Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What's the line between right and wrong?

Information is valuable. Look at how much money is spent on programs, software, and other measures that are implemented in order to protect it. And why does it need protection? Because there are people trying to gain access to it.

But what makes hacking or other means of gaining someone's personal information without their consent bad? As I understand it the "without their consent" is the main thing that people point to as why taking someone's information under such circumstances is wrong. 

Well what if the morality/immorality or right/wrong of hacking a computer to take someone's information without consent wasn't determined not by the act that was committed but by the who the act was committed against?

A few days ago I saw a link to this article come up in my Facebook feed where the friend who put it up was cheering for it.

Let's be clear. This friend was happy over the fact that the hacker group Anonymous had hacked their way into getting personal information about members of the Westboro Baptist Church and posting it in a public place.

Look I despise the rude, disrespectful, and downright actions that Westboro has taken in recent years from picketing military funerals to (at least) planning to picket the funerals of some of the children killed in last week's Sandy Hook Elementary Massacre. What they are doing is terrible and I would like to see them fade from existence just as much as the next person.

However I don't think that excuses stealing their personal information and sharing it in public.

Just like any other citizen members of Westboro have rights to privacy of information. Now from what I can tell while the things members of that church do are vile and immoral none of them are explicitly illegal either. If so then I could at least see the argument that Anonymous' hacking and sharing of information as akin to providing information to authorities for wanted criminals but even then that would call for sharing the info with law enforcement, not with the general public.

Let me flip things around for a bit.

There's no shortage of people who think that the things that members of the Occupy Movement do and say are vile and immoral. So what if Anonymous hacked an Occupy website, got information on some of its members and shared it with the public? Would the court of public opinion change it's answer?

I know this sounds odd but I just think that when, "What do I think of them personally?" is what determines if an act is a good or bad thing, something may be wrong.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Is it really the thought that counts?

Now that we have seen the Mayans weren't as accurate about the end of the world as we thought (or maybe Dr. Who had already preemptively save the world from that threat, who knows) Christmas is upon us once again and with Christmas comes gifts. And with gifts some shipping.

A few nights ago while thinking about what else to add to the main gift I had purchased for my girlfriend I found out that Bath and Body Works had a "Buy 3, Get 3 Free" sale going on. Topping off a gift with some body lotions and shower gel doesn't sounds like a bad idea right? I was already familiar with what scents she likes but I wasn't sure exactly which products to buy for her. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

For example the scent "Carried Away" is available in shower gel, body spray, body cream, body wash, body lotion, bubble bath, and body butter. So that's seven different products in a single scent. Multiply that by the several dozens of scents they carry and you can see how daunting this can get when you're trying to pick 6 products from hundreds. Even though I know which 3-4 different scents she likes that still means I had to pick 6 out of 28 products.

Well not being sure which ones to pick I asked what must be some sort of universal mistake.
I asked if she would be up for going out shopping and she could pick the exact 6 that she wanted.

Her response was golden.

"You think I'm going to go with you to pick my own gift? Hell no."

So here is what I'm wondering. Was I really that out of line to offer to take her shopping so that she could get exactly what she wanted? (Bear in mind this was only something to go along with her main gift, which is a closely guarded secret.)

And while we are talking about Christmas gifts what's your opinion on gift cards? A way to let someone get what they want or an easy way out of shopping?

Do you have any other shopping or gift giving/receiving pet peeves about the Christmas season to share?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"If You Really Respect Women, You'll Leave This Gender Inclusive Event"

So about a week or so ago the London Feminist Film Festival kicked off. One particular film, Lesbiana – A Parallel Revolution was apparently gained so much attention that it had to be moved to a larger room and them moved again to a larger room to satisfy the viewing crowd. When the turnout for a movie warrants not one but two location changes you would expect it to be the highlight of the festival right?


It would seem that activist and academic Julia Long decided the viewing crowd needed to thinned out a bit.

So she asked all the men in attendance to leave.

Now let's get one thing straight. Regardless of whether Julia had the actual power to make this move, regardless of how justified she might feel over it, and regardless of how badly she wants to pretend that by calling her own on it is a distraction from the "bigger picture", it was a bad move.

The event was advertised as gender inclusive and tickets were sold in a gender inclusive manner. If this had been billed, advertised, and sold as a women's only event I would have been the first to actively defend it. I don't think that the mere existence of women's only spaces is an inherently bad thing (but I can't help but notice how many think that the mere existence of men's only spaces is inherently bad). It's a matter of what happens in those spaces that will tip that scale one way or another.

However this viewing, and as far as I can tell the entire festival was not built up as a woman's only space. When Julia asked for all the men in attendance to leave she invoked the very exclusionary nature that is ultimately killing all of us. Sure she wrapped it up in a package of pretty words (which I'll get to in a bit) the fact of the matter is after a gender inclusive audience was assembled to be educated on a topic that someone else worked hard to create and present on she ACTIVELY segregated the audience. This is one of those times where "intent doesn't matter" kicks in. No matter how badly she tries to explain that she didn't do this to single out and exclude men that is precisely what her "request" did.

Now in her own response piece Julia tries to weasel her way out of being called out and say that she didn't actually ask all the men in the audience to leave. Let's look at a quote, from her own response article, from she said,
"I just wonder if there are any men that would like to show their solidarity and leave at this point, out of respect for autonomous women's space. It's a polite invitation, but I just thought you might like to consider it, as political allies. Thank you." [Cheers and applause.]
So while she may not have straight up asked the men to leave she made the "request" in the form of a catch-22. I can't be the only person that sees this as, "If you really respect women, you would leave." She wanted to get rid of the men in the audience but instead of doing so in a direct manner (which is ironic given that near the end of her article she called herself  "...asserting the right of women to demand our own spaces...") she turns if back on them so that if they don't leave it means they don't respect women.

I dare say that if Long had any respect for the crowd at that event then she would have at least pushed for creating a women's only space from the get go and holding it up as such. What she did was underhanded. She took an event that was meant to be an opportunity for true solidarity and learning and turned into the Julia Long Grandstand Show.

In her article she name drops Audre Lorde, invokes the Montreal Massacre by Marc Lepine, and generally reflects the trouble she caused back on to those calling her on it and then tries to take the hire ground with some "the ball is in your court" closing remark.

So Julia if the ball is in my court here is what I'm going to do with it. I'm going to take it and go find women and feminists that actually want men to participate in this "bigger picture" you speak of. And in the event that they want their own spaces will have the courage to assert that right in a way that doesn't put men in a double bind. There are plenty of women and feminists out there that when they want a woman's only space will actually call it so from the get go, attacks and all, not let guys in and then change the rules later in way that protects them later when called on it.

But I'll say this Julia. If the time comes that you designate a space as woman only from the get go and some guys try to horn in on it, I got your back in defending it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

10 Things I've Learned From Dating

Over the last month or three I've been trying to get the hang of this whole dating thing. It's been hard. I have picked up quite a few things since I started seeing my girlfriend. This list is a part of my process of getting used to these changes.

1. Tolerance: Simply put I hate Mountain Dew. My coworkers main line the stuff but I would rather drink a vial of poison because it would probably taste better. Don't get me wrong though, the Code Red flavor of Mt. Dew is the goodness but the only use I've found for the original is to put cherry liqueur in it (which basically turns it into Code Red with alcohol). Guess who loves the stuff and guess who is now keeping a small stash of it at his place for her? AND she likes Corona....

