Saturday, July 31, 2010

Driven Into Fear and Torn Apart by the Creeping Shadows

End of the moth once again. Have you ever heard of Bleach? If you haven't its an anime/manga that would fall in the category of supernatual fiction with a lot of fighting. Pretty interesting stuff. I've been watching the anime for a last few years and I've grown quite fond of the soundtrack. Here's a few titles just to give you a taste.


Driven Into Fear


Torn Apart


Creeping Shadows

As you can see I've noticed that you can customize the dimensions of the video clips I can embed. Makes I don't like having them too big and it also helps keep them inside the margins of my posts. If you go back and look at some of my older posts they will probably go over the right margin and cover up my archive list, which I'll fix as I come across them.

Hope you like it!

Eureka/Warehouse 13 Crossovers

A few months ago I wished for a Eureka/Warehouse 13 crossover.

How fucking awesome is it that there will not just one crossover but two crossovers.

This coming Tuesday Eureka character Douglas Fargo will appear in a new episode of Warehouse 13 and then this Friday Warehouse 13 character Claudia Donovan will appear in a new episode of Eureka.

From what I can tell the two crossovers aren't related but still two of my favorite shows on all of tv crossing paths is just great.

Maybe it wasn't such a bad idea to put Caprica such a long break after all.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly Mashup Stage 9

You know the drill people. I don't have enough time during the week to read much less post on everything I see so I put it here to share.

Australia's PM candidates make way for cooking contest but bump Kylie: "The politicians didn't want to go up against the cooking showdown, Australia's most popular program, so they started their debate an hour earlier than tradition dictates." Wow for a political debate to get bumped is just gangsta.

Even If You Know About The Gorilla, You Might Not Catch The Unexpected: These are some pretty interesting tests. They test your ability to pay attention to entire situation even when told to focus on something specific. You should really check them out.

Woman Removed From Plane to Make Room for Overweight Teen: Okay while I think its totally unfair for a fat person to get tossed off a flight at the same time I really don't really feel right about a smaller person getting tossed off a flight to make room for a larger person. I would be one thing if the woman was simply not allowed to take her flight but its quite another to have gotten on board and taken a seat just to be told to get off. That's cold.

An Open Letter to Sgt. Art Eld, Orlando Police Department by Paul Elam: "Perhaps you should consider that is not the public at large, or the average police officer, or even the unfortunate victim of a real rape that pays the price for false allegations. It is innocent men- men who have done nothing wrong, that bear the brunt of these easily accepted and usually unpunished lies, in the most horrific way possible."

Court Upholds Expulsion of Counseling Student Who Opposes Homosexuality: On one hand I think it terrible to get fired over one's religious beliefs. But on the other if said religious beliefs lead to you not doing your job...

The homeless brother I cannot save: Ashley Womble tells her story about her paranoid schizophrenic brother.

Woman charged in France over babies' bodies: "A woman has been charged over the discovery of the bodies of eight newborn babies at two locations in northern France, the French Interior Ministry said Thursday." That's just brutal.

Growing joint with stem cells possible, study says: "In a new study in the Lancet, researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, the University of Missouri and Clemson University showed that they had regenerated limb joints of rabbits using the animals' own stem cells." This could spell relief for people who suffer severe joint pain and those who have to have joints replaced.

Sixty years after rejection, college grants degree: The story of Mary Jean Price, a woman denied admission to Southwestern Missouri State College because of her race.

I think that's enough to share this week.

Inception/Up Mashup Trailer

Saw this over at Gizmodo a few days ago.

Its the audio from a trailer of the movie Inception played over clips from the movie Up. I've yet to see either movie but just that the maker put two totally unrelated movies together so nicely is awesome.

Enjoy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

High Caliber Woman

Oh and speaking of today being tv/movie day around here I just want to mention one of the most badass posters I've seen in a long time.



This is a poster for a movie by the name of Red that is based on a DC Comics title and will be releasing this October. Tell me that poster does not look awesome with a straight face. Its part of a set of posters advertising the movie.

All I know about this movie is that Bruce Willis plays a retired agent that has to reunite his old unit in order stop a someone from killing him first. Sounds like it will be at least an okay movie. But damn just look at that poster.

Don Draper as Clark Kent?

(Image from The Movie Blog)


According to The Movie Blog it looks like Warner Bros., the studio looking to do a reboot of the Superman franchise of movies, may be looking at Mad Men start John Hamm to take the role of the Man of Steel.

I myself don't watch Mad Men and haven't seen any of Hamm's other works but just looking at that picture I can really see him playing the part.

What do you folks think.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Caprica and why I hate long "mid season" breaks

As you may know Caprica is a SyFy Channel original series that takes place most on the planet of Caprica about 60 years before the events of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica series (the one that start Edward James Almos as William Adama). I've talked about a few times already.

Basically Daniel and Amanda Greystone lose their only child Zoe to a terrorist bombing. After her death Daniel, inventor and CEO of Greystone Industries become obsessed with trying to develop a CYbernetic LifefOrm Node (the first CYLON) after learning that a virtual avatar of his daughter inhabits the prototype. Amanda begins repeat the effects that she went through when her younger brother was killed in a car wreck. At the same time Joseph Adama loses his daughter Tamara and wife Shannon and learns that his daughter has an avatar of her own that is inhabiting a virtual world. And it becomes apparent that his son William (the same William portrayed by Almos in the 2004 series) didn't start off as the upright commander we see later.

Well anyway the show is pretty good. Its kind of like a Scoap Opera (as in Sci-Fi Opera) in which there is plenty of technology going on while at the same time there are engaging characters and rather interesting plots. (I rather fond of Sister Clarence played by Polly Walker. She's the head of a private school that abides by the polytheistic religion that is commonplace, but in reality she is a member of a organization that worships a single god. Oh and did I mention she's gorgeous?). Well for as good as the show is the first 9 episodes aired earlier this year and things were great. Problem is the show is not returning early next year.

I can't stand this. Nothing in the world of tv pisses me off more than a show going on a break in the middle of a season. Its one thing when the season ends on a cliffhanger and you have to wait for the next season (which is usually only about 5 months away) to see what happens. But airing 9 episodes then taking a 10 month break is just cheap. The main reason I hate these breaks is that they usually happen in the middle of a big story and when you do that you really run the risk of losing fans.

And from there if things don't go well (thankfully Caprica has been ordered for a second season) the show gets canceled because "lack of support". Well the show would have kept support if they didn't just throw in arbitrary breaks, giving the chance for the show to fade out of sight and ultimately out of mind.

For now I'm ready for the show to get back on the air and it does help that I've got Eureka, Wharehouse 13, and Stargate: Universe to tide me over. But even for as much as I like this show if it fails because of falling viewer stats they have no one to blame but themselves.

Theater Thursday: Huge Episodes 4 & 5 "Talent Night" and "Movie Night"

Its Theater Thursday so you know the rules. More than likely whatever I talk about in this post will more than likely have spoilers in it. Tread accordingly.

For some odd reason the spirits of entertainment allowed me to forget to watch episode four when it originally aired last Monday. Thankfully the episode re-aired this past Monday so I watched 4 and 5 together. Here goes.

Episode 4 "Talent Night"

I have to say that overall the guys did not fare too well in this episode.

Trent, who really hasn't come up much since that heart felt letter from episode two, seems to be cementing his role as the stereotypical jock that bullies people. Damn shame because I had hopes for him. This week he tried to convince Ian to help him with his talent, and rudely brushed off Alistair during the conversation. And when he's not swooning over Chlow he's playing sports and exercising.

