Good God, it's been too long....

Friday, May 30, 2008

I can't even claim that I've been busy, because in the grand scheme of my life, this is not a terribly busy period! Sigh.....I now have the pressure of trying to write a really extra excellent post, to make up for not writing for so long.

I haven't worked at all this week. That really frustrates me, since this is really the last chance for a decent paycheck before summer. The result is that I've been sitting around the house all week without much to do. I don't really do well with free time. I could have been practicing, or cleaning (lord knows the apartment needs it), or writing, or reading. I've done next to nothing. I have no energy nor enthusiasm for anything, and that sucks. I often find that time off does this to me. After about a week I start planning projects for myself. The trouble is that those projects usually involve money, which is going to be incredibly tight for the next few months. When I sit around the house, I start wanting to improve said house. I get the urge to decorate, replace things, engage in DIY projects...

The current urge is to replace the couch. Our futon has its function (giving friends a place to crash when they come to stay), but it also has the problem of being insanely uncomfortable. When you sit on our futon, you can feel the metal bars underneath poking you in the fun. We've looked at Ikea couches, which are pretty affordable, but not as cushy as we'd like. The thing with me and Boyfriend is that we tend to lounge on the couch, rather than just sit, so a high degree of cushiness is necessary. Real live furniture/department stores are way too expensive. Ideas?

Best Friend (We shall call her Molly. Another of her friends calls her that on his blog, so I'll keep the pseudonym) swears by consignment stores, but then again, she lives in Santa Barbara where such places contain the cast-offs from wealthy SB/Montecito people. I'm not sure that Oakland/Berkeley consignment places will be as promising. Thoughts? Or is anyone in possession of a really cushy couch they need to get rid of?

My next request is for ideas. What should I do to earn some money this summer? I've got my couple of piano students, and hopefully some tutoring, but that's not going to cut it. I plan to put a flyer up at work, advertising my tutoring services. I think that going and getting some dumb retail job is not logical. I'm only available for 1 month and a half, so training in a job that I'd leave immediately doesn't seem reasonable. What do you think readers? (or reader, as the case may be...)


Now, on to the issues that I've been reading about and thinking about but not writing about:

1) First up, a continuation of my Gay Marriage post: It might confuse some of you that I rant and rave about marriage and "wife-dom" and how it freaks me out, but then cheer over the CA ruling. Let me explain:
The gay marriage debate is only nominally about marriage. It's about equal representation under the law. It's about separating civic life from religion (which we should be doing anyway) and granting all people equal rights. Just like with feminism, what gets really twisted and misunderstood is the concept that granting rights to all does not take them away from anyone. That's the whole EQUAL part.

When the conservatives start going off about "legislating from the bench" I get really mad. Sometimes the court needs to assert what's right, because voters often won't.
The courts had to order desegregation. Courts had to order states to allow mixed-race couples to marry. The whole point of the judicial branch is to keep the other two branches in check. Voters will not always do what's right, and frequently "the will of the voters" is hateful, misogynist, and unaccepting. Now, with the clowns that Bush appointed to the Supreme Court, the judiciary is acting on those same 3 principles. infuriating....

Ellen DeGeneres had John McCain on her show just after the CA ruling. It was also just after she announced that she plans to marry her partner, Portia de Rossi. John McCain essentially told Ellen that she's less than he is and we should respect his bigotry. I stole that wording from Sarah at Shakesville. Her analysis of that interview, and loads of other really important issues to consider in the GLBT marriage debate, is right here. For more analysis, Pandagon has been great, and has worded things much better than I could. These three articles are especially good.

2) Feminism getting a bad name. Which it does. Nearly always. One way that it gets trivialized is to paint feminists as "angry." Anger, of course, is nearly always linked to female hysteria and being irrational. It's used as a way to condescendingly pat someone on the head, as one might do to a kitten trying to eat imaginary bugs: "Oh, you silly little thing, you. Don't you know that's useless?" For a useful dissection of anger and how it's perceived, read Melissa McEwan's Feminism 101 post

Next, who better to badmouth feminism that the daughter of one of the 20Th Century's foremost writers and feminists? I think that the world has known about Alice Walker's strained relationship with her daughter for some time. As far as I know, that's not news. This is partially why I found it so weird that there was a huge article in the Daily Mail in which Rebecca Walker (Alice's daughter) blasts everything that her mother has ever done. Again. Now, the Daily Mail is fairly conservative, so that may impact its desire to tear down feminism, but it seems like such a tired subject.

There's so much nonsensical, illogical anger and defiance in Walker's article that it's really hard to figure out where to begin. I really get the feeling that this woman should be dealing with her issues in therapy rather than an internationally read paper. I'm especially bothered by her reaction to divorce:

As the child of divorced parents, I know only too well the painful consequences of being brought up in those circumstances. Feminism has much to answer for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families.

