Wednesday, December 31, 2014

I Went to a Party Mom


I'm sure a lot of you are ready to go out and get crazy for New Year's Eve. It's fine to get crazy but be sure not to get too crazy. I would be so happy if there was no death or injury this New Year's. I found this poem a few days years ago in a local paper and it serves as a grim reminder of the damage one can do when they get reckless when drinking and driving.



I Went to a Party Mom

I went to a party, Mom, I remembered what you said.

You told me not to drink, Mom, so I drank soda instead.

I really felt proud inside, Mom, the way you said I would.

I didn’t drink and drive, Mom, even though the others said I should.

I know I did the right thing, Mom, I know you are always right.

Now the party is finally ending, Mom, as everyone is driving out of sight.

As I got into my car, Mom, I knew I’d get home in one piece.

Because of the way you raised me, so responsible and sweet.

I started to drive away, Mom, but as I pulled out into the road, the other car didn’t see me, Mom, and hit me like a load.

As I lay there on the pavement, Mom, I hear the policeman say, the other guy is drunk, Mom, and now I’m the one who will pay.

I’m lying her dying, Mom…I wish you’d get here soon.

How could this happen to me, Mom?

My life just burst like a balloon.

There is blood all around me, Mom, and most of it is mine.

I hear the medic say, Mom, I’ll die in a short time.

I just wanted to tell you, Mom, I swear I didn’t drink.

It was the other, Mom. The others didn’t think.

He was probably at the same party as I.

The only difference is, he drank and I will die.

Why do people drink Mom? It can ruin your whole life.

I’m felling sharp pains now. Pains just like a knife.

The guy who hit me is walking, Mom, and I don’t think it’s fair.

I’m lying here dying and all he can do is stare.

Tell my brother not to cry, Mom, Tell Daddy to be brave.

And when I go to heaven, Mom, put “Daddy’s Girl” on my grave.

Someone should have told him, Mom, not to drink and drive.

If only they had told him, Mom, I would still be alive.

My breath is getting shorter, Mom.

I’m becoming very scared.

Please don’t cry for me, Mom.

When I needed you, you were always there.

I have one last question, Mom, before I say goodbye.

I didn’t drink and drive, so why am I the one to die?

Author Unknown


Remember folks. Drink with conviction. Drink with caution. Drink with safety. Drink with responsibility.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

So it was the weight rather than the choke hold?

By now I'm sure you have seen or heard about Eric Garner being choked to death by an NYPD officer back in July. At the start of the confontation there are 2 cops confronting Eric when a third starts choking him from behind. By the end there are 7 cops on the scene plus an 8th that's doing crowd control. There has been a lot of outrage over the decision to not indict the officer that choked him and it seems that there are people in high places that concur.

New York Republican Representative Peter King has looked this over and is apparently in agreement with there being no indictment against the officer and thinks that the reason Garner died was because he was overweight.

This man is honestly saying that his weight is why he died. Not the choke hold. Not the fact that the cops dog piled him to the ground. Not the fact that his face was mashed into the concrete.

I feel like going on a massive rant about how this is fat shaming but I think there's more at work.

I think those in power are running out of excuses.

Running out of excuses to allow such blatant acts of police brutality to continue.

With the decision not to indict the officer who killed Michael Brown (I won't declare former officer Wilson guilty but I do think there are enough inconsistencies to warrant a full trial) race is an extremely hot topic right now. King knows this and is quick to try to remove race from the issue

Notice how he repeatedly states that race had nothing to do with it. He says if it were a fat white guy it would have turned out the same. He mentions that the superior officer at the scene was a black woman. He mentions that minority community members came to the police asking them to do something about Garner selling individual cigarettes outside their businesses.

Absolutely none of that was reason to choke him and mash his face to the ground until he died. Run him off? Sure. Arrest? Go ahead. But kill?

King even tries to say that "if you can't breathe, you can't talk". Did he not notice that Garner's voice was getting progressively weaker as he pleaded for air? Not sure what part of biology he missed but its entirely possible to speak when you're losing air. Your voice will be weak and you won't be able to talk too loud but you'll be able to speak for a moment. I don't know maybe he was expecting him to stay quiet and conserve air. Suffer in silence.

I'm pretty much convinced that he was caught between a rock and a hard place where he needed to both excuse the behavior of the cops and avoid accusations of racism.

Now it is entirely possible that race had nothing to do with this killing. Even if it isn't there are way too many of these killings happening (each word is a link to a different shooting).

Even though police exist to maintain order, to do that there must be "order". And by "order" I mean that the police can't afford too much bad publicity or the people they have sworn to protect and serve will lose faith.

Just look at Ferguson, Missouri. After the decision to not indict was made there has been protest, property damage, and bodily harm. The NYPD can't let that happen in their neck of the woods so its in their best interests to let the death of Eric Garner go unquestioned.

I'm just wondering how long more events like Ferguson can be held off.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

White Nerd Rage in 5...4...3.....

So today Warner Bros. announced their cast for the upcoming Suicide Squad movie.

Just to get you up to speed real quick the Suicide Squad is a DC comic about ragtag band of criminals who are released from prison to do the really dirty work that no one is supposed to know about. However this dirty work is often the kind you aren't expected to come back from, hence the name of the unit.

Now where's the white nerd rage going to come from you might ask. Wait for it....

This is Floyd Lawton aka Deadshot. A member of the suicide squad slated to appear in the movie.


Here's Deadshot in the game Batman: Arkham City.

This is Deadshot from the Arrow tv series.

This is Deadshot from the comic books.
(Yes the one tied to a chair with the skin's of
the Joker's face over his. Long story.)


So who's playing him in the movie?


As you can see Will Smith is a bit....different from the the existing artwork and Michael Rowe's acting on the Arrow series.

Now at face value I can understand why there would be some outrage. I'll even admit that despite planning on cosplaying Deadshot for a convention next year I have a bit of a problem with this. It goes back to just changing established characters from black to white. 

Yes there is certainly an issue with there not being that many black comic characters and that is something that I'd like to see addressed. I just don't think this is the way to do it. I would like to see more black characters popping up in movies (such as Micheal Jai White who plays Bronze Tiger on the Arrow series and was a member of the Suicide Squad at one point). Maybe we could FINALLY get a Static Shock movie.

However with that aside I know I'll get over this like I did when Michael Clark Duncan was Kingpin and how the mantel of Captain America is being passed on to The Falcon.

And there is no point in ranting and raving about it across the net and there is certainly no point in getting racist about it either.

Honestly I'm not sure of how well Smith will fit the role. He's gonna have to play an objective oriented cold blooded killer. Can he do that? I guess we'll find out.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Profoundly Simplistic? In Their DNA?

The dynamics of sex, marriage, and dating are rapidly changing these days and in such times of turmoil there are bound to be things said that people don't agree with and things that don't make sense. I think Nicey Nash has said some things that fall into both of those columns.

According to her book, It's Hard To Fight Naked, and a recent interview with Playboy, Nash seems to think that blowjobs and home cooked meals are key to a happy marriage.

While I don't want to deny her experiences I do think that by dispensing this out as relationship advice something very important is being skipped over.

By thinking blowjobs and home cooked meals will keep a man happy in a relationship I think communication is going to suffer big time. But trying to set a solid answer for what will make things work people set themselves up to think they can just follow a guide or read a book and be all set.

Look at some of what may be the basis of her thinking.
A BJ a day keeps the divorce attorney away’ and I say that because I feel like men are profoundly simplistic...
We want to be pleasing by nature, that’s in our DNA...
Men are basic and women have it in their genes to be pleasing.

This sounds like we are locked into a set way. Well we kind of are but I don't think its quite in the DNA of women yet and denying the complexity of men only just encourages us to bury it and deny it in hopes of getting some rather than risk losing it all.