Speaking of dear Alastair I think we got a clue to another secret of his. This episode was centered around a talent show and while Alastair was on stage with a magic show turned comedic standup he got distracted. What distracted? Seeing Trent put on makeup for his routine (Trent's routine was a skit of one of those elimination dating shows). Another piece of the puzzle of Alastair may be revealed soon.

Ian's stock plummeted big time. Early on in the episode Will lost her journal. Turns out she left it in the laundry room where Ian found it. In an attempt to figure out whose it was he read the first page of it. Well he then goes further and uses a poem from that first page as a song that he performs at the talent show that night. Later that night Will made it very apparent that what he did was not nice and he has lost a lot of cool points. I wonder if she'll forgive him.

Also Becca once again won the episode by dancing to "Baby Got Back". In fact I liked that sequence more than Will's faux striptease back in episode one. Will was trying to be the rebellious teen and show while Becca had to play along with a lie she told Shay earlier in the episode. Now That's what I call bold. Oh and the guy who sung was gangsta. Damn shame I don't know his name. Shay thinks that Rand's dad is using grease, butter, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients in his cooking because apparently its the only way it can taste good. Dr. Rand might be having a bit of love connection with a land surveyor that came by to measure the borders of Camp Victory. And also she was at some sort of therapy session. I think its pretty apparent that she is not as together as she pretends to be.

More drama and suspicion all around.


Episode 5 "Movie Night"
Dr. Rand has announced that there will be a Movie Night coming up soon and she gives the list of movies to pick from and the one with the most votes will be the one. She tells of an incident during last year's Movie Night where two people tried to snuggle into a single sleeping bag and make out (she brings this up with her counselors about the "no sleeping bags" rule during a briefing).

As for the other kids it looks like Ian is trying to make things up with Will by telling her he still wants to be her friend (well he says he wants to write music with her but you know....). And it looks like Will herself may have realized that he either only read the first page like he said or he read more and was not phazed by it. I just wonder if Becca will ever fess up to reading some of it herself...

I'm starting to wonder about Trent. He and Ian skipped out on the Movie Night. Thing is though Trent didn't skip out until he found out Ian was skipping out. Interesting (or maybe he is just a little envious of Ian's musical talents). It would seem that Chloe has no problem talking to Alastair when she needs him for something. She pulls him aside during the movie to ask of Trent's whereabouts.

Yeah Rand and the Land Surveyor (I totally missed his name) seem to be hitting off. He reveals that he is divorced and shares custody of a daughter Audry. I get the feeling Land Surveyor will be around for a while.

On other thing I noticed about this Movie Night. George went out of his way to remind the guys that they need to be mindful of what they do and how far they go with any of the girls. Now while I totally agree that they need to be responsible I can't help but wonder why no one was saying anything to the girls that were talking about adjusting their wardrobe to accommodate touching. And they were talking about who they were going to sit with. Teen feelings don't discriminate by gender.

All in all its still worth watching. I can't believe I'm caught up watching a teenage drama. But I watch Pretty Little Liars too so...

Monday, July 26, 2010

When signals collide

Okay as you know for the most part society operates with a gender binary. Either you are female or male (anything different and you are considered a freak that needs to be "corrected"). From there you basically assigned a sexuality. With heteronomativity at work people are just assigned to be attracted to members of the opposite side of the established binary.

Well what happens when you are simultaneously expected to be attracted to those of opposite of the binary and feeling attraction to towards those of the same side of the binary, or those of either side of the binary, or perhaps none who are on either side of the binary, (and any other type of sexuality that does not abide by the "you have male and female and each is supposed to be attracted to the opposite" dynamic").

It can be pretty confusing to say the least and I think the younger you are when the collision happens the more fearful the situation is. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to dismiss the confusion of people who feel this during adulthood or later in life I just think that unlike most adults kids aren't as confident, aren't as strong, and aren't as ready for the potential fallout of straying from the binary.

Early in life you are still being bombarded with heterosexuality and in many cases being indirectly or indirectly told that to stray away from it is lunacy and grounds for all sorts of things ranging from being ostracized to be labeled an outcast to being a acted upon with violence. When I think about this I count myself pretty much lucky that I didn't begin to stray from the heterosexuality until recently and was a full grown adult.

Being an adult its not that bad to have thoughts that conflict with the thoughts that were drilled into my head. For years I only paid attention to girls and women and while I am genuinely attracted to them I do wonder if the implication that heterosexuality was what I was supposed to embrace kept me from paying attention to the boys and men around me. I suppose that is lost to the ages. And is no longer here nor there.

But what is here and there is the fact that there are young people all across the world with feelings that go against a binary and expectation that is being reinforced by people all around them. There are young people all across the world that are too scared to go with those feelings and be attracted to who they are attracted to without fear.

Those young people need help.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Weekly Mashup Stage 8

Its that time again folks. Been reading around this week and here are some of the things that caught my eye but I didn't get to fully check out.

Married for less than five years but still paying alimony after 25: Two years ago, Niro’s youngest son graduated from college, ending child support payments and leaving his former wife with alimony of $65 a week. “The next thing I know, I get summonsed to court for alimony adjustment,’’ he says. A probate court judge increased the alimony to $700 a week even though the couple had divorced nearly a quarter of a century ago — five times longer than they were married.

Judge suspends trans woman’s sentence because prison would be “an appalling experience”: This sort of sentence undermines the efforts of the GLBT community. The point is for trans people to be treated no differently than everyone else, not that they should get special treatment and receive a pass because they may be assaulted while in prison.

Co-Parenting 101: The fact is, these people are serious about this "two parent" thing. Theirs is not an encoded message about how to cut Dad out of the children's lives or how to convince a judge that Mom is an alienator. It's a nuts-and-bolts approach to getting along constructively after divorce that sacrifices neither the mother's nor the father's nor the children's interests. What a concept.

Is It Time To Add Your Boss To This Sexual Harassment Registry?: The idea behind eBossWatch is to keep track of bad employers through user submissions.

Con man accused of living off UW student for year, faking own kidnapping (via Spearhead):"On Friday, King County prosecutors charged Clark with first-degree theft, forgery and two counts of second-degree identity theft. All crimes alleged are considered acts of domestic violence." Don't get me wrong the guy is an obvious jerk for cheating her and her family out of money but to call it DV?

Researchers Find Race Bias In NC Death Penalty Cases and Study: Race plays role in N.C. death penalty: Research seems to show that convicted killers in North Carolina are more likely to be executed if the victim was black instead of white. (I would like to see someone do such a study by the victim's gender.)

Woman in 911 call says she strangled her autistic children: An Irving, Texas, woman told a 911 operator that she strangled her two young children Monday because they were autistic, according to a recording of the call. Saiqa Akhter, 30, has been charged with a single count of capital murder in the deaths of her 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son, police said.

Project PC: Stage 1 - Motherboard

Earlier this year as one of my New Year's resolutions I decided that I would get around to doing something I need to do once in my life. Build a pc from scratch. You see given that I work in IT I think that one building a pc is a right of passage. Doing the research. Finding the parts. Going through the inevitable pains of trial and error during construction. I know that at the end of the process i will have a brand spanking new pc that I can proclaim in a loud voice to the heavens, "I built this pc all by myself!!!". That's the thrill I want. That's the thrill I need.

First things first. You know the phase, "All roads lead to Rome."? In computer terms Rome is the motherboard. All other devices in your pc will connect to this. In an effort to keep the cost as low as possible I managed to pick this up at buy.com for about $85. Not bad for a crucial computer part eh?

