when the status quo frustrates.

Sometimes, I Thinks Guys Really Hate Us

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

I’m a big fan of reading Cracked.com (the articles, not the comments…dear sweet Jebus, the comments). Normally, it’s pretty funny, and a little off the wall, and very occasionally, I get the idea that the writers might have a progressive bent to them (the article about racist Disney cartoons definitely suggested it). Sometimes, they totally miss the boat entirely, and then I do like I do with most of my media- complain to Hubby, and shrug it off as “that’s the world”. Cracked does a photo-shop contest once a week, the grand prize being 50 dollars normally, and most of the time the pictures can be quite clever. This week, the thread was “If Everyone Had An Unlimited Advertising Budget“.

And this is the point that I felt like I had to say something to the interwebs.

My reactions looking this over were thus:
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ZOMG

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Lady Lydia has sent me a “Friends!” request on Facebook.

You know, Lady Lydia…yep, it’s THAT Lady Lydia…

I really can’t decide what to do with it. :D Anybody else got any opinions?

How I Grew Up Without Health Insurance, or Emergency Rooms Don’t Do Chemotherapy

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

“Wow,” said the doctor.

That’s not what I expect a doctor to say while peering into my ear, of all places. “What?” I asked.

“You have really heavy scarring in there,” she said cheerily. “You must have had a ton of untreated ear infections as a child!”

Had I? I remembered being sick a lot, and there had been times of excruciating ear pain—“Oh?”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “I’m surprised you don’t have any hearing loss, or balance or vertigo issues. The scarring’s so bad, the cilia in your inner ear, you know—probably not too many of those left.”

Goodness, that explained a lot…I left the doctor’s office feeling kind of dazed. All my life I’ve suffered awful, debilitating motion sickness—even as an adult, after most other people I knew outgrew getting carsick in the back seat on the way to Grandma’s house, I never did. Over the years I’d become the master of what little I could do to mitigate it and also of hiding it from others (to a point—my face turning greenish-white wasn’t something I could ever manage to hide, but luckily that degree of nausea takes hours of continuous motion to achieve and I avoid hours of it whenever possible). My first husband was remarkably unkind about it, insisting it was all in my head and cutting me no slack whatsoever over it in the apparent belief that if it wasn’t coddled, I’d snap out of it.

(Needless to say, that never did work…all it did was make me feel unloved and violently nauseated, as opposed to just violently nauseated. Oh, well.)

When I started junior high, we had a gymnastics section in PE class. How it worked out for the boys I don’t know, but it was a real class divider for the girls. See, girls from nice families got gymnastics classes and gymnastics camps as a matter of course, usually for several years in earlier childhood—us poor girls? Not so much. And there it was, laid out for all to see. And for me, it’d always been even worse—your average poor girl had usually figured out on her own how to do a simple cartwheel as part of the normal childhood process. Sadly, not I—I could never manage one; not because I lacked athleticism, I was always a fast runner and a good catcher, for instance—but because I lacked balance. The very worst, most humiliating part of the gymnastics section, of course, was the balance beam. I couldn’t even get up on the goddamn thing. I mean it—as part of even the simplest routine, we had to do a running mount of some description. I could jump up to it, but I couldn’t catch my balance once up there. I fell off. Immediately and inevitably, every single time. I wasn’t normally a laughingstock—at that time I was generally considered a nice, quiet, smart girl in the semi-official peer rankings—but even the kindest of the other girls couldn’t help letting a few giggles escape whenever it was my turn to give it a try.

Years later, during my first Army physical, the medic informed me that I had significant high-frequency hearing loss. I remember staring at him in surprise and saying, Huh? I hadn’t noticed—“Well, you’re probably used to it,” he said. “You’ve probably had it for years. But it does prevent you from being qualified for some military jobs, so I gotta make a note of it in your records—sorry!”

Well, at least I finally knew why…

…and, about four years ago, one of my best friend’s sisters died from a brain tumor. She died because, among other things, she couldn’t afford chemotherapy to the tune of $5000 a month, and neither could the rest of her extended family, though everyone chipped in for as long as they could. She died because the tumor made it impossible for her to work (it first made itself known by giving her a seizure in her boss’s office), so she lost her job and the health insurance that came with it, and was unable to get any other health insurance because her tumor was a “pre-existing condition.” She wasn’t able to get Medicaid because her husband was employed. But if he quit his job so she could get it, then he and she and their three children wouldn’t have been able to live at all—no money, no home, no food, no clothing—

So she died, literally in my friend’s arms, weighing about 70 pounds, suffering from senile dementia at the age of 39, incontinent and in agony. She left two daughters and a son, ages 18, 16 and 13, behind, and a husband who became a widower at 45.

