Thursday, April 29, 2010

Too good to be true indeed

Chances are if you watch American TV you have seen the recent ads of General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre bragging that his company has already paid back their federal assistance loans. Thing is that's not entirely true.

You see what Whitcare is not sharing in that ad is that GM paid back one government loan with funds from another government loan. A bit shady ain't it?

Pretty much what happened is GM borrowed money from the government in one loan then paid it off with some of their share of the TARP funds that went around last year. That's right instead of using their own profits and assets to pay off they used more government money to pay off their first government loan. So by chance if you see that ad (its at the link at the top of this post) don't be fooled.

Win the Sweepstakes and buy a Plastic Beach near Melancholy Hill

End of the month so its song title link time. A few weeks ago I bought the latest Gorillaz album called Plastic Beach. Overall I think the album is pretty good. Here's a few of the tracks.

Sweepstakes (with Mos Def) - Mos Def lights it up on this one. This is my current favorite.

Plastic Beach

Take it easy people!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekly Menu April 25

I actually made this a few days ago but have been a bit busy so I'm just getting it up now.

Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 lbs bag of egg noodles
1 pack of frozen broccoli
2 jars of alfredo sauce*
8oz pack of sour cream**
8oz pack of cream cheese**

This started off as a recipe that a coworker of mine told me his wife made. Basically it was homemade hamburger helper. Well this is not exactly what he told me, I kinda went off on my own.

First clean your chicken, chop it into chunks, and simply pan fry it in oil and the seasoning of your choice.

While that is cooking you can get either a really large skillet or a pot (I actually have a really large skillet but chances are you will need a pot) and put in your alfredo sauce (feel free to season it, I used some crushed red pepper and garlic powder) and start it up on the lowest heat you can get away with. Stir in the sour cream and cream cheese (it helps if you let the cream cheese sit out for a while to soften up). Once your chicken is done add it in along with your noodles and broccoli. Don't worry about the noodles not being cooked first or that the broccoli is still frozen. What you will be doing is simnmering it at that low heat for about 25-35 minutes or until the noodles are cooked to your liking (by the time the noodles cook the broccoli will cook).

When I did this I had a really large non stick skillet so there wasn't much danger of sticking but if you aren't using non stick then you will want to stir it every so often to prevent sticking.

Once its done you're in business.

* - You could certainly make your own alfredo sauce. I bought it because I've never made it before.

** - Okay when my coworker told me about this he told me she used either sour cream or cream cheese but I forgot which. I didn't realize I forgot until I was at the store buying the ingredients, didn't have my phone, and didn't want to bother risking getting the wrong one. Solution? Use them both.

In the end its good but once it cools off it gets thick quick. I think the cream cheese did that. And the sour cream taste was a little strong. So next time I'll probably reduce them both to 4 oz each so it won't get so thick and the sour cream taste isn't so strong.


Monday, April 26, 2010

A weird situation...

For those of you who don't know comedian/actor Steve Harvey has a daily morning show and on this show he has an advice section called "Strawberry Letters". One of the letters that was brought up on the air today rang kind of odd to me:
This my second time writing you Steve. I really hope you can get to me. Here is my problem. My uncle and his wife has been staying with me for a couple of months now. He has raised me since i was a little boy.. Im 29 now. As my uncle has been out looking for work his wife has been looking for work also, but in a different way. We slept together acouple of times. She stressed to me that she needed money so i started pimping her to a few buddies but now shes really on the track.. Now shes telling me that the money is so good that she doesnt want to stop.. My uncle has now clue. Should i keep this between her and i or should i let my uncle know. I mean, i kinda feel bad knowing that hes out all day grinding for them to get back on their feel. Help me out bro (link I know its full of errors but that is a direct copy/paste from the site.)
Okay obviously there is something really messed up on here. First off you have a man having sex with not just his aunt but the wife of the man that raised him, so depending on how long this woman has been married to his uncle this woman could probably be the closest thing he has to a mother(but that's speculation). Now no matter what your view on this type of incest (as in both people here are grown adults rather than the usual adult/child incest) there is still the problem of this man sleeping with another man's wife. Not only that but he is doing it while this other man (his uncle) is out trying to make some sort of living after being hit by the current hard economic times.

But what I really want to get down to is the pimping thing. At first I wanted to get mad but then I stopped. This isn't a young niece we're talking about here so I think it would be premature and almost unfair to jump straight to the conclusion that he forced her into it. From the sounds of things (and it is possible that the letter writer is lying or withholding information) this aunt of his is actively enjoying the sex work.

When I first read the part about her doing sex work I instantly went to the worst place possible and just presumed that she was not doing it of her own free will. I'm not so sure think its right to think that way. Like I say that writer nay not be telling the whole story and he could very well be forcing her to do this against her will. However at the same time its worth noting that this woman is an adult and may be perfectly capable of making her own decisions.

Who's to say that he didn't show her something and she chose to participate on her own? A lot of sex work is done by force but I don't like how its gotten to the point where when someone mentions sex work the first place their mind goes to is an under aged kid that was taken off the streets and sold into prostitution. That's not how it all goes down.

