Monday, February 28, 2011

A Moment of Passion. A moment of Fusion. A moment under the Twilight.

End of the month you know how I roll.


Olaf Gutbrod - Moment of Passion
Heard this on the Cafe del Mar 25th Anniversary album (disc 1 of 3)


Melibea - Fusion
Cafe del Mar Dreams vol 4


Blank & Jones - Twilight
Cafe del Mar Dreams vol 4

Take it easy!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 40

Well people I'm back for the time being. I hate posting from my laptop so I brought my current main pc back online so I could get back into the flow of things. Discussion waits for no one.

Julie Schenecker Asks Court to Freeze Marital Assets for her Defense: "The problem comes in determining which are hers and which are Parker’s. As things stand now, she’s asking the criminal court to decide that issue, over which I doubt it has jurisdiction. Far worse, until a court separates his assets from hers, she’ll potentially be able to use his money to defend her on charges of murdering his dearly-loved children."

A New Age of Humanism?: "I'm beginning to feel a shift in the world. I'm sure I'm not the only one who senses it and I know there are many who just ignore this possibility and just focus on the contraints of the bubble they've created for themselves. In many ways, our countries are slowly learning how to break these ethnocentic, economic, racist, bigoted, politicised, ecological and religious divides."

Did the system fail Raziah?: A bit of insight on just how children "fall through the cracks" of the system that is supposed to be in place to help them.

Crisis of masculinity? Time for psychologists to study men: While I don't care much for the user of "post-feminist" in that article I do agree that it might be time for psychology to take a look at men. And when I say that I don't mean the few upper class elite men that have somehow become the official representation of our entire gender. No I'm talking about the men that make up these numbers, "The suicide rate (2) for men has for several decades been at least three times higher than that for women. To this day, national statistics show that men die significantly younger (3) than women. Men are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol (4) than women. Men make up the vast majority of single homeless persons (5). Nearly all prisoners in the UK are male (6) and the majority of these prisoners have mental health problems which means in effect that our prisons are highly populated with males who need help with their mental health."

Report: U.S. 'Decades Behind' Other Countries In Parental Leave: Oh dear it looks like the secret is finally out.

Case Study: How TED Learned That 'Giving It Away' Increased Both Popularity And Revenue:"By "giving away" the infinite for free, and helping to spread it and syndicate it as far and as wide as possible, TED was able to massively boost its brand awareness and interest, and increase the value of the seats. And that's increased in almost every way. They moved the conference to handle more people and increased the price and introduced a (only slightly) cheaper "simulcast" conference and added additional events. And an awful lot of that is due to the publicity generated from the free TED talks." Have to admit they have a point. I had never heard of this conference until this year and it was all over the place.

Jessica Simpson Must Lose Weight Or The Wedding Is Off: I say she sheds a whole lot of weight and dumps the jerk. Her fiancee is apparently very active and big into fitness. Its one thing to want to marry someone with similar tastes and lifestyles but ultimatums are a bad sign. Especially when they haven't even gotten married yet. I think I can safely say that no partner is worth your body image.


Hell....Yeah!!!


Catch you on the flip.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Did they miss something?

I missed the original run of The Tudors on a count of not having the channel it aired on. Well a few weeks ago reruns started playing on BBC America and took up the chance to finally getting around to watching it (I'm a bit of a fan of historical dramas like that). Well I got to about episode 5 when something hit me. I'm pretty sure Henry VIII was not that small of a man.

 


On the left is a portrait of Henry VIII and on the right is a photo of Jonathan Rhys Meyers who played Henry VIII on the show. See the difference? Now I know that Henry VIII actually went through a period of significant weight gain in the later part of his life. What I'm wondering is (and remember I haven't seen the entire series yet so I may be wrong here) will they actually incorporate that in later episodes. With the way fat is portrayed on tv these days I would not be surprised if it doesn't come up.

But I can be hopeful right?

A Voice for Men coming to Blog Talk Radio

It would seem that Paul Elam has gotten his funds and equipment right and is set to start up a weekly BlogTalkRadio show.

I've read some of Elam's material before so I'm interested in how his BTR show will play out.

The show is set to kick off this Tuesday March 1 at 9pm EST.

Good Luck Paul.

Perhaps not the greatest jump off point.

So it would seem that the Mens Health Blog has taken on a feminist writer by the name of Kiera Aaron. Not a bad idea in and of itself. Sounds like the folks over there are trying to include more perspectives. Nothing wrong with that right? Well there is one thing about her introduction post that turns me off.

While Keira does the usual job of going after the hyperbole and stereotypes of what people think a feminist is she does absolutely nothing to address where the actual justified negative opinions of feminists and feminism come from.

No mention of how there are actual feminists that hate men. No mention of how some feminists deny the experiences of men (and those of women that don't tow the line). No mention of how some feminists try to take credit for anything that may be positive and try to make it synonymous with the adjective use of the word feminist. No mention of how outright dismissive, condescending, and downright hostile a lot of feminists can be. No mention of how some feminists engage in some of the very behaviors that they claim to be against. And so one and so on.

By no means am I trying to say that feminism is nothing but a hate movement but for someone that that wants readers to, "...forget what you think you know about the “F Word,” have an open mind, and get ready to talk sex, stereotypes, pop culture, and possibly definitely not bra burning." you would think that they would get an actual handle on why people hold the opinions they do about feminism and feminists rather than just propping them up as perfect infallible angels that commit no wrong but are always under relentless attack.

Thing is there is a lot of negativity in that movement and trying to sweep it under the rug like it doesn't exist doesn't help feminists themselves and it sure as hell doesn't help folks like me that have been turned off by said negativity.