Okay, where should I begin? Well, how about with her incredibly awkward writing? Oops, that was mean. Sorry. First of all, I totally disagree with her interpretation of what it means to have divorced parents. Second, she really, really, really needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid if she thinks that women seeking independence is a negative thing. Third, which is more apparent elsewhere in the article, Rebecca thinks that having a family is and should be a woman's highest priority. Nowhere does she acknowledge that this might not be the case for some people. Here's another choice nugget:

Then there is the issue of not having children. Even now, I meet women in their 30s who are ambivalent about having a family. They say things like: 'I'd like a child. If it happens, it happens.' I tell them: 'Go home and get on with it because your window of opportunity is very small.' As I know only too well.

Ugh....Walker constantly equates feminism with divorce. I think she assumes that all feminists will get divorced. That's part of my "nonsensical" criticism. I really don't get where that's coming from. Basically, I think that Alice Walker probably wasn't the greatest mother, but whining about not being mothered the way you really wanted to be is an argument that can only come from the privileged, and it's not something that should be used to paint an entire movement. The end of the article really left me fuming:

I believe feminism is an experiment, and all experiments need to be assessed on their results. Then, when you see huge mistakes have been paid, you need to make alterations.

I don't even know what to say to that....

3) Polygamy: This whole saga is endlessly fascinating, and I'm not sure why. I also had a really scary moment the other day, which is making me want to call up my genealogy-knowledgeable cousin and ask her to make sure that all of our relatives are properly accounted for.

I'm descended from a polygamist, you see. Yep. My great-great-grandfather, George Q. Cannon had 6 wives. This was right around the time that Utah was pursuing statehood. One of the conditions was that the LDS church give up polygamy. He went to jail rather than give up his wives. Our branch of the family is from Georgie's first wife, Elizabeth Hoagland. I suppose that makes me feel more legitimate, or something.

I really want to make sure that I don't have some long-lost 3rd or 4Th cousin living on one of these rape factories somewhere....George Q was the last polygamist in the family, right??? Please tell me that's right?? Anyway, I just found out that George Q. Cannon has his own Wikipedia entry....wild! But yes, if you're up on the family history, could you reassure me that we're not related to any modern-day crazies?

Here's George:He's in the center with the white hair and crazy beard. Here's his wife Elizabeth. I kind of think that of all my relatives, I look most like her. Maybe I'm wrong, I dunno.

I've got the high forehead, the big nose, the small upper lip...I actually have eyebrows, though, so that's a start...So, that's the stuff that's on my mind lately.

My afternoon will be spent replacing the bulbs in the headlights of our car. 'Cept that Boyfriend didn't tell me where he put the replacement bulbs....grr...wish me luck!


Friday, May 16, 2008

I am so proud to be from California right now. The CA Supreme Court has overturned the ban on lesbian/gay marriage! Whoo hoo!

I was driving around in circles yesterday, trying to find a place to park (which was insanely difficult, and I was really frustrated), already late for work because there was no parking, when Michael Krasny (on NPR) interrupted himself to announce the ruling. I "whoo hooed" in the car.

Here's some history: The first election that I voted in was the spring 2000 CA election (and presidential primary? maybe, can't remember). My friends and I were outraged when Proposition 22 passed, decreeing that marriage was between one man and one woman. We were so insensed, in that really righteous way that only teenagers can be. We simply could not understand how so many people could be so illogical and hateful. Skip to 2004. My college friends and I cheered when Gavin Newsom took it into his own hands to try to undo prop 22. We really cheered when Del and Phyllis, a lesbian couple who are positively famous in San Francisco, and who have been together since 1954 (!!) were the first in line to get married at CityHall.

Well, we cheered yesterday as well. The conservative groups are "vowing to fight this," so the celebration shouldn't get too wild, but hopefully people will realize that marriage rights for a new group of people don't infringe on the rights of the others. Our illustrious governor, about whom I'm usually just embarrassed, said beforehand that he would uphold the court's ruling, and repeated that after the result was announced. Cool.

What's not cool is the weather. How's that for a transition?? It was nearly 100 degrees f yesterday, and it's supposed to be about 90-95 again today. This is northern California, people! We're not equipped for this! No one has air-conditioning at home or anything! I think I was most comfortable while in Safeway, cuz that was the coolest building around. Oh yeah, and the air conditioning at work is broken. The kids are positively roasting.

Speaking of work, it's 7:20 and I must go get ready for said drudgery.
Go California!!!

lol shark version 2.0

Friday, May 9, 2008

Sharkie's up to it again. Nomming and such.

please vote!