Here's some thumbnail pics of the motherboard and motherboard box (you can click on them for larger views):

IMG_1584 IMG_1589


This is just the start. There are still several parts to be obtained before the construction process begins. See ya later!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Jon Hamm vs 10 questions

There's an article up at Time.com with "Mad Men" actor Jon Hamm taking on 10 questions that appear to be from fans by looks of the various sources of the questions. Frankly I don't watch the show but I've heard people talk as if its a full on accurate retelling of what happened in 60s America. I doubt that but the show does get a lot of attention so why not take a stab at some of his answers.

Is Mad Men really about men or about women? —Ellen Speicher, COLUMBUS, OHIO
I'll give a lame answer: both. There are at least three phenomenal female characters on our show in Peggy, Joan and Betty. It's very much about how they are dealing with this world that these men nominally run. I don't think you can have a show about men that doesn't deal with women. But the overarching presences are the men.

First off foul on using lame. Two thankfully he does quantifies by saying "this world that these men nominally run". Yes most of the spots of power were held by men in this time but let's not fool ourselves into thinking that most men help spots of power.



Don can be a cad at times. What do you think are his redeeming qualities? —Sarah Fisher, SANTA MONICA, CALIF.
You have to understand that Don is an incredibly damaged human being, had a terrible childhood. What he has accomplished, he has accomplished through the strength of his own will and his own ambition. I think that's what resonates throughout the show. It's a constant striving to be better. He fails, and he makes bad decisions. He's not a superhero by any stretch of the imagination.

This one is interesting. In all the talk I've heard about this show you would think that Don Draper was Skeletor, Megatron, Serpentor, and Mum-Ra rolled into one with a dash of Voldemort, a side of King Koopa, and a glass of Lord Zedd. I wonder if the show actually does some examination of whether or not the damage done to him relates to the damage he does now or is it just week after week of "Don Draper is the devil." talk.



Do you think Don would be as popular if he had to pay for his crimes, so to speak? —Jessica Jones, SYDNEY
I think in many ways Don has had to pay for his crimes. Certainly not in the literal sense, but definitely karmically. His dishonesty with his family and with himself has come back to reap dividends, and not in a good way.

People like for villains to pay for their crimes. Makes them feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside and helps them go to sleep at night. But (and I'm not in the know on exactly what he's done mind you) chances are he has done some serious shit that would land him a nice long prison sentence if he were to literally pay for them. That would call for a pretty drastic change.



What qualities do you think men lack today that were present in those from the Mad Men era? —Octavio de la Torre, PALMDALE, CALIF.
There's a cordialness that men had when dealing with the opposite sex, even when they were being blatantly sexist. It's a weird conundrum. But that's been replaced with men treating women like absolute garbage and not even being polite about it, which is too bad.

Okay honestly this is the one that made me decide to post. Okay back in that time (just as there are now) there are types of cordialness at work here. You have the genuine cordialness that's simply a matter of being nice to everyone. This is the stuff we wish everyone had. You have the misguided cordialness that's a matter of men being socialized to think that they must a specific kind of nice to women. While not outwardly malicious it really isn't the same as genuine cordialness because it patronizing to women and and men and heaps a lot of unfair expectations on both. I think with proper guidance those who display this could be shown the way to express genuine cordialness. Then you have the truly evil type that is better called "cordialness". This is the malicious intent of feigning niceness in the thought that some sort of reward or favor will be granted by said woman (and are more than willing to take said reward/favor is things don't go their way). These are the ones you need to watch out. This is where your abusers and attackers lie.

Now depending on what type of cordialness we're talking here then I think its pretty obvious which one people would like to see more of, which one just needs to be corrected, and which one needs to simply be done away with.

Why the nuance you may ask? Because it would be foolish to think that every man alive who acts cordial can be placed in one of those three groups (and probably more if you think about it). I mean yeah it makes you feel all empowered and shit to presume the absolute worst or even absolute best faith in every man who are/were nice to women but its just not true.



What's your view on how the show has dealt with the racial and political issues of the '60s? —Leonard Colvin, NORFOLK, VA.
We've dealt with them in an honest way. I've read reviews that take us to task for not having more African Americans or dealing with gay issues or women's issues. And I think that criticism is fundamentally flawed because the show is not a travelogue through the '60s. It's about very specific people in a very specific place at a very specific time. That comes with warts and all.

Unfortunately I agree with him. Thing is women weren't where they are now back in the 60s (because if they were I think the women's movement would have shaped up pretty differently). Non-Whites were not in the same position we are now back then. If they were then at least the Civil Rights movement would have started off very differently. Gays were not as prominent then as they are now or else just like women and non-whites they're speaking up would have been differently. Not to say that this justifies a total shut out of those groups. I mean hell I'd like to see a show were men start speaking up as well but sadly such a thing would not have happened in a timed piece like "Mad Men".


You know I think I'll have to get around to watching this show some day but it will probably be a long while but I have so many other things to watch on my plate and I don't want to overload myself on tv.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is cheerleading a sport?

I think it is.

They practice and train just like basketball players.

They risk injury just like football players.

They are able to use their talents to get into college just like soccer players.

They keep the spirits of the school they represent just like other athletes.

To say its not is a slight against all those hardworking girls and boys.

This needs a Dos Equis commercial

Check this out. I can appreciate that this guy getting creative when he lost his job but trying to put a "manly bend" on cooking isn't really necessary.

I can just imagine the ad.


"Cupcakes"

::After the title ("Cupcake") fades away the camera does the usual pan around and zoom. The view comes around to The Man and he has what one would call "a dainty girly" cupcake. He says, "If the look of a cupcake stops you from eating it, the problem isn't the cupcake." Then he takes a bite out of the cupcake.::

Stay Thirsty my friends.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I'm really trying to give up my tit for tat style...

but sometimes I just can't help myself. Came across this post about MRA comedy. Frankly I think its an interesting idea. Making comedy (and hopefully generate some badly needed social commentary) about the issues that heavily affect men. At the end of the post there are a few common sayings and how to change the endings with an MRA spin.

Behind every great man...is a trail of struggles that largely go unacknowledged.

A woman needs a man like a...a man needs a woman. Yeah marinate on that one for a bit.

Boys will be...boys...as soon as they realize being a boy doesn’t mean subscribing to what other people say boys are supposed to be.

It's a man's...world. And a woman’s world. And a boy’s world. And a girl’s world. And a ________’s world. We’re all in this together.

Hell hath no fury...like a man who has finally realized there is wool over his eyes.

Okay so those are too long to put into a comedy routine but I think they are worth being said. Got any of your own?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Act like a man and get arrested

You don't have to look far for people constantly going on and on about how today's boys and men need to act right, get better, change, and otherwise "step up". Well the next time you hear someone making that complaint think about this story (via Orlando Sentinel).

Yes a 14 year old boy sees a little girl walking around lost and he decided to do precisely what the majority of boys are taught to do, help people. He helped the girl find her mom and shortly after the mom demanded that the cops be called and the boy be arrested.

Now for those of you who don't know part of growing up being a boy is that you get the idea drilled into your head that you are supposed to help people. Now while it is true that there is some patronization of presuming that people cannot help themselves and must be saved by the big strong boy/man.

The girl was 3 goddamned years old so that is not a factor here. So to be clear we are not talking about a grown woman here. We are talking about a small child wandering around by herself with no parent in site.

You see this is what boys and men are up against in a world of mixed signals. We are told that we are supposed to help people but when we do people presume the absolute worst faith and we end up in trouble. Make sure you read up on some of the other stories referenced at Glenn Sacks, including the story of the man that was charged with a sex crime for lecturing a girl after pulling her away from traffic.

So the next time someone, especially a woman, starts up about why don't men/boys do something when something bad may be about to happen think about what's going through the heads of those men/boys. its real easy to tell someone to "man up" when you have the privilege of not having your help presumed to be an act of the worst faith.