For the most part I'm still getting over that presumption for the most part but every once in a while when prostitution/sex work come up my mind still goes straight for the bad place. But thankfully there are folks out there that are more than happy to show the difference.

It's not real...

Yeah you know how the code of chivalry harms men with unfair and unrealistic expectations?

Not real.

Know how society simultaneously tells men they need to do more to be in their children's lives while at the same time going to the greatest of lengths to keep them out?


Familiar with the say that male rape victims are silenced and have an even harder time being acknowledged as rape victims than women?


While I'm fully aware that all feminists don't act that way (in fact the arrogant ignorance of this particular one does a disservice to the good done by the reasonable members of that movement) this is a shining example of exactly why I refuse to have anything more to do with them than the odd blog comment. Funny thing I've seen people try to tell feminists that the things that harm women are not real. So by that logic you would think that they would at least have the common courtesy to no do the same to others.

"Do unto others...." and all that I suppose.

Okay I'm cooling off. It pays to have one's own space to rant about ignorant and silly people.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Echoes from the Computer Room : Help Desk Edition

As you may know I am level 1 technical support for a bank. In that capacity when employees of my bank have technical issues I am the one they call. First line of defense if you will. Even with only about 300 people to deal with it is very easy to get bogged down in multiple requests, especially if they required hands on solutions or take a long time. When I'm unavailable and someone calls for help they are prompted to leave a voicemail so that I can get in touch with them. Here is where the fun starts.

Ok I don't know about you but when I call someone but end up with their voicemail with the exception of confidential information I always leave a brief description of what I was calling for. That way when the person gets the message they can develop an idea of what's going on. On my job leaving a message with some amount of detail can mean the difference between taking 5 seconds to fix you then send you a quick email, having to take several days to solve the problem, or already knowing what your issue is because it system wide meaning there is no need to call you until its fixed. So I'm sure you'll understand me when I say that one of the most aggravating things you can do is leave something similar to the following,:
"Hi this is ______ give me a call back."
That is the most worthless voicemail message ever. Even outside of work my dad does this and I've gotten to the point where I sometimes simply will not call him back*.

And it gets even worse if I try to call you back and don't get you because guess what kind of message I'm forced to leave? :
"Hi this is Daniel returning your call."
That is wasted dialogue and more importantly wasted time.

Even something as basic as,
Hey this is ______ I've got this weird error in my email."
is more useful. At least with the keyword email I can start thinking about what it could be. "Is this like the call I got a few hours ago?" "Is this related to the network going down last night?" "Is this a side effect of the upgrade that was installed yesterday?" When you give me a keyword I can at least start churning on what the problem might be. This can save time and effort. And I say this from experience of having played games of phone tag with each only asking for a callback, usually going on for hours and sometimes even days.

So just a tip. When you call technical support that but end up with voicemail try to at least give some sort of description.

* - Yes I will do this. My thing is if you need me to call you back you can at least give an idea of what's going on. My dad once countered with telling me that the point is to make sure I call him back. Bullshit. The point is that whatever he called me about. If you call me wanting to pick up something from the store then the point isn't that I call you back. The point is that I get the item(s) from the store for you.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Another waste of money

Robert Franklin speaks about a Pittsburg police sergeant that was suspended then fired after being arrested of hitting his girlfriend Lauren Maughan.

Back in December of last year the sergeant was arrested for hitting his girlfriend during an argument over Maughan being 25 minutes late in picking up their son.

Talk about swift justice*. He was suspended and later fired yet it wasn't until this week when a judge acquitted him of the charges. It seems that not only was he not the aggressor but according to an eye witness he actually injured her in self defense after she started attacking him.

Now can someone tell me why despite being acquitted and having an eye witness that proves Lauren's accusations false the mayor of Pittsburg refuses to rehire him? Spokeswoman Diane Richard has said that he was not fired over the crime that he was charged with. Yet Police Chief Nate Harper stands by the decision to fire him for violating the anti-domestic violence policy. So either someone is talking in circles or there is some other DV related charge he was fired over. Well being nice and going with the idea that he was indeed fired over some other charges that resulted in him violating the anti-DV policy I ask why was he not fired until this incident came up (perhaps they have a two strikes rule)?

This is what people are talking about when they say a false accusation can ruin someone's life and do lots of damage. Even if he gets his job back who in the law enforcement community is going to trust him after being labeled a woman beater? What kind of damage will this do to the relationship he has with his son? On one hand I would like to say that I hope he sues the hell out of the police department, the mayor, the police chief, and the city (yeah I hold grudges like that) for so much money that his great-grandkids would be born with prepaid college educations. But on the other giving him all that money will never truly repair the damage done to him. Yes he will be able to make a good living but that stack of cash won't erase the odd accusatory looks, assumptions of guilt, and unfair treatment he may face. And besides by suing the city it would basically ensure that the citizens of Pittsburg would end up footing the bill for the misandrist behavior of its mayor and police force.

* - Apparently if he does get rehired and receives back pay it would go back 14 weeks. Okay that means he was suspended then fired only a few weeks after being arrested meaning it was long before being acquitted this week. I can understand the suspension but fired before any type of trial takes place? Innocent until proven guilty and all that....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Weekly Mashup Stage 5

Just wanted to share some things I didn't make entire posts out of this week.