Hell you could almost call that post feminisplaning (nod to the feminists that haven't been able to go a day without using the word mansplaning since they found out it was the next hip silencing tactic).

I wish Kiera luck over there but just coming in and basically telling people their opinions on feminism are nothing but bullshit and stereotypes might not be the greatest jump off point.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weapons of Mass Discussion

As you may know my dealings with feminists have not been all that great. And as a result I do get and often give into the urge to attack them on sight. Then it doesn't help that I then see them go on about how they get treated so unfairly. Which prompts me to lash out at the lashings I've gotten from them. A vicious cycle indeed. Well in my continued effort to clear the air I think it might be worth taking inventory of the weapons we use against each other.

Now let's get something straight. I'm not under the impression that the various ways people use to shut out others or attack them are in and of themselves the problem. They are not and are only a manifestation of something underlying. I want to get to that underlying. Let me explain.

For example Al Queda isn't dangerous because they access to AK-47s and bombs. Those weapons are just the tools they use to carry out their purpose. What makes them dangerous is their desire to change the world to their liking, what they are trying to change it into, and their willingness to use any means they can (up to and including violence) in order to do it.

To make it more personal one of the most dangerous things about me is that I hold grudges. If you hurt me I am consumed with the desire to hurt you back. And nothing will stand in my way. I'll derail, break commenting policies, and get downright rude. My willingness to do those things isn't the problem in and of themselves. The grudge alone isn't the problem. If you took away the painful things the lead me to giving into the grudge would still be there and chances are I would problem just pull another weapon from the armory.

However the grudge does need to be addressed. What causes? Why am I so temped to give into it? What can I do to overcome it?

Its going to take some serious healing to get past this. And let me tell you telling me to "just get over it" does NOT help. In fact that feeds it even more. So its going to take real effort to actually address and deal with my grudging ways.

I'm sure there are other tendencies, tools, weapons, and things that people use to attack and shut other people out.

Do you know of any?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

So about this Nook...

I fucking love it. The idea of being able to buy and read books in the (literal, I have large hands) palm of your hand is just great. The idea of the ebook reader is just great. I can sit in my bed and read while not having to hold a paper book open (which is surprisingly difficult with large hands so I don't know how people with normal sized hands do it). And to make it cooler it has an built in music player so I no longer have to play music from my pc. I'm really enjoying it. Next step is to accessorize it with a cover and light. I've already knocked out three short stories (they are listed as books but the length pretty much shows they are short stories).

Do you have an ebook reader and if so which one?

PS - The most interesting thing I've read so far? "The Princess and The Penis". Its a blend of The Princess and the Pea and the generic "person turned into ____ by a spell and can only be freed by a kiss" (and guess what the person is turned into). Funny and pretty thought provoking. And its free.

Edit: Just in case you shopping for an ebook reader I've got two links to share:
LCD vs. e-ink: The eyestrain debate: On the difference between LCD and e-ink screens (the original Nook that I have use e-ink vs the Nook Color that uses LCD).

Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad: Which e-book reader should you buy?: A face off between the major ebook readers.

How do you stay connected?

One of the most important things you need if you're gonna call yourself a blogger is sources. Sources for facts, sources for reports and studies, sources for news, sources for events. These things are the life blood of many bloggers.

And they are also one of my biggest weak points.

Over time I've only managed to collect a rather small set of places I to read and places to pull information from. I need to work on that. I think my main problem is that I don't have a lot of time to do the looking and scouring needed to get the good stuff. I look at my time during the day and in addition to being at a job where most of the internet is blocked for about 8hr. and sleeping for about 6hr that leaves me about 9hr for everything else. Not a whole lot to work with right?

So my question you more seasoned bloggers (or at least those with better time management skills) how do you look for news and do you have any particular gems you're willing to share?

Project PC Status: Suspended (For Now...)

Things did not go so well with building my new pc (as far as I can tell all the hardware is on point but the OS wasn't). I get paid tomorrow and at that point I'm doing the one thing I was trying to hold off on until a few months down the road, buy a copy of Windows 7. But in the meantime my main pc has been down for too long. There's too much going on so I had to come back.

As they say in the rap videos, "Its on."

Monday, February 21, 2011

Weekly Menu Feb. 14

This is actually one I did last week and never posted.

Chicken and Brocooli Rotini Bowl


Whole Wheat Rotini noodles

Two heads of fresh Broccoli

Two cans of whole button mushrooms (I used two cans because each can was only 4oz each)

4 Cubed Chicken Breasts

1 Jar of Alfredo Sauce

This is going to make four servings with a bit of noodle/broccoli/mushroom/sauce mix left on the side.

Cook the rotini by the basic boiling directions that are on the box. I used about 3/4 of the box, which turned out to be a bit too much. Once they are done you can go ahead and put some on your serving plate.

Wash and cook the breasts (I pan fried mine in oil and spiced it with ginger, black pepper, and a bit of sea salt) and put them on your serving plate.

Fry up the mushrooms with the same oil and seasoning as the chicken (in fact I didn't even wash the skillet between the cookings). Put on serving plate.

You can even still do the same with the broccoli. However unlike the other ingredients you aren't so much frying it as just steaming it enough to bring out its color. Don't leave it on too long or it will get mushy. Crunchy broccoli is good broccoli. Put on serving plate.

In your skillet heat up your alfredo sauce. I added some cayenne pepper and garlic powder to mine. Pour over the ingredients on the serving plate.

You may be asking why I'm saying serving plate when the recipe has bowl in the name. Well that's because when I made this I was making my lunch for the week (Mon. - Thurs., I always have a burger from a local restaurant on Fri.) and hence put them containers. Well Chickent and Broccoli Rotini Container doesn't sound right so I changed it to bowl. There you have it.