2. Share and share alike: Okay so several years of solitude has made me a bit possessive. Turns out she enjoys wearing my shirts. I think it's a smell thing for her. She has also taken a liking to the fairy and angel shirts I own.

3. Dinner for two: I am no slouch when it comes to cooking. However I find myself in a new situation, cooking for another person on a somewhat regular basis. This introduces the concept of, "I don't like....". But this does mean I now have an official taste tester. Two tongues are better than one. I'm even willing to overlook the fact that she doesn't like mushrooms....

4. Public displays of affection: Before I really didn't care one way or another when it came to seeing others display their affection for each other in public. But now that I'm actually engaging in these displays with someone, I have to say that I rather enjoy them.

5. Chatterboxing: Usually when I meet someone new I don't talk a whole lot. Over time as I get to know them and get more comfortable with them I'll open up and start talking more and more. At this point I find myself sometimes cutting myself off when talking to her. Hopefully she doesn't think I talk too much.

6. Everything has it's place: The first time she came over for dinner and a movie I noticed a problem. My chair and a half (that's what the friend the gave it to me called it, it's about the length of a couch cut in half) was at an angle in relation to my TV so that from the chair we would have to be shifted to the left to watch. This is a rather problematic position when you're trying to cuddle with someone as you watch a horror movie. A little bit of shifting and now the tv sits directly across. Speaking of horror movies...

7. Confronting fear itself: When it comes to horror movies (and by that I mean actual scary movies not random blood and gore fests) my rule is pretty much to watch them in the daytime with the lights on. Thanks to her I'm now actually bad-ass enough to watch them at night. A part of me thinks she got me watching horror movies to get me to hug onto her.... :)

8. Spooning: This is true.

9. Maybe I am sexy after all...: When you've gone as long as I have in this world and never had anyone tell you something as simple as "you're sexy" and truly mean it, it kind of weighs on you.  I've been over this before about how I've nearly always felt about my body and I've put in a lot of damn effort to fight it. I know most people would say not to get caught up in looking for validation from others but that is easier said than done. Even now after a few months whenever she gives me such a compliment I still have to actively fight off the desire to question said compliment.

10. New lingo: Before we "became official" as they say I actually called her my ladyfriend but now she's now my girlfriend.  Beyond that I've even gone and come up with my own way of ending the night with her because just saying "goodnight" is boring. Which is why I've added, "KissKiss NightNight" to my phone's custom dictionary.

I'm sure that this list will grow over time (did I mention that she has a young daughter?). There are sure to be more things to learn from dating (and then of course if dating leads to marriage....) so this I guess this could be "10 Things I've Learned So Far...". Here's to hoping I learn even more things from dating.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A Jerk By Any Other Name...

So I'm participating in this post over at Good Men Project right. Here's the subheadline of the post:
A respected writer asserts that men in power are liked and women are uniformly hated. Let’s just stop and think about that.
Yeah you know it's gonna be a fun thread. Anyway I came across this gem of a comment from username Lynne:
Dick has become gender neutral. I hear it applied to women as often as to men. However when you call a man a bitch, it’s an additional insult – he’s female as well!
 Can you see what is wrong here?

This Lynne person has declared that calling someone a dick (slang for male genitals) is gender neutral but apparently calling someone a bitch is still is of course still rather female specific.

Well of course it is certain true that when calling a guy a bitch there is implication that he is a woman, no denying that. But let's fill in the part that Lynne conveniently forgot.

To clarify, to call someone a dick is to comment on their behavior and personality. Jerk. Asshole. Bad person. Meanie. And so on. I can't be the only one that has a problem with associating such negative behaviors with male genitals am I?

Now back to the the comment. Lynne asserts that dick is gender neutral. Sure calling someone a dick may be gender neutral in that one may insult men and women with it. But the problem isn't in who is being called a dick. It's a little bit deeper.

You're associating someone's negative personality, behavior, etc... to MALE GENITALS. That means you're not attributing that stuff to the person, you're attributing it to something that's not used much beyond sex, reproduction, and urination.

(Sure I guess you could bring up hormones but if that's the case then when it comes saying that someone that doesn't have a dick, or actually the testicles that usually come with the dick, exactly what dick specific trait is responsible for their behavior?)

In short Lynne is trying to pull a switcheroo on us.

Lynne is saying that when calling someone a bitch we must look at the implications that the word carries and how it is linked to women but when calling someone a dick there is no need to look at such implications.


When you call someone a dick you're referencing male genitals and saying that male genitals are the cause of their attitude or whatever.

That doesn't sound very gender neutral to me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The War on Men You Say?

Even for all the various oppressions, harms, -isms, and discriminations that are in effect in today's world I'm not a fan of claims that wars are being declared on certain groups of people. I didn't really care for the whole "war on women" bit (and for all that is holy no I'm not saying that there are no oppressions/harms/-isms affecting women, of course there are) and I don't care for the title of this Fox News article by one Suzanne Vekner. Or the article itself for that matter.

Yeah, "War on Men" it says.

It's late so I'm just going to pick out some of the odd bits in this article.
Believe it or not, modern women want to get married. Trouble is, men don’t.
What exactly is troubling about men not wanting to engage the in the old ways of marriage?

Supposedly the reason men are not wanting to engage in marriage is because, "Women aren’t women anymore.". Vekner goes on to say that men have not changed much since the sexual revolution due to not having a revolution that demanded it. True there currently no point in history where one can point and say that this is the point where men revolted. But that doesn't mean that change is not happening for men.
Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their the men have nowhere to go.
For the time being it may appear that men have nowhere to go but that is only because it's still relatively new ground to us. And to clarify as cool as it would be to say that women pushed men off the pedestal, a lot of men actually jumped off the pedestal. And by that I mean that we are fed up with the binding expectations that pretty much put us on a path of guaranteed gloom and doom.
You’ll never hear that in the media. All the articles and books (and television programs, for that matter) put women front and center, while men and children sit in the back seat. But after decades of browbeating the American male, men are tired. Tired of being told there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. Tired of being told that if women aren’t happy, it’s men’s fault.
I have to admit there is truth to this. What else can you call it when you can take an issue where men/boys are most certainly getting a raw deal on and turn around and tell them that their gender has nothing to do with it or that since they are male the issue isn't that important or that so called male privileges override whatever harm is being done. When even those who call themselves progressives can with a straight face deny the things that harm men and/or bend over backwards to make sure they don't get too much attention (lest it take away from women) it makes sense there is only so much men are willing to put up with.
Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has pissed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them.
That's not fully accurate. The fact that women have made gains didn't threaten or piss men off (well not most of us). Those gains are good things to be sure but do you want to know what pissed men off? The fact that that even as women made those gains men are still being held back. And to make the cut even deeper those holding back attitudes are sometimes even coming from some of the very people support and praise the gains that women are making.

We aren't pissed because women making more money somehow undermines our ability to support a family and it doesn't keep us from loving women either. We're pissed because in this changing world we are being told that we should STILL be "the provider". Yeah we want to provide for and protect (but no it's not in our DNA, it's something we pick up along the way to manhood) their families but "provide for and protect" isn't limited providing from the outside (as in going outside the home to work and bring in money). It's not the gains of women that are interfering with that desire. It's the hypocritical  expectation that women should be free to change their ways while men shouldn't be.

