Tuesday, December 30, 2008

That went fast...

2008 is the year that I graduated college, and it seems weird to me that The Year In Which I Graduate College has come and gone so soon. I'm also surprised that I actually graduated when I was supposed to. When I started my freshman year in '04, I was coming out of a shitty senior year in which I was busted for underage drinking, grounded for several months, let my grades slip, mouthed off to teachers and other adults, skipped school regularly, and on one notable occasion, served an in-school suspension. In general, I was a little shit, and therefore had really low expectations for myself at college-entry. My mom had more or less made me feel like the failure child, and my goals consisted of "get a degree, ANY degree, and graduate. And for the love of all that is holy, don't go back home."

Fast forward four years and I'm a college graduate in New York City with a 3.9 GPA and lofty academic aspirations. I did not see that one coming at all. Shouldn't I be on Intervention by now? I guess there's still time to develop a meth addiction...

Anyway, in the spirit of "Holyshitthatyearwentbysofast" musings, I present the highlights (and lowlights) of my 2008:

  • I finished my very first thesis, a 28-page monstrosity on effects of child attentiveness on later parenting and child problem behavior. All the real academics are snorting derisively at labeling a 28-page paper a "monstrosity," but I'm young, goddamnit.
  • I worked two jobs, a "real" one at a lab and a supplemental one serving snotty weddings and corporate functions. I had a fucking blast at both.
  • I got into a literal screaming match at the wedding-job with a cunt of an event planner. I got to keep my job without so much as a reprimand. I may be the most spoiled employee on Earth.
  • I graduated.
  • I got accepted into an Ivy League PhD program in New York.
  • I went to Bonnaroo and did a shit-load of drugs. Oh, and I saw some good bands, too.
  • I wore a bridesmaid's dress instead of a wedding-server tux.
  • I got my first car, from my Nana. It was a 1987 Plymouth Horizon hatchback. It only had 83,000 miles on it. I predict that it was the coolest car I will ever own in my entire life (I do not mean that sarcastically. I truly appreciate the quirkiness of that car, and I would kill to have it back).
  • I sold my first car to a friend when I moved to New York.
  • I moved to Manhattan.
  • Boyfriend and I moved in together. I think this was the best thing that happened to me all year.
  • I spent more time unemployed than I ever have since I started working at 14.
  • I got a pet bunny from the animal shelter. I litter trained him and taught him to come when called (er, most of the time). He always impresses our visitors.
  • I declined entering my graduate program when the promised funding "fell through" (read: was a lie).
  • I spent many weeks crying myself to sleep. And crying myself awake. And being a gloomy gus in general.
  • I got a new job, just as everyone else was losing theirs.
  • I voted in my second presidential election and fourth overall election.
  • I participated in a major, nationwide protest against Prop 8.
  • I watched my best friend's baby grow into a little girl.
I wish I could glimpse my 2009 list. I hope it says something like "won a muli-million dollar lawsuit against Ivy League Liars" or "ate so many donuts I won a prize." Either one would be fine with me.

PS: Speaking of donuts, my new New York doctor called with blood test results. My cholesterol is AWESOME. The power of youth, baby. I'm gonna get me some McNuggets and a milkshake, suckas.

What's on your list? Happy New Year, everyone :)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Just for funsies

While I still have a few blissful days of vacation left, I am back from my parents' home and relaxing in front of the couch, ready to blog again. Might I mention that I am currently blogging on my Shiny New HP Laptop? With built-in webcam, TWO headphone ports (for sharing!) a DVD-RW drive, Windows Vista (Sims 3, here I come!), 4 gigs of memory, and an Intel Core 2 Duo CPU? Well, I am. Will it make me a better writer? It might! Thank you, Boyfriend :)

I also received some great books that I am greedily devouring. One is the memoir of one of the first blogs I ever read (starting all the way back in 2004), Schuyler's Monster. If you have never heard of Rob Rummel-Hudson; his awesome wife, Julie; or his amazing daughter, Schuyler; you should give him a read (both book and blog). Schuyler was born with a rare neurological defect that has left her unable to speak (along with a few other disabilities), with the exception of vowels and a few soft consonants. She speaks with a communicative device, Stephen Hawking-style. I have enjoyed following their story since I accidentally stumbled on Rob's old blog, "Darn Tootin'", while googling nasty after-effects of my wisdom-tooth removal (apparently we share similar dental nightmares). Um, and he totally dyes second-grade Schuyler's hair purple. How fucking cool is that? Note to self: Must encourage bad-assness in future children.