Apparently the person that coined the phrase, "No good deed goes unpunished." had the foresight to know about the predicament that today's boys/men would be stuck in.

(Just so we are clear I'm not trying to endorse the idea that only men/boys should be taught to help people nor am I saying that such a thing should be associated with masculinity/boyhood/manhood. No it should be associated with simply being a good person. My problem is that the perception of this help is heavily gendered when it should not be. Remember just because a lot of child abuse/assault is committed by men doesn't mean that most men are waiting to abuse/assault children. Most of us are regular guys that wouldn't hurt a fly. And besides most fatal child abuse is committed by mothers anyway.)

Working on being a man pt.3

(This is one of many parts in the ongoing series of working on being a man.)

Amazing that its been a month since my last post in this series. How the time flies. I was reading a post over at Zora and Alice and something hit me. In order for men to get the help they need in overcoming the ways they are marginalized by The System they need a voice and voice needs to be heard.

(I'll say that while I did post over there I restrained myself a bit but I don't think I could have gone in greater detail without derailing or being accused of "making it all about teh menz", if they are the types to use that argument. And also I think I need to go into detail here because this is where my voice is loudest and this post is about men using their voices.)

Okay when talking about marginalized people for the most part people (even so called progressive people) will go straight to presuming that men are not a marginalized group. I beg to differ. Nearly every person on this planet is marginalized in some way and being male not only doesn't protect against it but being male itself leads to be marginalized. While its nice to see other people talking about the ways in which men are harmed what I often see is this.

A given woman's advocate wants to talk about how men are harmed so they reach for some Audre Lorde, bell hooks, other women (which would include feminists constantly linking between themselves). While I do appreciate women taking interest in the concerns of men (because powers that be knows they have enough on their plates) I find it a bit odd and almost dismissive that they seem to prefer to only talk amongst themselves about how men are harmed. You see the problem here? You have people who have spoken up about how they are harmed by society because they don't want other people speaking for them and then when dealing with another group they pretty much only talk amongst themselves?

If you wanted to listen to a voice in the gay community would you listen to me or Sparky? If you wanted to hear about how it is to be a black woman would you come here or stop by Renee's? If you wanted to take peak into the life of a transgender woman would I be the correct one to look at or would it be Monica? (Mind you I am not saying that those three are the end all be all of those communities of people but I think its a safe bet that since I am neither gay, woman, or transgender I'm not what you would call a valuable source of insight into those communities.) So why would you go to feminist sites to hear men's voices?

Now I know this might sound like a slight against feminists but its not. The thing is by their very name feminists are mostly interesting in helping women and that's not a bad thing. Women want to be heard they (well not all of them but that's another story) took up the title of feminist and are demanding to be heard. Frankly men need to do the same but its not going to go well if people limit their research to nothing but women.

At the same time there are men who choose to operate under the banner of feminism. No offense to them but they don't speak for all men anymore than feminists speak for all women. Quoting some Ampersand, Hugo Schwyzer, and/or figleaf doesn't mean you suddenly know what everthing there is to know about the life of a man.

Just like with any other group if they are to be heard and helped outsiders can't limit themselves to cherry picking a few voices they like (you know, the ones that they are more likely to agree with) and try to pass them off as representative of that group. And men are no different. We have voices that aren't being used and aren't being heard. Its time that changed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weekly Mashup Stage 7

Alright I'm going start trying to build my Weekly Mashups over the course of the week instead of trying to refind all the links on the weekend.

Another step closer to future soldier technology: It would seem there are those working on a pair of briefs that can not only monitor the life signs of the wear but also have the ability to administer emergency aid on the fly. Some ole Metal Call of Honor Rainbow Filter type shit going on (mad points if you get those references).

It's Not Very Effective: It would seem that snake bit attacks are not very effective against denim type pants. Good advice for those on their journey to become a pokemon master....oh....I mean good advice for those on hiking trips.

Copyright? We don't need no stinking copyright: A post up at Techdirt about how the cooking industry has manage to no just survive but actively thrive despite not being bogged down in copyright red tape. The movie and music industries could really stand to take notes here.

BBC Radio 5 planning a "Men's Hour" miniseries: Starting July 18 BBC Radio will begin airing a multi-part miniseries focusing on men. Let's hope they bring some valuable stuff to the table.

A year without sex: Author Hephzibah Anderson tells explains why she stayed out of the sack for a year and wrote a book about it. (vid clip)

How To Make An Annoying, Painfully Trendy T-Shirt Design: Princess Sparkle Pony's Photo Blog gives a very funny but surprisingly accurate tutorial on how to make a "hip" t-shirt.

Star Spangled Panties: A funny response to the modern makeover of Wonder Woman's costume.

School appoints two Head Girls as boys fail to make the grade: My question is what does this school plan to do to get the boys up to snuff so that this doesn't happen again.

The foolish feminist: Be careful who you call a misogynist, you misandrist: Something has me mildly riled up, a ridiculous little scandal involving the silliest accusations of sexism and secretions. So permit me today a slight diversion from the usual. If you’ve ever wondered why some feminists have earned themselves such a bad name, and are at all curious about how some intriguing new experimental research demonstrates that this negative view of feminism is more than just my personal opinion and in fact runs very deep in the modern psyche, then read on.

Bulletin Board: Toy Soldier's version of a weekly mashup (from which I got that last link to Scientific American).

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Virginity is all in the mind...and that's not such a bad thing

If you look around you the people are all ablaze about the idea of virginity. Some think its a religious necessity to "keep the body pure" until marriage (yeah this one is mostly aimed at women but really the idea that a woman is "dirty" or "defiled" by having sex with a man isn't very friendly to men either). Some think its a treasure that one must guard and protect for dear life. Some act like its a curse that must be dispelled. Some act like one's virginity must be gotten rid of as soon as possible to prove themselves.

To me its just a matter of curiosity.

No I'm serious. Its become ingrained in our minds (well a lot of us) that sex is such a grand and wonderful experience that if not experienced (under proper conditions mind you) one is not whole. Okay its not that serious. To me its nothing more than another activity that I've never experienced before and would like to try.

Mind you I didn't draw this conclusion overnight. At one time I was that young horny guy that wanted to have sex more than anything else. However I was terribly shy, fat, a bit eccentric, and a slightly above average intelligence (in short a death sentence when it comes to teen relationships). But alas I did not die from lack of sex but the curiosity was still there. When I was in college I spent about the first 3 months or so actually trying to get out there and date and get sexually active. That didn't work out too well either. By the time I left college I noticed I just wasn't as hard up (you like that pun don't you) to have sex as I once was. It was no longer the center of my universe.

Now don't get me wrong when I see a woman or man that I find interesting the mind wanders but it just doesn't become all consuming like it did in my younger days. Yeah I'll spend a few minutes thinking about the mature themes and adult situations I would be with that person in (in fact I just had a round of that from watching an episode of Bones, and Gina Torres was guest starring, David Boreanaz AND Gina Torres? mmmmmmmm) but like I say its not a I must do this or I'll die situation.

In the end its only a matter of curiosity.

What is it like to have sex with a woman?
What is it like to have sex with a man?
What types of sex would I like to try?
Would there be toys and if so what would I do with them?
What does oral sex feel like?
What things have I yet to even consider much less explore?

The fact that I've never had sex with another person before (which is pretty much the closest I've come to defining virginity) is a part of my being only because it does affect my experiences, thoughts, views, etc... However it is not the main part of my being. I'm not "less of a man" because I'm still a virgin. I'm not "more of a man" because I'm still a virgin.

I'm just a guy that's curious about sex.