We are set in those ways because of established gender roles. Little but powerful scripts that keep us all in place so that we don't look anywhere but down and don't think to far outside the box.

I worry that telling couples that blowjobs and home cooked meals will do more to reinforce these scripts which in the long run will do the opposite of keeping marriages going. Women acting a certain way because they think that's what they're genetics tell them to do. Men acting a certain way because they think they are too simple to think about something different.

But she does give some advice that not only is worth reading but if implemented across the entire relationship would run counter to her recommendation for keeping the marriage going.
And that’s a conversation that a lot of people dive into but if you’re going to be with someone for the rest of your life and they’re failing to meet your sexual needs is like doing a slow dance with death. We need to make sure we can meet right there in the middle.
Not having your needs and desires met can very well be a slow dance of death for the relationship. It's going to take conversation, speaking up, listening to your partner. Those are the things that need to be done to keep the marriage going, not just assuming he needs a full belly and a blowjob and she needs to be ready to give them.

Hell what if she doesn't like doing oral and hates cooking? What if he doesn't care about receiving oral and enjoys cooking?

This isn't some attack on Nash or a call to boycott her work.

I just disagreed with a portion of her thoughts (and think its worth noting that another portion of her thoughts could actually address the portion I disagree with).

And besides if a marriage is only being kept afloat with oral sex and home cooked meals then it might be best for it to let it sink.

So it's been a while.....

As you've probably noticed its been a while since I last posted. I'll be honest I've been pretty busy with work, wedding planning, family life, trying to get back in gaming and anime, and my pumpkin spice series wasn't getting much in the way of views and response.

Hell I didn't even post on my birthday.

I'm at a point where its becoming difficult to keep this blog going.

I'm not saying this is the end. Just saying it may be a while before I return.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Blended Yogurt (Chobani)


Chobani presented Pumpkin Spice Blended Yogurt for the fall season and its good.

Its a Greek yogurt so its got that bit of a tang to it to keep it from being too sweet. The spices are not too heavy.

I wouldn't mind trying this as a frozen yogurt.

Guess who's getting married?


That's right folks!

Tuesday night was my girlfriend (which is why I didn't do a pumpkin post that night or last night) and I's two year anniversary and I popped the question. And she said yes!

Mind you, we've been talking about this for a long time and she knew I was going to ask but last night became official.

That's a tungsten ring with the Wonder Woman logo engraved. Why Wonder Woman? Because she often calls herself that and she's really, truly is wonderful.

She's a good one and I refuse to let her go.

As of right now we're gonna tie the knot next Halloween.

I'm gonna be taking off from my pumpkin posts for the next few days (mostly because I'm running out of things to try, ironic I know) but will be back.

Take it easy!!!

Monday, October 13, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Bread (Wal-Mart)


Alright people my apologies for missing out on the last two days. My girlfriend's birthday party was on Saturday and....well let's just say we needed Sunday to recover. Back to action.

Well back to action sorta.

Tonight was have Wal-Mart's take on pumpkin bread...and they didn't take it that well.

Honestly, it wasn't good. The bread was dry in the middle but moist on the top. The flavor was weak and there were barely any pecans in it. It was terrible.

Seriously, just don't.

Friday, October 10, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pepperidge Farm Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies


So Pepperidge Farm has decided to offer us a pumpkin spice cookie that has bits of cheesecake baked into it.

Very good cookie. I like how they made it a pumpkin spice cookie with cheesecake bits that way you can taste them separately instead of all melding together.

High in calories. High in sugar. High in fat. High in taste.

If you're a fan of pumpkin spice and are a fan of Pepperidge Farm you should really do yourself a favor and get a pack of these.

Do you have any pumpkin treats/sweets/drinks recommend?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Coffeemate Pumpkin Spice Creamer


Anyone that drinks coffee knows the brand Coffeemate and their line of creamers. You may love it, you may hate it, but you know about it.

During the fall time (and probably through most of winter) we are treated to a Pumpkin Spice flavor of the creamer.

This stuff is good. I go through about 2 bottles of it every year and I enjoy it each and every time I use it.

The spice is fairly strong so it works well with coffee, Well, unflavored coffee at least.

If you are a coffee drinker you should give this one a try.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Caramel


I didn't even know Ghirardelli made these until about a month ago when I saw them in SAMS Club. And then, what do I come home to after a really aggravating day at work? A bag of these (along with basic milk chocolate caramels and another new one called cinnamon crunch).

Like the basic milk chocolate caramel the pumpkin spice caramel is simply caramel with a pumpkin spice flavor. And like the basic milk chocolate caramel, this one is good too.

The chocolate is smooth and the caramel melts in your mouth just right.

This is a really good piece of candy. I can see myself tearing through a bag of these before they are taken off the shelf for the year.

Do you have any pumpkin treats/sweets/drinks recommend?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Donut (Krispy Kreme)


When it comes to the basic glazed donut it doesn't get much better than Krispy Kreme. However I've always felt that their cake donuts have been lacking. Dry, heavy, overly sweet.

The pumpkin spice version of their cake donut is really not that much different. While the spices help counter the sweetness of the glaze to an extent, it's still pretty heavy, and will dry your mouth out.

I'm gonna have to go try the Dunkin Donuts take on this.

Do you have any pumpkin treats/sweets/drinks recommend?

Monday, October 6, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice M&Ms


Damn shame sweets aren't good for you.

Seriously Pumpkin Spice M&Ms are good stuff. From what I can tell instead of the usual chocolate that is inside we are treated to a pumpkin spice filling (don't worry its solid just like the chocolate). And of course the candy shell on the outside is still there.

These are probably the best pumpkin treat I've had so far. They are good but they are just rich/sweet enough to discourage you from just sitting down and killing an entire bag of them at once.

I'd give them a thumbs up.

Do you have any pumpkin treats/sweets/drinks to recommend?


Sunday, October 5, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Pie Toaster Strudel


First marketed as a competitor to the the quick breakfast staple Pop Tarts, Toaster Strudels have come along way. Instead of being wrapped in foil and sitting on a shelf for several months, Pillsbury decided to go with a frozen pastry with frosting to go on top. I'm not sure when they threw their chef's hat into the seasonal battlefield but like many other treats we now have a pumpkin pie flavor of the sweet pastries to enjoy in the morning.

They are actually quite tasty. The pastry is what you would expect. However the filling is really close to the border of being too sweet. As a result you may or may not want to use the frosting packet that comes with each strudel.

I've eaten one box of these so far and they are okay. Unfortunately I don't eat Toaster Strudels very often so it's likely I won't get anymore before they disappear from the shelves.

Take it easy folks!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte


So I told my girlfriend today that I was only going to do my series on weekdays and she shut it down quite simply.

"But Babe, that's not 31 days."

She's technically right so today we have the Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte of Starbucks.

This is an annual drink that coffee shop giant has been offering for quite some time and it's one of the many pumpkin spice treats that I will certain have many times while its available.

I normally don't add whipped cream to my drinks but this is one of my exceptions.

The spices are very strong in the drink and it's not too sweet so they come out even more. The texture is nice and creamy as well. Between the flavor and creaminess you really can't drink this fast. Its meant to be sipped and savored.

My only problem with it was that even though it's iced it didn't get cold fast enough so for the first few minutes the drink was still noticeably warn.

All in all its a good drink and I encourage you to enjoy it. I'm not sure when Starbucks will stop serving these but I'm pretty sure they go at least until Thanksgiving.

Goodnight!!!

Friday, October 3, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Milano Cookies

Okay folks you know the phrase, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."?

Whoever came up with that was thinking about Pumpkin Spice Milano cookies by Pepperidge Farm.