Toy Soldier takes a few minutes to talk about a Dave Chappelle bit on male rape victims. Its a short post but I think its worth checking out. All too often male rape victims are expected to either just "man up" and not talk about being raped or are told by society that since he is male he must have really wanted it.

Monique's brother apologizes for abusing her when they were children. Of course its totally up to Monique to forgive him or not but on a smaller note I noticed that he talks about how he himself was abused. This just reignites my thought that if people are really serious about ending abuse then it has to be stopped at the root.

Womanist Musings turned two years old a few days ago.

Pelle Billing shares his thoughts on the misrepresentation/misuse of the word patriarchy.

A quick reminder and What does feminism mean for you?: A small exchange over what feminism' meaning is. The comments get a bit ugly. (While I'm still reading the parts I've read so far remind me why I don't bother with the damn word.)

Sexual Apartheid and a Place to Park: Paul Elam talks about how some places in South Korea and China have begun to offer woman only parking.

Quite the jumble I know.

Theater Thursday: Teeth

Spoiler Warning - Okay as the title says I'm going to be talking about a movie. Despite the fact that my Theater Thursday posts are more discussion than review I will be talking about what goes on during the movie and doing so I will inevitably bring up specific details about said movie. If I bring up specific details about a movie that you haven't seen yet this is what you call a spoiler. Now its up to you and your taste in movies to decide if you don't want to read said spoiler. So now that I have explained a spoiler I warn you. This post contains specific details about the movie mentioned in the title of this post that you may not want to read. Tread carefully.

Okay so this time I went out on a limb here and watched Teeth. I had heard what it was about and I had the expected and natural thoughts of terror (and if you try to argue that thinking about having one's genitals severed is unnatural then you're the one with the problem) over it. I'm a fan of chance so I decided to watch it. And I have to say I think it was a bit of a mixed bag.

The film centers around a young woman named Dawn. Devoted virgin complete with promise ring and fear of any and all premarital sexual desire (early on she is having a sex dream and just before she began genital stimulation she is scared out of it by an image of a monster). During a rape Dawn discovers that her vagina has a set of teeth inside. I'm going to go straight to the meat and potatoes of this movie and look at her usage of her teeth. Throughout the movie she uses them four times (and movie ends with the anticipation of a fifth bite coming up).

The first time she uses them she is in a secluded area with a classmate and things begin to get hot and heavy. Well she decided it was too hot and too heavy for her liking and wanted to stop. However the guy she was with apparently decided it was just hot enough and just heavy enough for his liking and he chose to continue despite her desire to stop. Shortly after going inside of her and during her cries for help and pleas to stop the boy suddenly stops. He backs away from her screaming in pain. The majority of his penis is laying on the ground and he is profusely bleeding from what remains of his genitals. Later on he is found dead, having bled to death.

Okay there is no question that this was a matter of protecting herself from a rapist. In fact I'll go as far as to say that the only type of person that would try to say what she did in that situation (even though she didn't have control of the teeth at that point) was unjustified would be a rapist or rape apologist.

The second time comes at a visit to her gynecologist. Lying on the table waiting for the exam to start its pretty clear that she is uncomfortable. Perhaps because he just wasn't paying any attention to her discomfort, he noticed it and chalked it up to simple nervousness that would pass, or whatever reason he continued with the exam. However things did get to the point where she was trying to back away from him and just followed with his hand inside of her vagina. Once the tension reaches the breaking point she bites down on his hand and takes his four fingers off. His fingers are saved and are reattached but he refuses to talk about how they were severed.

Notice something? It seems the writers are trying to paint up the teeth in her vagina as a defense mechanism that only come into play when she is in danger. It would have been nice if that was how the other uses of her teeth had played out.

After the visit to the gynecologist and running off with nowhere else to go she ends up at the house of one of her other classmates. He seems to be offering assistance however after letting her take a bath at his house and easing her mood he drugs her and proceeds to have sex with her. In short its drug induced rape. Now I'm not trying to say that what he did was right. However... The next morning while having another round of sex (this time consensual) his phone rings and its a friend of his calling. While on the phone he brags to this friend that he did manage to get her into bed and says that he wins the bet. (Mind you he is on his back and she is on top of him and they're having sex.) When he comes clean about his motivations for helping her the night before being simply for the goal of having sex with her to win a bet she promptly chops his penis off and leaves.

Okay I have a problem here. Alright there is no question that he raped her with the assistance of drugs to take away her ability to consent. However she doesn't severe his penis then, that would have made total sense. What she does instead is severe it the next day during consensual sex. That's not right. Essentially she found out that he only had sex with her to satisfy a bet and took her own vigilante justice out on him. This was not self defense it was revenge. From the looks of it she never seemed to realize that she was drugged. She didn't chop it off because he was violated her, she chopped it off because she was pissed over being used for a bet. I can understand her being pissed but does getting pissed off over being used justification for maiming someone? I would say no.

(And just for those that like to think there is no sexual shaming of men I'd like to point out that when the third guy is in the hospital and the surgical team is reattaching his penis the team manage to throw in the obligatory joke about the size of his penis.)

