democratic National Convention is that it reminds us to take our eyes off the daily grind and think about our ideals, and what we’ve achieved – and how if we take our eyes off the prize, that prize can be stolen back from us.

Back in the sixties, blacks marched in the streets, they were beat up by cops, they were firehosed and assassinated – and the whites who marched beside them were called “nigger lover” and shot in the face.  But the blacks eventually won and today you might think we’re done with civil rights.  We’re not.  There are those will would take back blacks’ voting rights – the most basic of rights upon which all others depend – by dickering with early balloting in Ohio, by purging the voter rolls in Florida, by instituting voter ID laws across the states.  These forces are driven to take back that which was so hard-won.

And not just civil rights for blacks.  You think Roe v. Wade is a done deal? In Republican statehouses across the nation they are continually thinking of new restrictions and impediments to choice.  You think from now on gays will always be able to serve in the military?  That insurance companies will never again be able to impose a lifetime cap or bounce you for a pre-existing condition?  That your insurance premiums will never again be used solely to give some executive a bonus?

In a blink of an eye, if Republicans keep the House and win the Senate and White House, all that we’ve achieved will be undone.  Maybe you're too busy to do anything about this.

Maybe you’re disappointed in Obama.  I tell you this: It is philosophically impossible for a Democrat not to be a disappointment.

I’ve been listening to some of the great DNC speeches from the past – Andrew Cuomo’s City on the Hill from 1984, Jesse Jackson’s patchwork blanket speech from 1988.  And the issues are still exactly the same as they were back then – fighting for the rights of gays, of unions, of the elderly, of the poor, of the minority.  If you go back to 1961, in his inaugural address, JFK talked about many of these same things – fighting against war, fighting for justice and against poverty, invoking the wonders of science rather than its terrors.  But he said all of these things will not be achieved in the first 100 days, or the first 1000 days, or even the life of this administration – or even in our own lifetimes.  But let us begin.  

We Democrats believe in a utopia, an ideal where men can walk down the street and not be judged by the color of their skin, but the content of their character.  That utopia will never come.  The Bible says that there will always be the poor among us, always the elderly, always the minority.  And also always the greedy and bigoted.  The final victory will never be won, not in my lifetime, not ever.  So the question is not if Obama has done everything he’s promised, if he’s achieved this impossible liberal utopia, but if he’s moved in the ball in that direction.  

He’s saved the economy, saved the auto industry, ended the Iraq war, got bin Laden, ended Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, implemented his version of the Dream Act and fought for choice.  I say he’s taken us a couple steps closer to utopia. Kennedy said that in the long history of this planet, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger.  

He was speaking of the thousands who bled and died – even his brother – in World War II.  But I have to respectfully disagree with JFK on this.  Every election truly is special, every day represents maximum danger.  Because the forces who want to take away the prize are relentless.  They will not stop.  I know lots of people who said that if they were alive in the sixties, they would have marched in the streets or fought the Nazis.  Well, you can’t go back in time.  But you can honor what they fought for, by voting and getting out the vote – by fighting for Obama and the other Democrats this fall.  

If we don’t fight, everything that those who came before us fought for and bled for will be for naught. 

At this year’s DNC, Julian Castro – the mayor of San Antonio and maybe someday the first Latino President of the United States – said that democracy was not a sprint, it wasn’t a marathon. It’s a relay.  Well, the torch has been passed from a previous generation to you.  What are you going to do with it?

Free Fall
but the chute is opening.

I never expected grief to knock me out so completely. Then again, I never expected grief.

My best friend and lover, Jim Young, died after a short decline and surgery. I was there for him, which helps. I held his hand for the time he was in the hospital and throughout his last night/morning. I found myself living in an unreflective moment, unable to consider much past the current situation. My brain numbed. I was unabashedly emotional and swung wildly from sobbing to singing. I needed him to wake up. I needed him to be at peace. I NEEDED.

What about Jim? He was well-cared-for in hospital, with sponge baths, frequent turning to stave off bedsores, lots of attention to his tubes and cleanliness. They did what they could for him. In the end, the tumor was too much, and grew back aggressively after the surgery.

I have such guilt. If I'd convinced him to go to the hospital when I first noticed symptoms (loss of words, loss of memory) he could have been diagnosed, operated upon, undergone radiation and chemo... and still died in about a year. A year of pain and fear and degraded Jim-ness.

If we'd gotten him to a doctor when we were all certain SOMETHING was wrong, same thing. Probably a shorter term of chemo/radiation/pain before death.

If Jim had awakened after his surgery, he would have had... dunno, a couple of weeks? Before, once again, passing away, with full knowledge of everything he'd lost.

So I guess it was a good thing he never awakened. He slipped into deeper sleep, and finally let go. He was well-medicated for the last day and yes, one stoned human being. It was the best possible outcome of an awful situation.

And yet.

So many unfinished conversations. So many places we never went. We discussed, in one of our last walk/talks, going to Hawaii, where he'd never been. We discussed, a couple of months ago, his outline for a story set on Mars, which will now never be written. I don't think he even got to see his movie, NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.

And I miss him. I miss his snark, his eye-rolling, his sincerity, his kisses. I miss talking about Africa and other politics, I miss talking about writing and reading and music, I miss bumping hips with him. I miss the coffee (decaff nonfat latte for him) and the dinners and finding delicious new things to taste. I miss him saying, "Oh, Kelly," when I made some particularly wild statement, which I sometimes did just to hear him say, "Oh, Kelly." I miss the scar on his face and his wild forelock of hair and sharing popcorn at the movies and talking, always talking.

I've been numb for about a month. The numbness is wearing off. Now I'm missing him.

The chute is opening, I'll land with a thump and not crash and smear. My friends have talked to me a lot: Jay Lake and Sandra Odell, Marta Murvosh and K.C. Ball, Stephanie Cass and Sean Thom, others. They've had patience with me. I am lucky to have these people in my life.

I'll never need to sky dive, now, cuz I already know what it feels like.

new blog

A more professional site than this (which has been confessional) or facebook (which is social and flighty.)


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