Enjoy!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Not quite...

Okay the battle over my pc is serious. The hardware is all in place I'm just now having problems with the operating system. I'm trying to install Unbuntu but its a slow go (if you are reading and have tips by all means share the wealth).

Later.

Weekly Mashup Stage 39

Its the end of the week you know how we do things around here. Let's do it.

Hello, I'm Fat: It would seem that Lindy West has found it necessary to take Dan Savage to task on his fat hatred. You should listen Mr. Savage. And ensure that West does not have to have that conversation again.

30 Creative and Funny Egg Photography: These are just too awesome.

Get your Mario on.

How To Debunk A Fact-Free Fox News Fearmongering Piece About New Video Game: Its amazing how it seems that people from all sides think that kids (but let's face it they mean mostly boys) are just oh so impressionable that they need the government to step in. Kudos to Mike on collecting those debunkings and kudos to the people that did the debunkings.

Leg Shaving Flow Chart: That's hilarious.

Why You Should Be Against "Male Studies": While I agree it should not be necessary I'm not so sure I'm willing to go so far as to say that I'm against it. But I'll give that blogger some kudos for coming up with some actual reasons rather than just pissing and moaning it and dismissing it as anti-feminist.

The Internet's Most Pointless Controversies: How Many Toes Does Yoda Have?: For when you've solved all the other debates and you have time to start working on the real stuff.

Okay I had to cut this one off short on a count of my main machine still being out of commission. Hopefully I'll be back up in the next day or so.

Take it easy!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Out of office...well sorta.

I've finally gotten my new pc put together. But as a result I have to use my only mouse and keyboard to get the software installed. I'm posting this from my laptop which has a horrible and need to be replaced keyboard. That means Danny's Corner will be out of commission for the next few days. As always the comments are on post moderation so they will show up as you post them and will be subject to moderation when I get back online. Play nice folks!

What if John Hughes directed a Legend of Zelda Movie?

May his dearly departed soul rest in peace. John Hughes was the director that put a big screen voice to the teenagers of the 80s. Well as you know in the late 80s Link, Zelda, and Ganon were just getting their eternal conflict revved up. So as the title asks what would happen? I'm sure you've never asked yourself that but since you started reading I bet you are now. So here goes.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Overcompensating?



Meet Hakan, one of the new additions to the Street Fighter world introduced in Super Street Fighter 4 (and listen to his theme music, its actually pretty cool).

Hakan is Turkish businessman who specializes in oil. In fact he even incorporates oil in his fighting style as a practitioner of Yağlı güreş, type of wrestling based around making one's body slick with oil.

Maybe its because of my sexuality but I somehow managed to miss something.

You see with a style like that people like to make gay jokes about him. Take a look at these moves he can perform.



Pretty serious homophobia inducing action there right? Well it would induce homophobia if you had a problem with two men touch in any manner that might be thought of sexual (no matter how far the stretch, remember its a fight) and/or have a problem with two men touching in an actual sexual manner. But don't worry Capcom thought ahead and made sure to work him up in a manner that would make it abundantly clear that our Turkish challenger is not gay.

Go back up to the top and look at the clip with his theme music. Go ahead I'll wait....

Okay did you notice the seven girls and grown woman with him in the picture? Yeah they are his wife and daughters. A wife sure but on the real SEVEN daughters? I guess they decided on no sons because then that would mean that another guy would grow up to be a gay oily wrestler right? And besides that did they really think it would take seven daughters to make sure we all know he's straight? Just for clarification about the only other characters I can think of in all of Street Fighter who have kids are Guile, Ken, and Crimson Viper and the only one's I can think of who have spouses are Guile and Ken.

I think they tried just a little too hard. I mean goodness would it really hurt to have a character in a game that didn't where heterosexuality on their sleeve? Its not like an actual gay fighting (or any genre for that matter) character would be so bad. But in an ideal world there would be no "need" to try at all right?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I wonder...

(I'm gonna be talking about The Holocaust in this post and talking specifically about Hilter. Tread accordingly.)


Epic Rap Battle 2: Darth Vader vs Adolf Hitler


I've spent a lot of time watching this video in the last week or so (there's five altogether in the series so far) and I got to wondering something.

If you know anything about Vader and Hitler you that they are two of the most genocidal, homicidal, and outright evil people you can think of.

Vader, after betraying the defender of justice who counted him as one their own, went on a rampage of darkness that lasted about 30 years under the leadership of Emperor Palpatine. During this time millions were killed and enslaved, whole planets stripped of resources and left barren, and most of the galaxy was a very dark place.

Hitler, after rising to power, reigned terror over Europe for years and was a viable threat to the rest of the world. During World War 2 the Nazis under his command were responsible for the deaths of millions of Jewish people and the scarring of the lives of (I'll bet literally) countless others.

As you can see both men have racked up pretty impressive, oppressive, and frightening rap sheets.

So why is it that while Hitler is (for the most part) properly held up for what he was responsible for while Vader is regarded as one of the coolest fictional characters of all time?

Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to start some anti-Star Wars beef or anything like that. I'm just wondering about what it is that causes people in our society to glorify and praise extreme violence like that.

What do you think?

(And for the record Vader go owned in that battle.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is a biological factor really a privilege?

I read Ta-Nehisi Coates off and on and while I usually agree with what's talking about I'm not sure about the last part of one of his posts on childbirth.

