Sunday, September 27, 2009

100% Customer Satisfaction

This has been going around the feminist tubes lately and was far too awesome-tastic not to re-post in its entirety. Hat tip to No, Not You.

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quote of the Evening

I haven't heard this one, but I'm already looking for a little piece of the internet on which I can plaster it as geek graffiti.

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” -- Charles Darwin

I [heart] Darwin.

Monday, September 21, 2009


So at the risk of sounding like Lynn Truss (who I think is actually pretty cool), I'm going to rant about People Who Never Learned Manners With Technology. I'm not talking about trolls on the tubes here. Nooooo, that's another, long, rage- and frustrated bafflement-filled post.

I'm talking about people who can't own a cell phone and function in public. I'm not even going to waste time talking about people who talk on the phone while driving on the freeway (partially cause I've been guilty of that) or people who can't sit down to lunch without taking 15 different phone calls.

No. I'm going to bitch about people like the boss I had once, who on a 45 minute drive, spent 40 of those minutes on the phone with her boyfriend. While I was in the passenger seat. Not only do I consider it wildly rude to ignore the person sitting next to you with nothing to do, I had to listen to her side of the conversation the whole way, since I was stuck in the car. And believe me, I had no frickin' interest in their dinner plans for that night.

Or I could bitch about people who, when I worked at a video store, would come up to the counter- still on their cell phones- and not pay any attention to me as I attempted to complete their transaction. If I need to see your ID or a credit card, I shouldn't have to get your attention first. And then they acted like I was the rude one.

Or in the elevator. Or in line at the deli, so busy texting that the poor guy behind the counter has to get their attention not once, not twice, but four different times. Or standing in the middle of the aisle at the store, yakking away while their kids are throwing eggs at the ceiling or pulling the display racks over. Or that guy in the restaurant who talks about his bodily functions loud enough for everyone else to hear while they're eating? Hell, that coach at the Olympics who was on his Blackberry while his athlete won the silver in the pole vault, and then yelled at her? (Actually, that guy was just a jerk all around. But still.)

How do people not learn these rules? How does one fail to grasp that actual human interaction should take priority over that chuck of plastic and circuits in your hand?

I personally find it hilarious that as a fairly radical queer feminist who is also kind of socially awkward, I care more about being considerate and kind to other people than a lot of other folks who are more likely to be classed as 'respectable' or 'acceptable company'. I guess the logic of what is respect and what people should accept is too complex for my lady-brain.

Ah well, at least the Internet is still a bastion of civil and reasonable discourse. ...Hey, why are you laughing?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Food(snob) Network

So I love Food Network, and I watch it all the time. Something they have done a lot lately is competitive cooking. Now this is not a new thing. People have had cooking contests for a long time. But now we are putting them on TV and raising the stakes and the standards. And this is not a bad thing in and of itself. I love me some Iron Chef America, although the sexism and racism I've noticed on the show is another post.

But watching this show, I realized something. Iron Chef, Top Chef, and Chopped all feature chefs making food I will have the chance to eat maybe a few times in my entire life, if ever. I am watching the judges critique this food and I'm thinking: I have no frame of reference. I have no idea what these judges are talking about when they praise the 'richness of the Wagyu beef' or the 'brightness of the carpaccio with lemongrass essence', because I have never tried these things.

They eat these dishes that we have just watched these chefs spend so much effort on, years of training and artisanship and sometimes hundreds of dollars worth of expensive food. It looks beautiful and exotic. The chef will talk to the camera about the thoughts they had making the food and why they think it will be delicious.

And then some (almost always white) people judge it. They dissect it- sometimes literally, and make faces about minor details and sometimes they will denigrate a chef for having bad taste, again literally.
As in, and I quote, "My problem is she actually thinks this a good dish." Well, I'm sorry this is such a problem for you, asshole.
I can't imagine a chef making a dish that they know is going to critiqued, testing it, and going "Yeah, that sucks. Let's see if they like it!"

I guess I have a problem with these over-educated-palate-having judges eating this beautiful, painstakingly made food that most people will never get a chance to try... and then picking it apart. I suppose that's the idea of judging the food, but to me it speaks of incredible privilege. As though someone were to do my laundry for me, and I complain that they folded the towels wrong.
I'd like to see them have people judging the food who aren't celebrities or famous foodies.