I can never think of a good title for this.....

Teaching is almost always interesting. I'm spending 2.5 weeks in a 4th grade class. On Wednesday, the class was in the middle of some quiet activity, so the room was silent. Out of the blue, a girl asks, quite loudly: "What does 'up yours' mean?"

Of course one kid in the room knows, so he immediately bursts out laughing. That makes the girl even more determined to find out the meaning. I wasn't going to tell her.

It had to be THAT girl, though, didn't it? It had to be the one who is annoying, arrogant, in everyone's business, who talks back, rubs good grades in everyone's faces? Of course. It had to be the one whose mother is loathed by the entire school for charging into the office if anyone so much as looks cross-eyed at her daughter, who is of course the princess of the universe.

This last bit is impossible, you see, since I'M the princess of the universe. duh.


I have some links lying around that I should write about. Among them: the plastic surgery story-book called "My Beautiful Mommy" and my desire to vomit; the Facebook application that allows you to display images that look like buttons (the decorative, often slogan-bearing kind), one of which said "it's not rape, it's surprise sex" (again, desire to vomit. and hit someone); how weddings suck and my poor mommy is getting dragged into the middle of some horrible owning-class extravaganza in Maine over the summer (and her desire to vomit)......

yeah, much to rant about.


sleep now.

Odds and Ends

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Life has been fairly calm lately, which has been nice. I had a two week break from music rehearsals, which allowed me to switch gears and learn some stuff (well, theoretically....I mostly spent the break watching TV and working).
Yesterday Boyfriend and I went to the Maker Faire. It was kind of like a craft fair, a tech expo and a gathering of pyromaniac geeks all rolled into one. We missed the two things I really wanted to see, which were the dudes who do the Mentos and Diet Coke extravaganzas on YouTube, and that guy Adam from Mythbusters. We did see some fun stuff though. Cupcake cars, a life sized version of the game Mousetrap and a Jeep completely covered in Legos. I really liked the booth for the "Center for the Book" in SF. They have exhibits and classes in using old-fashioned printing presses and book-binding equipment, and their display featured some beautiful little chapbooks that students had made.
The flashier exhibits mostly featured fire. I think a lot of the "makers" also go to Burning Man, so there were some giant metal statues that would burn artistically, a dancing platform that would trigger flames depending on your movements, and that kind of thing. There was a big contingent of "Steam Punk" folks, whose interpretations of Victorian dress were kind of fun.

A friend was in town from LA yesterday, as well, so we had dinner with him, then went to see Iron Man. It wouldn't have been my choice, and frankly, I could have lived a perfectly fulfilling life without ever seeing it. When the 2nd incredibly sexist reference happened, I said, out loud "Okay, that's strike 2. Next one and I'm walking out." There wasn't an overt strike 3, but I did spend several minutes text-messaging a friend when I got really bored.

Glowing review, eh?


Let's rant about the misogyny on the Internet this week, eh? There are two article that bugged me (well, undoubtedly more, but these are the two that I remember at the moment). One about that Austrian man who held his daughter captive for 20 years, and another about the "feminine physique" of a ruler who's been dead for about 4000 years.

The Austrian monster, it seems, was convicted of rape about 42 years ago. I just knew that this guy couldn't possibly have been totally upstanding in every way except for locking up his daughter and raping her for 20 straight years. That wouldn't have been possible. What bugged me was some Austrian official who claimed that his crimes were about "his sexual energy." Thanks, dude, for perpetuating the myth that rape is about sex.....ugh....

On to dead Pharaohs. It's well known that Akhenaten, the (possible) father of King Tut, had some weird physical attributes. The whole family, apparently, had really elongated heads and limbs. Some scientist is now claiming that is was due to some syndrome, as opposed to most Egyptologists, who think it was a conflicting syndrome. Whatever, I'm not too interested either way. What got me was the wording of the article. It was full of "Feminine" and "Not the most manly" and the worst:

The pharaoh had "an androgynous appearance. He had a female physique with wide hips and breasts, but he was male and he was fertile and he had six daughters," Braverman said. "But nevertheless, he looked like he had a female physique."
Yeah, cuz being shaped like a woman is horrible. You have to be sure not to look like one of those creatures.....assholes.

Well, kids, I must go teach a piano lesson, so that's all for now.

May I introduce you to lolshark?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Meet Sharkie. Sharkie likes noms and noms and a side dish of noms. Sharkie especially likes nomming unsuspecting folks on their way to the beach or, you know, the fridge or whatever.....

Expect to see Sharkie lurking around. Always look behind you, especially when in dark, damp places.

*Caption by Kat and Boyfriend*

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