My relationship to the religion I was raised in is somewhat mixed, while also being mostly totally angst free on my side.  For those who don't know, I was raised Jewish, in a heavily Jewish community (well compared to most of the rest of the country), went to temple fairly regularly, and went to sunday school till I confirmed. I never really went to hewbrew school and I did not bat mitzvah.

As an adult I have mostly vacillated between paganism and well - being lazy.  But one piece of my Jewish heritage I cannot leave behind is Passover. For this holiday, I have a possibly unreasonable and not very explainable attachment and enjoyment.

Over the years I have co-written the haggadah that is now used by my family. My co-authors have been friends, family and published strangers that have written bits that felt like they fit in with what we were trying to express. One of the things that really pleases me is that family and friends who have used the haggdah have grabbed copies for themselves and now use it with their families. We have had a fair amount of folks from outside the family, Jewish and non-Jewish join us and so far even the non-Jews have come away feeling like they had a good experience and didn't get lost.

Where this is all going (tl;dr) - Our haggdah as wonderful as it is, really needs an overhaul. It needs to be pulled into a cohesive whole, but also needs some refreshing so that the content doesn't get old.

What I would like to hear about - from both Jews and non-Jews - is what parts of the seder really speak to you, or hold the most meaning? Is there an overall theme you like to address? If you were writing your own what would you consider critical, or just what would you want added in besides the traditional elements?

I am hoping to get some added inspiration from hearing about other families, other seders and other memories.  Please feel free to send folks over if you think you know someone who might have something good to share.

Note: Of course when I am done with this years edit I will make it available for anyone who thinks they might want a copy.

Con-crit – or giving some needed feedback to someone who might not want to hear it.

I am looking for a little advice - But first  - a story.

So last weekend an online fiction store was offering 50% discounts on their ebooks.

I have been experimenting with trying some of the less centralized sources for ebooks, and I thought the steep discount would be a good way to try out some stuff that I have no way of evaluating before I purchase. Some of the stories I purchased were "Erotic Lit". I was reading through one, and by the time I was 18 pages in I was horrified. Not at the writing quality (although I have read fan-fiction written by teenagers that was better written), but at what the main romantic character(s) think and do.

I am going to take the rest of this below a cut, it will be a quick synopsis of the first bit I read, I am putting it below the cut for those of you who want to skip, or those who might find the content triggering (non-consensual sexual content).

It is midwinter in the middle of nowhere, and GuyA is coming in from getting his mail, when he notices a unmoving body on the side of the road.

He goes to the person, turns them over, finds a unconscious woman, who is 1/2 frozen and not wearing proper outdoor gear. He notices she is beautiful. He gets a hard-on.

He is drawn to her, he is in love with her already. He takes her inside the house, and the rest of the household comes over to see what the commotion is. The rest of the household is a bunch of other men who are apparently all shacked up together just waiting for "The One" woman who will come and make their lives complete.  They all come and see this unconscious woman, take one look at her and just KNOW that she is the one.

GuyA takes her into the bathroom, strips her naked all the while ogling her and puts her in a warm bath. He notices a number of bruises and a bad dye job that makes him think that she was maybe abused, and on the run. When she comes to, she finds her self naked in a tub with a total stranger standing over her. After a small amount of conversation he offers her a towel, but instead of giving it to her, he wraps it around her and then with no discussion, picks her up and takes her into the main room -  which contains the 3 other men. She is overcome by her exhaustion and ordeal and faints.

GuyA takes her to a bedroom and puts her in bed -still unconscious.

Then he strips off, gets in bed with her, sticks his hand in her crotch and fingers her to an orgasm.

She wakes up as she climaxes . . . her primary thought:

Wow that is the best orgasm I've ever had.

(and trust me I have taken a LOT of the ick out of this by summarizing it)


I splutter and symbolically throw the book across the room.  So a series of unfortunate events that culminate with one assault and one rape. In less than 18 pages, and none of these characters are supposed to be the bad guys - these are the romantic leads.

I posted a review to the site, but I was only allowed 250 words and no spoilers - or it might have been "Beware of Rape" over and over again.

The story does have some warnings on it, violence, group sex and few others. But no mention of non-consensual or rape.

I really want to write to the author and mention that at the very least the warnings for the story should be more accurate - but I am not really sure how to do it without sounding like a cross between the church lady and a crazed harpy. I would like whatever I send the author to not be easy to blow off - and am looking for suggestions.

Looking around you house

I had a funny realization after the mattress delivery guys left yesterday.

I looked around my house and realized that there are things I live with everyday, that i don't think about, and sometimes don't even really look at or see, that having a stranger, especially one who isn't somehow attached to my social network might see and at minimum think is odd.

I don't really mean the dragon statues, or the massive stacks of books and dvds, the room full of yarn or the 5 computers . . .

Well for example we have a piece of art we got at a con a few years ago, its a really nice print of a forest god... in ALL his glory.  It isn't quite all "hanging out", but once you see his bits, they become unmissable. But honestly when we bought it we didn't notice until we were taking it out to the parking lot, and I walk past it everyday now and forget that I have a naked man on the wall. Honestly I wouldn't have thought about it yesterday, except that I noticed that the delivery guys had taken it down from the wall to get the mattress up the stairs safely. Which meant they probably had to look at it . . .

Think about your house, do you have anything like that?