Simply put the pumpkin spice tastes so artificial that it actually clashes with the rest of the cookie. It contrasts the chocolate and cookie flavors so badly that the pumpkin spice actually spoils the fact that you're eating a Milano.

Do you know how hard it is to ruin the experience of eating a Milano cookie? I thought it couldn't be done. But low and behold they figured out how to do it.

You notice I didn't bother posting a picture of them right?

Yeah they are that bad. You'll see them along with the other Milano cookies...hopefully you won't see them there too long.

From the looks of things I'm going to be limiting this series to weekdays since my weekends are a bit hectic this month.

See you folks on Monday!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Cookies


So tonight's treat is the pumpkin spice cookie. This particular cookie hails from Harris Teeter (a major grocery chain here in the South Eastern US).

There's a reason I have grown to look forward to these cookies when they come around this time of year. They are moist and fluffy in the middle but have a hard crunchy out edge. Simply put they are really damn good. And they are pretty large cookies so you really don't have to eat a lot of them to get your fill.

The spice is just right so that you taste it as you eat it but doesn't leave a strong after taste.

The pumpkin spice cookie is a staple treat so you're bound to see them in a LOT of different places during the months of October and November (don't forget Thanksgiving).

But of course this store bought cookie probably wouldn't hold a candle to a homemade cookie....

Take it easy folks.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

31 Days of Pumpkin - Pumpkin Spice Oreo


So it's that time of year when we get pumpkin spice everything.

I'm a fan of pumpkin spice. A big fan. In light of that (and the fact that I haven't been doing much at this blog lately) I've decided to do a bit of a project.

My plan is to blog about one pumpkin spice item everyday for the month of October. Some will be good. Some will be Bad. Some will be Ugly.

Tonight I tried a new entry into the pumpkin spice arena. The Pumpkin Spice Oreo.

Oreo has made a name for itself over the years for having a near constant stream of different variations of their classic creme sandwich cookie (even that dreadful looking fruit punch one) so this time they have decided to take a swing at pumpkin.

Honestly its kinda of meh. Not horrible but not something I can see myself going out of my way to stockpile. The filling has the usual flavor you'd expect from pumpkin spice. It wasn't too sweet but oddly I don't think it goes too well with the vanilla cookie.

All in all it's something that can serve as a break from the usual Oeroes that are around all year but I don't think you'll be craving them a for the rest of the year when they are not available.

Okay folks I'll be back tomorrow with another treat.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The part of the violence conversation you probably won't hear about



This is an assault that probably flew under the radar. I'll be honest and say that I did not know about it until 3-4 days ago.

Around August 30 Justin Lindsey of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania was attacked by ex-girlfriend Rhameicka Clark on the porch of his own home. Now normally you'd think he could just call the police and get her arrested right?

Wrong.

What actually happened is that Clark immediately went to the police, claimed that Lindsey attacked her, and got an Emergency Protection from Abuse order put out on him. What did the cops do? They arrested him.

And yes his mother tried to give police the same video that you see above of Clark attacking him with a metal pipe but the police still chose to keep him in custody for 10 days before he was finally released and the charges were dropped.

Thankfully Lindsey is free. Now let's hope that the Clark actually ends up behind bars herself.

If nothing else this shows us a very serious and damaging flaw in the cultural attitudes around violence.

A woman attacks a man on video, goes to the police station and gets a protection order against him, and when he is taken into custody, the police somehow believe the word of the attacker over video of the attack showing her guilt.

Now I'm sure someone is thinking, "But the police had to make sure he wasn't a threat to her." Then why not arrest them both? Surely video evidence of her attacking him would be enough to get her arrested on the spot while the police sort it all out isn't it?

And that's what worries me.

We (that's an overall we) have gotten so caught up in the narrative that abuse and violence is something that men do to women that even when contrary evidence is staring us in the face we still choose to believe the woman over the man. Yes it's done under the guise of "erring on the side of caution" but where was the caution in letting a woman that assaulted a man on video walk free?

Is this really the narrative that is going to lead to long lasting change and awareness of violence and abuse?

Ridding of the Rice


Earlier this week Ray Rice's contract with the Baltimore Ravens was terminated and the commissioner of the NFL, Rodger Goodell, suspended him indefinitely. Today EA has taken action of their own and will be removing the running back from the video game Madden 15 during this coming week's updates to the game.

At first I was wondering why go so far to get rid of him. But then I realized that there could be legal repercussions. To keep him in the game would mean that the NFL would be profiting off of the image of a man who most likely would not be getting a share of said profits.

Maybe EA decided to remove him to prevent future lawsuits?

Maybe EA did in accordance with a seeming move to scrub Rice away from the NFL's memory forever (apparently store have taken to getting rid of all gear associated with him).

Who knows what EA's exact motives were but its clear that with what Ray Rice has done people are scrambling to disassociate themselves from him.

Edit: Just wanted to explicitly say that I'm glad to see that he was held responsible for his part in this and that he was punished. Before someone comes in and tells me I support violence against women.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Heart and the Changes it can go through



Okay so in the last few days it's been pretty much impossible to look online without hearing about, reading about, or talking the nude celebrity leaks. Long story short someone managed to get their hands on nude images of several celebrities including Jennifer Lawrence, Avril Lavigne, Kate Upton, and many many many more. These images were then shared on the internet for public viewing 

I'm not here to make some moral grand stand about how you should look up those images.

I'm not here to try to liken those who do go looking for those images with rapists and abusers.

I'm not here to tell you where to find those images.

I'm just here to share with you how I changed my mind on wanting to see them myself.

I heard about the leak on Sunday evening and I'll admit that for a short while I went looking for some of the pics. But while I was looking something came over me. It went something like this.

(Internal monologue time. Queue music.)

Danny: Should we really be doing this Danny?

Danny: Doing what?

Danny: Looking for those images.

Danny: Why do you ask?

Danny: Well think about it. Its not like these folks intended for these photos to be shared out in public like this. I mean someone had to break into an online account in order to get to them in the first place.

Danny: True. If they wanted them to be shared they would be out on a million different sites by now.

Danny: And think about this. Let's say those were pics of us.

Danny: Yeah. Even if we had a body that could be considered attractive we wouldn't want to have our photos paraded around the net like that.

Danny: Very true.

Danny: Let's just let them be.

Danny: Fair enough.

Yeah it really was that simple.

I know I wouldn't want to have pics of myself out there like that so why would I take pleasure in such a horrible violation of the privacy of another person?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Goodbye Robin Williams

Man goes to doctor. Says he's depressed. Says life seems harsh and cruel. Says he feels all alone in a threatening world where what lies ahead is vague and uncertain. Doctor says "Treatment is simple. Great clown Pagliacci is in town tonight. Go and see him. That should pick you up." Man bursts into tears. Says "But Doctor... I am Pagliacci."


I'm not sure about the source of that joke but I think its quite relevant with the recent passing of comedian Robin Williams.

As I'm sure you have already read elsewhere Williams apparently committed suicide yesterday.

Damn.

At first glance it feels to sudden and tragic. Some people may even think, "How or why would one of the funniest men to ever walk the face of the planet kill himself?"

Its probably because for a lot of people who are depressed, they choose something and put their all into it to the point that they are able to achieve levels of greatness and become legends in their art. Robin's art just happen to be comedy.

Throughout his life Williams battled addictions to alcohol and drugs and was in rehab several times. To me that sounds like he was reaching a point where the his art was no longer enough on its own. But it seems something, I'm not sure what, but something brought him back from that edge. And this time there was nothing there to bring him back.

I just hope that whatever he was looking for he found it.

He gave us so much drama, comedy, and good acting that it would take too long to list everything he did (although my favorites are Aladdin and Dead Poets Society) so I'll just say goodbye.

(I hope there is no need to say this but I won't take kindly to saying that he was a coward or selfish for killing himself in the comments.



