Archive | January, 2012

Happy Friday! and weekend open thread, evil genius edition

27 Jan

Happy weekend everyone! This week’s open thread topics are:

One MILLION dollars!
  1. Brilliant ideas
  2. Evil plans
  3. Awesome shit

I have been having all kinds of GENIUS IDEAS lately, probably because of the massive quantities of cold medicine I’ve been consuming. I have also been thinking about Things I Like, because um well why the hell not? So here are some of my brilliant ideas/evil plans/awesome shit I’ve thought of this week:

So what are your evil-genius plans for the weekend? For 2012? For ‘someday’? For the summer? For the good of all humanity? Discuss these and any other topics you want in the comments. Winner gets a unicorn!

And last but not least, here’s some happy (hardcore) music for you to listen to while you plot:

    Women! The Internet Hates You

    20 Jan

    I’ve been felled with a terrible cold/cough/bird flu. So a couple nights ago, I found myself doped up on NyQuil and totally useless to everyone around me. Naturally, what with Reddit and Wikipedia being offline in protest of SOPA (yes, I wrote to my representatives, don’t lecture) I turned to StumbleUpon for some lowbrow entertainment to take my mind off my lung-threatening illness.

    What did I find but yet another user-content driven web site capable of providing hours of entertaining fun! It’s called IdeaSwap. You’re supposed to submit an idea you have but can’t or won’t accomplish. Like, for example, “Build a leaning tower of Portland.” Once you click submit, someone else’s idea pops up. You click that button enough times, something you DO have the resources to commit to is bound to pop up. Like, for example, “Go to sleep.”

    Naturally, I typed in my brilliant idea, and what pops up but this:

    It reads: “[sic]if you’re a woman, get offline and go to the kitchen,
    if you’re a guy, tell a woman to go fetch a beer for ya :D”

    Awww, thanks internet! It sure is awesome being a female on you. The internet is a glorious place where it’s nigh impossible to ignore misogyny. In real life, it’s often masked and difficult to uncover. On the internet, though, people aren’t afraid to reveal the true nature of their woman-hatred, ‘cuz they get to be anonymous and add stupid little smileys after their grammatical train wreck sentences.

    Being a masochist, I clicked again. What should appear but this:

    It reads: “Women should not crack their backs. It’s bad for their
    reproductive systems.”

    Firstly, this is less of an idea and more of a misguided directive so five demerits there. Secondly, it’s stupid. I’m no doctor. Nor do I have any chiropractic training. But a cursory Google search turns up no evidence for what this sticky note posits. Only a bit of hemming and hawing about joint-cracking in general being possibly linked to arthritis, which has no relation to reproduction whatsoever. A cursory brain search turns up … rage. As per usual, the only type of health women have worth caring about is the reproductive variety. We can certainly feel free to crack our knuckles, knees and even skulls, just so long as we can still serve as incubators for the next generation of male overlords and female incubators.

    Clicking again, I got this:

    It reads: “sometimes all you need to get by is a girl[sic]“

    Sometimes all you need to get by is a steady paycheck and a 5th-floor walkup. Other times, a bowl of soup and a blanket. Today, though, is an object lesson in females as objects. Feeling down? Head over to your local K-Mart and pick up a late-model lady! She’ll get you beer, give you babies, and help you “get by,” apparently. It’s like a sinister version of the peppy Beatles hit:

    Exasperated, I clicked again.

    It reads: “Let’s do a wife swap every ten years.”

    And that’s the topper. Not that there’s anything wrong with swinging, if that’s your bag. There ain’t. But for the luvvagod, people, check with your wives first. Nothing is less sexy than nonconsensual nonmonogamy, except maybe being traded for funsies with strangers on the internet via digital sticky note.

