New Google+ Communities

So…running a blog is pretty hard work, especially when there’s SO much daily news about awesome shows, stunning games and crazy-good upcoming movies. Blogging about each one has become quite infeasible. As such, and because I’ve started to really love Google+, I’ve created a couple of communities to deal with this stuff instead. 🙂

So, if you’re on Google+, feel free to head over and participate. I’m going to be posting daily in these communities, and I might well create more! So, you can check out;

SciFi Central

Zombie Central

Fantasy Central

I may add more communities in time, but as these are my main focus, I’ll be concentrating on these genres and the entertainment they involve! Also, the great thing is that you can easily participate too by using a +1, commenting or sharing. I have to say, Google+ is DEFINITELY growing on me.

I’ll still be updating here on occasion, but if you want a more constant stream of news, then join me over at Google+. 🙂

I’m an Amazing Stories writer

AS-button-blog-team-MEMBER-Blue-smallI have some great news to share today; I’m now an official Amazing Stories writer. Why am I so excited? Because Amazing Stories is a place dedicated to Sci-Fi. It’s also been running, almost uninterrupted since 1926! Though it finally closed in 1996, there were two attempts at bringing it back in 1998 and 2005, and now it’s had some fresh life breathed into it! The Amazing Stories magazine goes hand in hand with an online blog and SF community to talk, review and discuss all things totally geekery (yeah – I’m so excited that I made that word up).

I will, of course, still be blogging here with news and updates, but I’ll be providing some more in-depth articles over at Amazing Stories. My first post – 4 Modern and Completed SF series that you shouldn’t miss; Part I – is now live, and I’ll be blogging every week. So, what you waiting for? Head over and take a look! 😉

Grindr’s Racism Row

Anyone who reads this blog now and then will know of my predisposition towards the darker man. It’s not that I find white men unattractive, hell, all men can have be down right sexy no matter where their ethnic origins lie. It’s just that there’s a deep running vein of desire in me which likes golden skin, dark hair, and mysterious eyes. I’m not the blond, blue eyed boy lover, but it’s just as well, as we can’t all like the same type otherwise we’d all be chasing each other in circles. However, SoSoGay.com’s article Profile Prejudice struck a nerve with me. By stating on my profile that I like certain types of guys am I inadvertently causing some guys bad feelings?

It certainly got me thinking. There’s no denying that many people are simply more attracted to certain ethnic groups than others. In many ways I denounce caucasian guys pretty quickly, even if they’re of model beauty. That spark just is never there, and it’s not like I haven’t tried in the past. Obviously, I don’t say that I only like one type of man and you haven’t got a chance if you don’t fit the mould because there are exceptions. But the lines can easily become blurred if I’m saying I like Latino, Indian Asian, and Mediterranean guys and you’re a white guy thinking I’m having a pop.

Having not come across any Grindr racism before I was fairly interested to read SoSogay’s article and see viewpoints from the other side. I don’t even think I’d seen ‘White Only’ on a profile before. This was all to change a couple of days ago though when I received a message from a guy asking if I was into a particular ethnic group of guys. I responded quite honestly, HELL YES! And was then barrage to some of the most racist views that I’ve ever encountered. Englishmen apparently fuck anything that move. I was obviously not an upper class Englishman for sleeping with these people, for they were lower, dirty citizens, spreading disease. I was completely shell shocked.

Stupidly I called this guy a racist ____ and blocked him. Looking back on it I should have snapshopped the conversation and reported him to Grindr. And whilst his views would not have changed, at least I could have got a foul minded bigot removed from a networking place where I’ve actually met some of the nicest men ever.

As a gay man I find it extraordinary that other LGBT people can have such views. Whilst we continue to fight for equality we remain a minority group when compared, certainly in numbers, to heterosexuals.  And for someone in our minority group to have such a backward and racist beliefs towards other minority groups in this day and age is utterly astounding. It has made me aware though, that when writing our Manhunt, Gaydar, or Grindr profiles, it is extremely important to take care not to inadvertantly offend when racism could not be further from your mind.

The Perils of WhatsApp

I’ve got to be honest, WhatsApp has really made me a happy man – mostly. This smartphone application is fantastic for all those who want to send pictures, locations, and text messages to anyone in the world – yes the WORLD – for free. I have unlimited texts on my contract, but picture messages cost me. Also, with lots of friends spread across the planet, it’s often difficult to stay in contact because of the sheer cost of sending messages. However, for the small price of this app I can now send messages anywhere as it uses 3G and WiFi connections instead of your carriers network. Overall, its fantastic!