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Whoopi Goldberg: Women don't deserve a free pass to hit men



I know I've been quiet for a while but I had to chime in on this a bit.

Frankly I agree with her.

When this all went down a few weeks ago the usual tanks were circled and this was turned into another case of "man abuses woman" when it looks like it was a case of "woman abuses man, man went too far in response".

And yes folks those are two different things.

If you think they are different then let me ask this.

Why is hardly anyone besides Whoopi even talking about the fact that she said she hit him first?

Sure you can try to pull that "it doesn't matter who hit who" but if you do then be ready to explain who if it doesn't matter who hit who why the overwhelming response has been on Rice and how small of a league punishment he got?

Where are the calls for that COUPLE to go to counseling and work on why the tension got to the point where physical violence even came up.

Where are the well wishings that Ray Rice learn that violence is not the answer (instead of "Ray Rice shouldn't hit women")?

Yes Rice was wrong and I think he should have been benched for the whole season for his part in it. But don't go acting like this is all on him.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Promise One: Remainder of my trip to Washington state

Okay I just realized that I owe you folks a few things so let's get into it.

First off I never did tell the rest of my trip to Washington state. Honestly there wasn't a whole lot left to gush about except for three things.

1. I spent WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYY too much money in the San Rio store I found in the local mall. Seriously between my girlfriend and daughter I probably coughed up a little over $200 in that one store alone. Ended up actually mailing 2 small boxes of stuff back to NC because I didn't have enough space to carry it all and STILL ended up having to pay extra baggage fees (because of weight).

2. Went back to that awesome sushi by the conveyor belt place (Blue C Sushi) and ate a king's ransom the night before heading back out. I was so full.

3. I got to meet Gingko from Genderratic! Chilled at a pub, sipped some beer, talked about all sorts of things. Good time to be had. Although for some reason I thought he was black.....

But yeah that's the short version of my trip to Washington state back in February.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

He's a rapist, She's a sexual violator?

(I"m talking about rape, tread carefully.)

When you look around at campaigns to end sexual assault how do you usually see it framed? As rape correct?

Now let's be clear. Rape is a horrible crime and any who commit it must be held responsible and I bet anyone reading this would agree (and if you don't then that's a whole nother conversation).

So what happens when something as terrible as rape is defined not by the actions taken but by the characteristics of the people involved?

Imagine for a moment if when a black person kills a white person its manslaughter and when a white person kills a black person its murder. And that's the way it is in the law books. No attention to motive, opportunity, past criminal acts or anything like that. Just as simple as when a black person kills a white person its manslaughter and when a white person kills a black person its murder based on nothing more than the races of the killer and the victim.

Oh sure you can say that manslaughter and murder are two different charges but are prosecuted and punished the same (does that sound familiar?) but then look at how awareness campaigns around the acts develop. Over time the vast majority of efforts, language, campaigns, studies, conversations, etc.... specifically say murder. Even the very law books are written to keep them separate so that you know black people manslaughter and white people murder.

That's kind of what's happening in New Zealand right now.

Recently a 36 year old woman had a child by an 11 year old boy. But by New Zealand law that woman cannot be charged with rape.

Like my example above where a black person can't be charged with murder because they are black the law is actually written in such a way that a woman cannot be charged with rape because she is a woman. When a woman commits the same actions (forced sex against another person) as a man, he is charged with rape and she is charged with sexual violation (mind you both carry the same maximum sentence of 20 years).

Now that sounds good on paper but if you look at most of the conversations, campaigns, discussions, studies, etc... that are done on this subject the crime is called rape. Personally I think we all have a hand in such a separation where while we acknowledge that sexual assault, sexual violation, and other variations are horrible the we keep the spot light on rape. Its a charged word now.

Okay so I guess it doesn't look so good on paper when someone is immune to being charged with rape by simply being a different gender.

Its a pretty big problem where when you do a gender swap on a crime (if a 36 year old man had sex with an 11 year old girl..) and it actually becomes a different crime.

Personally I think the law got written this way as way to make female rapists out to be "lesser" than male rapists. Technically by NZ law there is no such thing as a female rapist. Yes you have female sexual violators but that doesn't have the same ring (or stigma) to it. And I think we are fully aware of it too.

You see on the large scale people still do not like the idea that women can commit horrible acts against other people. No they sleep better at night thinking that such things are the exclusive territory of men.

That's a part of those old gender roles we hear so much about. The same ones that are lamented because of how things like climbing the corporate ladder, being an athlete, or being a super hero are considered the exclusive territory of men.

If you believe that being a woman doesn't make one less of a hero, then you have to acknowledge that it doesn't make one less of a villain either.

And I also don't think its going to do much justice for the young boy she raped to be told that he wasn't raped but sexually violated all because the person that did it was a woman.

Let's hope that this leads to some really examination of the laws in NZ and eventually to some change.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Reaching out to the Elliot Rodgers of the world

I just got back home from Animazement (I'll have a post on that later) a short while ago and during that time I pretty much didn't look at any news. Well it seems that on Friday, Elliot Rodger fulfilled an apparently year long plan to exact what he conceived to be a plot of revenge against his "enemies". His "enemies" were women who were not attracted to him and the men they were attracted to instead.

On Friday May 23 Rodger shot and killed 6 people, and then killed himself.

I've been reading some of the coverage and its quite sad that this attack has become little more than fodder in spitting venom at this group or that. Even uglier is the seeming double standard that its okay to blame a group for the attack but if said group defends against that generalization THAT is considered derailing or being distasteful. But nevermind that.

What I want to get into is the fact that I feel for him. (This is going to sound like I'm talking to Elliot even though I know he is no longer around to hear my words. But maybe there are some other guys out there in Elliot's position who could use them.)
---------------------------------------

What you did was wrong and not justified, but I do understand the feelings that may have played a part in what you did.

As a guy that spent an extremely long time never dating, never being in relationships, and never having sex I can understand where you were coming from. It is quite frustrating and angering to go through life and never meet someone to connect with. It gets lonely. Its gets dark.


Now I'm not sure if you were raised on the idea that you deserve a woman, picked up the idea that you deserved a woman, or if you were just lonely. But when it comes to meeting people (regardless of what comes of it) it takes one major thing.

Patience: Contrary to the experiences of people who seem to meet a different person every week there are a lot of people who go long spans of time without meeting someone. It gets lonely and it can be real easy to take those long spans of time to heart. But you MUST hold out. A long lasting connection, or even a temporary or sexual connection, can be and often is hard to come by.

I don't want to scare you but there are a lot of people who go an extremely long time before they find such a connection and there are also a lot of people who never find one. A part of finding relationship, love, and sex is holding out until you find what you are looking for.

Elliot you were 22 when you chose to carry out your "revenge". That's still a fairly young age and you still had a lot of time ahead of you to keep looking. And about your revenge.

The women you killed weren't your enemies for not being interested in you. Just as I'm sure you have your own tastes in women those women had their own tastes in men. The fact that you weren't compatible with those tastes doesn't mean something was wrong (with their tastes or you) that needed to be fixed or some sort of wrong that called for justice.

The men that you killed weren't your enemies for being the ones those women were interested in. Different people have different tastes and that is the way dating and relationships go. Think about it like this. Let's say you meet a woman and you have some sort of connection with her. And out of nowhere another guy felt like you were his enemy simply because that woman was interested in him not you and that to correct what you did to him he decides to kill you.

In the end there is no question what you did was wrong and it cannot be defended. To me a more pressing point to address the feelings that very common in a lot of men but where only a few of them choose to take the kind of action you did.

The loneliness is understandable and the pain is something I can empathize and sympathize with. But you simply can't hope to correct the situation by killing other people, much less killing yourself.

A lot of people are going to wish you didn't kill those people.