So these reasons, among others, are why I think it’s really hysterical when people start shrieking about how the government is trying to take away your health care choices! and shouldn’t it be between your doctor and you..!? This is not to pooh-pooh all their concerns; some of them are legitimate—it’s impossible not to be continually horrified at the ever-increasing monster that is the federal budget deficit, for instance. But there seems to be an amazing ignorance of the fact that many of their fellow Americans currently have only the choice of permanent physical disability or death, and the only decision their doctor is willing to make is to refuse them treatment of any description. Or perhaps it’s only indifference—which doesn’t incline me towards extending any sympathy in return, eh? I do wonder which one it is, at times. I hope it’s not the latter.

Make Your Case

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I’m Agnostic, and have been for quite some time. I don’t think that God exists, but I’d be willing to look at any new evidence.

Right now I’m reading “Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement” by Katherine Joyce, and I keep running into a problem- I cannot understand these people at all. I can understand them as well as I understand gyroscopes: I can describe to you what they are going to do, but for the life of you I can’t wrap my mind why.

For those of you who don’t know “Quiverfull” is a blanket term regarding people who are believers in a Biblical Patriarchy (women submit to their husbands or fathers- and I do mean “submit”), and more importantly, who are staunchly anti-birth control; no condoms, no pills, no sterilization, no rhythm method, nothing but “God’s Will”. The phrase comes from Psalm 127:5 “Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them(children). They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate.” Quiverfull people believe that they are in a cultural war with liberal secularists, and they intended to win through demographics alone. They believe that these roles and behaviors are “god’s will” and that they are on the side of righteousness. Frequently, they are into seriously modest dress and homeschooling.

I keep running into the same problem with these beliefs- I don’t understand why they would want to worship this god. I’m fairly anti-authoritarian: I want to choose which authority I follow, and at the end of the day I think I am ultimately responsible for any action I take, whether or not someone in power over me told me to do it or not. I don’t want to risk my health and my life. I am drawn towards debate, and I am occasionally smarter than my husband. These proscribed roles, in other words, would make me MISERABLE (and my husband miserable too). So, if the Quiverfull people are correct, and there is a god, and he made me the exact opposite of what I’m supposed to be (indeed, a lot of Quiverfull talk about how women have an inherently rebellious nature because of Eve), which sounds like a recipe for misery, then god’s a dick. Why should I worship a dick? The general answer of “because of heaven and hell” is 100% unsatisfying to me- I’m supposed to toady up to a bully just to avoid getting beat up? That’s not moral- that’s cowardly.

So, this post is for any lurking Quiverfulls. Heck, if you’re just a person who thinks god cares more about what we do with our genitals than whether or not we hurt people, you can post too. I’ll leave off the “prove that god even exists part”- for this exercise I’ll just go with it for now. I need support for “if god exists, why should we worship him?” Make your case.

EDIT: Like all things I want to know, I had to search google to see if it had any knowledge. The first website had a post that made exactly zero sense to me, but the answer was

We worship Him because He commands it. We worship Him because He alone deserves it, knowing what He is and what He does. We worship Him because without so doing we cannot rise to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

So…yeah, worship a bully because a bully says so? Even though he’s a bully? And I don’t want to be a bully?

I really wish I knew someone in real life who held these views and would talk to me. I’m missing something important here- something that’d snap it into place.

I Just Have To Repost This

Thursday, July 16th, 2009


A condom angel.

From Feministing:

Abstinence-only education advocates are not too pleased that their federal funding is pretty much kaput…

Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse…had this to say about losing federal funding:

“We’ve got news for the condom worshipers, abstinence education is not going away any time soon. Taxpayers will not tolerate their money being used for ideological latex-only programs and the molestation of their children’s minds and future.”

Yeah, hear that, condom worshipers?! oh, my…

Oh, My Favorite! Yes, Please, a Double Helping of That Fatophobia Would Be SO Nice–

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Maybe I should just go back to being a hermit…

Regina Benjamin’s Country Credentials: What Rural Medicine Taught America’s Next Top Doc

Since starting her practice in 1990, Benjamin, 52, has become an advocate for patients everywhere. She became the first African-American woman to lead a state medical society and has won numerous awards, including a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” and a Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights. Still, she never strayed far from her roots, and currently serves as the CEO of Bayou La Batre Rural Health Clinic, which she founded. This week, President Obama tapped Benjamin to serve as surgeon general.