Quick observation

Is it me or has it become the new hip thing for feminists to use the word "dude" in a derogatory manner? It seems like when I'm looking at feminist blogs these days I see an awful lot of uses of the word. Like they are trying to take control of word so that people will eventually associate the word dude with something negative...you know kinda like how women don't like being called chicks? I don't know maybe their mad and want to spoil the word.

Theater Thursday: "Conversations with Dead People"

I'm talking about several episodes of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer tv series. Consider yourself warned.

Chances are you are familiar with the tv show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show ran from 1996 to 2003 making it one of the shows I grew up watching as a teenager. Vampires, demons, fighting, mysticism, sex, drama, violence. Everything a teen would want.

Well when talking about favorite episodes most people go right to "Hush" and "Once More with Feeling". Personally I think those episodes are way overrated. "Hush" really didn't hit on much until the last few minutes where Buffy and Riley, after being silent for the whole episode, simply stare each other in the face knowing they have to to talk (this is the episode when Buffy and Riley found about each other's side activities). Other than the song where Buffy sang about how she felt about being in heaven (after she died in the season 5 finale) but then taken away (when Willow and friends resurrected Buffy at the start of season 6) "Once More with Feeling" wasn't all that great. Personally I think all the hype was just because it was a musical episode. No my personal favorite is from early season 7, "Conversations with Dead People".

In this particular episode we see Buffy have a conversation with a former classmate who has been sired (near the end of the episode it is revealed Spike was his sire), Willow have a conversation with a classmate of Dawn's named Cassie who died a few episodes earlier, and Dawn be visited by what she thinks is the spirit of her mother (as well as some evil force trying to stop their reunion).

The point of this episode, IMO, was for The First to get a preemptive strike on Buffy and crew and it does so by way of playing on their fears.

Throughout the series there's been an ongoing theme of Buffy being destined to be alone. Despite having the loving support of friends and family in the end the Slayer dies alone. The former classmate really pushes this home during their talk. He calls out her seemingly self destructive behavior and really puts her psyche through the ringer.

After the events of season 6 Willow, while getting help with controlling her powers, is still scared of using her powers for fear of what may happen (at the end of season 6 she tried to raise a temple from beneath the ground in order to kick start another apocalypse). Cassie reminds Willow of how dangerous her powers are and how even the tiniest use could have catastrophic results.

While watching the tv and chatting on the phone at home strange things start happening in the house all around Dawn. TV working with no power, things moving on their own, and ominous knocking sounds. By communicating with the knocks on the wall Dawn learns that her mother is there and trying to contact her, but something is working against her.

Ultimately what these conversations serve to do is undermine our three characters here by playing at their weaknesses. Get Buffy to turn her back on her friends since she knows when the final shot goes off she will stand alone (which thankfully the exact opposite happened). Make Willow so afraid to use her powers that The Slayer crew would lose one of its most powerful weapons. Convince Dawn that when it all goes down Buffy won't be at her side when it really counts.

Pretty sneaky I know.

But things like this really make me think sometime. If I were a part of an army of Slayers fighting against the original source of all that is evil and The First wanted to take a crack at me what would it do? What form (The First has the ability to take on the form of anyone who has died) would it take. What weak point would it strike at and exploit?

I think in that situation The First would go after my self doubt. Something similar to Willow's conversation I can imagine The First whispering in my ear asking me, "But what will you do when at that final moment, when all the chips are down, the moment when the battle is won or lost and all eyes and hopes are on you to score the winning goal...and you fumble. How could you bear to live with yourself, live with yourself for a few seconds mind you, knowing that the world fell, that I took over, and that everyone you know and love and all of humanity will burn in the fires of anguish and torment all because you fouled up? Perhaps you shouldn't burden the others by being here. Maybe its best if you just leave and take no part in the coming battle. Leave it to the pros that know how to save the world like its supposed to be saved." But I have to say I'm drawing a blank on exactly what form the first would take. Other than my mom I've never lost someone I deeply and whole heartedly care about so much but like how Willow knew Tara would never do such a thing I know my mom wouldn't either.

Personally I enjoy pondering such things because it gives me the chance to do a little bit of soul searching and introspection.

So how about you? If the original evil were to commence psychological warfare on you what form would it take and what would it say?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Huge Episode 3: Live Action Role Play

If you hadn't already noticed my blogging about this series has focused mostly on the guys at the camp. Well to that end there really isn't much to be said about the guys in this recent episode due to it being a Becca episode. However there are two things. First my faith in the writers to do something useful with Ian is fading now. Unless something really big happens later I think he will indeed end up a love sick puppy following (yeah not even chasing just following, hoping for attention) Amber around the whole damn time. Not good. On the other hand we have been given some insight into Alastair.

Early in the episode one of Alastair's bunkmates comes to Ian to tell him that someone needs to tell Alastair doesn't shower on a regular basis and is starting to carry a serious body odor (remember they are doing physical activity and its summer time) and Ian is it.

At first Ian isn't sure how to confront him on the issue and asks George, the assistant exercise coach. Even though George had agreed to help Ian decided that he needed to be the one to tell him. Things didn't quite go so well since Ian tried to tell Alastair while they were getting ready for Becca's LARP session (yes Live Action Role Play) and Alastair was a little too in character while Ian was trying to talk to him. Ian snapped. Well sometime after the tension broke George came along to talk to Alastair. During the conversation our young shy friend tells why he doesn't shower. Its because he is scared to shower in front of the other guys. Now while doesn't exactly come right out and say why (or he may have like an idiot I accidentally deleted the episode after the first watching thus leaving me unable to watch the second one) I think I have an idea.

You see being fat usually comes with a seriously negative sense of one's own body image. Thinking you're ugly. Feeling unattractive. Afraid others will tease you. That shit does big damage to your self esteem. But mind you (as far as I recall at least) this is only speculation. He may have some other deeper reason for not wanting to shower in front of others.

And while I'm spending most of my blogging efforts on the guys I must 3 things.

1. Shay needs to turn that shit down.

2. I'm starting to get interested in Rand.

3. Becca won the episode for bringing in LAPRing.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Huge Episode 2: Letters Home

A week or so ago I talked about the first episode of the new ABC series "Huge". I was planning on using episode 2 in this coming Theater Thursday post but then I remembered that I would have episodes 2 and 3 on my hands by then and just will not do.

One thing I commented on in episode one is that while this show may try to pass itself off as an attempt to examining fat and how it affects people, namely teenagers, it looked like it was gearing itself up to examine fat and how it affects teenage girls with a few guys just sprinkled in as scenery and fodder for plot devices. Well it looks like that might not be the case. I'll warn you now that by talking about the guys on this show more than likely my posts on this show will be going in a pretty different direction than most of the blogging commentary you'll come across on this show.

Ian - Back in episode one it looked like Ian is going to be played out as a music buff that while relating to Will and finding common ground with her he will spend most of the summer pining for Amber. And it looks like it will continue that way. In episode 2 he comes up three times. First talking to Will about Amber. Second in the cafeteria where he gave a tell thinking that Will is gay (by way of "Being called queer because you hate sports." then telling Will, "No offense"). Third during one of the exercising sessions where is constantly looking at Amber and having a side conversation with a new camper.

His second mention does serve as an opportunity for Becca (who is a shy friend of Will's) speaks up in a quick moment to tell him that Will is not gay. His third mention where he had the conversation with the new camper could have turned into something. Problem is said new camper left the camp at the end of the new episode.

So by the end of episode two we know that Ian is a music fan that doesn't like sports, thought Will was gay, and things Amber is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Yeah... And I'm going to go complete and utterly apeshit if Ian does the "Oh _____. I was a fool to be so smitten by Amber when you were right under my nose this whole time! I'm so lucky!" routine. My money says if it happens it will be Becca's name in that blank.