I will be the first to volunteer.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


So there're lots of things to be cranky about- our lack of cashy goodness, the elitism in Food Network shows, and sexism all the hell over the place.

But today was a good day, and sometimes it helps when I am reminded that not everyone is awful.
Today's case in point: my Ferret. Her birthday is this week, and to celebrate, we went to see "9" (pretty good, by the way) and then wandered over to an arcade. I am not really big on arcades, but since this was her birthday, I smiled and went along. She got a bunch of tokens, had fun playing games, and got a big ol' fistful of tickets.

When the last token was gone, I assumed she was going to go up to the counter and choose some random toy with her winnings. (And annoy me with it all night somehow, because deep down she is six years old.)

And then she told me what she usually does at arcades, and I found myself grinning like a kid.

A minute later, she'd found the youngest kid in the arcade (two little girls about 10 years old) and dropped her pile of tickets on the counter in front of them. We left to the sound of "Thank you! Thank you!!" and joy-squealing.

Sometimes, a little thing is all you need to remember that there are good things in the world. And if I ever doubted it, today would make me absolutely certain that I am marrying the right person.

My Ferret. The BoyScout. My knight in shining armor who spends her spare time rescuing anybody who might need it.

Plus, now she knows I will be much more amenable when she asks to go play arcade games.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

No, It's Still Not Okay To Say

So today, I am going where I haven't gone yet. I have been reluctant to discuss any issues of race/racism, because I feel I don't know enough about it to make statements. Also, because I have a lot of privilege, and I know it, and am trying to deal with it.

But apparently there's still people who think that because slavery was abolished, we no longer have a social debt to the oppressed and can say anything with no baggage attached.
I can't believe Renee has to make a post about this, because it's one of those things that people should just know. One of those mostly-unspoken social rules, like "Don't punch someone because they won't give you a cookie", and "Don't pee on the sidewalk".
Kanye West did a really rude and uncouth thing, and there's a lot wrong with it. It makes him anasshat. It doesn't make him a n****r. Hey, folks? It's not okay to say the word nigger. (And that's the only time I'm typing it out.) It's just not. Especially not if you're white. I think even if you're a POC, it's not a nice word. But if you're white, can you stop? I hear too many people say this to justify it: "There's a difference between black people and n*****s".

Super. I'd like to see the mathematical equation you've worked out for determining which dark-skinned person deserves which label. Oh, you don't have one and your basis for identification is whether you disapprove of how [x] POC looked or behaved? Why not the phases of the moon? Or the Homeland Security Alert color code? It'd be more consistent.

For those who don't understand the myriad of things wrong with it to begin with, try remembering this before you blithely spout that "disclaimer": for a long time, there was no "difference". All POCs used to be "n*****s". And for some people, even today, that is still true. Yeah, crazy, right? Racism still exists! Oh em gee! So saying that word makes you sound bigoted, ignorant, and mean. It's not okay to call anyone this. It strips them of their humanity.
Did you know? The War Between the States is over.
I can't believe I have to say these things. In small syllables. For the people out there who live in the 1950s. Really, I personally would like to see this word fucking retired. And I bet I'm not the only one, fancy that!
I have gotten one member of my family to stop saying this. I'm working on a few others. And now hopefully, I'm working on some of you, reading this blog (although I'm pretty sure if you read this blog, most of you already get this).
If some dude cuts you off in traffic, and he happens to be a black dude, it is ok to call him a jerk, asshole, or douchebag. (Road rage, me? Never. Ahem.) It's not ok to call him 'the n-word'. If you can't think of a better insult, let me help you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Death Panel For Teeth

So we are having a bad month here at Casa Lemur-Ferret. My poor Ferret has apparently neglected her flossing. And also her sacrifices to the gods of Teeth and Health Care.
We've been told she has some fairly heinous stuff going on in her mouth- terms like "root canal" and "extraction" were tossed around. Shit, I want a Vicodin just thinking about it.