Don't get me wrong I agree with the vast majority of what he says in that post. It is certainly true that childbearing and birth is a VERY risky process for women and I'm not trying to argue that. It is also true (no need to agree with it the numbers say so) that maternity deaths among women are still a big problem even in modernized nations like here in The States. And I'm with him on this:
Its courageous work, which inspires in me a degree of admiration exceeded only by my horror at the notion of the state turning that courage, that hard labor, into a mandate.
However there is one thing I can't agree with:
But it can not obscure perhaps the most specific and nameable species of male privilege--of all the things that may one day kill me, pregnancy is not among them.
I'm sorry but (and maybe its my understanding of the concept of privilege and Coates is talking about something else) that doesn't sound like a privilege to me.

Let me explain what I'm thinking when it comes to privilege. To me (and I think this is the result of my time in blogging about various privileges and dis-privileges) privilege is something that someone has access to and someone else doesn't due to factors that are truly unrelated to the something in hand. Here's an example.

A woman and myself send in our resumes to get a job. The hiring manager pick one of us or the other based solely on our gender, thinking "Oh they're a _____ and the other one is a ______." Now with the exception of a very small list of things there is absolutely no justifying hiring a person of a certain gender just because they are that gender. If no matter what position is up for grabs there is no way to back up the claim that one of us would be the better candidate just because I'm a man and she's a woman or the other way around (despite the fact that there are folks out there that believe such sexist nonsense).

Back up to Coates post. To me a biological difference is not privilege. Its just a biological difference. My not having to face the difficulties of pregnancy is no more a privilege than a cis-woman not having to face the possibility of being diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Again I'm by no means trying to say that pregnancy is easy (how am I supposed to know?). I'm by no means trying to say that women don't face real danger during pregnancy. I'm just saying that I'm not so sure you'd call a cis-man's not facing that danger a privilege when its based on a biological impossibility.

Mmmmm....this again....


From the anime Umineko no Naku Koro ni (roughly translates into "When the Seagulls Cry") episode 22. If you like suspense and mystery with a twist of magic you should give it a try.


To get you up to speed for the sake of my point the little girl (Maria) crying on the floor at the start of the clip is crying because her mom (Rosa) just destroyed her favorite toy (which Rosa herself made) in an act of rage. If you pay attention the next minute or two is a build up of why Maria is angry with Rose (the breaking of her toy was just the straw that broke the camel's back). At about the 2:50 mark Maria lashes back. And she lashes violently. To be exact Maria is a witch and with the help of her teacher has the power of resurrection. Maria proceeds to go on a vicious loop of killing and resurrecting her mother Rosa.

At first I was doing the usual "Damn!" type reactions and was even cheering her on. But then I started to feel sorry for Maria. To have been hurt by someone or something so badly that they find solace in repeating a cycle of hatred and violence.

While nowhere near as bad as our young Maria here I can understand the concept of being hurt so badly and so often that you want to lash out every chance you get. In my case specifically when it comes to gender my target of choice are feminists. They aren't all bad but frankly speaking I've been on the receiving end of some pretty fucked up treatment by these folks who talk themselves up as if they were the one true way to equality. Being told that my gender has nothing to do with the pain I've felt. Being told that I have no idea what sexist treatment feels like. Being told that my privilege washes away my dis-privileges. Being told that I should pretend my life is a cake walk because of my gender. I'm sure you get the idea. After getting treated like that I've come dangerously close to developing a a truly hateful anti-feminist attitude (I came from that place not too long ago). And in all fairness I'm sure there are feminists who feel the same way because they've been treated similarly.

Well when you have a gathering of people who are suffering from pain and some of the other people on other sides of the conversation match the description of those that hurt you...well sparks can fly. Nothing on the scale of what I showed above (which I only showed because it was the first example of someone's pain causing them to lash out in horrendous ways) mind you but the words in such a conversation can get very fiery very quickly. In fact such a thing seemed to about to happen over at Clarisse's place. As best I can tell it started to happen right about here (If someone else like Clarisse herself happens to drop in to clarify it would be appreciated. That thread is pretty long.)

Even after getting in on the pile up myself I have to say that ultimately its counter productive. I'm sure you've heard some quip, metaphor, or proverb that pretty much translates into something like hate only begates hate. True. If we just give in to our desires to lash out at those that harmed us while it feels good in the short term in the long term its not doing us any good.

However. Even though such anger is ultimately useless it must be confronted. Trust me when I say that trying to tell someone to just "get over it" when they are angry rarely works.

Which comes down to one big question. Where can one go when trying to resolve that deep seated anger that is at the edge of spilling into outright hatred? I think Clarisse has made it pretty clear she doesn't want that conversation going down in her space (feel free to correct if you will). I'd be up for it but I just don't have the community built up for it (kinda hard to offer therapy when no one knows about you). But whereever the place may be all this anger needs a place where it can be resolved. Not to be confused with a place where people are allowed to simply simmer in it for all eternity. While those places can be good that can be poisonous if you sit there too long.

The standoffs have to end. The firefights must cease. The hatred must be confronted.

We just have to figure out how and where to do it.

Any ideas?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Damn. There's that day coming again.

Monday is Valentine's Day. Whoopty Fucking Doo.

You know between men fretting over what to get for the women in their lives (and being treated like fools that deserve punishment for getting the wrong gift, much like Christmas), women have pissing matches over who got the nicest gift delivered to them at work (and being treated like magical sex altars whose legs part upon presentation of the right gift), and the capitalist overlords that reel in laughter at the whole exchange I refuse to have anything to do with it.

Just let me know when its Feb. 15 an all the candy goes on clearance. That's about the only thing worthwhile about the whole day.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 38

So how is it hanging people? Got anything interesting to share?

Why I Am a Pro-Feminist Man: While not enough to get me to magically forget and forgive all the times I've been burned by feminists and their dirty tricks (and I'm pretty sure that wasn't his point so oh well) and I don't fully agree with everything he says here I can see that Richard's heart seems to be in the right place on his feminist identity.