A lot of people are going to wish you didn't hang around certain people (based on label alone).

A lot of people are going to wish you had killed yourself.

Those wishes are mostly based around their own satisfaction rather than preventing what happened.

Elliot I wish you could have found some help with how you were feeling.

If you had then (I would like to believe that) you would have been able to handle your situation a lot better and you would have likely met someone.

I'm sorry you didn't get that help.
---------------------------------------

I think in the end that's what it comes down to. Some people are not able to handle being in the situation of not connecting with others and helping them out would do a lot of good.

If women are dirty for having sex with men, what does that say about men?

So I read this post a few days ago by Lynn Beisner about Christian purity culture and men. She makes some good points but the post reminds me of something that I have had on my mind for an extremely long time.

When you get down to it Christianity casts men and male sexuality as dirty as disgusting.

Think about it.

You ever notice how Puritanical ways goes on about how women are pure this and clean that...until they have sex? Those women are having sex with someone. And given that Christianity isn't exactly welcoming of homosexuality I think we can conclude its talking about women having sex with men.

So what does this mean? That women are clean and pure and fine until they have sex with men at which time they become dirty and impure. In short men are dirty and unclean and by having sex with men women also become dirty and unclean.

I don't know about you folks but I can't put a lot of stock in a religion that casts me as dirty and unclear for simply being male.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Inappropriate? Maybe. Sexual Harassment? Hell No.

So apparently  Amanda Marcotte thinks that a teenager Patrick Farves asking Miss America Nina Davuluri to the prom is sexual harassment.

First off let me say that I don't think the guy is totally innocent here. Apparently the school knew that he was planning on asking her and had warned him not to do so, but he did anyway. Based on that I really don't it was out of line to take action against him. A 3 day suspension seems harsh but I do think he should have gotten punished in some way. But that's not the real issue here. To me the real issue is that rather than this topic being laid to rest it would seem Marcotte sees it as a chance to make leaps and bounds in order get more readers.

One response included :
gawker.com/high-school-student-suspended-for-asking-miss-america-t-1565510180 … I really wish people would stop acting like it’s cute when teenage boys sexually harass older women.
12:09 PM - 21 Apr 2014
When asked to explain how asking someone out constitutes harassment she replies with:
Pestering someone with unwanted sexual requests for the purpose of making them uncomfortable is harassment.
5:24 PM - 21 Apr 2014
See what she does there? It would seem that the running start for her leap consists of:

1. Concluding that asking her out is "pestering" aka getting on her nerves.
2. Presuming that wanting to ask someone out to the prom inherently means they want sex.
3. Presuming that wanting to ask someone out to the prom inherently means they are trying to make them uncomfortable.

First off I think we should let the person being asked if they are pestered by such a question. Davuluri has posted on her Facebook page that she has reached out to Farves' school asking them to reconsider the punishment. Does that sound like someone that was pestered? She could have easily walked away from the situation and given no fucks about it.

I can't be the only one that sees the oddness of Marcotte saying that the only reason he asked her out was for sex. It can't just because he wanted to go on a date with Miss God Damn America, one of the most popular women in the country. Maybe he wanted to have a genuine one on one conversation with her. Perhaps he just wanted to dance with her. Yeah its possible that he was just asking in hopes of having sex with her but I don't see Marcotte offering any proof of that. Maybe she thinks, "Come on, he's a teenage boy!" is proof enough. You'd think someone that prides herself in breaking gender stereotypes wouldn't believe such a thing.

Presuming that he did it to make her uncomfortable sort of contradicts the "he was in it for the sex angle". Unless she is saying he went into the situation thinking, "If she says yes then I'll get to bang her. If she says no, then at least I made her feel uncomfortable"?

And speaking of "unwanted". Shouldn't that be Davuluri's decision? Who are we to say that even if Farve's intentions were sexual, she would have turned him down? I guess women "daring to be sexual" is only okay when the dare is an approved one right?*

Who knows maybe that's just what she was thinking he was thinking.

What I'm getting at is while his behavior was very inappropriate (but only because he violated a previously issued warning to not do so) it was NOT sexual harassment. These are exactly the kind of overreaching, hyperbolic, reaching claims that get in the way of real conversation and change. If you want to say he was out of line then do so. But please do so without reaching for words that have no place in the conversation.

* - This is presuming that Patrick Farves is of consenting age of course.

Monday, April 28, 2014

World's Toughest Job you say?



By now I'm sure you have seen this video (this youtube link has over 10 million views even). A fake company comes up with this fake job and posts it for people to apply. About 20 responded and their interviews were taped. The description of job is read off to them and one by one the applicants seem to turn the job down. In the end it turns out the description was of a mother, billed as the toughest job in the world.

Now let me say something first. I am by no means saying that being a mother is easy or not tough. They do a lot, put up with a lot, and they keep on going. My mom did it, my girlfriend is doing it, and women all over the world are doing it. But with that in mind this ad goes too far. It goes from trying to show how hard it is to be a mother to straight up idolizing mothers.

I saw what was a pretty damn good break down of some of the "qualifications" over at the Men's Rights Reddit:
Some of my facebook friends posted this. This was my response to them:
I feel the need, as usual, to play devils advocate on this one and voice a dissenting opinion. I guess I should go line by line and look at each of the "qualifications".
"Standing up almost all the time." I think this seems pretty subjective and the applicability of this qualification should be judged on a case by case basis, as opposed to a blanket statement that mothers have to be standing all the time. I've gone to the park with my 2 year old son. I've seen mothers chasing after their children. I've also seen mothers sitting on the benches at the playground chatting with other moms. Nothing wrong with either. It just seems that some children, like mine, are "higher drive" and require more effort to keep an eye on than others. Luck of the draw, if you will. I would be interested in seeing who stands more on the job... mothers or assembly line workers. 

"Constantly exerting yourself." Again, very relative and subjective. How physically strenuous is being a parent compared to, say, working on a commercial fishing ship, down in a coal mine, in the forest as a lumberjack, or on a construction site? How much stamina do you need as a parent compared to an ER physician, who will work up to a 36 hour shift during their residency? 
"Working from 135 to unlimited hours per week" 135 hours per week equates to, roughly, 19.5 hrs per day. While I can see that being the case for a single mother with a newborn infant, this gauntlet only lasts a few months until the child starts to settle into a sleeping routine. It also assumes that a mother has ZERO minutes of break during any part of the day whatsoever. I don't think this is really true. Kids nap. Older kids go to school. "Well, I have to get other housework done while the kid naps." Sure. I get that. Many working adults have to do errands during their breaks as well. A "breakless" job is not unique to parenthood. 

"Degrees in medicine, finance and culinary arts necessary" No. No it isn't. Knowing how to put a band aid on a cut is not the same as 4 years of college and 4 years of medical school to get that degree. Balancing a checkbook and keeping up with a monthly household budget is not the same as 4 years of school to learn finance. Cooking spaghetti and macaroni & cheese is not the same as formally studying and getting a degree in the culinary arts. These things don't compare. This past weekend, I mended our fence. That doesn't mean that being a degree in carpentry is necessary to be a father and dad. 
"No vacations" Depends. Most families have grandparents that can help. I will agree that vacations become "working vacations" when you have kids and take them with you.
"The work load goes up on Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and other holidays" Yeah. That's pretty true. 

"No time to sleep" For the first few months after baby is born, there is certainly a deficit of sleep. After the child gets the hang of a sleep cycle, however, there is no reason why mom shouldn't be able to get any sleep. 
"Salary = $0" Technically, this is true. Money, however, is just one form of value. We use it as a medium of exchange. Parenthood doesn't pay like most other jobs. I will grant you that. There are other forms of value and wealth though. 
So.... all in all... tough job? Yes. Toughest job? No. Stuff like this makes for great propaganda though. 
Propaganda indeed.