I was just talking the other day about how even now men are still barely able to even giggle at a child's funny comment without being accused of being molester in waiting much less actually taking care of a child. Men are changing. There are people and forces that are opposed to that change. To the devil with those forces and people.

The rest of the article is nothing but bleating on about how men are slackers and women should embrace traditional femininity if they want to find marriageable men. Silly I know.

There's quite a bit disturbing here. First the idea that since men aren't abiding by the old ways means that something is wrong with us is absurd and it secondly it's pretty absurd to try to shape this into being women's fault.

This article smacks of an desperate attempt to undo the fact that men are waking up and are not wanting to run the old rat race anymore. Good for us I say. 

It's long over due for men to stop doing what others tell us we need to be doing and actually start doing for ourselves. If that means finding a woman to marry and settle down with fine. If that means getting cozy with the guy of his dreams fine. If that means being happy and single fine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is the sexism systemic and institutional enough for you now?

Do you by chance read Genderratic? Oh it's such an interesting blog that takes time to really get at the nuance of the various gender inequalities that plague our culture and society. In fact Ginkgo just put up a pretty telling post about something that seems to happens quite a bit. In this post he goes over a few incidents that have some common threads.

The post itself is of incidents (all pulled from Mens Rights reddit or separate links that have been posted at said reddit before) in which women saw fit to just interject themselves into a situation involving a man and a child. Well interjecting implies the situation was already going down so its more like they saw fit to create said situations. In fact in one story about a guy out with his sister at an amusement park the offending woman in question just walked up to the little girl and started questioning her, ignoring her older brother.

Stuff like this is not good. We have multiple examples of the following:

1. Woman accusing men of inappropriate behavior based on literally no other evidence that it's a man alone with a child.

2. Men being left stunned into silence and not defending themselves against such presumptions of worst faith.

Women not only thinking they are entitled to pass judgment on men based on nothing more than their gender but also thinking they are entitled to act on those judgements. Men raised to believe that these judgments are okay or at the very least being left with no systems of support to defend against them.

And people, this is happening at the very same time we are hearing call after call for men to "step up" as fathers. Either men have the benefit of the doubt that children just might be safe around them as they answer that call (or benefit of the doubt that children just might be safe around men that make  comments in passing) or we continue on this path of damning any man that happens to be in the presence of a child.

It can't be both.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Once more, but not with so much feeling

A while back I did a post about music enhancing one's mood. To sum that post up what I was getting at was  that when you are in a certain mood that mood can be enhanced (for better or worse) by listening to certain types of music or a particular song.

Now that is all fine well and good. As I said in the initial post I've queued up music to help me focus on a particular emotion when working on something. There have been times where I've listened to music as an escape from reality. Times where I've listened to music to dwell on an event or person that I'd probably be better off not dwelling on.

But I think that sometimes, every once in a while, something happens. When pulling up music to go along with certain feelings and moods I think some of those feelings and moods are actually being left with that music. A power and an influence being left in that music. A transfer of meaning that if allowed to continue long enough could actually reverse the flow of emotion.

If you recall several months ago I was in a bit of despair due to thinking about how uneventful my love/sex life had been up to that point. Not finding too many people I'd want to chat up, plus being soul crushingly shy, and striking out the few times I actually built up the nerve make for a pretty lonely existence.

And before I knew it I had given that lonely existence a voice, but it wasn't quite my own.

Unable to apply my own voice it seems I simply borrowed the voice of the singer from Black Tape For A Blue Girl, namely the track "Given" (I've embedded this song at least 2-4 times here already this year, a link should do for now).

Instead of talking about the way I was feeling I just substituted someone else's voice for my own and just rode the wave of the feelings. While this was certainly an improvement over the way I was handling these feelings previously (ie, not at all) I don't think I was doing any sort of true long term healing either.

I say long term because a part of the healing process is to acknowledge how you feel on a subject, however that acknowledgement comes. The trick is to not get stuck in that acknowledgement and it gets even trickier when you consider that the thresholds for acknowledgement, stuck, and healing change from person to person.

For me personally "Given" actually did me a lot of good in terms of getting me to think about how I feel which I think is a vital part of the healing process. On the other hand I think that I was in the verge of getting stuck in those feelings which is how I ended up in the place I am now where hearing this song even when I'm in a good mood invokes the despair.

So I'm definitely not healed. Healing to be sure but I am nowhere near healed.

Let me ask:

Do you think that it is possible to listen to music for a given feeling for so long that the music gains an emotional charge that eventually allows for that music to actually change the mood of the listener? If so, do you by chance have a song that can do this to you?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Explosion Shaped Cupcakes, Talking Dolphins, Challenged Norms?

I get back home last night and while doing some surfing I find in my feed this post at The Consummerist, with two new ads for the Acer Ultrabook.

The first ad features Kiefer Sutherland deciding he wants to get into making cupcakes. But not just any cupcakes. No Jack Bauer does not simply make regular cupcakes. He instead, with the help of an assistant, records an explosion, with an Acer Ultrabook of course, and then utilizes software to actually bake a cupcake that looks like the mushroom cloud of an explosion.

The second ad stars Megan Fox who works on developing software that would translate the sounds a dolphin makes into actual human speech. And guess what type of computer Fox and her development team use? Yes they use Acer Ultrabooks obviously.

Now as interesting as these ads are one might think quickly and conclude that they are challenging the gender norms of "men don't bake" (even if you look at the popular male chefs like Flay and Legasse you'll see that they do mostly stove top and grill cooking, not a lot of baking) and "physically attractive women don't do science". But I'm not so sure.

First and foremost as interesting as the idea of Bauer making explosion shaped cupcakes this seems to fall into the trap of "when men do something that is considered outside of the scope of being a man said activity needs to be mannified", hence the explosions and threatening of people to learn the location of cupcake ingredients. And the Fox ad has similar caveats (like the "fat geeky guy that doesn't know how to act around an attractive woman" bit).

So I guess I'm asking this. Is Acer actually challenging gender stereotypes or are they just trying to score some cool points off of using them in some sort of hipsterish "ironic" way?

Thursday, November 1, 2012

And I didn't even get to wear it....

Last night was Halloween. Originally I had planned on dressing as a woman but the girlfriend talked me out of it (I think her motivation was not wanting me to shave my goatee). But she did bring up the idea of making a mask. So I did.

The above image is the final result of my work. Nice isn't it?

Too bad I never wore it.

My idea was to wear that mask with a suit and tie for a simple masquerade look. However in the end I ended up throwing on some black jeans, black tshirt, black thermal shirt, and black shoes and going out with my girlfriend and her daughter on her trick or treating rounds. And I have to say I had fun just looking at other kids costumes and decorations.

Later in the night I did go out to walk around the downtown area a bit but I just kept my black out stuff on as I didn't feel like changing and my mask really didn't go with what I had on.

It's a good thing I didn't because despite being told how active and lively the downtown scene on Halloween is it was dead, and not in a Halloween related good way. I walked around for about 20 and left.

But none of that matters for I did learn something from making this mask.

I actually have some degree of crafting skills.

Crafting Skill +1.

All in all a good night and I learned some stuff on crafting which I plan on utilizing in the future.