The forth and final time wasn't rape and it wasn't tension over an exam. It was a planned attack. After realizing that she could also go on the offensive she concocts a plan to put her half brother in his place. What she does is go to her half brother and actually initiates sex with him. During sex he notices the look on her face and he has a flashback of when he stuck his finger in he vagina when they were little and her teeth cut his finger open. Too late. In the blink of an eye she completes her plan by chopping his penis off. (And to add insult to injury his dog eats the severed body part.) Did he try to rape her? No. So where is the justification for initiating sex for the sole purpose of mutilating him?

The movie ends with her leaving home on her bike. After her bike breaks down she catches a ride with an old man. The old man pulls up to a hotel and refuses to let her out. He starts to lick his lips, pretty much a gesture that he wants to have sex. She turns around to the camera, smiles, and the credits roll.

So you have:
1. Clear self-defense
2. Understandable self defense
3. Revenge
4. Calculated plan
5. Apparent clear self defense

So while some may think that the lesson here is to respect a woman's body and wishes and you will be alright that's not the entire picture here. While it is important to respect a woman's body and wishes I think with the way she acted in scenarios 3 and 4 show that the old Ben Parker (Peter Parker aka Spiderman's uncle) advice of "With great power comes great responsibility." applies here. Now hear me out. There was nothing inherently right or wrong with Dawn having teeth in her vagina in and of itself. The right/wrong comes into play in the same way as anything else. Its all about how she uses them. As this movies shows there are perfectly justifiable uses such as defense against rapists just there are downright wrong uses like initiating sex with someone for the purpose of mutilating them.

So for anyone that has seen this movie I ask if you perhaps came to different conclusions about or what you thought about anything else in the film that I may not have covered (like I said this post is not a review but a discussion). And if you haven't seen it then I ask you if you would watch it. I think you should if for no other reason than to form your own opinion. But I must warn you that the castrations are pretty graphic, gory, and bloody.

Well off to find my next movie. Til next we meet on Thrusday to talk movie.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's been so rough but I press on

So if you recall I started reading the first Twilight novel around New Year's. Well now that it's been several months I have to say that I'm having a hard time getting into it.

Don't get me wrong I am a fan of supernatural fiction. Vampires, dieties fighting it out, magic, etc... However there is one thing I just can't stand about this book. There is too much damn high school drama in it.

I know you need some sort of main story but I just can't stand this constant, "Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. One of them is dangerous but goes against his/her better judgement and tries to have a "normal" relationship while the other knows that the person they like is dangerous but goes against his/her better judgement and tries to have a "normal" relationship. Third party comes in and endangers their relationship and possibly their lives." stuff.

Now this is a common setup for lots of fiction but for some reason it grates my nerves to see this with teenager characters. Perhaps its because I'm no longer a teenager and don't identify with it. Oh and it also doesn't help that the target group for Twilight is young girls. Don't get me wrong Edward seems attractive (although the actor that plays him in the movies isn't hitting on much) I am just not for all the teen drama. Hell even when I was a teen I wasn't in for the teen drama.

But neverminding that I will try and try to get through at least this book anyway. Well as long as my niece let's me hold onto them.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And men/fathers are the ones that need to "step up"?

There's no shortage of people who will go on tv, blogs, where ever to declare that men are not doing enough to be in their kids lives. True. There are a lot of men out there that do just that. Get women pregnant and then run off. But then I come across stuff like this (Fro tip to Robert Franklin).

When 20 year old Emily Colleen Fahland became pregnant John Wyatt, the father of the child, asserted that he wanted to be in the child's life and be the father that he never had (his own father died when he was young). However despite some initial conflict Fahland and Wyatt had seemed to have come to the understanding that they would keep the child. It would seem that there was more to it that John knew. Several hours before the birth John had been trying to contact Emily but her phone was turned off. Eventually he found out that his girlfriend and their new child were at Potomac Hospital in Woodbridge. Yet when he got there he was told that no such woman or child was there. So what happened?

Well it turn outs that Emily had other plans for "baby Emma". Emily had taken the child to Utah to be adopted by Thomas and Chandra Zarembinski. Why Utah you may ask. Oh when it comes to getting the father of your child kicked the curb not many states can compare with Utah's level of service.

Now that Emma has been with the Zarembinskis for over a year chances are the "well she's been with them for so long that sending her back to the biological father will be too harmful to her development" card will be played. Which given the early stages of life Emma is in this is probably true. But this totally ignores the fact that this was not an unavoidable circumstance. Its not like John was away in prison and Emily died during child birth or anything. Its not like John ran out on Emily and Emma. Emily knowingly used the Utah adoption system to put as much distance between John and Emma as possible and used the courts to create enough of a delay so that this card could be played. Kinda like a rogue employee of an abortion clinic coming up with excuses and lies to delay the procedure until the woman is past the cut off mark and then telling her, "I'm sorry but your pregnancy is too far along for us to perform the procedure."

The real shame here is that in all this switcheroo three terrible things have happened. First Emma has been cheated out of a loving biological father that wanted to be in her life (and what are the odds that she will even know the truth behind the shady circumstances of her adoption). Second John was cheated out of a daughter that he was ready to "step up" and do exactly what the media constantly tells us men are not doing. And third somewhere out there there is a child that really does need a loving home to go to. But instead of the Zarembinskis taking in a child that really does need the help, love, and safety they can provide their efforts are going into a child who already has that in Virginia.