Not only does this video exaggerate what mothers do but I think it is also a disservice to fathers as well.

I wonder if part of their figuring in this was the presumption that since dad as the stereotypical breadwinner is getting paid for the work that he does its not as tough. Well let's not act like he's keeping all that money to himself and not using it to support his family. I think saying "well at least dad is getting paid for his work" is a bit dismissive of the contributions that he makes to the family especially if that is being used as evidence to say its not as tough as being a mom.

But anyway making that argument against this ad just feeds the "Battle of the Sexes" mentality that has done little else but keep men and women divided over the years.

Parenting is hard no matter which part of you are doing. We don't need checklists, witty posts, and viral videos trying to tell us who has it worse or who has it harder. We need to get together and work on raising our kids.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Or you could show some compassion

Yes its been a while but let us try to hit the ground running as they say (I promise I'll do a summation post of what I've been up to the last few months). But anyway here goes.

So I just saw a write up by Katharine Whitehorn over at The Guardian. In said write up she talks about what men can do to stop female genital mutilation. But she doesn't seem to be very pleased. Take this section right here:
So we have at last some serious public concern about that horror which we now rightly call FGM – female genital mutilation.
Some serious public concern? So fact that this practice is regarded as a crime and violation of human rights in most of the developed world just happened last night or something? If this is still only happening in limited parts of the world then I think we can safely say that "at last" is not a proper way to describe it. Or at the very least here in the States which one is actually a crime and which one can be claimed on health insurance?

She then goes into what I guess could be called lamentation over the way its regarded,
Too often it has gone under the name of "female circumcision", which makes it sound as innocuous as what's done to baby boys, but its actual purpose has been stated as "the control of women's libido".
Oddly I have very rarely heard it called "female circumcision" and have mostly heard it called female genital mutilation. Oh and don't think I missed that about the circumcision of boys but I'll come back to that in a bit.

Next onto a rather "bizarre" fact about this practice.
It really should not be regarded as a women's issue only, though the bizarre aspect of it is that it's other women, "cutters", who actually do the deed.
I think the fact that its women cutting women is only bizarre to people who have wrapped themselves up in a nice cocoon of, "Women don't do stuff like that.". I wonder how bizarre she would think it is that men commit horrible crimes against other men....

But speaking of men she thinks that men may actually have a role to play in this.
Maybe the men have to be brought into the argument to get the whole notion abandoned. (Here's one radical suggestion, not necessarily mine: that for every baby girl who suffers FGM, the law should demand the castration of a senior member of the family concerned. I realise that this is not very likely to gain public approval).
You ever notice that the only time men are included on something is when we are actually useful for the purpose of helping women?

And speaking of radical suggestion I have one too. For every baby boy that has his foreskin taken off at a point in his life when he can't consent to it the law should demand the clitoral hood/foreskin of the parents that chose to have it done. But considering there is a much larger chance of mom still having her clitoral hood than dad having his foreskin I get the feeling that the bodily violation of a woman would cause a lot of outrage (outrage that seems to be missing when talking about the bodily violation of a baby boy).

She ends with some sort of situation that she calls a paradox:
It may be, paradoxically, that only by involving men's desires can it be stopped; only if it is seen to make a girl less attractive to potential husbands will the mothers, ever anxious to marry off their daughters, refuse to let it happen. So men – over to you.
And here's where I came up with the title for this post.

Or when women write articles like this that come off as backhanded calls for support they could show something resembling the compassion that women (rightly) complain about being unfairly stereotyped and burdened with.

I know I would respond a lot better to a woman that can at least look at male circumcision and see it for the violation of a baby boy's body that it is than to a woman that in one breath sweeps male circumcision under the rug then proceeds to call on males to help with FGM.

Is FGM a horrible thing? Yes it is. Should it be stopped? Yes it should. Will you win allies by backhandedly trivializing the issues they face (or is this one of those double standards where women must have their harms fully acknowledge before lending a hand but men must lend a hand before having their harms fully acknowledged)? Highly doubt it.

Maybe once Whitehorn realizes that altering a baby boy's body without medical need is not so "innocuous" maybe she'll get more male support on the situation.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Would you watch a Twin Peaks revival?

So I'm working my way through old pieces of posts that I never fleshed out and I found this one from last January.

The science fiction blog Airlock Alpha had an article up about a rumor of a Twin Peaks revival.

I was a young man back in 1990 when creator David Lynch introduced the world of Twin Peaks and let me tell you that was some crazy stuff. Way over my head at the time. As time passed I would occasionally catch reruns of the show and would understand a few things I didn't see before but even then that is one odd show.

But could it be revived?

Truthfully I just don't think so.

Back in 1990 when Lynch dropped the mystery of Laura Palmer's murder on us he was breaking a lot of new ground. Odd plot twists. Answers that led to more questions. Music that could get down right creepy and characters that you would not want to meet in real life. In all honesty the bar was a lot lower then that it is now.

With shows like Lost, Supernatural, Revenge, and American Horror Story and video games like Heavy Rain and Alan Wake in our recent memories (and I wager some of these shows pulled influence from Twin Peaks) Lynch would have to take supernatural/suspense/mystery/drama to an entirely new level.

A level that I'm just not sure he could achieve again 25 years later.

And really ask yourself how would you feel if Twin Peaks were revived, just to hear someone call it a rip off of Lost?

What do you think?

Would you watch it?


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sometimes You Have To Refuse To Pay The Tithing

A while back very long time ago I got involved in a post at Good Men Project that got a bit heated. So heated that the comment section was closed. But that's not what this post is about.

It's about something that happened after it. After (or actually during the heat of that post) I got into an email exchange where things pretty much stayed heated to say the least.

I could feel it.

I could feel that something inside of me that wanted to strike hard.

I could feel that something inside of me that wanted to strike deep.

I could feel that something inside of me that wanted to hurt the person I was exchanging with.

But I held back as best I could. There were a few things I had actually wanted to say to her that served no other purpose than to hurt her. No value in the discussion. No point in furthering understanding. Just a plain desire to know that I said something that would cut her deep.

I didn't because lashing out at her would not have just been useless but would have been downright counterproductive. Such anger would have been an offering. An offering to the Grudge.

As I have said before harsh words meant to hurt feelings are an attempt to feed that inner anger. It's an inner anger that wants to sustain itself by any means necessary. If I had said those mean and pointless things to her the only purpose it would have served would be to keep my own hatred alive (and possibly turn her away).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Day Six - Because Day Five Wasn't That Interesting

Yesterday all I really did was go to the mall and buy some more souvenirs. Not really enough for a post.

Today I kinda realized something.

I really don't have enough room to pack everything I've bought.

I may be carrying an extra bag when I go home.....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Day Four - A Legend's Grave, Pike Market, and Tetris

So today was my first day off and as such I went to Seattle to do some site seeing.

On the way to Pike Market I took a detour to visit Jimi Hendrix's grave. I've never been much of a fan of Hendrix but his stuff is pretty cool and it was nice to see that people had left offerings (ranging from dice to guitar picks, to coins) and that the site was kept in nice shape.

Next I made my way to Pike Market.

Damn. By yourself you can easily kill several hours if you had people with you it could easily take a day.

I took a few pics of the famous fish market. Lots of stuff to buy but I found it a bit disappointing that the tossing of fish that they are famous for was just for show. Seriously people would just ask them to toss some fish around and they would do it. Feels kinda fake to me. And the prices weren't as bad as I thought they were gonna be.

I found a shop that sold miniature cheesecakes. They are simply divine.

Tasted some hot sauce that the vendor was calling "The World's Hottest Hot Sauce". And I believe him.

Vendors selling all kinds of things from fresh fruit, teas and spices, and even flowers.