So how did you spend your Halloween last night?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Yes but, WHY was it wrong?

(Looks like this link has been killed. There is a video of the attack at the link below.)

By now I'm sure you've seen this story about the Cleveland bus driver that uppercut a woman on his bus. Am I the only one that noticed that some of the very same women that were cheering for the woman while she was talking smack and attacking the bus driver then turned around and started crying "but that's a woman!" after she got hit back?

That's what I want to talk about.

First off I'm not trying to argue that the bus driver should not have been suspended. I'll be the first to agree that he was wrong for STRIKING BACK against someone that attacked first. I put that in bold letters for the folks that will invariably try to turn this into some, "this shows that violence against women is okay" angle.

She attacked him first plain and simple. Sure you can argue that he shouldn't have struck back but let me ask you something.

Exactly WHY was it wrong for him to strike her back?

I'm asking this question because the fact that she struck first seems to be getting left out of the outrage. I mean look at the very headline of the link I gave above, "RTA bus driver suspended after video surfaces of him uppercutting female bus passenger".

Now if you want to argue from a generic, "Violence is wrong" perspective then I can respect that because ideally there would be no violence against anyone and no matter which two people you put in that situation it would be seen as wrong. And I also hope that someone who believes this would recognize that by the virtue of violence being wrong the woman that attacked first was also wrong.

But I don't think that is the reason that people are outraging over what he did. No I think they are upset and
calling him wrong for hitting a woman specifically.

I know I'm not the only guy in existence that was taught that under no circumstances should I ever hit a girl/woman. Now there is something useful there as it relates to the generic, "violence is wrong" standpoint. However it goes beyond that. The idea that as a guy I should never hit a woman/girl is a sexist notion in two respects.

First and foremost it locks guys under a condition that simply being a guy means that hitting a woman/girl is wrong not because violence is wrong but specifically violence against girls/women is wrong, no matter the reason. Whip on guys all we want but touch a woman and suddenly we're wrong.

Second it doesn't do a lot of favors for girls and women because it treats some of the the violence they commit against men as something that should not be taken seriously.

Well by not taking the violence that women/girls commit against guys seriously you give rise to the other, unspoken, side of "men/boys should never hit girls/women".

Girls and women are free to hit boys and men free of consequence.

Now you're probably thinking something to the effect of reaching for male against female violence stats and try to prove that women and girls are not able to hit boys and men free of consequence. No it doesn't prove that it only proves that not all girls and women enjoy this privilege and that that there are other "truths" at the intersection of violence and gender. Don't believe me? Take a look at how female against male violence is treated.

But anyway back to this incident.

People aren't mad because the bus driver got violent. No they are made that the male bus driver got violent against a woman. Why are they mad about that? Would they be just as mad if the unruly passenger had been a man?

Now this is not to say that there was no entertainment value taken from the fact that this man hit a woman. There sure was. But I also bet that some of that entertainment value came from a woman thinking that she could get physical with a man and get away with it and learning the hard way she couldn't.

And let's face it if he had not hit her back this video would be posted as evidence of how that bus driver got put in his place by a woman and there would be "girl power chanting" and "you go girl" cheers all over the place. But she learned the hard way that that bus driver doesn't roll that way.

So for all the people that want to get all "why is violence against women seen as okay for funny" I have to ask.

Where was your concern and outrage when she was the one that got physical first?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So why the gender swap in Silent Hill?

You know when you are talking about gender long enough you get the urge to revisit things that you've looked at before but possibly from a different angle. Well all this talk about men and parenting (and a comment I someone made at GendErratic several months ago) makes me want to take a new look at a fairly old movie based on a ground breaking video game series.

Are you by chance familiar with Silent Hill?

The first game (which is what most of the movie was drawn from, well Pyramid Head is from Silent Hill 2) was centered around Harry Mason and his daughter Cheryl. While driving along a road one night with his daughter Harry swerves to avoid hitting a girl standing in the road, causing his car to crash. When he comes to he finds that he is in the town of Silent Hill and more importantly his daughter is missing. Without giving away the story the main point of the game is to find Cheryl.

A detail that didn't get quite as noticed as the psychological themes, hauntingly beautiful music, and relatively new concepts that made it the first in a series of hit titles was the fact that Harry Mason was a father who set out to find his missing child in some manner that did not center around blowing up everything in sight and killing all who stood before him.

Let's face it for most part when you have a setup such this what does the dad (or most men for that matter who set off to find a missing or kidnapped loved one) usually do? He beats up people, destroys massive amounts of property, and looks like a total heroic bad-ass while doing it. Not Harry. No he is an average non bad-ass looking guy that doesn't do well in direct confrontations and really doesn't blow stuff up while shooting off clever one liners. Which made him different.

You see unlike other leading men of similar games (::coughcoughChrisRedfieldcoughcoughLeonKennedycoughcough::) Mr. Mason wasn't be presented as what some may call a "real man". He was presented as a regular simple man that just wanted his daughter back. So now I'm left wondering one thing.

Why in the hell was Cheryl's dad changed to Cheryl's mom for the Silent Hill movie?

Okay so I'm not wondering too much.

I think that this is a matter of the makers of the movie deciding that Harry Mason wasn't "enough of a man" due to choosing to brave the horrors of Silent Hill without blowing the town off the map. Instead we get Rose.

Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with having a lead woman in a movie. I just don't think those leading woman roles should come at the cost of keeping men locked into a script that limits what we are able to do.

The idea of a dad that uses means other than wanton destruction to reunite with his family shouldn't be so foreign that he has to be swapped out for a mom.

Just a little something to keep in mind with the sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation, hitting theaters later this week.

Should sex offenders have their participation in Halloween limited?

With Halloween around the corner people are getting ready to dress up in costumes, go out and party, and give out candy to the kiddies. (BTW the girlfriend has talked me out of my last Halloween idea, but I am making a mask to wear that night, I'll post a picture later.) 

While everyone else is preparing for the night of candy and costume some residents of the California city of Simi Valley are gearing up to take legal action against a new law that they argue violates their 1st Amendment rights.
The city's new law bans Halloween displays and outside lighting every Oct. 31 at the homes of people convicted of sex crimes. For offenders listed on the Megan's Law website, the city also requires a sign on the front door in letters at least an inch tall: "No candy or treats at this residence."
Janice Bellucci, the attorney that is representing five offenders, three of their wives, and two of their children, has made the terrible analogy of comparing this law to the branding that Nazis inflicted Jewish people with in the form of the yellow stars they were forced to carry in public to let everyone know of their heritage. That is total nonsense. Jewish people did absolutely nothing to warrant the treatment they suffered while Bellucci's clients were at least convicted of crimes, not so innocent.

On the other hand I do have to wonder about such a ban. Being a registered sex offender already carries some types of similar treatment like not being able to live within a certain distance of places where children may be (like schools and churches) and they having to make their presence known to local law enforcement when they move into a neighborhood.

Is not only stripping them the ability to decorate for Halloween but also putting up signs to basically ward children off a reasonable measure?

Why not just go round them up and put them in a holding cell for the night?

Maybe this law goes too far?

Perhaps not far enough?

Are there other measures you would employ along with what's already included (like no costumes)?

What do you think?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sneaking Style

Yeah I'm so good I got a picture of an infiltration expert.