But there is one slight beware consideration to bear in mind for those, like me, who don’t always respond immediately. When it comes to texting, unless your my best friend, or I’m free that very minute the text comes through, or I’ve been on a few dates with you and have a massive crush, I’m unlikely to text back immediately. I often read, mull it over, and text back a little while later. That’s just how I am. With normal texting this is fine….the other person isn’t hanging at the other end of the line because there is no way for them to know whether you got their text or not.

However, this is where the perils of WhatsApp begin. One green tick and your message has been sent. Two green ticks and your message has been read and received. Last night, in a foul and depressed mood, I went to bed at 9pm. I obviously needed it. My phone started buzzing with messages from a chap I’d met online earlier in the week. I read, but I didn’t reply because not only was I half asleep but I’d stayed in for a reason – to avoid all forms of communication. However, it seems that, knowing I’d received his mails, I was to bear the brunt of another foul mood and before long I was being verbally abused, called a prick, and having a virtual punch thrown my way! We’d NEVER met. I hadn’t responded for ONE night. He said “I’ve had my heart broken enough times” – I repeat, WE’D NEVER MET! Some guys really need to get a little perspective on life.

So whilst this little application is a great social and financial saver, for those of you like me who don’t respond immediately, read messages at your own peril! If you don’t respond within seconds it seems you may be likely to bear the brunt of a foul mouthed, naive, bunny boiler!

Social Networking the ‘LIKE’ Way

Whether you love it or hate it Facebook seems to be here to stay. It may be superseded by something in the future but its evolution from the simple friend networking tool of old to the current seamlessly integrating business service means that its shelf life has been exceedingly prolonged. No longer a standalone site Facebook is stealthily working its way across the web, infiltrating sites where you’d least expect it and cleverly maintaining its brand presence in even the smallest of circumstances.

I’ve just started to use Facebook’s ‘LIKE‘ feature on The Guide to Gay Gardening. I already have a Facebook group which I put to use advertising new posts and upcoming gardening events but not everyone wants to join a group which will provide constant updates in their news stream. The LIKE feature happily circumnavigates this, allowing individuals to show their appreciation for one post, sharing it on their wall but not unknowingly signing up for constant group updates. A quick click and their friends can know what they’ve read, following the link if of interest, and thus an article can spread from a webpage into the news stream of thousands without being over kill. It aint bad for bolstering the article writers confidence either, seeing all those LIKE clicks certainly helps a little smile form.

Whilst constant Twitter updates and news releases from Facebook groups can be seen as spam for some, the inoffensive little ‘LIKE’ button may be my new best friend. Its no great secret that article and blog comments are often few and far between, with appreciating individuals not wanting to write, but now all that’s involved is one tiny click. I’m definately going to be social networking the ‘LIKE’ way.

MSN Etiquette

Technology is outstanding. Sitting at my computer I can call friends in Oz through Skype, I can flip emails back and forth across the pond, and I can chat to friends just down the road on MSN. But am I missing something? Is there some form of etiquette involved on MSN? Unwritten rules about who speaks first, what you can and can’t say? I thought it was just a simple communication device but I seem to be wrong.

The one problem with MSN is you often log on to see a multitude of people you don’t want to talk to. Blocking removes possible needed future contact, but you know as soon as your little tag turns green, there they’ll be, nagging, chatting, talking at you. They’re the people you’d duck away from in the street. The “friends” you’d hide your face and quickly walk past. I’m usually shown as “offline”, but of more recent time’s I’ve been “away”, a simple way to chat to those you want, and curteously avoid those you don’t want. I suppose that is backhand etiquette in itself.

However, what has really got my goat of late, is when people initiated chat with a “hi” or “hey” and then remaining mute. No questions. No conversation. If you didn’t want to talk then why did you bother saying hello?!  You feel an overbearing pressure to get some form of conversation going, but the one line answers that come back simply fuel the growing irritation.

And what’s with having a long, drawn out conversation and then just disappearing. People will say “brb” and then never return. Vanished into the void of the infinate internet. You’ll be mid conversation and then “poof!”, they’re gone. Sometimes they’ll even remain online…what is this?!

I know that, as a hermit, I’m often not the most communucational or social being in the world, but please, if you dare to strike up a conversation then at least have the decency to finish it.