Trent - Trent appears to fulfill the "jock" stereotype. In this episode (I don't think he was in episode one) he is introduced playing basketball. As the jock type he is really into the game to the point of taking it a little too seriously. Well this seriousness seems to have been played up as a chance for Will get another notch in her belt of teenage rebellion. But later on during a pretty heartfelt sequence Trent writes a letter home questioning why he got into athletics.

If all goes like I hope it will we will eventually see some examination on guys and athletics but more specifically big guys and athletics (considering that being athletic is one of the few times its "okay" for a guy to be fat and beyond that boys overall regardless of size have been socialized to think that participation in sports is a way to validates one's manliness). This is a phenomenon that has been very rarely examined in past tv shows and movies where instead big athlete exists for the sole purpose of being made fun of usually by the main character(s). Exposure of this would win a lot of points for this show in my book.

For I'll play Wait and See.

Alistair - Honestly I recall seeing him in episode one but I still don't recall ever hearing his name. At first he is show approaching Chloe but not saying anything and with her seemingly giving him the cold shoulder. At first I thought this was just some run of the mill "he likes her but can't say it and she really doesn't see anything in him". But in episode two after Chloe got a box of items in the mail she shared some of the items in the box with him, they exchange a few words, then she leaves in haste. Seems to me like they are related. But why would she leave so hastily?

I have to say that so far I get the feeling that I would identify with Alistair since he seems to be the type that's always around but no one notices him. Hell I'll be the first to admit that I didn't notice him that much at first and didn't pick on him until I was re-watching it. According to the wiki Alistair has two big secrets. This alone has me interested in what's in store for him (meaning that I'm not familiar with the books this series is based off of).

Overall things are starting to look interesting for the guys at Camp Victory. Let's see where we end up next week.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

I think I may be having comment problems...

A few days ago I did a post called Through a New Looking Glass: Suspecting someone might be gay. Someone by the name of Zen Turtle left the following comment:
Edit: Zen has informed me that he/she made the comment then deleted it. In accordance with that I will remove the comment from here as well. Situation averted.
Funny thing is I got the email notification of the comment (which is where I just copied it from) but the comment never showed up in my moderation queue.

My apologies Zen. The reason your comment didn't show up wasn't because I deleted it but because it never showed up my moderation queue.

Haven't had this happen before and I'm worried comments might be getting eaten.

Is anyone else having problems? If you are drop me a line at dannybois-dot-corner-at-gmail-dot-com.

So it looks like there is an excuse for domestic violence...

There are most certainly times when someone in a relationship is being abusive and the abused person retaliates with with ends up being lethal force and it makes perfect sense. Someone is abusing you and fight back in self defense and end up killing your abuser. Makes sense. However I don't think that is what happened here.

In 2006 Claire Margaret McDonald was found not guilty by Victorian Supreme Court jury for the murder of her husband Warren John McDonald. In her defense McDonald claimed that she had suffered years of abuse at the hands of her husband and killed him in self defense. In short "battered wife's syndrome". Okay I'm not trying to say that it never happens but in this case this battered wife didn't kill him in the heat of the moment or anything like that.
The court was told that McDonald had donned camouflage gear and lay in wait with a high-powered rifle for her husband to approach. She fired six shots, mortally wounding her husband.
Yeah she posted up and sniped him with six shots.

How about this one.

Later that same year Susan Falls paid Anthony Cummings-Creed $5,000 to buy a 22.calibre pistol with silencer on the black market. After obtaining the gun she prepared a meal that she specifically knew their children would not eat and added some sleeping pills to it. After consuming the meal her husband, Rodney fell asleep in the recliner. Little did he know he would never wake up.

While Rodney was sleep Susan walked up to him with the pistol, pressed it against his temple and pulled the trigger. Two hours later she came back, placed the gun under his jaw and fired again just to make sure he was dead.

Three days after the murder Susan had three friends help her clean up and dump the body in Mapleton State Forest. Shortly after she reported him missing and gave a tearful public performance hoping for his safe return. After an intense search his body was found approximately a month after his death.

Just as shocking as the murder itself are the instructions given the jury by Supreme Court Justice Peter Applegarth.:
Justice Applegarth told jurors Mrs Falls' defence lawyers did not have to prove she was acting in self defence when she shot and killed Rodney Falls, but rather the prosecution must prove she wasn't acting in self defence at the time.
In short all Susan had to do what say she was acting in self defense and all the burden is put on the prosecution. She doesn't have to prove it but the prosecution is somehow supposed to prove that she was not acting in self defense. Mind you this is a situation in which the jurors only have access to one side of story (on account of the other person being dead) and they are supposed to presume that its true.

So it should be no surprise that she was found not guilty of murder, not guilty of manslaughter, and her accomplices were all found not guilty of being accessories to murder.

Stories like this, Clara Harris, Mary Winkler and many others are exactly what you get when the pendulum swings to the other side and instead of making sure women are abused get help they are literally given a free pass on committing murder. This is not the "domestic violence awareness" or "aide" that needs to be supported. This is nothing but vigilante justice and murder plain and simple.

But until people realize that it seems that it is now okay for women to kill their husbands for whatever reason and they have a ready made defense to apply if or when the truth comes out.

Tip of the Fro to Robert Franklin.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Weekly Mashup Stage 6

I hate having to pick what to blog about but I just don't have time to do a post on every thing that catches my attention. While at work I'm about to do some surfing and pick up things to look at later but once I get home I just don't have time to cover everything and I end up having to perform triage basically. Its not like I blog full time and professionally so I don't exactly have a lot of time for. So to that end I'm just gonna have to start doing my Weekly Mashup posts more often. Here goes.

One In Three Campaign: Toy Soldier is getting the word out about a campaign that started last year to bring attention to the often dismissed problem of violence against men.

It's Friday and the Question is...: Renee is collecting coping strategies and horror stories about trolls.

Broadband connection funding: President Obama has announced intentions to set aside millions to offer broadband internet into rural areas. Let me say its going to be an uphill battle since most of the established industry tries to actively stifle competition in the broadband market.

TV Shows We Lost This Season Parts One and Two: Ed Left of Alpha Waves takes a moment to mourn the shows that will not be returning this fall.

Damn gender expectations strike again!

Okay if you're a man or woman there are certain things that you are simply expected to do because you're a man or woman. Kill the rodents, fix the car, clean the dishes, change the diapers, pump the gas, and so on. Well as fate would have it I drew an XY in the genetic lottery and thus ended up with the man's list of expectations. One of the items on my list is heavy lifting.

You see we have one of those water dispensers that uses those big jugs of water you load into the dispenser by turning it upside down. For some ungodly reason the women in the department next to us have this tendency to come straight to me when its time to replace the jug.

You would not believe how much this gets on my nerves.

You see being a guy and being a rather tall and large guy my life has pretty much been a continuous line of, "Lift this.", "Pass me that.", "Carry this.", "Move that.", and so on. So now I'm subjected to almost weekly requests to change the damn thing out. Unfortunately I haven't quite gotten up the guts to just say no (you see despite what you may think of me I'm actually a nice person).

I'm sure I'm not the only person that has to put up with this type of stuff on a regular basis. Are there any things that people expect you to just do because of your gender?

While I think the title may be a little inflammatory....

I think Pelle Billing may have a bit of a point.

It would seem that the UN has decided to unite four previously separate organizations, the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) into a single entity called UN Women.