Open Thread: How Effective Would a Civil Rights CAPTCHA Be?: A post I did at Good Men Project last week.

Why I'm a Feminist With a Big, Fat, Loud EFF: These are the articles you get when you attempt to dismiss legitimate criticisms of feminists and feminism. Notice the illusion that if is conflating not being a feminist with being anti-feminist and then making a plea of "but look at what you have today that you owe to feminism".

Infographic - Domestic Violence: An Urgent Humanitarian Crisis: So the International Rescue Committee just starts from the get go by defining domestic violence as something that happens to women? Great.

Black man’s burden: myth of the deadbeat

Sex abuse double standard: "That lie that male victims will become abusers comes from someone who supposedly advocates on behalf of male victims. How can you possibly help abused men and boys if you tell the public that the only reason we should care about them is because they will become abusers?"

Press Silences Father of Abducted Girl

Hollywood Accounting: How A $19 Million Movie Makes $150 Million... And Still Isn't Profitable: Mike Masnick on the funny math of Hollywood movies.

NC Group Finds Increase In Verified Sterilizations: Looks like there are more victims of the forced sterilizations that originally believed.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekly Mashup - Newton Style

I'm not on my main pc tonight so no cosplay photo. In it's place please enjoy this Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal on what may have happened if the concept of patent (and the mess that it's in today) had been around in the days of Issac Newton.

The latest issue of Gaming Insurrection is out. I have write ups on Kingdoms of Amalur: The Reckoning and Syberia this time around.

I also have my first post up at Good Men Project in a long while. It's about a new CAPTCHA being developed by Civil Rights Defenders.

Darden Experiments With Cutting Worker Hours To Avoid Paying Health Insurance:  So now instead of keeping people under 40 hours a week to avoid insurance they will start keeping people under 30 hours a week.

Sony Sues Actor For Trademark Infringement For Looking Too Much Like Himself In Another Commercial: Well coporations do like to argue that they are people too...

Men owe child support despite not being fathers: Notice the loophole. Even if passed this law passed it would only allow men to prevent future charges for child support for child that are not they biological relation. Meaning that whatever the state can stick you with before you can prove it, you are still stuck with having to pay for it.

Media Give Mom a Break in Death of Son: It's simply amazing how simpathetic media sources are when women commit violent crimes, even against children.When will people actually start taking their cries of, "bests interests of the children" seriously?

Roseanne Barr of Peace and Freedom Party is honest about DV and gender

Lawsuit: MI’s Child Abuser Registry a ‘Black List’: I'm sure we can all agree that a registry that carries that much weight should be regulated.

Honestly I ain't mad at him for hitting her back. I'll buy the whole "violence is never the answer" argument but the this "But she's a woman" bullshit is just that, bullshit.

Take it easy people!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Weekly Mashup - Hawkeye Style

Everyone chill out, he's got this.

So what's been going on this week people? Find anything interesting you want to share? Then share it right here.

I've been listening to the 7 part radio drama, "Speak To Me". It is a tale of a young man who reluctantly attends a family where the past traumas of being sexually abused by an aunt are reignited.

Misogynists are made, not born. And can be made in places you would not expect.

Stoner With a Boner working on a version 2.0 of a list of human rights of males.

Let me guess, feminists that pull stuff like this don't count as real feminists and it's "silencing", "oppressing", and "shaming" to call them feminists right?

AllyF on the double standards in talking about how prison impacts fatherhood vs motherhood.

Dad finds out his son is watching porn, doesn't go apeshit level ballistic.

Why do guys ignore women that offer to split the check? Because we are/were raised to believe that regardless of whether or not she can cover half, it is out duty to cover it solo. Yes there are problems with that presumption but it's more than just guys thinking they women can't cover a bill.

Nothing says, "Domestic violence is something men do to women." like an organization declaring that they will do what they can to help women that are accused of it find legal aid but not extend the same efforts to men.

Why are father intentionally left out of their children's lives not only by mothers but by systems of support that are supposedly working in the, "best interests of the children".

A reissue of Smashing Pumpkin's "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness"? Fuck Yes!!!

Looks like that "Women kill because men make them" illusion may not lasting forever.

Lying about being raped and abused to win money? Fucking disgusting.

In all seriousness where are all those tasers when events like this happen? A young man is shot to death by a cop, but he was naked at the time. I think we can fairly say he didn't have a weapon so if he was indeed a threat (and it seemed like he was) I think a tazer would have been the perfect way to deal with him.

Why didn't anyone tell me that this is what ostrich pillows looked like? I'll be needed to get one.

Beerd? Yeah someone thought it was a good idea to harvest yeast from a man's beard and make beer out of it.

Police shoot a man 41 times, delete aftermath footage from a witness's camera.

If you've been here before then you know I really like this song ("Given" by Black Tape For A Blue Girl) Keep it in mind as I'm about to post about it again soon.

Alright people stay classy!!!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

"Because we don't want him around" isn't a valid reason to sever father/child bond

Here is a pretty odd story.

In the country of Austria a man and woman have a son. Over time they break up. Mom has sole custody while dad pays alimony and has regular contact with the son. Mom meets and gets together with a new partner, a girlfriend. This new partner wants to adopt the son, thus forming a new family with them. Before that can happen though the father's parental rights would need to be dissolved.

So far it seems that the lesbian couple has tried to forcefully strip the father of his parental rights. Thankfully previous decisions have been against what I call a jerk move. The couple has now gotten their case in front of the highest European court on human rights will rule if a lesbian can adopt her partner's child by basically forcefully stripping the father of his parental rights.

There are a few things of interest here.

1. Whatever decision is made in this case will reach across all 47 countries in the Council of Europe and cannot be appealed.

2. Many countries that make up the Council of Europe do not allow a child to have two mothers or two fathers.

3. Previous attempts to adopt the son seem to have failed not because of the violation of the father's parental rights but because it would go against some apparent presumption that a child must have a mother and a father and if a second mother is trying to replace the father (or if a second father were trying to replace the mother I presume) then that's just not right.

This worries me for one reason. If this new partner were a man, thus making it a matter of a man trying to adopt a child and push the birth father out, would there have been no major stink raised over it? Would this have not even made the press and would that birth father already be somewhere lamenting how he was pushed out of his child's life through no fault of his own?

4. This bit from the end.
It is unclear whether the father is aware of the court proceedings since the lesbian couple is pursuing the case anonymously. Nothing indicates the boy’s opinion.  The same lawyer – Helmut Graupner, legal counsel of ILGA-Europe – represents the women and the boy.
This is something that happens in America. Mother takes it upon herself to decide the fate of the father/child bond so she sets about doing so in secret. In a situation where there appears to be no evidence of the father being abusive or otherwise unfit how can the mother be allowed to sever the father/child bond in secrecy? If it is true that they are trying to pull off this adoption without the father knowing about it how can that possibly be see as anything resembling fair? And don't you find it funny that the same person is representing the both the couple and the son? So much for "the child's best interest".

Now I will be the first to agree that the logic that a child cannot have two mothers or two fathers is messed up. This is nothing but a manifestation of the homophobic idea that a child cannot possibly grow up to be a responsible, respectable adult if they have two parents of the same gender. But frankly that doesn't excuse the underhanded tactic of trying to force one parent out of the child's life when that parent appears to be fit and is in active in the child's life.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

To Shave.....or Not To Shave....