And why? Because Emily decided that her parental rights (don't get this confused with "my body, my choice" this is parenting not abortion unlike John Emily would have had plenty of ways to simply surrender custody to John no questions asked no obligations demanded) are more important than John's rights and desire to be a parent and Emma's right to a loving biological father.

Dammit not again

I didn't like the fact that Kingpin in the Daredevil movie was played by a black guy.

I don't like that fact that despite Avatar: The Last Airbender borrows heavily from Asian cultures the upcoming movie is whitewashed.

I don't like that the lead role in The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time movie is being played by Jake Gyllenhaal. Yes Jake Gyllenhaal is playing a Persian prince.

Well it would seem that the next disappointment in my purism* has arrived.

It would seem that Amanda Waller, in short she is a badass government agent who will step to even Batman, has been cast to appear in the Green Lantern movie and possibly future DC comic related movies (possible setup for a Justice League movie). Problem is they have cast Angela Bassett for the part. Nothing wrong with Angela Bassett (I still say she should have been Storm in the XMen movies, Halle Berry was too young) but given that Amanda Waller is a fat black woman there are plenty of women that could have fit the part a lot better. I would put my vote in for CCH Pounder, currently playing a role on the SyFy series Wherehouse 13 and voiced the role of Amanda Waller for the Justice League cartoons a few years ago (and I highly doubt that was a coincidence).

Come on folks there are plenty of people in this world of different shapes, sizes, nationalities, genders, sexualities, etc... so there should be no trouble finding people to take on the big screen roles of existing characters.

* - By purist I mean remaining faithful to the original material. If the established character is a Chinese guy then find a Chinese guy. If its a Latino then get a Latino. And don't think I'm trying to be pro-white guy here. What I'm saying is rather than casting Batman with an African woman why not create a new character that is an African woman and get something new going. The answer isn't trying to recast existing characters outside their original image but rather to expand the market with a more diverse line of characters.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"The false honor of chivalry is of far less value than a life wasted in its name."

This coming Thursday is the 98th anniversary of the Titanic disaster. On April 15th 1912 the ocean liner that was thought to be unsinkable struck an iceberg and went down in the Atlantic Ocean. All but 705 of the 2,228 souls on the ship were lost. After reading this post by Paul Elam I'm left wondering about something about chivalry.

Okay if you look at the numbers of survivors and deaths its pretty easy to see that the odds of survival were pretty stacked against men. Now most people try to chalk that up to men performing their noble duty to giving up passage on life boats to women and children. Well I'm wondering were they making a choice or fulfilling an expectation.

You see the code of chivalry dictates that in times of danger a man is obligated to put the lives of women and children, even women and children unknown to him, above his own. Now at face value most people will just write this off as a man doing his duty and no more. For something as major as giving up one's life I think we should not leave this unexamined.

As for the Titanic ever since the ship sank there have been conflicting accounts that not only were men giving up passage on the life boats to women and children but also that some of the officers responsible for deploying the lifeboats were actively (and in some cases forcefully) preventing men from getting onto lifeboats unless either they were needed to row the boats for the women and children (yes along with giving up one's life the code of chivalry days that men should always be around to perform physical labor for women) or when the officers saw no other women or children around (and according a documentary I saw on The History Channel a few weeks ago even then there were still several lifeboats that deployed with several, sometimes dozens, of spots empty).

So if giving up one's life for another, especially people they don't know, is supposed to be the ultimate sacrifice and the mark of a hero that is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty then why is it that men bear the burden of being expected to do such a thing to validate their manhood? I mean if giving up one's life is such a grand gesture then is it really fair to presume that men have to be willing to do it in order to validate their manhood?

Now don't get me wrong if a man actively decides to give up his own life for another then more power to him. I just wonder if he is doing it because he wants to or because he thinks he is supposed to. I think its unfair to expect, nigh demand, that a man (or anyone for that matter) to make that big of a sacrifice. And for what? To prove that they are a man?

Monday, April 12, 2010

The flipside of not claiming a label

While typing out that last post a few minutes ago I got to thinking about my sexuality again. As I've said before now that I've opened myself up to thinking about romantic and sexual activity with women as well as men. However as I say in that post I have no romantic or sexual experience with either. So what does that make me?

In short confused.

On the one hand when you don't claim a label you are saying that you will not be limited by that label and definitions, assumptions, stereotypes, presumptions, and limitations associated with that label. However by not having a label one could be left feeling like they don't belong anywhere which can get lonely.

I'm feeling like I really don't have anyone I can really talk this out with. Yeah when the conversation is about attractive men and women I'll partake accordingly but I really never feel like I can put it all out there in any of those spaces or conversations. You know a place I can say, "Hey those people are like me. I can probably fit in with them." A since of belonging counts for a lot.

So by not having a sexuality that I can identify with I don't expect myself to always have a -sexual perspective on things (by being male other people usually presume heterosexual but not always...) but it leaves me thinking that I have no perspective on them.

Damn no wonder I feel so empty.