Black men steamed by Brooklyn nun Mary Turcotte's fake rape claim: My money says that the only outrage people will talk about is the race angle. Why do I say that? Because it seems that men are only a class when there's responsibility for bad behavior to pass around. Other than that we are individuals. I'm just glad people don't ask me why I don't line up with any of the various sides in the human rights debate. If you think that this is only bad because of race then you have my answer. Well if you think its only because of gender then you also have my answer. And if you one of those people that insist that the only people harmed by false rape accusations are women who raped then you definitely have my answer.

Fat People Art Week: If only I had some artistic skill...

The FBI Says Men Can’t Be Raped: So you see its not just the man-haters that think men can't be raped....or does thinking can't be raped make on a man-hater?

The music dies for once popular 'Guitar Hero' video game: It would seem that the makers have decided that the Guitar Hero is no longer a viable cash cow. Eh I like Rock Band better anyway.

Egypt Unrest Creates Scam Attempts: As always when there is a real emergency there are vultures waiting in the wind to swoop in and score some cash for their own pockets by exploiting the charity of people who really want to help.

What Does Being a Man Mean to You?: Don’t get me wrong – I like penises. They can be highly entertaining, sometimes cute, and tend to look good in designer briefs (often better than they do without them). But to base an identity on something so undependable and unpredictable is a huge psychological risk.

Next week.

Oh my oh my where are my manners?

Did I tell you folks that April has jumped the Wordpress ship and his now setting up shop over here on Blogger? She seems to have the place up and going fine now. Let us hope her links are many and 404 errors are few.

Friday, February 11, 2011

No, I won't bow my head and pray

I'm agnostic. To be exact and after reading up on it a bit (by bit I mean like 5min. on wiki) I think I would fall into the Weak Agnostic camp. Do you know when I feel the most confusion over my religious beliefs?

When someone is about to bless the meal and everyone is asked to bow their heads and pray.

You see for the longest time when that time came I simply bowed my head and prayed not even really thinking about whether or not I really believed in said religion. Well then I started to think about it a bit and from there I ultimately decided that the variations of Christianity I've been exposed to just weren't for me.

However when it came time to bless the meal I still bowed my head.

Why?

A trained response maybe. Maybe I had just gotten so used to doing it that I just did it out of reflex. Fear of being "bad" perhaps. Perhaps I was bowing my head so that I could "fit in" and not cause any trouble. Whatever the reason even after concluding that I was not a Christian of any sort I still bowed my head at blessing.

That is until a few years ago.

At this point I realized two things.

1. To bow my head in psuedo prayer was kinda of insulting to the ones that actually were praying. I have to admit that if I were Christian (or whatever religion) I would feel a bit insulted if I knew that someone was pretending to pray.

2. I was insulting myself. If I have concluded that I'm not a Christian and therefore do not participate in their activities.

So next time you are at a meal with me and someone asks that we bow heads to bless the meal no I'm not bowing my head. I'm just sit there quietly and wait until you finish. The least I can do is respect your practice right?

However there is one trick this. Christmas. Okay honestly I grew up on the notion that Christmas is all about cooking, eating, getting together with friends/family, partying, school breaks (if you're in school), and exchanging gifts. All things that happen pretty regularly outside the Christian tradition. But I'd be lying if I tried to say that I was not partaking in a Christian tradition though. I guess that's just one piece of cowardice I've yet to get over.

Come to think of it there's this woman in my office who is a Jehovah's Witness and every year when we have our office Christmas Lunch she doesn't participate. And while I do not act like she was wrong for not doing those things (but some of the Christians in the office thought and acted like she was) I did think she was weird for not at least joining us for the Lunch (its just a meal right?). Nor does she engage in exchanging gifts. Maybe if I were not Agnostic but actively practiced a different religion I would have disconnected myself from Christmas a long time ago. Perhaps I would have never connected to it in the first place which is what I guess is her case.

What do you think about this?

(Don't ask me to explain the connection but this post came to mind while I was reading this article about a Catholic Confession App from the iStore)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Time to ante up

As you recall I am in the midst of expressing my displeasure over the ads that were shown during the Super Bowl this past weekend. Of particular interests was the "Love Hurts" Pepsi Max ad. Well I went to the main site for the contest to discover that the other four ads weren't that much better. So I decided to say something about it.

The only method of contact I found was the Contact Us section of the main Pepsi website. Here's a copy of what I plan to submit.

To whom it may concern,

Recently I saw one of the ads that was a part of your recent "Crash The Super Bowl" contest for fan made ads for your Pepsi Max product. While I understand that you are trying to foster a relationship with your consumers I have to say that the 5 ads that were selected at finalists (and the 3 that were chosen as winners) seem to invoke rather persistent and negative stereotypes. Of the five finalist ads (going from left to right on the finalist section of the http://www.crashthesuperbowl.com/ site):

1. Invoked the notion that women are obsessed about their weight to the point that they can't even interpret the mere mention of a lack of calories in a drink.

2. Invoked the idea that hitting men in the testicles is funny rather than a problem.

3. Invoked the notions that women are only plotting to get into men's wallets while men are only plotting to have sex with women then playing up how important Pepsi Max is by implying that discussion over it is more important that those notions.

4. Invoked the notion that female against male violence is not only a problem but is actually okay. This seems to be backed by the idea that said man somehow deserved it.

5. Invoked the notion that women are so obsessed with their weight that they go into fits of disbelief over a product that can taste good and have no calories.