Okay folks I have a bit of a crisis.

For Halloween I have this brilliant idea of dressing up as a woman. Well there are two small obstacles standing in the way.

First off I have feet that are pretty fucking huge. It's a hard enough time finding men's shoes much less women's shoes (flats only because heels are are cruel joke IMO). That would be folly worthy of a Sean Bean meme photo ("One does not simply find women's shoes in 16EEE easily."). But I can get past that. I figure I could wear a dress that is long enough to reach the floor and then I can wear whatever shoes I want. Sounds like a plan, right?

So what in the holy hell am I going to do with this goatee on my face?

Normally this would be a no-brainer. Cut it off and let it grow back in a few weeks. Simple enough and all would be well again wouldn't it?

Enter the Ladyfriend.

Over the last two months or so I've been dating this really laid back and cool as hell woman. Things are looking up (or skyrocketing if you will) and I'm really enjoying my time with her.

Ladyfriend likes playing with the goatee and she does not take kindly to the idea of going without it for a few weeks.

Any suggestions folks?

(Let me say that this isn't some actual plea for advice or help. This is a way for me to express how I feel about the new complexities of dating and being in a relationship. Feel free to goof off in the comments.)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Mashup - Chief Style

 When one Spartan just isn't enough.
Am I the only one that hates this "new" Blogger interface that's been forced on us? Anyway sorry about not bringing the goods last week but things have gotten....busy. I'm still trying to sort through some stuff at work, the group I'm working on an anime convention with is about to kick into high gear soon, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I have a ladyfriend now. But here goes.

How The Major Labels Screw Artists: Jurisdiction & Venue: Mike Masnick on a look at how big labels use funny wording to get over on artists.

Does Sex Increase Your Self Esteem?: Mark Manson on questioning how sex influences one's self esteem. A good read.

Male Yearning: Tom Matlack gets serious about smash-mouthed football, Humanism, and the epidemic of men yearning for love and meaning.

How I Stopped Whining About Being Alone: As a single mom, Katerina Zacharia often feels alone. But after a year and half complaining about her isolation, she finally began to realize the benefits of being alone.

Sexual Violence: Women Who Cut Off Men’s Penises: I wonder how many more times this has to happen before people switch from laughing about it to actually giving a damn?

Right Stuf has gotten the rights to release Rose of Versailles on DVD/BluRay next!!!!

How To Start A Blog: Some tips from Manson on how to get into blogging. Looks like I have a new favorite blog to read.

Take a bow, Sir Roger Moore: AllyF with some encouragement for men who have stories similar to Roger Moore's.

20% of Anorexics Are Men: I know I've been on the other end of it when it comes to men and weight but I don't want to see anorexic men left out of the discussion.

Sex work and the London 2012 Olympics – How was it for you?: It would seem that sex trafficking is not quite as wide spread as thought.

Baked Sweet Potatoes with Ginger and Honey: Gonna need to try this.

How To End Bullying: Clarissa has an idea on how to end bullying. Yeah and it involves actually holding parents responsible for the actions of their children.

Children in peril as women are jailed in record numbers: I just hope they aren't saying that, "Won't someone think of the children!!!" actually trumps holding women accountable for their crimes.

When Men Stop Seeking Beauty and Women Care Less About Wealth: I thought we pretty much agreed on this already.

It’s not rape if a woman does it: Damn, I guess it really is different when women do it.

Because we could all use some Lindsey Stirling in our lives.

 Take it easy folks!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interesting way to say show that only men are violent....

I'm spoiling the Resident Evil games so tread carefully.

Are you familiar with the video game Resident Evil 5? If you aren't here is a quick rundown.

The pharmaceutical company Umbrella has research facilities all over the world. In the public eye they make medicines and nice things that help people. Under the surface they are hive of top rated scientists that work on taking viruses and other organisms and turning them into viable biological weapons.

During the course of the game series you slowly but surely help bring that company to it knees and on to its final destruction. But you can't keep a good villain down.

By Resident Evil 4 Umbrella is a memory but the threat doesn't end there. This time instead of fighting off hordes of virus infected zombies you are fighting off hordes of people infected by the parasite Las Plagas.

Remember what I said about that villain you can't keep down? Even after Leon Kennedy's efforts to save the president's daughter and take out the cult behind the release of the Las Plagas, Ada Wong manages to get away with a sample of the parasite. Her destination, the hands of Albert Wesker.

A few years pass and in that time Wesker makes progress with the tiny life form and even manages to mutate it to make it even more dangerous than the predecessor that Leon fought against in Europe. And this is where Resident Evil 5 picks up.

This time Chris and his new partner Sheva are fighting biological terrorism in Africa in different locales ranging from moderate sized towns to ancient ruins to the obligatory underground laboratories.

Now that I've given you the lay of the land I want to point out something I don't recall a lot of people talking about or at least nowhere near as much as the possible racism in that game. Yes go search "racism in resident evil 5" without the quote marks to see what I'm talking about. There were some problematic scenes to be sure. One was early on when a group of infected men in an African town drug a white woman into a house and the other being later on when the "tribal" enemies showed up looking and acting like just what you'd expect from stereotypical "savages". Speaking of later on there's something I want to pick a bone with.

(Now let me say that I didn't play the game myself but rather watched a playthrough of it on youtube. Yes that wouldn't change what I would observe due to Resident Evil games being very linear but I figure I should mention it.)

Am I the only person that noticed that part of the way through the game ALL of the infected that you fight against are suddenly only adult men?

Yeah look for yourself. Early on there is a mixture of men and women but by a certain point (and I'll admit that I no longer recall exactly where as this post idea has been collecting dust in my Thought Journal for about 6 months, an entry I scribbled 3 months after watching it) all the women disappear. It's pretty interesting how they explain this in the game.

By chance are you familiar with the Resident Evil Archives? No they aren't a game but rather 2 paperback books (about the size of a video game strategy guide) that offer a convenient collection of explanations, character relationship charts, and notes that can be found in the games themselves while playing.

Volume 1 covers Resident Evil 1-3 and Code Veronica and Volume 2 covers Resident Evil 0, Umbrella Chronicles, Darkside Chronicles, 4, 5 (that may seem like there is more content in Volume 2 but bear in mind that Umbrella Chronicles and Darkside Chronicles are rail shooters that fill in gaps between the other games and are not full on games in the usual Resident Evil sense), and the movie Degeneration. What I'm talking about can be found in Volume 2, which covers the events of RE5.

From page 200 of Resident Evil Archives Volume 2:
The new breed brought with it its own set of challenges. For one, the compatibility was low: There was a 92% adherence rate among grown males - roughly the same as a standard Plaga - but a 0% adherence rate among women and children.
What is being described here is the Phase 3 form of the Las Plagas parasite (meaning that the original from RE4 was upgraded a first time to get Phase 2 and third time to get this Phase 3) and the probability of the host's survival once infected. Men had a 92% chance of surviving to become overly aggressive killing machines void of reason. Women and children simply died upon infection.

Real nice isn't? A perfectly plausible way to avoid having to portray women and children as soulless monsters and of course saving the player from having to kill women and children (well the children I understand...).

Oh and as far as I can tell despite the Resident Evil series having biology play a big role there seems to be no explanation for what is different in men versus women and children that allows the parasite to thrive in the former but kill the latter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I suppose that some progress is better than no progress...