Slated to get a starting budget of $500 million and to be headed by a to be determined person appointed by UN's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this new entity looks like it will become a driving force in help women and girls throughout the world. Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, says:
"UN Women will give women and girls the strong, unified voice they deserve on the world stage. I look forward to seeing this new entity up and running so that we - women and men - can move forward together in our endeavor to achieve the goals of equality, development and peace for all women and girls, everywhere."


Sounds good right? Sounds like good things happening for people who need help right? I think so to. So now that that this organization seems to be getting underway can we get around to finally acting like women and girls are the not only people in the world that need help?

Now notice I said that they are not the only ones. I am NOT trying to advocate taking away any of that help that's about to be going their way because they could use it. What I am saying is that why in the world to these issues so often get played up as if they are only happening to women and girls?

I'm all for helping everyone but for some reason it just seems like instead of seeing actual efforts to help everyone what I see are efforts that are set aside for women and girls only wrapped up in a promise that it will by osmosis help everyone else (everyone else being men and boys). Yes as a part of the population helping women/girls does improve the odds for everyone but should be used as a greenlight to just pass over men/boys with the belief that help will eventually get to them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Banning sugary drink machines

It would seem that the city of San Francisco has decided to ban the sale of sugared soft drinks on city property. At face value one would think that this is a good step towards improving the health of the population. But if you really think about it such a move may not be as helpful as one may think and might even be harmful. I like Jason Kuznicki's take on it.

In order to get people to think twice about what we consume its going to take more than spot banning items that are deemed as unhealthy. What it will take is educating people on how to examine the things we are consuming. And this is why I like Jason's approach. Take a look at this:
I could also point out that a tall Starbucks Frappuccino — also 12 ounces, and not covered by the ban — has 190 calories, largely from sugar and fat.
How are out attitudes supposed to change when we are told that sugar loaded sodas are bad for us while still getting the thumbs up on sugar loaded coffee like products? Hell I'd say its even worse because of the price difference. You can't chose to spend a dollar on a can of soda but its okay to spend $5 on a cup of something that has even more sugar, fat, and calories in it?

I know that the city of San Francisco would have a tough fight on its hands trying ban restaurants from selling such drinks and foods and I don't think it would be very useful anyway because just like the ban on city property you would only end up with banned products without the knowledge to know why you may not want to consume those items.

You'll notice I've said think about consuming rather than not consuming. That's because in the end there are going to be people who will choose to consume those items anyway and it would unfair to try to tell people what they can and cannot eat, which is what this ban is doing.

However even with the knowledge of what to consume and not the issues with food won't be addressed....

Beavis and Butthead revival?

If you were a teenager in the mid 90s then I'm sure you at least heard of the show Beavis and Butthead.

Idiotic antics, commentary on music videos, the occasional bit of insight.

Would you believe that series creator Mike Judge is said to be talking about reviving the show?

While I have to admit that I like the idea of seeing old favorites come back from the grave I don't think this one will stand the test of time. People like me who enjoyed that show back when it ran from '93-'97 will more than likely have moved on and will not find anything funny about updating that old routine with current music and events.

But hey if Beavis and Butthead get revived can we get a revival of Daria as well?

Do they not notice or do they just refuse to look?

As we all know there are unfair expectations that are heaped on us because of our gender and two of the most common ones is that "real women" should not enjoy sex or something is wrong with them whereas "real men" must enjoy sex at all times or something is wrong with them. You would think that folks would know this by now. I guess not.

I'm totally agree that its sexist towards women to try to block the release of birth control methods and HPV prevention methods because it will turn them into sluts. However it would appear they couldn't just stop there. No they had to go the extra mile and speak on male sexuality.:
Will people be clamoring for Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis to be yanked from the shelves because it makes the men who take it into sex-craved horn-dogs? Anyone? Bueller? Didn't think so.
Now what this person is either not realizing or is actively ignoring is that the reason that isn't likely to happen is because as far as out gender roles are concerned sexual prowess equals manliness.

The writer of that post has a link to a source that says that men men who take drugs for erectile dysfunction are two to three times more likely to contract an STD.

Yeah men are oh so f'n privileged to be expected to throw caution to the wind in the pursuit of sex.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Through a New Looking Glass: Suspecting someone might be gay

When it comes to homosexuality people seem to get very anxious and weird when they think that someone may be homosexual. I'm sure in your days of watching tv and movies you've seen scenes where someone finds out that someone is gay or the possibility that someone is gay. Why in the devil do they get so worried like the possible gay person in question is going to come after them? Is it really so bad that to have a gay person hit on you even if said gay person doesn't match your orientation? I think I may know part of the answer and I'm gonna revive this old title to explore.

Yesterday's Perception: Before I got my mind right I was one of those folks that would weird out over the idea that some guy in my class or at my job or somewhere might be gay. After that suddenly I'm careful around that person. Being mindful not to be along with them for long periods of time. Getting anxious when they are in the vicinity. And (insert deity) forbid that they touch me.

Today's Perception: That old way sounds pretty insecure, silly, and just plain homophobic right? Take a moment to think about why one would be afraid to be in contact with a person who may be gay.

First off being gay is not somehow wrong in and of itself and not some indicator that said person is bad, creepy, mean, violent, deviant, or what have you. Just like any other walk of life gay people are a mixed bag. Some good. Some neutral. Some bad.

Second part of the fear and anxiety comes the thought that if said person is gay then they themselves may be thought of as gay by association. Now while I can certainly agree that it would be wrong to presume a person's sexuality it is worth noting that maybe, just maybe, that part of the reason one does not want to be associated with a gay person is because they don't want to be targeted by some of the very homophobia that they have personally take part in.

Third let's say that said person is gay. Let's even say that said gay person does try to flirt with you. Big f'n deal. What's the difference between being hit on by a person that does match your orientation and you not being interested and being hit on by a person that doesn't match your orientation? You turn them down just like any other person you aren't interested in for whatever reason.

So in the end when you really get down to it the possibility of being gay is not cause for alarm, finding out someone is gay is not cause for alarm, and being hit on by someone who is gay is not a cause for alarm.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

This is pretty hard to listen to

I'm still listening to the BBC recording of the Scottish Parliament debate on violence against men that I brought up in my last post. And I've noticed something.

Most of the counter points involve people coming in and talking about "gendered analysis", "gendered approach", and so on. They are saying that without looking at the gender aspect of the abuse the victims will not get the help they need.

I agree with that...to a point. Yes when looking at the gender aspect of abuse we can find insight on how to help victims. Problem is, and I think the past 11 years of DV awareness of Scotland shows this, looking at the gendered aspect does no good when only look at gender through a limited lens and then try to deal with all DV through that limited view. As the recent past in Scotland shows a constant barraging of male against female violence awareness does precious little to no good (and in some cases actual harm) in confronting other types of violence namely female against male.

People like to chime off that women are the overwhelming majority of victims of DV reports. Well now wouldn't the people who go on about the "gendered approach" to DV realize that one reason there aren't that many men reporting is because of the stigma of being a male victim of DV? Typically (which is a problem in and over itself that needs to be talked about but that's another day) Scottish men are portrayed as rugged, tough, and strong, as are most men are regardless of where they are from. Now weigh that image against being abused. Of course people who are supposed to be strong and tough are going to have a hard time coming forward to say they are being abused.

If people really want to take a gendered approach to examining DV they, and more importantly the victims, can't afford to stop at "why do men abuse women?" and think that all answers about DV can be found through that single lens.

Using "safety" to stifle competition

Did I mention that I follow tech news as well?