    With that, I turned off the computer and went to bed, safe in the knowledge that I am surrounded by insane people who hate me and millions of people like me, because we have ladybits. If they’re not busy hating your ladybits, they’re busy hating your queeritude. If they’re not busy with that, they’re busy hating transpeople, or people of color, or poor people, or… all of the above. And that hatred leads to the taking-away-of-rights. And violence. And rape. And murder. And mutilation [NSFW]. I tells ya, it’s enough to make a misanthrope outta me.

    In any case, I’m glad that Wikipedia and Reddit are back, and that SOPA is failing miserably. Now if only we could all rally behind other causes that are just as – if not more – important. Ideas, people? Put ‘em in the comments. No ‘get me a sandwich’ allowed. Lurkers, ummask thyselves!

     And don’t forget to subscribe, or join!

    Pop hits of the whenever

    18 Jan

    Here are some random songs with which I’ve been enamored at one point or another in life. Most of them started out as a sort of ironic love, and then at some point the irony left and the love remained. So if you were less awesome than I am, you’d be afraid to admit you like these:

    Oh, Phil Collins. I have a factory copy of your Greatest Hits. It was actually among the first CDs I ever bought myself, along with my first real CD-playing stereo (an upgrade from the tape deck boombox and the discman from my little brother). All the boys make fun of you, Phil, but you know what? At the end of the day, you may be short, pudgy and balding, but you’re still a rock star.

    I came to Journey late in life. Not too late to realize the AWESOMENESS that is Journey, though. Haters gon’ hate, I don’t give a poopie. STREETLIGHT PEOPLE, you guys. Streetlight people. WERD.

    Fleetwood Mac RULES. Everyone knows Landslide (or at least the Smashing Pumpkins cover), and Go Your Own Way, but I didn’t find out about Rhiannon until Steve Jobs invented Pandora. Just kidding, Steve Jobs didn’t invent Pandora. Anyway, Stevie Nicks, woooo!

    EDIT to include Peter Gabriel. How could I forget the man who does duets with Kate Bush AND Paula Cole? Hot.

    And that’s all you get for today. What are some embarrassing songs you like? It’s notable that embarrassing songs are suddenly cool when sung at karaoke night. Keep this in mind, internet people, next time you’re drunkenly pawing through those giant directories of karaoke songs to sing at the local watering hole. The cheesier, the better!

    The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 2

    17 Jan

    (Read Part 1 here.)

    So the couch. It was missing. We had nowhere to sit. Or rather, we had places to sit, but they were not cozy. They were, in fact, hard-backed wooden dining chairs, which are the same hard-backed wooden dining chairs I still have. Although they’re in rather desperate need of a refinish, especially after L and I worked so hard to refinish the dining table, now nothing matches.

    In any case, we were couchless. This would make our soon-to-be-scheduled Rocky Balboa marathon viewing session rather uncomfortable. (If I haven’t espoused my love for Rocky here before, let me do so now. I loved those movies, in particular movie No. 1. “Yo Adriennneee!” What a cutie.)

    So naturally being of the nonconfrontational sort, I went directly to bed, in hopes the problem would solve itself overnight. The morning revealed lovely rays of sunshine bursting through the Oregon cloud cover. The sunbeams fell, of course, on a large gaping hole in the living room where the couch belonged. (Also, the couch at the curb had disappeared, but that was less noteworthy.) So, I did what any sane postadolescent-posing-as-an-adult would do, I put on some flip-flops and stalked to each of the neighbor’s houses and asked if they’d seen anyone make off with the couch. Each neighbor shook his or her head, admitting that they’d been at work or hadn’t been paying attention, or just hadn’t noticed anyone carting a giant brown behemoth furnishing under their noses and off to Timbuktu.

    By the time I got to the last house, the house directly behind ours, I let out a heavy sigh and said, “Well, I suppose I’ll just have to file a police report, then.” I mean, it was worth a pretty penny, particularly in our postcollegiate salad days. I’m sure the cops wouldn’t have rubbed two sticks together to find the missing couch but what the hey, worth a shot, right?