Two new posters from Indiana State University's Health Promotion Office. Click to enlarge.

The two posters you see above have been making rounds for the last few weeks. Let me take a moment to describe them (in case you can't see them).

The first poster on the left is of a man and woman in bed with the following quote representing what the guy is saying/thinking, "When she changed her mind...I stopped."

The second poster on the right is of a man and woman sitting on a couch and the woman is leaning on the left shoulder of the guy with the following quote representing what the woman is saying/thinking, "When he said 'I'm not in the mood'...I understood."

No bones about it these are good messages and I hope they get shared around (which is part of why I'm doing this post). Consent is something that everyone has the right to give and rescind as they see fit. Let's say it again. Everyone has the right to decide what to do with their own body when it comes to sex.

I followed the link at the bottom of each picture ( if you can't read it) to take more of a look at the program.

Their "What is sexual assault?", Dating Violence, and Consent sections are refreshingly gender neutral. Yes these folks define assault and violence in a way that doesn't basically scream, "It's something men do to women" and maintain that consent from both men and women is vital. These are very good things.

However while I'll be the first to say that there is currently no such thing as too much awareness of sexual assault and abuse I have to say that even with that left poster and the good things I just mentioned I think these folks may still be coming up a bit short when it comes to talking about male victims.

I went to the Just For Men section and I was fully expecting that most of the material was going to presume that men are offenders and mention male victims in passing.


The first third of the page is purely "Guys need to respect women.". The third third of the page is "What can men do about violence against women.". The middle of the section offers some glimmer of hope in that it actually mentions male victims. But even then it's pretty limited and is still immediately disclaimed with the usual, "But men still do it more!". One interesting part is this question and how it's answered.:
Can a woman sexually assault a man?

Yes, but it's not nearly as common as male-on-male assault. A recent study shows that more than 86% of male survivors are sexually abused by another male. That is not to say, however, that we should overlook boys or men who are victimized by females. It may be tempting to dismiss such experiences as wanted sexual initiation (especially in the case of an older female assaulting a younger male), but the reality is that the impact of female-on-male assault can be just as damaging.
Even in the small bit of space that brings up women that assault men they still cannot do so without immediately quantifying it so that we know it doesn't happen to often. But I suppose since we are talking about male victims they are supposed to be happy with whatever crumbs they are given right? Men are only worth a brief mention that must be surrounded by reassurance that men are still the problem.

Don't get me wrong. It's a good program based on the very fact that they are addressing a very real problem that needs to be solved. However when it comes to male victims I really wonder if the goal is to do just enough to get rid of the critics or do they actually care.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sorry no Weekly Mashup this weekend

I thought I was going to sneak one in before going out of town today but I wasn't able to.

But there has been a lot going on this week and so much to keep up with.

I'll be back in town on Wednesday and the posting will continue.

Feel free to share anything interesting you have here.

Take it easy!!!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Blue Flags for Prostate Cancer? Good Idea!!!

Bouncing around the MensRightsReddit today and came across something that is going on this weekend in the state of Washington:
2012 Blue Flag Press Release

Tonight, for the fifth consecutive year is BLUE FLAGS
presented by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research
Center and the Washington officials Association.

This WEEKEND throughout the state of Washington
every high school football official will use a BLUE
penalty flag in replacement of the traditional yellow
flag as a way to raise awareness for prostate cancer.

One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer
in their lifetime, and there are more cases of prostate
cancer annually than any other major cancer.

Getting checked and catching prostate cancer in its
earliest stages is critical. We encourage MEN to
make an appointment to see your doctor today!

Isn't that just great?

There's not much attention paid to men's health and it's something that needs to be talked about and acted on.

Kudos to the folks in Washington!

Maybe we are all more super than we thought...

This is just awesome. Borrowed from Comicsalliance because I'm sure they won't mind.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"I Stopped Listening at...."

When I listen to something (or read something) its pretty rare that I will play the "I stopped reading/listening at...." card. It's kinda rude to not totally hear someone out. But sometimes I have to give in and do it. This is one of those times.

The man in the video starts off with defining misandry as the equal opposite force equivalent of misogyny.

This is already starting on the wrong foot.

The reason this is starting on the wrong foot is because it is from the get go trying to argue that the things that harm men and women are equal. This is a doomed argument NO MATTER WHO it comes from.

Seriously I didn't even finish the video. By all means if you finish watching it and want to comment on it go ahead.

(And it doesn't help that he calls himself giving MRAs a chance and then turns around calls them names. I guess calling people shit sacks is only bad when its done to feminists?)

Monday, September 10, 2012

I Live!!! I Breathe!!!

I talking about suicide. Tread carefully.

So today is World Suicide Prevention Day (which I honestly didn't know until yesterday while surfing around the net). While looking around while burning spare time at work I came across this post (everyone say hi to Julie!!!!) that leads to another post that gets to asking about why we (as in people who have considered suicide but have not done it) are still here.

When the chips were down and all hope and light seem consumed by despair and darkness, what is it that kept us from slipping away.

Now I'm not sure I fully agree with the idea that "depression lies" but that's neither here nor there today. Today is simply about why you are still here.

For me I the reason I am still here is because, and I know this isn't some grand answer, of curiosity. Yeah that simple. I'm sure you were expecting something awe inspiring "my kids" or "for my friends and family" or something like that. Don't get me wrong those things are important (mind you I don't have any kids) it's just that there is something else that has been an even stronger force for not taking those final steps.

Mainly it is a question of what things would I miss out on if I were to take my leave of this mortal world by own hand. Yes I will die some day but until that day comes there is still time to learn things, experience things, and live things.

A big part of why I've had suicidal thoughts was because of a lack of experiencing and living things that I see others experiencing and living on a regular basis. I had tried to see and feel those things for myself on my own terms just to constantly and regularly come up empty. As a result there have been times where I figured it would be best if I just left this world.

I'll admit I'm still not sure if the world is a better place with me in it but for my own sake I can say that I'm not better off dead if for no other reason than if I were dead then that would be a definite end to any possibility of taking on new experiences and feelings. And I don't want to hit that definite end until I meet it by forces that are out of my control.

That's why I'm still here.

Why are you still here?

A bit of extra reading on the topic.

Take 5 To Save Lives

A series of posts on men and suicide that ran at Good Men Project about a month ago.

National Suicide Prevention LifeLine

Julie explaining how depression lies.

Can you really say suicide is a Selfish Act? (This is a post I did a few months ago.)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Weekly Mashup Stage - Akamichi Style

It's nice to see a Naruto cosplay that is not the one millionth Sasuke, two millionth Naruto, or the three millionth Kakashi. Well played Choji. Well played.

How are we doing to day folks? Ready to get back to the grind tomorrow? Take a moment to skim over the things I came across this week before hitting the hay to start the work week tomorrow.

Take this an open thread. Share 'em if you got 'em.

DV Victim to Wife: You Have Mentally and Physically Scarred Me

Feminism and the Disposable Male

Judge Orders Man to Desecrate His Parent’s Grave To Appease Ex-Wife: Just sad. So fucking sad.