Well, that’s cool, I thought to myself. We are living in historic times…the first serious female Presidential contender…the first black man elected President…the first Latina soon to be confirmed to the Supreme Court…not that Regina Benjamin would be the first black woman to be chosen as Surgeon General, but she would be only the second one…

So I’m feeling a mild warmth towards humanity in general as I scan down the story…til I get to the very, very end:

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Member Comments
Posted By: pdskep (July 16, 2009 at 12:51 PM)

Well, it didn’t help her put down the Hagen Dazs. Should the government spokesperson for public health and healthy living be so grossly overweight?

Huh?

So I scrolled rapidly back up–I had noticed a picture of the Surgeon-General-to-be at the top of the article but had given it only a cursory glance, and honestly couldn’t remember having noticed that she weighed 1000 pounds–

OMG!! IT’S JABBA THE FUCKING HUTT!

…er, not. Well, I thought, maybe that’s a flattering picture of her and she’s somehow managing to hide the other 750 pounds below her neck. Let’s look for a whole-body shot–

…er, still not.

Aside from the fact that she’s not “grossly overweight” (hello?), why does her weight really matter, exactly..? Her weight specifically. Is the concern that the kids of America will look at her and go oooh look, the Surgeon General’s fat, that means it’s okay for me to be fat too! Yeah, because that’s what kids tend to base their eating decisions on…the Surgeon General’s weight. (Like the vast majority of kids, and adults if it comes down to that, even know who the Surgeon General is at any given moment.)

Is the concern that, because she is physically clearly not perfect, then her brain and her conscience and her dedication (which are presumably the things she was actually chosen for) are also not going to be perfect? (That raises the interesting corollary that someone whose weight is perfect, is more likely to have a perfect brain, conscience and dedication as well…oh really…?)


Because people with the magic BMI number are SO much more likely to be both smart AND saintly!

I am not the only one who has noticed this trend and commented on it–no indeed:

Since President Obama announced his pick for the nation’s Top Doc, Internet message boards have been atwitter with the observation that Dr. Regina Benjamin is fat.

Critics seem to believe it’s ironic that the nation’s top doctor would be overweight, and it’s led the most nattering of nags to conclude that she should not be picked for prom queen, er, I mean, surgeon general.

Thank God, too. C’mon, people, let’s make some noise–this is fatophobia at its most disgusting, and most ignorant as well. Spread the word.

Poker Tales, v4.0

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Has it really been a year since I blogged about the awesomeness that is poker? Yes, it has been!–to the day, which is actually a little eerie now that I think about it–maybe I should sit on this post til at least tomorrow or something…

…nah. I feel like doing some poker blogging, darn it, so that’s what I’m gonna do. (Feel free to skip the rest of this post if you don’t share the love, though–like my World of Warcraft blogs, if you don’t play, you’ll probably die of boredom less than halfway through it.)

SO, for anyone that’s still breathlessly hanging on to the edge of his or her keyboard–a friend of mine (we’ll call him by his online poker handle, “FargnBastage”) recently emailed me a poker tale of his and invited me to share my opinion on it. Anyone who loves to play poker, usually also loves to analyze other people’s play to death! (We like to tell ourselves that it improves our game to do this, but most likely it’s just because we’re a bunch of total nerds at heart.) Here it is:

I was sitting the in the cutoff seat in an unraised pot with 7 callers. 35 bucks in with the blinds yet to act. I look at 3-4h and I like suited connectors, especially when I have position, so I make it 40 to go just trying to steal. Blinds fold, under the gun calls and they guy is seat 5 raises to 80. I’m thinking uh-oh, but it only costs me another 40 to see a flop. There’s like 225 in the pot if I call and the under the gun player calls, so it makes sense right?. Flop comes A-2-5 rainbow and I barely bat an eye. Goes check check. I bet 80 trying to represent a big A and wanting callers… under the gun folds seat five raises to 200. We both have pretty big stacks and I’m sure he’s got AA or AK. It took me about 3 seconds to push with $885 and he calls me immediately and flips up the bullets like I’m a dumbass. He Heh, I show my wheel and he about crapped.*

I am going to share my opinion of the hand, but I want to give anyone else interested in providing his or her own opinion a shot without contaminating their call–so I’ll update this Thursday or Friday with my take on it. Til then, if you’d like, leave yours in comments! :)

*For those of you not deeply familiar with poker slang, a translation is provided below the fold. Or you can just check out the Punkass Poker Translator(tm)!