When you have ideas you want to talk to other people with but just can't seem to find the right people to talk to what does one do? In my almost two years of blogging I've yet to find any one group that I could actually take on the label of and say, "I'm a _____". Kind of sad if you think about it.

I mean on one hand I have values, morals, ideas, and beliefs that are a part of my being and I should not be expected to abandon them in order to fit in with a group. On the other it makes one look like they are a stubborn uncompromising jerk to stick to their guns to the point of being left alone.

Is there a group that I could align myself with that I could agree with on at least major points but still be able to disagree with others in a manner that doesn't lead to ousting and alienation?

Thing is I find it hard to believe that my thoughts aren't in line with any activist group enough for me to actually take on a title and work with them.

Maybe I'm just suffering from a fear of rejection. I've tried working with two camps (feminists and MRAs) and while one was worse than the other neither really worked out well and that is why I don't work with either of them in any major capacity. I mean yeah I agree with them on things but the disagreements are big enough that they turn me away from them.

I'd like to have other to talk to on a regular bases about the things that are on my mind. There are things that system does that do a lot of harm to men and I'd like to flesh them out and ultimately find ways to correct them. There are things that system does that do a lot of harm to black people and I'd like to flesh them out and ultimately find ways to correct them. There are things that system does that do a lot of harm to those fat people and I'd like to flesh them out and ultimately find ways to correct them. There are things that system does that do a lot of harm to people of questionable sexuality (I could really use help with that one) and I'd like to flesh them out and ultimately find ways to correct them. There are things that system does that do a lot of harm to groups that I don't fall into and I'd like to flesh them out and ultimately find ways to correct them. Maybe I'll find such a place that has other people in it but until then you can find me here.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Theater Thursday: Edward Scissorhands

Back to action on the movie blogging. I just happen to realize that this year is the 20 year anniversary of Edward Scissorhands so its a cool thing that's the movie I decided to watch earlier.

If you don't recall Edward Scissorhands was about a boy (Johnny Depp) who was created by an old inventor (Vincent Price). When he was first created The Inventor (his name was never given and he was credited as The Inventor) gave Edward scissor like appendages in the place of hands. At the start Edward was a blank person that The Inventor read to in order give him humanity. Eventually The Inventor built a pair of artificial hands for Edward but died before he could replace his scissorhands with them. Sometime later after living in The Inventor's giant house all alone an Avon dealer comes to visit and after meeting Edward she takes him home with her. That's where the movie starts.

I've noticed in my time of blogging I've begun to notice things in movies I never noticed before and I want to share it (which may become the focus of my movie posts).

First I noticed that the way The Inventor presented his hands to him. It was as if the hands were all that Edward needed in order to be considered human aka normal. While I doubt anyone has scissor like appendages in place of them there are people out there who either don't have hands or whose hands do not function in what we understand to be a normal manner. One does not need to have a pair of full functioning hands in order to be considered normal.

Next I noticed the way the people of the neighborhood treated him. As long as he was cutting women's hair, grooming dogs, cutting hedges, helping people steal, the object of one woman's sexual, and being the butt of people's jokes he was okay to be around. But just like any group that is stereotyped, marginalized, and/or generalized in any as soon as he does something that might be perceived as dangerous that misunderstanding can lead to everyone turning their back on you and pulling out the pitchforks. This falls in line with the way that people who are different are treated "right" as long as they follow their script (which usually means either doing things for the benefit of the system or staying out of the system's way if you are of no use to it).

That movie is such a trip down memory lane. And seeing the final sequence reminded me that this is one of a precious few movies that can almost bring me to tears. There is just something about "The Ice Dance" by Danny Elfman (Elfman's compositions being a staple in Tim Burton movies) that almost makes me feel like I could cry...almost.

The Ice Dance by Danny Elfman

Well that's it for this Theater Thursday. See ya in two weeks!

Update on Male Studies Symposium

Well not really an update since I didn't go to or view the conference (I just emailed the contact address on the site to ask if it was recorded for future viewing) but just an amazing first (well at least among the first at least) looks at the conference by Jessica Bennett and Jesse Ellison of Newsweek. And I have to say that I am not the least bit surprised.

As you can see from their telling of going to the conference their biases were already set.
And when we went to the ferry’s taxi area, we were literally rushed by dozens of cabbies desperate to drive us. We chose, natch, the only woman in the bunch. Her cab turned out to be a minivan, and her mother and daughter were already in it.
Bias? What bias? We're just two women heading to a conference on male studies that intentional dodged all the male cabbies until we could find a woman. No discrimination at all, we swear.