And by no means are these the only problems with these ads (especially the fourth one). I understand that while Pepsi's marketing division did not create these ads I think Pepsi still holds some accountability due to the fact the ads were allowed to be featured in the contest. Simply put the content of these ads and the notions they invoke in order to sell Pepsi Max bothers and I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one. I do sincerely hope that such this line of advertising is not indicative of what the Pepsi Corporation thinks of the people its wishes to purchase its products.

Thank You for Your Time,

I think what matters here is to get the point across while trying to be civil. I'm going to take a day or so to think about this before actually sending it.

By chance do you have any suggestions on how to reword my letter or perhaps even another method of contacting Pepsi with my concerns?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Back to action

I was watching a Law & Order: SVU marathon on Sunday and between that and surfing the net I just didn't care about the Super Bowl or the round of ads that sometimes get more hype than the game itself. As I said I'll be going at these over time as I catch them. I'm just gonna make a post for them as I see them.

My thanks to the crew over at Feminist Critics for showing me the first two targets. As an advance warning the first ad may very well trigger boys/men who have been attacked by women and those of us with testicles may have a hard time with the second one.

No the things I point out in these posts aren't the only problems with those ads but I'm not going to pretend that I can see everything wrong in them. And that goes for any I come across in the future.


Okay right out the gate we can see that this ad holds up the idea that women harming men is not a problem but rather funny and that he deserves it for not making the right choices. Now I'm sure there are people that will somehow try to twist into the black woman (who is portrayed as the "sassy black woman") being the victim here by some way of trying to say that this allows people ignore male against female violence. Bullshit.

The thing is female against male violence is not only not seen as not wrong but as you see here its not simply justified but is actually encouraged and makes a clever marketing tool. I'm willing to bet there are a lot of people out there that even they haven't been abused by women (myself included, I've never been abused but this ad does not sit well with me) do not like this ad. And that's not even counting the men who have been attacked in such a manner and watched this ad. I wonder how many of them saw it and felt they had to stay silent. Problem is no one will want to listen to them because the message that if a man is attacked by a woman he deserves it is so ingrained into our culture that such men that do say something about this will be written off as cowards, pansies, pussies (all loaded words with problems of their own) and my personal favorite trying to "make it all about teh menz". Something must be done about that.

(Oh and at the end where she hits that white woman with the can. Is it me or does it look like she was aiming for her husband and merely hit that woman by mistake? Or that the commercial started off when her intentionally hitting her husband in a crowded restaurant and it was no problem but possibly accidentally hitting another woman when there's no one else on screen means its time to run. I'm sure there's some race tied in with that one too.)

I am so glad this was only a finalist. Even though I'm disappointed in Pepsi for even allowing this ad to run in the competition. You can't tell me that they didn't have the authority to not allow this entry (you know those contests almost always have a clause that says they have the right to refuse any entry or at least they'd be setting themselves up for disaster if they didn't).

Edit: Oh my goodness. I just went to the site and apparently it won. Does this mean we will be subjected to this shit for the next several months? Fraid so.


As we all know one of the classic marketing tools to get someone to buy their products is to liken the opposite choice with a really terrible thing. Don't buy the right car and you family will get injured. Don't buy the right toothpaste and your teeth fall out. You get the drill. This time its "driving without car insurance is like getting kicked in the testicles".

(I wonder how they market to people who don't have testicles? Well I suppose you could argue that its about "genitals" in general and not specifically testicles but if that were the case then wouldn't there have been some people other genital arrangements getting the same treatment? Oh rest assured it would still be wrong because from what I understand getting hit in the genitals is very painful even if your genital arrangement doesn't include testicles. But that wouldn't be as socially acceptable though...)

I've asked before and I'll ask again. Why is it so hard to come up with an ad campaign that doesn't depend on harming (physical, emotional, or otherwise) a segment of people? Is human nature so fucked up that we can't get behind an ad campaign unless we can laugh at someone else?

These are only the first of many I'll bet...

Getting back on and riding again....

(Let me start by giving thanks to the kind and reassuring words I received during my time of need last week. They helped. A lot.)

Okay if you recall recently I decided that just had to take a break from blogging about gender here. At first I thought it was really freeing until I realized that like time gender (and the issues associated with it) march on. That goes for person things like still having to put up with sexist remarks and on the bigger picture like the sexism that men as a whole have to put up with.

Thing is I was getting dangerously close to getting back to where I was only about 3 years ago thinking that as a man no one really gave a shit about me. And while I think that's still true in a lot of places I was also about to give in to simply writing off the slightest hint of anything that perceived as anti-male hatred as bullshit and tell people to take a long walk off a short pier.

But then I remembered that that's not the way.

There are already too many people in this world that walk around all day everyday thinking, well more like "knowing", that the life of a man is a cake walk (or that they already know what all the problems are and therefore don't need to hear from people who actually live it). If I were to just start blindly writing people off in blind rage I would pretty much play into their hands. I can't let that happen. So while I can't promise that I'll never burn out and take a break again (because frankly the poison is still there, and I have no idea what the antidote is) I can say that while the playing fields we deal with today are not even I'll continue to do my part in trying to balance them.

Its important to a lot of people to get off the horse and take the occasional break. But for the time being we still have a lot of travelling to do before we get to the promised land where people are free to live their lives the way they see fit rather than trying to conform to what society tells they should based on certain characteristics.

So yes. I'm back and I'm ready to get going again.

First order of business is some ads that started playing a few days ago....

The Big Game drags me back in...

I suppose its a good thing I took my gender break because the small taste of the ads that premiered during the Super Bowl the other night do not bode well with me. I'll be taking time to look them up as best I can this week and rest assured I'll be posting about them.

Got any links and/or commentary to share on the latest round of Super Bowl ads?