Should We Be Happy For Cheaters Who Find Love Again?: Personally I don't think we have to be happy for them but at the same time I don't think it's right to try to make something negative of it. What's more important, the cheater finding someone they won't cheat on or holding that cheater's adultery against them for all of eternity for sake of feeling good about ourselves?

Part I: The University of Montana deprives men of their right to a fair hearing in sex cases: Is the University of Montana trying to do an end run around giving men a fair hearing when accused of sexual crimes on campus? Some of the stuff that is becoming required material seems to be pointing that way. As in all students are being required to watch a series of seven videos and pass a quiz in order to continue attending after the first semester.

Domestic Abuse Helpline for Men and Women: A source for assistance victims of domestic violence.

A Dose of Stupid v.77

Where All the Good Guys Are: Of course good men don't make the news as much as bad men. And it also doesn't help that coverage of the male angle is used pretty selectively as well. A man spends his life working on a cure for an illness and his gender is never played up. A man goes on a shooting spree and his gender is the first thing to come up.

If You Need A Ladies-Focused Steakery To Feel "Empowered"... I have to agree with Alkon here. This seems right down there with advertisements for "products for men" that are hypermasculinized to get us to buy them under the idea they make us "real men".

Self-Reliance: Clarissa on the idea the self-reliance.

Woman Given Restraining Order Kills Three Children and Self: Such senseless violence.

Contraception is no stroll in the park and men should share the stress: Bring on the male contraception options!

How To Reach An Agreement In Mediation

The Battle For Gay Rights is a Wrestling Match Over Masculine Identity

The Japanese Dilemma, Parental rights, and the hard choices that define issues surrounding child abduction: A youtube video on the state of child custody in Japan. It's a long video and the situation is very bleak.

Adoption Rules in India: Why the limitations on single men being able to adopt children?

"Atheism, you asked for it...." by GirlWritesWhat

Thursday, September 6, 2012

On the Real, To The Devil With This Gay Test Nonsense

(This is an edited version of a post that I submitted to Good Men Project. Actually it's more like the one at GMP is an edited version of this one seeing as I made this one first.)

(In case you can't see the above image it is a drawing of Brooke Burke wearing a bikini holding a double edged lightsaber. Underneath is the following text: "Gay Test: If your first thought was 'I wonder what those crystal are' Bad news dude...")

I'm betting that more than likely you have seen some variation of the "Gay Test". The basic premise of it is to take some sort of image of an attractive woman, point out something that is considered to be of less importance than attractive women (and apparently EVERYTHING ELSE is less important than an attractive woman) and declare that if a guy notices that other thing before noticing the attractive woman then it's a sign that he is gay, which is apparently bad news.

Yea I'm sure you can see how this is jacked up on so many levels right? Don't worry I'm going to go over them.

For the most part these "tests" depict women that fit the bill of being conventionally attractive. White, thin, young, blond, large breasts and butts, revealing clothing, possibly in a sexually suggestive position (of a notable exception are the ones that are based on anime where the women change from white to Asian, the hair can be any color under the sun, and the laws of probability, physics, and reasonable comfort are suspended when it comes to breasts).

I can't speak for everyone but having been in conversation with other guys about what they find attractive (versus just watching guys on tv and movies) I know that there is quite the range on what is "attractive". There is plenty more than what I listed above that guys find attractive in women (hell to fit my own tastes I'd have to change almost every item in that range I listed above).

However it's hard to see that because as guys we are raised to believe that that narrow band of traits is what makes a woman attractive and a lot of us eat it up with no question (it took me a while to question it and decide my tastes for myself), so I can understand why other folks may think that we are all about that short list of "hot" traits, to an extent.

With that in mind I think the idea of not finding one specific set of traits attractive meaning that you are gay is pretty ridiculous. Are we really supposed to believe that such women represent all of male sexuality that includes attraction to women (because it's not like all male sexuality can be tossed into one of the camps of "gay" or "straight")?

Speaking of different types of male sexuality that brings me to my next problem. Let's take a moment to move away from guys that are attracted to women not represented in those pictures and look at guys whose attractions are not firmly set in leaning towards women or not leaning towards women.

Based on the image presented one passes if they notice the woman first, affirming their heterosexuality, or one fails if they do not notice the woman first, affirming their homosexuality. I think in this day and age most people can see that there is a lot more going on in the realm of sexuality than same gender and opposite gender attraction. Such guys are being pushed into either the gay or straight box, with no mind to how they really get down.

And then of course there is the way gay men are regarded.

When it comes to these tests gay guys are not being simply erased but are being cast as "failures" at male sexuality. According to this test a guy is gay if they don't notice the woman first. Let's be clear that "notice" is coated in sexual overtone where it means they notice her and want to have sex with her. Well a gay guy (more than likely) won't be interested in having sex with a woman even if he notices her, first or otherwise. And supposedly that means it's time to pull out the red pen and give those guys a failing grade and some "bad news" about their homosexuality?

Which of course leads me to asking, what exactly is so "bad" about being gay that it means one has failed at male sexuality?

So to sum things up:

Noticing the woman in such pictures first? Cool.

Finding said woman sexually attractive? Cool.

Propping a limited variety of women up as the standard of what is straight and what is gay? Not cool.

Making homosexuality out to be bad? Not cool.

And to the people creating and administering these "tests" I have to say something. Let me be clear that I'm not necessarily pointing these things out in some effort to make you out to be attackers of male sexuality that doesn't fit into the small subset you seem to suggest be required for a "passing grade". I just want to let you know what your tests say about guys that may "fail".

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

It Takes More Than Firewalls and Encryption To Protect Data

These days a lot of (you could probably say most) information is kept in a digital format. And with the stockpiling of digital data it is obvious that thieves would turn to the digital world in kind. The data must be protected.

In come the firewalls, encryption methods, and other security measures to ensure that no thief can break in and gain access to financial, medical, personal, or otherwise vital information. But is that enough? It would seem not.

A few weeks ago at DefCon (a major hacker convention) there was a contest in which the objective was to obtain certain pieces of information from a front of a crowd of dozens. But the feat here isn't that "Gary Darnell" was able to get information that is not normally available (don't worry it was nothing truly vital like passwords or customer information). No the feat is how he did it.

"Gary" didn't just use the latest software to force his way into the network of the company he went after. No instead he used the telephone.

Over the course of about 20 minutes Gary obtained the information by simply talking an employ out of it. Posing as a government employee offering a multi-million dollar he was able to gain the trust of the person he spoke to. In no time he learned what is served in the cafeteria areas, the pay cycles of employees, and their janitorial services. With the relationship built up the employee gave "Gary" other details such as the make/model of his computer, what operating system it's running, and even what antiviral software it was running.

And then Gary really struck.

Having learned other details about the company and specifics about the computer the person he was talking to was using he offered him an external website (as in not in the company's network) to fill out a survey to prepare for an upcoming visit. Thankfully the site was blocked by the network's security but he didn't have any problems as "Gary" told him that he would his IT department look into it. After promising to call the next day to follow up on things our "hacker" ended the call.

As I said above it's not the what but the how that is important here.

The person that "Gary" spoke to didn't notice anything odd about someone asking such deep details about his company. Not only was he giving up information but he was also willing to go to an unknown site with no second thought. "Gary" was able to pull this off because while the electronic defenses seemed to be up to snuff the people themselves were lacking.

The best digital security in the world is useless if the people on the inside are helping the outsiders get in.