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On being crazy, but not so crazy they lock you up

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

I haven’t yet managed to get entirely back into the swing of things, though I am doing my best…but lately I’ve been reading the news, and other people’s blogs, and instead of getting all fired up and leaping upon my keyboard like a starving panther as used to be my usual inclination, I just close the browser window after I’m done reading and go do something else instead. I’m too tired and too sad, I suppose, about recent events in my personal life to be able to care about much that is going on outside it.

I was actually doing better a few weeks ago than I am right now–my recovery from my personal disaster porn got slowed and mangled since then, because the cause of said disaster porn, about a week after he walked out of my life, decided that what he really wanted to do was walk right back into it.

If you haven’t ever seen Torch Song Trilogy, you should–it’s a fabulous movie. And one of the best scenes in the movie is when Arnold, the main character, is in his dressing room (he’s a stage performer) and his ex-boyfriend sneaks in to talk to him. The ex-boyfriend (who had dumped Arnold unceremoniously about six months before) starts off making small talk, which is patently ridiculous given that he hardly just happened by the club Arnold works at, but finally manages to get to the point, which is that he’s conflicted and crazy and halfway to suicidal but can’t stop screwing himself, the woman he supposedly loves, and Arnold whom he also supposedly loves, over and over and over (literally as well as figuratively, too). Arnold offers to give him a ride home and the ex-boyfriend scurries out the door to wait outside on the curb for Arnold to pick him up–then Arnold turns to the audience and says:

So what now, huh?
Look. If I take him back now, knowing all I do,
maybe I can make it work…
With a little understanding.

Maybe a SHRINK.

I could just drive him home,
And then I could say, “THE NEXT TIME
YOU FEEL YOU HAVE TO SAY I LOVE YOU TO SOMEONE,
SAY IT TO YOURSELF AND SEE IF YOU BELIEVE IT.”
That would go over his head.
I think it went over mine.

I could sneak out the back
and leave him waitin’ out in the cold.
If I start in again,
who’s to say he’s not gonna keep this shit up, right?
I don’t know…

Wouldn’t that be a kick in the rubber parts?
I love him.
What are you gonna do?
But do I love him enough?

The movie doesn’t show what Arnold ends up doing that night, though soon after that Arnold meets and falls in love with someone else (a very young and adorable Matthew Broderick, as it turns out–I never really found Matthew Broderick compelling as a love interest in any movie I saw him in, til I saw this one). But the point is pretty clearly made–

You can’t save anyone else from destroying his own life–the only person who can save him from destroying it is him. It doesn’t matter how much you love him. It doesn’t even matter how much he thinks he loves you. The only thing you’ll do, if you let your love draw you into his cycle of self-destruction, is destroy yourself right along with him. Unless you’re crazy too…and I have seen that before, oh yes; I think we’ve all seen a relationship dynamic like that at least once in our lives. Or perhaps not everyone has; if you haven’t, you’re fortunate. It’s very ugly and painful to watch.

My advice: Don’t love someone like this. If it’s too late for you–say, it’s a family member that you bonded to emotionally when you were too young to know any better and you’re stuck with the bond now, or the person in question is a very good actor and lured you into love before the strain of hiding how damaged he truly is became too great only months or even years into the relationship–untangle yourself from his life as quickly and as thoroughly as you can. Offer him help, if you’re so inclined, but only do so from a safe distance. And just try to get over it as best you can.

Patriotism

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

The Fourth of July in general, the twenty minutes I spent Saturday night lying in the middle of a field watching fireworks specifically, and Antigone’s second-last post all inspired me to muse upon patriotism (the musing actually took place a week ago, but cut me some slack–my life is fraught right now, you know).

I think the first time that the concept of patriotism ever crossed my personal horizons was in the first grade, when I found myself starting a new school mid-year in a state that was a leetle different in character than the one I’d recently been uprooted from. Specifically, we’d moved from Hawaii to Kansas; the shock of experiencing the season known as winter pretty much dwarfed all my other concerns, but I do remember being rather bewildered by the way all the other kids in class popped to their feet as soon as the morning bell rang, smacked a hand over their heart, and began reciting…something.

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How Is Someone Supposed to Figure That Out Anyway?