Monday, February 7, 2011

Fan Video 101

Are by chance familiar with taking previously unrelated audio and video clips and putting them together? If you've been checking out my song title link posts that I've been doing for a while then you have at least seen them. Well I don't think I've ever taken the time to actually talk about them.

You see when people do these videos they are putting a lot of hard work, time, and effort into making videos for themselves and for their fans. Let's look at an example:

Boards of Canada vs. North Korea

The video you see is one that was done by a person who took a recording of the song "Left Side Drive" by Boards of Canada and set it with video clips of (what appears to be) Korean children doing some sort of dance or exercise (my guess is its exercise meant to be like a dance in order to keep the kids from getting bored with monotonous motions). Oh and as you can see the person named it "Boards of Canada vs. North Korea". You will often see the use of vs. whenever someone takes two things and put them together. People who do musical mashups (we'll get to that in a bit) tend to use that but as you can see it applies here as well.

Now bear in mind that there are lots of creative people in this world and with all those minds at work chances are people will get similar ideas. Take a look at this video.


Boards of Canada - The Left Side Eye of Night

It would seem that someone else decided to use "Left Side Drive" by Boards of Canada for their own idea. Now if you look closely instead of "Left Side Drive" the user made up the name "The Left Side Eye of Night". No this isn't the name of a Boards of Canada song this is that person taking the name of the original ballet clip "The Very Eye of Night" (by Maya Deren) and mixing it with the title of the song "Left Side Drive" in order to get "The Left Side Eye of Night". Sounds pretty cool right?

In fact there are lots of songs that are really popular that a lot of different people choose to use to make their own fan videos. If you were to start making videos yourself chances are you may decide to use a song that lots of other people have used already but don't let that stop you.

Let's go back the use of vs. that I mentioned earlier.

Most of the time when you see vs. in music its the result of someone taking two songs that may have some sort of similarities (or music from two artist who have some similarities) and mashing them together. This may also sometimes be called a mashup. Look at this example (which by the way was done by a friend of mine and I just made up a slide show to go with the song).


Daft Punk vs. Kanye West


Now for those of you who do not know know years ago Daft Punk did a song called "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and Kanye West sampled (as in took a sample of the beat and made a different but similar song out of it) and did a song called "Stronger". Well a buddy of mine decided he wanted to mash the two of them up and see what he could come up with. In order to have something other than just a single image for 7 minutes I threw some images of the two and set them to change when the beat changed. What do you think?

Sometimes this concept is taken to such levels that sub genres develop. One such sub genre is the anime music video aka AMV (which if you've been looking at my song title link list posts that I've been doing you've actually seen a few of). When talking about AMVs you're talking about videos in which people take either video clips of existing anime and lay audio clips from something else (from music, to other shows/movies, commercials, to other pop culture references) or take audio clips of existing anime and lay video clips from something else. (Although you're more likely to see the first.) Here's an example:


Drowning Pool's "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" laid over video clips of an anime called Higurashi.


You see this fits will considering that Higurashi is series in which a lot of violence and death occur. People use all sorts of music and clips for these things so don't be scared to go looking for some. Oh one thing. There is a series of AMVs knows as "AMV Hell". Rather than just using music the makers of these videos use all sort of references ranging from Red vs Blue to Tootsie Pop commercials to Kill Bill. While serving as an excellent example of what I'm talking about I can almost guarantee that there is something in those videos that will offend you.

So there you have it. A basic look at what fan videos are and a few examples to boot. However I've always wanted to make my own. I have an idea but my pc is not the greatest at handling video. But I am in the final stages of building a new pc so hopefully that will change soon.

Have you got any fan videos you would like to share? Maybe some tips and idea? Or perhaps software recommendations? Feel free to chime in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Weekly Mashup Stage 37

Well I've (mostly) held to my intention to not get involved with gender this week but that pretty much means things have passed by that I didn't post on. This is about as good a place as any to bring them up.

The Awkwardness Of Cutting Out The Middleman: " Amanda narrows it down to a key point: it sometimes feels awkward to deal with money directly. Money is often a taboo subject, where people like to skirt around actual dollars. I see this all the time in business meetings, when discussing various deals. Everyone always like to dance around the key issue -- the money -- for as long as possible, and always seems to hope it's the "other guy" who brings it up or (even better!) some third party steps in and handles the transactional part."

Is Saveservices.org an Astroturf Operation?: I just started reading these folks in the last week or so so I'll be interested in hearing what Daran finds out about them.

New Site: My buddy April has decided to move over here to Blogger. I believe she already has it up and running but she's seems to still be in the process of moving posts over.

You're Not Helping v4:"Figleaf may object to the criticism, yet feminists positioned themselves as the gatekeepers to sexual violence advocacy. For feminists not to discuss sexual violence against males or treat it as some anomaly unworthy of attention contradicts their claim about wanting to stop all sexual violence. That makes figleaf’s post all the more ironic." I love it when he knocks it out of the park so well.

NY Mag’s “He’s Just Not That Into Anyone” – New Scare Trend On Male Porn Use: I've only skimmed that one. Will have to take a closer look later.

That's all for now folks. See ya next week.

Hair Care Revisited

Well after about a year of trying different things I think I've finally worked out something that actually works for my hair. And I have to say that its so simple I'm mad it took me so long (about 8 months) to try it.

In the end I've pretty much done what many people call "going natural". After months of trying different chemical laden store bought products that seemed to work for a short time before the dandruff came back full force I've settle on a pretty small list of things to use.

