Good things

Friday, June 26, 2009

Greetings from Santa Barbara!
I'm spending the weekend with my best friend "Molly." There will be much giggling, silliness, and hilarity.
I drove down yesterday, and it was an easy, non-stressful drive. Which is good. Usually I get to about Santa Maria and realize that both my foot and butt are asleep....not good.

I was really worried that the Supreme Court would rule that strip-searching a 13 year old girl is just fine. Remember? Well, happily, I was wrong. In an 8-1 decision, the court ruled it unconstitutional. I'm not surprised that Thomas was the only dissenter....

So yes. It is decreed that making a child strip for the sake of finding some non-existent ibuprofen is WRONG!

Off to walk around the salt marshes and seal rookery.

Clumsiest-er Girl

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I mentioned, didn't I, that Boyfriend is away?

Well, the other evening I went out to get some food for dinner. I gathered up my stuff, pulled the (always latched) door shut, and sure enough: No keys.

Usually when I do this, I trudge over to campus and take Boyfriend's......not possible. I sat on the doorstep for a while.

It occurred to me that our kitchen has a door to a central stairway that connects all of the apartments. That door has a lock, but we have no specific key for it. I knocked on the neighbors' door to ask if, by chance, the key that opens our front gate and our door (but only the front, not the backdoor) would also open the inside door.

Sure enough, their key opened our kitchen door. Thanks inept landlord, I appreciate the TOTAL LACK OF SECURITY!

Crisis averted, and we promised not to break into each others' apartments.

Still, I feel pretty dumb.

I need to stop locking myself out of the house.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Yahoo front page has an article about the shithead who shot (oh, 'scuse me, "allegedly shot") Dr. Tiller.

"The man charged in the George Tiller murder warns of more "events" and complains about jail."

Complains about jail???

Well, ass-hat, maybe you should have though of that before you fucking MURDERED someone!!!!!

Celluloid Closet

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I've spent the majority of the day sitting (okay, lounging and lying) on the couch watching TV. It feels terribly luxurious. I did get up for a while to go hunt for a new perfect tea-mug for work (which I didn't find, but I did indulge in some new Luminarc mixing bowls), and a non-carcinogenic foundation (turns out the brand I've been using for performances has totally dangerous! I didn't find that either....indulged in 2 t-shirts from Old Navy instead).

My unnecessary shopping, however, is not the point.*

The point is that I did watch some non-trashy TV. For Pride Month, PBS showed "The Celluloid Closet," which is a documentary about LGBT characters in film, and the way that Hollywood has shown (and not shown) them. The history was interesting, though I suspect that I would have gotten more out of it if I were a film buff.

One point, about the difference in the way that homosexuality was depicted in early cinema for men and women, was exactly the same as a point that Julia Serano made in her book Whipping Girl.

I read Whipping Girl a few months ago, and at the time, I wanted to write a review/dissection of it. I didn't, though, because it was around the same time as the pro-trans/anti-trans blog kerfuffle, in which feminist blogs on both sides of the "issue" spat venom at each other. I really didn't want to get into it, especially since prior to reading the book, I really didn't know much about trans theory.

Serano's main hypothesis is that femininity has been demonized and scapegoated, and a feature of that is the way that gay and/or gender variant people are looked at: a woman wanting to be a man (or acting like one) is far more accepted than a man who wants to be (or "acts like") a woman, because men are considered superior to women.

This same point was made in "Celluloid Closet" in regards to gay characters. In the early days of Hollywood, up to about the 30's, male homosexuality was only referenced in terms of the "sissy" character who was ridiculed and derided. Lesbianism or masculinity in women was less stereotyped and more acceptable to audiences. The example was Marlene Dietrich dressed in a totally snazzy, perfectly tailored tuxedo, swaggering into a nightclub, tipping her top hat and knocking all the women AND all the men off their feet.

Interestingly, it was the 2nd time this weekend that I've thought about film in reference to Serrano's work.

Boyfriend is away again, which means that I've filled our Netflix** queue with all sorts of things that he won't like. Namely, costume dramas. This time, I'm on a steady diet of the showtime series "The Tudors."

The entire thing seems to be devised for the sole purpose of showing Jonathan Rhys Myers with his clothes off, which is something of a shame because the costumes are gorgeous. They are not always historically accurate (um, no, bare shoulders were not acceptable in the Tudor era), but beautiful nonetheless.

Anyhow, I kept thinking back to Serano's idea that femininity (or masculinity, for that matter) is to a certain extent ingrained, since some people develop affinities for its trappings at a very young age.

I know that I didn't quite agree at the time, but my counter-argument became much clearer as I watched "The Tudors." It just doesn't seem to fit in my head that the way one expresses gender is biological since the tools of expression have changed so drastically from one era to the next.

Whipping Girl is very interesting and thought provoking, even if I don't think that I quite agree with all of the theories in it. It taught me a lot about the history of the Trans movement, and the ways in which current trans issues are deeply tied to traditional sexism.

Incidentally, I think that I propose a change in vocabulary. Rather than "masculine" or "feminine," which claim a rightness or an essentialism to the way that some women and men act, I think we need new words that won't have a negative connotation, and can simply be descriptive.

I propose "froofy" instead of "feminine."

I'm still looking for a good word for "masculine."

Let me know...

*My income has gone up this spring, giving me a certain amount of disposable income the likes of which I've never seen. It's not much in the grand scheme of things, but it makes things like a weekend of reasonably priced, though not absolutely necessary items possible.

*Have I mentioned that I friggin' LOVE Netflix?? It's inexpensive, and lets me watch as many old PBS shows as I can manage!

Final Stretch

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Only 7 more days of work before the summer. Well, more, actually, but seven days with children.

It's taking every last ounce of energy to get there, partially because I'm impatient, and partially because all of my little darlings' brains are full and they're acting up....

They're so little that the concept of summer vacation doesn't exist yet. They have, however, had more than 6 weeks of school in a row without a break, and it shows. Pedagogical research shows that children (up to about 3rd grade, I think, but don't quote me) can't really go more than 6 weeks at a time. Their brains are absorbing so much information that at a certain point they can't take any more.

The result is a serious decline in concentration, behavior and retention of material. My preschool sisteren and I don't have accademics to deal with, per se, but we have certainly noticed that kids are antsier during story time, wilder during play time, and need to hear instructions about 37 million times. That's up from about 1,000.

Also, the quality of sleep in the nap room has plummeted. That's extra annoying for me, since I'm the one who has to "supervise" the nap room. Which, when everyone sleeps, really means "take an almost-nap and surf the internet." I've really come to value that part of the day. It's calm and quiet, and I can recharge a little.....usually. This week has been a wash, so far. I hope I can get these sleep resistant beasts back to a nice routine.

Only a week and a half till summer! Then maybe I'll write about something more interesting than 3 year olds!

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