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

I have now been unemployed for over a month.* This is the longest period I have ever gone without a job since I was 15. It is actually weirdly frightening to me, because I’m not anywhere near “starvation” yet, but it is getting to “very, very, tight”, and loans are coming up in 5 months and counting. I feel like a leech on my husband, as I’m barely contributing to the household bills. I feel pathetic- it is weird how dramatic the change from “Oh, you’re a law student?” to “Oh, you’re unemployed” is.

My friends have been supportive, but not terribly helpful, as have my family. When I tell them the kinds of jobs I’ve been applying for (secretarial, nannying, reception, office drone, retail) they all assume that it’s just a matter of time before I get one, and I definitely get the impression from more than one of them that it’s just an “interim” job until I get a “real”** job. But, at this point in my life, I don’t know what my “real” job would be. Even with a college degree, I’m not terribly qualified to do anything “real”, and I don’t know what kind of “real” work I would want to do anyway.

I went to college, not having a clue of what I wanted to do. In high school, they were all along the lines of “theater lighting worker” and “actress” and “Pro-choice activist”. But, the first two were dismissed as out of hand because I figured I would never be hired for that sort of work. The last I actually have no idea how to break into. But, the advice I was given was to go to school, and take a wide variety of classes and I’d figure out what I wanted to do***. So I went to a cheap college, and took a ton of different classes. But none of them really “clicked” for me. There was nothing that I really wanted to do, and the things that I wanted to study are “useless” (literature, political science, art, music, philosophy, et cetera). I took plenty of “useful” classes (biology, math, communication, economics, law, aviation) and did fairly well in all of them, but not brilliantly, and I tended to hate every minute I was in class or reading the horrible textbooks. The idea that not only would I have to do these boring subjects for the rest of my life, but that I would have to work 80 hours+ per week doing them sent me into a despair that no amount of money could pull me out of. So, I was stuck- the things I enjoyed to learn were never going to provide an actual job for me, and the things that would give me a job made me realize that suicide would be less painful. I finally just got a general degree just to stop the gushing flow of money, (and get the hell out of Grand Forks) figuring that I could not know what to do for cheaper than paying tuition.

So here I am: another aimless member of Generation Y, unemployed, unmotivated, and directionless. It’s supposed to be quite common for my generation. So now I get everyone going “Well, what do you want to do?” and I have no idea- I am probably one of the most introspective persons I know and I can’t even tell you what I want to do for a job; and what’s worse, I don’t know how to figure out what to do. I know I want a job where I can actually have a life; I don’t want my entire self to be wrapped up in a job (particularly since I figure I’m probably going to hate whatever it is I end up doing, like most people in the world). I’d like a job where I’m not actively making the world a worse place to live. I’d like a job that’s reliable, that is actually worth my loyalty and respect, and a job where I’m actively doing something. What kind of job that is, I have no idea.

*Although, technically, I’m not “unemployed” just severely “underemployed”. My old college job still has me working as an emergency technician (a telecommuting job) sporadically (since they liked my work so much). But, I will only be able to do this until August- then I’m officially not a student employee any more and that’s the end of that.

**”Real” being defined, I think, by more than $40,000/year and mildly respectable.

***The option of not going to school was never brought up, except to briefly point out that if I did that, then I’d never go to college and I’d be penniless or something and unable to do any job.

Two Random Quotes

Monday, July 6th, 2009

For some reason, I ran across these today (sequentially, not simultaneously) and just loved them (as a pair, not separately–they just resonate with each other so satisfactorily, and of course with me personally)–

“Here the forsaken virgin rests from love.” –William Congreve*

Oh my God…just like me!

and

“Sex may have evolved as a defense against parasites.” -Richard Dawkins’ Twitter feed.

I could go so many places with that one. But I’ll restrain myself.

Next blog post: Serious and pertinent. Stay tuned!

*Congreve is the “hell hath no fury” etc. etc. guy. I like this quote lots better, but probably only because I’m taking it completely out of context.

A Quick Experiment

Monday, July 6th, 2009

I’m going to name various categories. For each one, I’d like you to mentally note who is the first famous person to pop into your head. Please answer all of these for yourself before hitting the “Continue reading ‘A Quick Experiment’” link.

Who is the first famous person you think of when I say…

  • sexual harasser
  • rapist
  • domestic abuser
  • spouse murderer
  • child molester

Did a face or name pop into your mind for each of them? Okay, now you can read the rest.

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