There were also crafters. Some were selling belt buckles, leatherwork, sandblasted stones, hand made tie dyed clothes, and a lot more I've forgotten by now.

All in all its nice place to visit and if I get the chance to bring my girlfriend I will come back.

And now I just have to figure out how to fit all the shit I bought into my luggage......

Day Three - Pizza, Comics, and Lack of Black People

So after getting off work today I decided I didn't want to go back to my room so I did what everyone (?) does. I found a Total Wine and bought craft beer. Now I'm stocked up for the next few days. After trying a few samples I decided to make my way to a pizza gourmet pizza joint with a rock theme.

But first I had to make a few detours.

First was a set of shops called H Plaza. Not sure about the name but it was basically one very large structure that had a supermarket in the middle and then several other businesses around it including a bank, hair salon, and suit shop. It was geared towards Korean customers. I really like the idea behind the design of the building.

Next I hit up a comic book store and made progress into getting back in to comics by picking up the first three volumes of Birds of Prey (New 52).

From there I saw a game shop. Not a major chain like Gamestop but a small mom and pop shop. I have to say that it had been a long time since I've been in such a shop and it felt good. Not so cold and impersonal like a big chain. They even had a few arcade machines to play and had games going back to the Atari.

After leaving there I finally heading to the pizza shop. Counters that look like speakers, music posters on the wall, dishes named after rock tracks. I had a "Wild Child" which is Alfredo sauce, mushrooms, spinach, and blue cheese. It was good shit.

Got back in and talked to the girlfriend for a while and finally made contact with Ginkgo (yes the one from Genderratic).

Things are looking up.

Now I just have to remember that I have limited space for souvenirs to take home.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Day Two - Raw, Not Fried

So I'm at work today and I'm told there is a big mall nearby with a large food court. I check it out and there is a seafood shop. I've yet to come across seafood I didn't like so I go for an order of Fish and Chips.

That did not go well. Like, "In one end and quickly out the other." not go well.

But this evening I found something that more than makes up for it.

A sushi restaurant run by conveyor belt!

Yes. Its so simple and effective.

Different dishes are constantly moving on the belt and you just take the plate(s) you want. The plates are color coded and the color denotes price. There color scale is posted in the middle of restaurant so you have a quick reminder of how much a plate costs before picking it up.

It was glorious. So glorious that I had to consciously stop myself at $35 across 5 plates (each plate only has a few pieces on it).

Oh we'll be going there again.

Nintendo Fans - It's Time To Come Together



If you're a fan of Nintendo, or maybe even gaming in general, this is worth watching.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Day One - Not The Best of Starts

So yesterday I made my way from NC to Lynnwood, Washington and it wasn't pretty.

I apologize in advance if this sounds weird and don't be scared to ask questions. Translating time zones is not for me.

The first part of my flight (Raleigh to Dallas) was supposed to leave at 3:55p but due to coming in late and having a mechanical problem (a panel over a passenger's head was loose, they were gonna let it go at first but then someone decided it had to be fixed) it didn't leave until after 6p.

Landed in Dallas at about 8:45p. I should have gotten there at about 7:30p so in order to catch the connecting flight to Seattle at 8p. Thankfully there was a later flight to Seattle at 9:45p. But at least the in flight movie was Thor 2.

I finally make it to Seattle at midnight...just to find out that the car rental spot was closed. The reservation was for Enterprise but they were closed. Enterprise is in cahoots with Alamo so I was able to go to them. However the rental was only reserved and not paid for, meaning that my contact at my new job would have had to be there to finalize it.

Tried to call her which resulted in leaving numerous messages. I ended up waiting at the airport until after 5am to finally get into a car.

Still had to drive 35min. from Seattle to Lynnwood to get to the hotel.

Of course when I get there I was so late that the only room they had was a handicap access room. At this time it was nearly 7am so I basically took the room on condition that they let me know when another room came up.

I passed the hell out until noon....when the front desk calls to tell me that the room reservation hadn't been paid for properly. Someone from work ended up coming out and straightening it out.

For the next hour I shower and change so at about 1p they let me know that another room was ready. After switching rooms and grabbing my gear I make it in to work at about 2pm.

I spent my first day just going over HR stuff and the day was ended early at 3:30p or so.

Afterwards I found a Korean BBQ joint and learned that I may not be much of a fan of Korean food. But there are a lot more places to discover.

Next I wandered into a Whole Foods. Damn. Place is like a WalMart for health nuts. Smallest $55 I've ever spent on groceries (but I have a food budget for expenditures). And they have so many beers I've never tried before.

But anyway I have paperwork to fill out and sleep to catch up.

Take it easy folks.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Where my D.O.G.S. at?

It's entirely too easy to get the idea that dads are not active in parenting. When you look at the media you'll see that about the only time dads are even mentioned is when they are neglecting their responsibilities or when someone wants to score points with moms by reminding them how terrible men are at parenting. Well I want to run counter to that mentality and show that there men out there doing what needs to be done for their kids. Take a look at what a group of fathers are doing at an elementary school in Texas.

Short for "Dads Of Great Students", D.O.G.S. is the name of organization of dads who are taking a very direct approach in showing their children that they are there for them.

From greeting students as they enter school in the morning, to sitting and eating lunch with them, to helping them with school work I think these dads are onto something here. You can't get more hands on and active and "stepping up" than being with your children throughout the school day.

I really hope this program takes off and I wouldn't be mad if other groups like this started springing up in other places.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Heading for the west coast

So I'm about to fly out to Lynnwood, WA (about 30min north of Seattle) for some job training tomorrow. It's my first time going to the west coast so I expect that I should be in for a treat.

Has anyone got any recommendations for a tourist who is going to be in that area?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Alcohol, College Life, and Sex

I'm a bit late getting to this but after reading it I think I'm missing something.

First there is this article by James Taranto, "Drunkeness and Double Standards"

Second is a response by Hannah Groch-Begley, "WSJ Editor: Intoxicated Sexual Assault Victims Are Just As Guilty As Their Attackers"

And finally another response by Tara Culp-Ressler, "Wall Street Journal Columnist: Rape Victims Are Just As Guilty As Rapists If They’re Both Drunk"

From Begley:
While it is true that reckless alcohol consumption can play a role in encouraging damaging behavior, and that male and female college students (particularly underage students) could probably benefit from learning to moderate their drinking for a variety of reasons, Taranto's accusation that women who drink -- and then are forced to have sex against their will -- are not only equally at fault for their assault but are guilty of an equivalent crime takes victim blaming to a new and dangerous low.
To me though I don't think Taranto was trying to say that women who drink and then forced to have sex against their will are equally at fault for their assault. Maybe I'm wrong but I thought he was asking the question of who is the rapist and who is the victim if both parties are drunk.

That's not to say that every single instance of both the man and woman being drunk and having sex is some unknown circumstance where it can't be figured out which is which. Taranto points out the following:
Winerip notes that between 2005 and 2010, "more than 60 percent of claims involving sexual violence handled by United Educators"--an insurance company owned by member schools--"involved young women who were so drunk they had no clear memory of the assault." We know from Sgt. Cournoyer that the accused young men typically are drinking to excess, too.
Again I am not trying to say that in that over 60% of cases it wasn't sexual violence. But I am wondering how bringing up things like this mean that Taranto is victim blaming rape victims.

Well female victims that is.

Near the end of her piece Begley throws this out:
If Taranto is concerned about the treatment of men in such cases, he could have written about male sexual assault victims, who are a smaller but nevertheless important portion of victims. But when men are sexually assaulted the perpetrator is usually also male; in fact, 98 percent of all perpetrators are male. The "double standard" Taranto is worried about, in which men are more often the accused, isn't a double standard at all -- it's just reality.
Notice how she tries to change the shift from thinking about males who are accused to males who are victims in an attempt to accuse him of ignoring those who "really need help". And frankly I think its a dishonest thing to do. The fact that Taranto asked the questions he did doesn't mean that he doesn't care about male victims.

