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.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Weekly Mashup - Brainy Style

The brain is the strongest muscle in the body.

Feel free to consider this an Open Thread.

Why So Violently?: A post I submitted for a series on men and suicide at Good Men Project. I don't think it's enough to just say, "Well men kill themselves for often than women because they pick more violent methods." While that is true I think we need to go deeper. WHY do men tend to pick more violent means for suicide than women?

An ugly incident in Tampa...: Someone threw nuts at a black camerawoman during the Republican National Convention last week and a said, "This is how we feed animals."

The Importance of Dads: A response to recent bandwagon rushes to declare that dads are not an important part of the family.

Can I Have Fat Pride Without Throwing Thin Women Under The Bus?

On human trafficking: Toy Soldier talking about the trafficking of boys and men (which includes a link to a recent Good Men Project piece on the subject).

"Fat Hate"

A Call to Arms for Decent Men:"If you want to have some private little club for males only – like keeping women out of your favorite shooter games – you’re not a man, you’re an insecure little boy. A grown-up man has no problem being in the company of women. He knows he’s a man." The fuck? Having a men's only club does not inherently mean one hates women. And it damn sure isn't a sign of immaturity. I guess he's putting out a call to arms for decent men in order to show him how silly such talk is.

But seriously go read the entire article because even with silly stuff like that quoted bit he does call for guys to speak up in the gaming world over how women are treated. And that is a good cause.

Sexual Violence Survivorhood and Selective Reading (or It is Time to Get Over the Stupid Internet): James Landrith trying to get through to a feminist on the topic of male survivors. And yes, said feminist pulls out the usual buzz language like "mansplaning" and "male privilege".

Wave of Arrests of Father's Rights Activists

Beau Biden Supports Criminal Women?: Does support for abused women mean that women who commit cries should get a free pass?

Early Men's Rights Activists: 1926-1960: Past MRAs? I'll have to go back and read that one.

Male Bonding is a good thing: Tom Matlack on the value of male bonding.

No, A “Happy Ending” is NOT Rape: It's people like this that keep the old "women can't rape men" myth alive. This guy cites the usual "but he's bigger and stronger than she is!" argument. I wonder if this guy believes in gender equality. Or is he the type that says women are equal to men in all things except the capacity to do evil? According to the guy's story he didn't want it and it happened anyway. Sounds like a possible rape to me.

Because a woman poisoning her husband is funny and a good way to advertise ginger beer.

Alright people be good until next week!!!