    That’s when the tubby, prematurely balding fellow behind the Scotch-taped screen door paused. “Wait,” he said. “I … wait here.” He disappeared into the dank interior of his 1.5-bedroom shanty, which was quite likely larger and posher than our 1.5-bedroom shanty. I stood. I shifted my weight from left to right. Right to left. He reappeared, slowly emerging from black to brown to gray, smelling faintly of clove cigarettes and wet dog hair.

    “Well, we have your couch,” he relunctantly admitted.

    “Reaaa-he-heeeally,” I remarked.

    “Well, you see,” he said.

    “Yes?”

    “In this neighborhood.”

    “I see. Go on.”

    “Well in this neighborhood, when a couch is positioned as yours was,” he continued.

    “You mean, in a yard?” I asked.

    “Well… yes. By the curb.”

    “By the porch.”

    “In this neighborhood…”

    “I see. This neighborhood.”

    “Well, we thought it was free.”

    “I see.”

    Much hemming and hawing later, the truth came out that they had kidnapped our couch, thinking (or at least, pretending to think) that it had been abandoned. They swapped ours for theirs, placing their 70s monstrosity by the curb, where a really real free couch ought to be positioned. Someone had pulled up with a pickup to take that one away, and naturally now they were seatless.

    Nevertheless I convinced them to return our couch, explaining that it was not, indeed, free. The end result was that the burly men who lived in the house behind us were able to detach all our various doors and manhandle the couch inside. We did end up having a cozy spot to sit whilst watching Rocky’s 80s workout montages after all. Hooray!

    Moral of the story? You can’t trust your neighbors. Or can you?

    The case of the disappearing couch: A Tale from 2006 (or thereabouts), Part 1

    17 Jan

    There we were. As if it wasn’t horrible enough to be relocating to a city I hated, it wasn’t even for a decent reason – my car had broken down and getting to and from work was becoming a problem. So it was within-walking-distance-to-the-office we went, and with us came our couch. Leather. Boxy. Huge. Completely un-take-apartable. Definitely not from Ikea.

    A2 had decided more than a year ago to divert one of her financial aid checks to something besides tuition, instead choosing to blow that wad of government cash on something ridiculous and bulky. She’d spent three months waffling between a pool table, and this couch. The couch won, seeing as it would serve as something to sit on whereas the pool table could be sat upon, but would be the worse for wear from it.

    In the early, halcyon days of our relationship, this seemed like a perfectly logical decision. Now, though, as we stood, sweaty and defeated, on opposite ends of a couch completely stuck in the too-small doorframe of our new, tiny house on the shady side of a shady town, it was revealed for the irresponsible fiscal decision it was.

    “I have to be to work in an hour,” I said.

    “Stop dropping your end!” A2 said. “Here, try twisting it to the left. No, YOUR left.” She sighed, frustrated with my incompetence.

    It’s a well-known fact that I am horrible at moving. Every part of it – from packing to carrying to unloading and unpacking and organizing – I despise it all. Left to my own devices it could take weeks to get fully moved, since I’d probably just tote each item to the car one by one, and stop for iced coffee breaks on the way. I am one of those people who will simply live in a jungle of boxes for six months until I am sufficiently motivated to put things in their various places.

    So of course, this couch was literally and figuratively a sticking point for me. We struggled to get it in, then struggled to get it back out, since we certainly couldn’t leave it hanging halfway in the living room and halfway on the porch. I was quite ready to throw up my hands. We called a friend. She came over and tried to help, to no avail. Time was ticking. I had to get to work. A2 decided to throw the couch across the yard, in order to punish it for not fitting in. Didn’t think couch-throwing was a thing that could be done? Well you, of course, are wrong. It didn’t go far, mind you, but the couch’s feathers were certainly ruffled. We decided to leave it be until it could be properly handled. We moved it against the porch to protect it from any rain that could come along, and went our separate ways.

    I went to work, and she went back to our other house to tidy up. We both figured we’d return later, with reinforcements and recovered muscles, and somehow get the couch in the house using our brains and possibly some screwdrivers. I regaled my coworkers with my sob story, hoping one or all of them would volunteer to come over and just do it for me. No such luck, of course.