Also his questioning about how alcohol affects the ability to consent. That's not going to change depending on the genders of the two people involved. So even if we were talking about those male victims there is still a question of if both have consumed alcohol to the point of not being able to consent then maybe its not always a clear case of one raping the other.

To me it seemed like Taranto was trying to ask if consumption of alcohol can render a woman unable to consent to sex then doesn't it do the same to men. Begeley seems to be responding by saying that mere asking this question constitutes victim blaming (of female victims).

I don't know maybe I've been out of touch for too long and I'm missing something here.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Struggle is no longer quite as real


Yeah.

So after 6 months of unemployment I have a new job.

Let me tell you something. Anyone that tows the line that people who are collecting unemployment are doing so as a way to avoid working is full of shit.

That's not to say that no one does that but after doing it for 6 months all I have to say about it is that it was a fucking nightmare.

First off after I left my last job I had to wait nearly a month after filing my claim before I saw any money (and I was told the wait can range from 4 to 10 weeks).

When I finally started collecting I was approved for little less than half of what I was making on my last job (job:$563/wk; unemployment:$272/wk). That was barely enough to keep my bills paid (rent:$395/mn and power:$120/mn). 

Also I had to periodically fill out progress reviews to let the unemployment office know that I was still job hunting. That in and of itself isn't that big of a deal however there was a problem with the timing. The reviews had to sent back within 7 days of when they were mailed....and I usually got them on day 5 if not 6.

Oh and if you need to call them for support good luck. I can't count how many times I called them for support and would get left on hold for over 20 minutes, get transfered to the wrong department several times, and in some cases I would just get hung upon. And then there was the time where I put my claim on hold (I got a temporary contract job) and when I restarted it there was a 3 week waiting period that someone simply chose not to tell me about.

And finally despite telling them to take taxes out of my unemployment payments (yes, taxes) they did not which is of course going to bite me on the ass when I file taxes in a few weeks.

I didn't have a problem paying into unemployment before and now that I've needed it I certainly don't mind. But at the same time it is such an ordeal that I don't get how anyone could just decide to live off of it like welfare.

Oh and in my state the maximum amount of time you can collect unemployment is 20 weeks.

Screw that I'll take work over that any day.

Thankfully a friend of mine was job hunting and came across an offer that didn't compare to what he was already making so he pointed them in my direction and thankfully everything worked out.

Like seriously my lease ends at the end of March and if I hadn't found something full time permanent by then I was gonna have to return home. And that would not have been good.

So now that I am working again that's a major roadblock out of the way.

Next up......moving......




Monday, February 10, 2014

Batman....with an all black cast?

A few days ago I came across a post posing an argument for why Batman could be black. Personally the inner purist in me rears its head over questions like this and I say I don't want to him to be turned black.

Why, you may ask? Because don't think black people, or any race, should handed an established hero for the sake of "diversity". The post I link to makes a good point that newcomer heroes have a hard time breaking ground in the comic book world. However with that in mind I don't think it's right to say that black characters should be allowed to bypass that hard time (because even white privileged Batman had to start somewhere) of development.

The post addresses that a bit near the end:
“Look, just create a completely separate black superhero, and put them in their own book, because that way I can easily ignore them. You make Bruce Wayne black, now I have to pay attention to his black ass and I really don’t like that idea.”
I think that's not the only problem with a black Batman's ass. Sure there will be fans that don't want to be bothered with the introduction of black racial awareness. However there will also be fans that will want to focus on nothing but the introduction of black racial awareness into the Gotham City mythos.

And to be frank I think if Batman were suddenly turned black that will be the day that it would stop being about the comics and about the race. How long would it be before there would be countless threads and posts arguing over if a black Batman is "black enough" (aka does he really embody the experience of black people) or if DC and the writers are "doing black right"?

Not only are there fans that want to keep the racial discourse out of their comics because they don't want to deal with them there is also danger from fans that want to use Batman as a soapbox to elevate their own talking points on race.

But anyway that's just some thinking on my part and this isn't what the title of the post is about so on with it.

Okay even though I would not be a fan of suddenly changing Batman to a black person I did take a few minutes months to site down and think about how I would change up the Batcast to an all black roster. For a few of them I have multiple possibilities which I will try to explain. Let me know what you think.

Batman - Now I know most people would just shout Idris Elba as he seems to be making his way onto everyone's tongues as the go to black guy for a just about any movie role but I think Micheal Jai White could do the role justice as well. White has played rough and tumble characters as well as cleaned up characters well which is something one needs in order to be both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

Alfred - With Elba and White pushing their early forties its going to take someone noticeably older to portray Mr. Pennyworth. I would go with either Ron Glass (Shepard Book from Firefly) or Giancarlo Esposito (Gustavo 'Gus' Fring from Breaking Bad). Glass seems a better fit since his past role as Shepard Book has already cast him as the "innocent looking old man that really knows some serious shit".

Nitewing -To play the role of Dick Grayson, former Robin who went solo to become Nitewing, I originally had Lee Thompson Young in mind but unfortunately he is no longer with us. I'm not sure who I'd recommend now.

Batgirl/Oracale - To play costumed heroine of the night turned hacker and information seeker extraordinaire Barbara Gordon (and back to costumed heroine in the New 52 reboot) Jurmee Smollett Bell could do either one. She's come a long way since her role in Eve's Bayou put her on the map.

Commissioner Gordon - Tyler Perry. Look I'm not a fan of his movies but from what I've seen of men who played Gordon in the past I think Perry could do it. Or maybe Don Cheadle? Point being you would want someone that is a bit older than Elba/White as Batman but not as old as Glass/Esposito as Alfred.

Joker - I have to admit I'm stumped on this one. On one hand I would want someone that is close to Elba/White in age but by doing so I think you would lose a lot of the sociopathic charm of the clown prince of crime. I am totally open to suggestions folks.

Harley - Bianca Lawson. Its interesting that she has played both a teenager (on Pretty Little Liars) and an adult (Teen Wolf) almost at the same time. I think the role of Harley would give Lawson a chance to really bust out and get wild.

Catwoman - Okay Halle Berry was a victim of a badly written and executed movie but I still wouldn't want her anywhere near this. I was gonna say Kerry Washington (of Scandal) but my girlfriend actually recommended Paula Patton. After seeing her in Ghost Protocol I think she might be a fit.

Poison Ivy - Sally Richardson-Whitfield. End of discussion.

Two Face - Omar Epps. After seeing his eight year run on House we have seen that he capable of shifting around on the moral spectrum. This flexibility would allow to make the drastically differing choices Two Face is known to make when he leaves everything from what to steal to who to kill in the hands of the coin the represents Fate itself.

Penguin - I was a little stumped on this one too. Maybe Anthony Anderson?

Riddler - Haven't heard from J. August Richards in a while and even with the in your face aggressive style he played as Gunn on Angel he also has several lawyer type roles under his belt so I can see him in a well made suit sitting back letting his brain do the talking....but making sure you know its his brain that outsmarted you.

Bane - WWE's Mark Henry. Now don't get me wrong. I liked that Tom Hardy's Bane from Dark Knight Rises. He had intelligence, fighting skills, and cleverness. What I didn't like is that he didn't have a physically imposing presence and that's the first thing that pops in my mind when I think of Bane.

Ra's al Ghul - Keith David. He has that authoritative voice that a man who is nearly immortal would have. Seriously listen to his Goliath voice on the old Gargoyles cartoon.

Talia al Ghul - Rosario Dawson. I really don't have a reason for this. It just popped into my head.

So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have a character idea I didn't mention?