Go give a read over of this post at Techdirt. Its about economist Raghuram Rajan, author of the book "Fault Lines", who is pointing out how small incumbents in various industries being propped up by the government not only didn't help the industries in question but actually harmed local economies by artificially killing competition. His example is of the barber industry in Japan:
Let me give an example: Japanese haircuts are extremely expensive. Part of the reason is productivity in the Japanese haircut sector is lower. So, an upstart comes up and says 'I'm going to start offering cheaper haircuts.' That's the typical way that competition pushes down prices. If you have cheaper haircuts, more Japanese will go get haircuts, and there will be more activity in the haircutting sector and you will get growth there. Well, the startup provides cheaper haircuts, but the existing barbers get anxious, because they'll have to cut prices and they're perfectly happy where they are with fewer haircuts, but getting more per haircut.

And so the "barber's guild" gets together and says: 'This is terrible. You know, this practice of offering haircuts, we have to find a way to nip it in the bud." And they have a brilliant idea. They say: "Well, offering haircuts without shampoos is un-hygienic. It's a bad idea. So, we're going to mandate that before every haircut, you have to offer a shampoo." Well, the nice thing is that all of the existing barber shops are equipped with basins and so on where you can offer a shampoo. But that new startup, because it's cutting costs and because it's cutting frills, doesn't have a basin where you can have a shampoo.

Well, in one stroke, in requiring a shampoo before a haircut, you've raised the cost of doing business for the startup. You've driven the startup to a corner. And, typically, they can't compete any more. And you've preserved the way of life for the existing barbers. In the process, though, you've far fewer haircuts in Japan than if you'd allowed much more competition.

You can see this play out in many sectors: transport, retail, construction. Where a few incumbents sort of monopolize what's going on and don't allow the kind of growth that would allow Japan domestic sources of growth as distinct from the export-sources of growth, which it typically relies on.
As you can see the tactic is for the established members of the industry to appeal to the government to pass requirements for being able to participate in said line of work. The large established people can easily meet these new standards and remain in business while any small business just starting up will now run into additional startup costs which effectively raises the bar on starting up business to a higher level for no other reason than to keep out competition. And let's face it when it comes to big business (aka deep pockets) or the little guy/girl (aka empty pockets) which way to you think governments typically go?

This is pretty much what is going on with record companies and groups that push to get rid of file sharing (instead of figuring out how to use it to their advantage like some smaller time folks are figuring out). They aren't worried about the creators of music and their interests. No they just want to make sure they are the gatekeepers of music and that the money keeps flowing in their favor.

So be mindful the next time you hear of some industry people pushing for new measure that just happens to work to their own advantage.

Two points for Scotland

Last week I came across two interesting things going on in Scotland. It looks like folks there are trying to bring some exposure to serious issues, rape and DV. Let's take a look.

First there was this piece at Men's News Daily talking about the Scottish Parliament bringing the issue of DV against men to the floor for debate.

This is a big deal because for the most part people have been led to think that domestic violence is "something that men do to women". That's not the case. However the discourse and funding for victims seems to abide by that exact myth. It's good to see that someone is starting to think about and do something about this.

Yet it looks like Labour's Johann Lamont seems dead set on pushing the idea that its okay to talk about and doing something about helping male victims of domestic violence...as long as we always bear in mind that it happens to women more. This is the exact attitude that supporters of male victims are up against. I understand her desire to get to and address the why, I'm big on the why, but it sounds like (I'm talking about the video link to BBC below) she really only wants a gendered analysis of male perpetrators and female victims. The usual smokescreen of, "I mean yeah violence against men is bad but but but but women are the real victims!!!!"

In other words its a good start but it will be a long uphill battle to help male victims of violence when facing attitudes like that.


Other links:
The Rights of Men
BBC (includes video of the debate itself)



Next over at The Curvature there is word of an ad (Cara has a transcript of the ad on her post) making rounds. The organization Rape Crisis Scotland has launched at "Not Ever" (as in "When do rape victims asked to be raped?") Campaign to raise awareness about rape. Well not about rape in general but the specific idea that women who are raped are asking for it when they dress a certain way.

Yes there is the idea that depending on how a woman dress she is asking to get raped. Bullshit. No victim asks to be sexually violated by a rapist. No victim asks to have their world shook to its very core by being violated in one of the worst ways possible. Cops. Firefighters. Doctors. Those are types people who dress a certain way to indicate who they are. Rape victims don't do that.

Other Links:
Not Ever site


These are two things that really need to make rounds around the world.

Living lives and living lies

I was hanging out with an old friend of mine yesterday and during the various conversations we had I realized something.

It hit me I was being my open self for the first time in several months (and I think it was magnified by my recent work related stress) and it sucks to not be able to do so more often.

What do I mean by that you ask? Well the thing is I pretty much live two lives. In a double life setup in my everyday life (home, work, in the community, etc...) I pretty much close off most of my personality and play my part as a wheel in the clock of life. When people ask my opinion of things I tend to edit my real answers so that I won't scare the nice people. I pretty much don't talk about my deep interests in anime, my wide tastes in music, and I just let people presume heterosexuality when sex comes up. On the other hand when I'm away from home and away from family I can really let myself go and go nuts over anime, talk about any type of music under the sun, and have no worries about checking out and talking about men and women. Hell when I'm around home and family everyone calls me Daniel but when I'm away I answer to Danny. And yes the fact that I go by Danny here is a tell that I try to keep this blog separate from my hometown life.

It's not cool having to keep them divided like this and I think its starting to take a toll on me.

The easy solution would be to move (which considering how much I hate it that's my choice) but it would be bolder to just say fuck it, open up, and do da damn thing.

Who knows perhaps one day I will.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

So I went to see "The Last Airbender"...

Alright I know everyone and their cousin has been passing judgment on the new "The Last Airbender" movie talking about how racist the casting was in that the characters, clearly influenced by Asian cultures just like most of the rest of the series, were were played by white people. Well I wanted to at least able to say I saw it before judging it (that whole "Don't knock it til you try it" thing).

Damn it was more racist than I thought.

Okay admittedly as a person who has only seen 3-4 random episodes of the cartoon I thought that it was a great movie. The moves were awesome and I liked that they didn't try to fit the entire story into one movie. And honestly I only have one problem with the movie. But its a big problem.

See I thought the entire cast was white (while I've only seen a few episodes I know enough to know that their skin color clearly shows they are not white). Oh no it wasn't that simple. They only made the main hero characters white. Meaning that Ang, Soka, Kitara, and the people of the Northern Water City (where the big climactic battle takes place) were white while the people of Southern Water Village, the people of the Earth Nation that were shown (as I understand they will play a larger role later in the story) and the Fire Nation (the main villains) were people of color.

How f'd up is that?

I have to say that even though I thought it was a good movie otherwise I'm not sure if I can bring myself to go see the sequel (well I imagine sequels since this movie is titled "Book One: Water" and the original cartoon has 3 seasons or "Books").

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Theater Thursday: Huge

No need for the usual spoiler unless you have not seen the first episode of Huge that came on this past Monday night.

Earlier this week the premiere episode of Huge aired. The series takes place at a summer fat camp called Victory (yes totally loaded title for a camp meant to get you to change by enforcing the idea that being fat is bad) where teens are sent in order lose weight.

I don't feel like going into a synopsis so go check this one out then come back.

My opinion on this show so far comes down to one thing.

Addressing the lives of fat people actually means addressing the lives of fat girls and fat boys are just scenery.

In this first episode the only fat guy we even get the name of is Ian. Granted it looks like he will get some development as the series goes on but so far the first glimpse seems to be "I'm fat and therefore I'm afraid to talk to girls" (because we all know that interaction with girls/women is the only thing fat guys are insecure about).

Really not a whole lot more to say since its only the first episode and things are getting underway. But hopefully the show will take a deeper look into fat and how it affects people.


Take it easy.