She woke up feeling like she'd brushed her teeth with battery acid and hot barbed wire, so we went to the local dentist, where we spent 3 hours sitting around, filling out forms, and in Ferret's case being probed and ending up 2 hours late to work.
And at the end of this delightful outing was the educational part. I learned that if one does not, as I previously did, have the privilege of being insured, then dental work costs one, as Bradley Nowell once so poetically wrote, "un chingo de dinero". (Yes, I did just bend over backward to work in a Sublime reference. There're worse crimes.)

Does dental care really have to be this expensive? Do enamel, root canals, and WaterPiks require this much overhead? I really don't know. I don't have a reason to care, unless I suddenly remember where I misplaced that extra several thousand dollars.

Our other choice is to call in a same-day-only appointment, radio-contest style, to the county dental clinic. The care is much less expensive, but they open at 8 and are booked by 8:30. And they aren't open on weekends, which seems like poor planning to me- most of their patients would be working, yes? So why close on the days people are most likely to be off?
The sad thing is I do realize we're lucky to have that option at all. If we were in a more rural area, I doubt we'd have any other choice than to pay the huge costs of "normal" dental offices. And if there was no way we could afford that, at all? (Which really, we could not have. Just so you know.) Then what? Live with the pain? Grab some pliers and fix it ourselves? The fuck is this, medieval Europe? Are people going to start dying from an abscessed tooth because they can't afford to fix it?

And people are arguing against the government somehow getting everyone decent healthcare. WHY? Gods, why? I would give almost anything to not have to worry what will happen if she or I get really sick or hurt. I know it's crazy but I'd like to be able to go to the eye doctor without saving for 8 months, or the dentist without having to sell a kidney.

Thing is, I'm freaking out on behalf of my Ferret, who with a little luck just has to last the next few days, and we have some painkillers, thank Gaia- or else she couldn't manage to eat.

What happens to people who don't luck into county resources? They pay $300 a month for 36 months- or...? Or what? Or what??

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

From the Facebook Files

My friend said:

'The Vatican issues a prayer for Catholics to say before sex. Apparently shouting, "Oh God" at the end of sex isn't enough.'

September 2 at 10:32am · ·


Ooh, I know this one:
"Please god, forgive me for having sex with another willing adult and not letting the religious shame propagated by bitter celibate old white guys get the best of me. I know that God's plan does not involve humans having enjoyment not approved by aforementioned bitter old dudes. My bad. Amen."

That's it, right? I amaze me sometimes; it's like I'm psychic! LOL

What can I say? It was a really good moment. Also, I was funny. Go me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lady-parts Surcharge

So I finally have teh Intarwebz in my house now! Hooray! I don't have to spend hours on end at the library. Not that the library is so bad, but you can't do No-Pants Tuesday Blogging there. They get really uptight about not wearing pants in the library.

But that's not what this is about. This is about my thoughts on auto mechanics. My brother-in-law is young and not always very bright, and in a move of stunning brilliance, he put diesel in my emphatically non-diesel-drinking gas tank. My reaction to that was almost reality-show worthy, lemme tell ya. I love my car, like really. love. my car. I panic whenever anything happens to it.
So I finally gave up on draining the tank at home and decided to take it to a mechanic. I picked some local numbers and started dialing. 3 mechanics told me 3 to 4 hundred dollars, which gee, just didn't sound right. One of them tried to tell me I "needed" a new fuel pump. Yeah, I didn't. Finally I got one guy to give me an estimate that wasn't off the charts, and the day ended happily.

But when I talked to my Ferret, I found myself wondering out loud if maybe these auto shops tack on a "vagina charge" of a couple hundred dollars when they talk to a woman on the phone. Cause, obviously, if a lady calls and doesn't have a man to do the work or at least make the call for her, she must be desperate. And have no way of knowing what auto work is supposed to cost! Or know anything about cars! Hey guys, we can charge this chick A THOUSAND DOLLARS AND THERE'S NOTHING SHE *slap*

Sorry. Uh. Yeah. So my point is, do they do that? Or do mechanic prices really vary that much? Shouldn't there be some kind of guide for people who don't know what work should cost, like the Kelly Blue Book for car repair? Tell you what- first person to create that website, gimme 10 percent of the net and we'll call it good. We could make a fortune!
...No, you can't talk to my husband about it.