But it really gets fun when they whip out their "highlights".
* The awesomely named Lionel Tiger, a professor at Rutgers, said that the “academic lives of men are systematically discriminated against.” Yes, boys lag behind girls in school, but is this really because of active discrimination? Later, Professor Tiger bemoaned the roles of both rape educators on campus (who teach boys that they’re “predators” as soon as they begin college) and violence against women organizations (who, get ready, don’t track statistics on violence against men).
* His co-moderator, Christina Hoff Sommers, from the American Enterprise Institute, said that feminists “constantly try to knock down doors that are already open and it’s young men who pay the price.” She also said that the majority of the voices in women’s studies programs and doing research on women are not “fair minded,” and that professors in those fields routinely present fabricated statistics.
* An online commenter said, during the discussion, that the reason women haven’t admitted that they’ve won the battle is, “were feminists to declare victory, they would lose their eternal status as victims.”
* We rode the ferry back with Roy Den Hollander, the semi-notorious lawyer who’s on a crusade against women’s rights. There is a LOT more to his story, and to say about him, but the short version is that when he wasn’t talking about how he prefers the term “feminazis” to “feminism,” he’s actually a really lovely guy. We sorta think he’s just heartbroken.
Yeah that's all. A two hour presentation meant to get the ball rolling on the concept of male studies and the best these two could come up with was accuse them of trying to blame feminism (but frankly the way some of them act you'd think it was a cardinal sin to speak of feminism in any way expect for envious praise). There might have been some there but with the material that I saw in the Male Studies site I'm betting that there was a whole lot more going on than that.

Hopefully there will be a way to view it for myself because I get the feeling that this is a gross misrepresentation (and nitpick) of what really happened.

So Tiger does one woman wrong and suddenly he owes all of them?

Talk about getting it wrong. David Brooks and Gail Collins of the NY Times have apparently decided that Tiger Woods owes something to women and should therefore refuse to play his first tournament in his planned comeback from the fallout of his numerous extramarital affairs at the Augusta National Gold Club.

You see this club has a long history of denying women members. I've always been a bit on the fence about gender based exclusion in clubs (while they can be sexist there seems to be the attitude that men's only stuff is always sexists and exclusionary while women's only stuff is never sexist and exclusionary) but that's a talk for another day.

What I want to know is exactly does Tiger Woods cheating on his wife translate into him owing her entire gender anything? Many people have tried to spin what he did into how he owes everyone from sports fans to women everywhere. No.

Unless someone can prove that the women he was with did not know that he was married (and we are talking a famous athlete/celebrity here) the only people he owes anything to is the wife he took vows with and the children from their marriage.

And Brooks and Collins really don't do themselves a favor by trying to insult his taste in women either.
When you’re trying to get back on your feet after a monster scandal about your bad choice in women, Augusta isn’t the best place to start.

Bad choice in women? I thought the problem was the very fact that he cheated on his wife, not who he cheated with. This sounds like they are saying that if only Tiger had chosen someone better to mess around with it would be okay. I mean if Tiger decided that these women were worth violated the vows he took with his wife he obviously found something he liked in them. Who he chose to cheat with is of no concern here, its the fact that he did it.

Its one thing to call attention to practices that one thinks are bad but its quite another to misappropriate someone's bad behavior into them owing an entire gender some debt.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When men die their gender doesn't matter

I was reading this post over at Men's Health today.

Using the recent West Virgina mine explosion that took the lives of 25 miners as a reference point Peter Moore questions why it seems media sources seem to be scared of reporting the number of men who are hurt/killed in a horrible event.

On any given day one can usually find several articles that will report events in which "many of those injured/killed were women and children" or just simply only reporting the number of women and/or children that were killed/injured. Most of the time we are left to our own math skills to figure out the number of men that are injured/killed in such happenings.

While its good to exercise one's brain I don't think I like that very much.

Pelle mentioned a while back about men being the (I'm thinking about adding a "supposed" in front of it) norm of society. I guess considering that media sources seem reluctant to mention the number of injured/killed men when disaster strikes I guess there may be something to it.

But let me get down from my soap box and just say that I hope those 25 hard working souls rest in peace and wish their families the best.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Weekly Menu April 5

Okay this was fun. About a month ago I had decided that I was going to make a pot of spaghetti sauce from total scratch. I'm talking from fresh tomatoes to fresh basil to fresh mushrooms. Well then I realized how much fresh tomatoes cost and I canceled that. Well I was still determined to do it in a crock pot. Yeah that didn't go so well either. Here goes.

Spaghetti Sauce

2lbs. of ground beef
1lbs. of ground turkey
2 packages of fresh mushrooms (you know the ones in the fresh produce section that come in those blue foam boxes and have plastic wrap on top)
5 cans of diced tomatoes (these cost $5 vs the $3/lb for fresh tomatoes. and I even found some flavored ones like Roasted Garlic)
4 can of tomato sauce
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 white onion chopped as fine as possible
1/4 c of chopped fresh basil leaves (chopped as fine as possible)
4 small tomatoes chopped

Okay this is where its get tricky. To save you the trouble I'll tell you now this will NOT fit in a 5-4qt crock pot. This will require a really big pot or you may need to reduce the ingredients like I should have. Alright I started by browning my meats (they will end up together in the end so you can brown them at the same time now if you want). While that was going I poured the diced tomatoes into my crock pot and started it up. In the pot I added sea salt, crushed red pepper, and Italian seasoning, stirred it up, and turned it on so it could start simmering.