    Hours later, I returned from work to my house all a-shamble from unpacking. The lights were on, A2 was home, and the couch was nowhere to be seen. “Hooray!” I thought. “She’s got it inside at last.” Everything was as it should be – the couch inside, and me not having to do a lick of manual labor! I noticed, in the gloaming, that a hulking object was by the curb – not our couch, but someone else’s. A white one, upholstered, with wood trim. Likely from the 80s. “Huh,” I thought. “Someone’s getting rid of a couch, how odd.”

    I burst into the living room, excited to flop down on the couch and revel in my newfound comfort. But alas, there was no couch to be found. Only a bewildered-looking A2 standing in a sea of half-unpacked boxes.

    A bit of investigation revealed that, upon her return home, the house had been as she left it, but the couch, which if you recall had been residing peacefully in the yard when we left, had disappeared, replaced by the aforementioned curb-bound white whale of a seating arrangement. This, this did not bode well for the new ‘hood. Couch thieves were afoot! Roaming hither! And thither! And more importantly, purloining our prized possessions! (And then replacing them with their inferior couches. Smooth move, robber barons. Unconventional, but smooth).

    …to be continued. Cuz I got bored.

    Straight men up, gay women down

    16 Jan

    Since the banks are closed to celebrate our mostly-imaginary progress toward a more equal society, let’s take a moment to reflect upon some recent news stories calling attention to inequalities we all knew were there, but most of us were ignoring:

    As per usual, gay people get the shaft, and female gay people, being both female and gay, get the shaftiest of the shafts:

    “Lesbian couples tend to have much higher poverty rates than either heterosexual or male couples,” according to [a recent report from the Half in Ten program, a campaign by the Center for American Progress and others that aims to reduce poverty by half in 10 years], titled “Restoring Shared Prosperity: Strategies to Cut Poverty and Expand Economic Growth.” “[Older] lesbian couples…are twice as likely as straight married couples to live in poverty.” [via The Advocate]

    Sinister forces are at work here, one of which is the fact that women, even today, are paid pennies on the dollar when compared with men with the same backgrounds doing the same jobs. And it’s not that women don’t ask for raises with the same frequency and fervor as men – they do. They’re just not rewarded equally. It follows that a couple made up of two women would have a lower household income than a couple made up of one higher-earning man and one higher-earning woman, or two higher-earning men. From the Washington Post:

    “Our recent Catalyst report, The Myth of the Ideal Worker, reveals that women do ask for raises and promotions. They just don’t get as much in return.

    The research focused on career paths of high-potential men and women, drawing on thousands of MBA graduates from top schools around the world. Catalyst found that, among those who had moved on from their first post-MBA job, there was no significant difference in the proportion of women and men who asked for increased compensation or a higher position.

    Yet the rewards were different.

    Women who initiated such conversations and changed jobs post MBA experienced slower compensation growth than the women who stayed put. For men, on the other hand, it paid off to change jobs and negotiate for higher salaries—they earned more than men who stayed did. And we saw that as both men’s and women’s careers progress, the gender gap in level and pay gets even wider.”

    The Advocate ran the first story under the header of “shocking inequality,” but is it really? Anyone with half an eye open already knew we were getting shafted. What’s truly shocking is that until now I’d never seen any research on the subject at all.

    Happy Monday: Lesbians on film!

    9 Jan

    I’m not much one for public proposals, but I am a big fan of all the warm and fuzzies coming out of the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (Warning: Contains CHEESE. Lots of it. The meltable variety):

    And just in case you live under a rock, here’s that famous kiss picture from last month:

    Everyone needs a bit of warm and fuzzy on coooold January Mondays, wouldn’t you agree? One can only get so far with a cup of tea and a snuggie.

    What do you do to cheer yourself in the long, dark winter? Other than watch cheeseball YouTube videos and read internet feminist blogs, of course…

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