I wash my hair twice a week now. There's the main wash during the weekend which I've expended into an overall cleansing process that I do about every other Sunday where I shave (both ends), wash my hair, and shower. Kind of a way to clear away last week to get ready for the coming week. When I do this main wash I first dissolve about 3tbsp of baking soda in a liter of hot water and pour it over my head and rub it in like shampoo. Let that sit for a few minutes and rinse it out like shampoo. This serves to soften up the dirts and oils and dandruff that have collected on your scalp so the shampoo has an easier job.

Shampoo - In a 4oz. bottle (that I once had jojoba oil in):
A little under 2oz. of Castile Soap

Just enough Jojoba Oil to get to the halfway mark of the bottle

About 10-15 drops of Rosemary Oil

After this you should have right around a 1/2 full bottle. Fill the rest with hot water. But I recommend a slow stream because if you turn it on full blast you will cause the castile soap to lather and you'll end up with a bottle full of suds.

Use it just like you would use any other shampoo.

A few thing:
Jojoba Oil, while a nice all around oil, is pretty pricey. That 4oz. bottle I mixed that shampoo in cost about $13. I got somewhat lucky and found it in a nature food store that's about 2 hours from my house (but I go there about twice a month so its not that big a deal) but if you can't find it near you it can be found online in a lots of places like Amazon.

Castile Soap is a soap made from a small list of ingredients. (This is what is actually listed on the bottle):
  • Water
  • Coconut Oil
  • Potassium Hydroxide (which is lost during the saponifying process)
  • Organic Olive Oil
  • Tea Tree Extract (The bottle I'm reading this from is the Tea Tree scented soap. The extract will vary depending on which one you buy like Lavender, Almond, etc....)
  • Organic Hemp Oil
  • Organic Jojoba Oil
  • Citric Acid
  • Tocopherol

Compared to the list of ingredients on most shampoos I don't think that's too bad. I have been able to find this in the same store as the Jojoba Oil but it can be found online as well.

Rosemary Oil can be pricey if you don't notice that you don't use that much of it at a time. Yes you could pay about $10 for a 3oz. bottle but bear in mind that you are only using it about 10 drops at a time so it will last you for a good while. Just like the other two you can pick this up in stores and find it online.

Oh and after I finish washing my hair and I dry it I oil my scalp with a mixture of 1 part Shea Butter (was able to get it at a beauty store but can probably be found online) 2 parts Jojoba Oil and about 5 drops of Rosemary Oil. Melt the Shea Butter down then mix in the oils. What should happen is that the Shea Butter will resolidify however the oils should be enough to keep them from solidifying completely leaving you with something like soft butter that melts as soon as you rub it between your fingers to put it on your scalp. I also use this twice daily (in the morning before work and at night after getting home with a sleep cap on top).

As for the second weekly wash that usually comes on Wednesday. I start with the baking soda dissolved in water like I mentioned above and use it the same as above. However instead of using my shampoo mix I mix about a 1/4 cup of vinegar in a liter of water and rinse my hair with that. Let it sit in for a few minutes then rise out with water.

Let me tell you this has worked wonders for my hair. My poor afro was no longer hard and brittle. It was actually soft and my scalp didn't itch all the damn time.

Yeah I said "was". You see after experimenting on my hair with so many products (and more importantly getting up the nerve to have more than 1 inch cut off my hair in over 6 years) I just had to cut off Fro (noticed I haven't been tipping my Fro lately?). So now that my hair is short, even short enough to wear hats, I can now regrow my Fro with this proper regimen of care and it will be greater than ever. (Insert maniacal laugh fading into silence.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Weekly Menu Feb. 1

I like burritos. I don't like going through the effort of having to build them one topping at a time. So I ask myself,

"But Danny how else can we make a burrito if we don't pile on the toppings one at time?"

"Simple Danny. We put as many of the the toppings together ahead of time as we can. That way we don't waste time during our lunch building it. By the time we're done all we have to do is warm up the mix, put it on the wrap, add cheese and spinach, and go."

"Wow Danny that's not a bad idea."

"I know Danny. I know."

Premixed Burrito

1.5 pounds of ground round (of course you can use whatever meat you want or even no meat if that's how you rool).

1 can of dice tomatoes with no salt added - I prefer the ones that are no salt added (it will actually say "no salt added" on the can) because that leaves me to season it the way I want without the extra sodium.

1 can of reduced sodium black beans - I couldn't find these with no salt added but reduced sodium is close enough.

1 can of sliced mushrooms

1 jar of salsa (I use medium level) - I don't know how to make my own salsa so I went store bought. (I may have to try that one one day...)

Sea Salt, Paprika, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Black Pepper, and Crushed Red Pepper to season the meat* with.

Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Fresh Spinach

(The cheese and the spinach aren't going in the mix. But by the time you finish this they will be the only toppings that you will have to add when it comes time to make the burrito.)

Brown your meat on the stovetop in a skillet. Once you have drained off the fat/grease (* - because if you season it first you will lose seasoning when you drain off the fat/grease) season it. Add in the black beans, mushrooms, and diced tomatoes making sure to drain off as much of the water from each as you can. Remember we're trying to make the mix for a burrito and so if there is too much water it will leave you with a soggy (and probably torn) burrito. After you add those in drain off as much water as you can (I used a cup and tilted the pan to one side to catch the water and toss it out). Add about 1/2 the jar of salsa. Mix well and its done.

"Not bad Danny. But there's one small problem we ran into today when we did it."

"Oh the spinach yeah it turns out spinach leaves are a bit hard to work with when trying to fit them into a wrap. But I bet you've already fixed that right?"

"Why yes Danny I have. All we have to do is cook the spinach . That way it shrivels up and doesn't take as much room up on the wrap."

"Oooo I love it when you have such great ideas Danny."

"I know you do Danny. I know you do."

See you folks later!