Once the meat was done I added it to the pot and realized this was not going to cut it. One there was nowhere enough tomatoes to get the sauce to a saucy consistency and too my crock pot was already full so there was no room to add the rest of my ingredients. Solution: A bigger pot. Had to pull out the Thanksgiving collard green pot. But before adding in the stuff from the crock pot I turned it on added some oil and put in the mushrooms and onion. Let those fry for a bit and then put in the tomatoes and meat from the crock pot. Next I mixed in the tomato sauce. Finally after all the other ingredients are set throw in the garlic and basil. Stir it up real good and set the stove to the lowest heat you possibly can and let it simmer for about 30 stirring occasionally.

Prep your noodles (I'm a fan of wheat noodles or angel hair) and you have spaghetti.

Okay as you can see this makes A LOT of spaghetti sauce. This is good for a cook on Sunday and eat it all week recipe.


A bit closer...

Okay its time to get back into blogging.

As I've said in the past I've never really put as much stock in the term patriarchy as the people that seem to not be able to complete a sentence without using. Well thanks to some really good (civil in fact but HORRIBLY offtopic) conversation over at Feminist Critics over the last few days I think I'm a bit closer to why don't.

Simply put the word doesn't fit the system that is currently at work.

Okay a patriarchy is supposedly a system that seeks to keep men above women. Well as we can see with all the harm that society does to men that is simply not true.

For example if a man wanted to be a primary caregiver why does the system actively work so hard to shame him out of wanting to do? In the unfortunate event of divorce the husband wants visitation so he can spend at least some time with the kids. In a lot of cases men literally go broke and break their families trying to get and keep visitation rights just to not have them enforced with anywhere near the tenacity and determination that child support is (if you don't believe me ask yourself what a man that doesn't pay child support is popularly called and what a woman that interferes with visitation is called). If a man decides he wants to wear a dress and make up to go clubbing on a night that is not Halloween or costume party he can expect to have his manhood questioned. And the list goes on.

My question is if this system supposedly seeks to support and look out for these men then why do they face such hardships? I mean if this society is supposedly all about "the rule of the father" you would think that a man would have the freedom to be the primary child care giver, have visitation rights, and wear whatever he wants.

Now chances are this will be met with assurances that "Patriarchy Hurts Men Too" (which is basically lip service) and to that I ask, "If this system is about looking out for men why are so many of us kicked to the wayside?"

So next I think there are assurances that its not about lifting all men over all women but rather men "as a class" over women "as a class".

Okay if you look up at the ones at the top you will notice three things. First yes it is true that most of those at the top are men. However some just saw that, ran off, and started going off on how those few men at the top represent men "as a class". I call bullshit and the second reason is why. If you look up at the top AND look down at the bottom you should notice something. As far as men are concerned there are a whole hell of a lot more of us at the bottom than there are of them at the top. And third as is painfully obvious to many of us those few at the top are not looking out for us they are looking out for maintaining their own power.

Now despite this it seems that the few at the top despite not looking out for all men and being a very small numeric minority of us they are the ones that are held up as the representation of our gender. Even despite the fact that for every Bill Gates there are 50 guys collected garbage that we will never know the names of Bill Gates is still referenced when speaking men or "men as a class".

Now don't get me wrong there are certain patriarchal practices at work. There are job places that discriminate against women in favor of male workers. Now bear in mind that while this looks like a benefit to men as a class at face value the sexist heads of the company are doing that for the benefit of men they hire, they do it to consolidate their own power by surrounding themselves with like minded people. Just to name a common one.

So while there are things going on in society that benefit some men over some women to flatly say that our society is dedicated to keeping men over women ignores a lot of the damage that happens to men and favor that is given to women. And when you throw in other things like race, religion, etc... the intersectionality gets even uglier.

I think I'm just gonna go with kyriarchy. It's so much more accurate.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Reminder for Male Studies!

Just wanted to drop one last mention of the Male Studies Symposium.

This looks like a chance to bring a serious academic eye to the past, present, and future of being male. I wish I could attend or at least sign up for the online broadcast. Hopefully it will be recorded for future viewing.

Weekly Mashup Stage 4

Okay like I said I've been out of it but alas time and space still march on. I've been reading a lot interesting things and have wanted to post on them but never got to it. So when all else fails I bring out my trusty buddy the Weekly Mashup.

Toy Soldier and Cara take a swing at a recent ad by the National Center for Domestic Violence trying to raise awareness of violence against men.

Today’s Headline: “DV industry leaders apologize for decades of bias, discrimination, and corruption; invite men to join as equal partners in the effort to curb domestic violence.” Damn shame that this can even pass for an April Fool's Day joke headline.

Four pretty horrible stories from KTLA:
5 Arrested in Gang Rape of 7-Year-Old Sold for Sex by Her Sister
Facebook Fueled 'Rager' Party Caused $45,000 in Damage
Teenage Babysitter Confesses to Savagely Beating Toddler, police say
Police Use Stun Gun on 10-year-old Boy at Daycare

Feds found Pfizer too big to nail: Are big pharma companies really so large that their benefits to society give them a get out of jail free card?

China Mine Flood: Dozens Rescued After 179 Hours In Flooded Chinese Mine: Definitely good news that those men were saved but such a terrible fate the men that weren't saved. (Side note: Ever noticed that when massive amounts of men are killed attention is almost never called to the fact that they were men?)

Okay that's all for now. I just got my new DSi in the mail today and its time to get my game on!!!