While I'm gloating: In reference to the Great Family Rift of '08, yet another study has come out damning the effects of abstinence-only education. This one was particularly interesting, as it compared groups of kids who have similar, conservative backgrounds, but receive different types of sex ed (abstinence v. comprehensive). Other studies have apparently failed to match teens based on family background, and subsequently often compared children from religious and conservative backgrounds to children from liberal backgrounds. In this latest study, the abstinence-only teens show non-significant differences from the comprehensive teens in age of first intercourse, number of partners, or types of sexual activity. Naturally, the abstinence-only teens were at a greater risk for unwanted pregnancies and STDS. Sorry, Boyfriend's Aunt, but I'm still fucking right. Oh, and you're still damaging your children in the name of your God.

And finally, two people who know me in Real Life and also know about my blog asked me what sorts of internet searches lead people to my blog. This is a hilarious question, because I could tell them that RIDICULOUS searches lead to my blog, and thus reflect the high-caliber content that I post. So, I present to you a selection of some of the more interesting search queries (spelling errors and all):

  • atheist tree toppers (I may google that myself, later).
  • "i want to * you like an animal" (why would someone censor themselves in a Google search?)
  • amish piss me off (me too, buddy, me too).
  • amish women fucking (um...ok. Different strokes for different folks?)
  • disneys characters fuckink watch now (my favorite part of that query isn't so much the "disneys characters fuckink" as the "watch now" part. Like the person thought they might get a video of Disney characters fucking but they couldn't watch it until next week).
  • dont go yet monkey (what???)
  • heroin sandwiches (I'm surprised another person has thought of this concept).
  • screwing amish women (WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE WITH AN AMISH FETISH??)
  • sexo kid (I do not want to know. I do not want to know. I do not want to know).
  • woman ass (and you clicked on my blog?)
Of course, I just realized that I typed the words "Amish Fetish" together, thus increasing the amount of Amish sex-fetishists who frequent my site. Hey, I'm not the thought-police. Welcome, friends.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I kissed a squirrel and I liked it

Huzzah! My Fishmas shopping is all done! Unless, of course, you count the gift card that I ordered for my mom, which apparently I missed signing for today. Damn you, UPS!

On the table for this holiday is, thankfully, NOT an awkward and frustrating week with Boyfriend's Southern Baptist family. Instead, it's 5 days with my folks, and at least one day with the side of the family that produced a few white supremacists (it can't be proved, but I've got a hunch). But at least it's my family this time, so I can yell and start fights all I want without guilt.

In other good news, Boyfriend and I started with our new New York doctor. He was very nice and it makes me feel like a Big Girl to have My Own Insurance Card and My Own Doctor that I handpicked myself (thanks, ratemymd.com!). The checkup was very thorough, including some blood work. I'm interested to see what my cholesterol is like (family history of high cholesterol + massive intake of fast food does not bode well). Now all I need is My Own Gynecologist and My Own Dentist. The latter is particularly important to me since I realized that I have some icky-looking tarter on the inside of my front bottom teeth. Gross.

By the way, my parents' house is in the Land That Time Forgot, and subsequently lacks internet. So I expect posting to be nil from the 24-28. But please rest assured that during those days, I will continue to make a stand for liberals everywhere and refuse to enter the local Wal-Mart (until my mom begs me to get some paper plates, and I realize that Wal-Mart is holding the entire paper-plate industry hostage, just to piss me off).

Happy Holidays, all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I have something in my eye...

If you were wondering what it takes to make my cold, dead, husk of a heart beat again, here it is:

Safety Harbor Montessori's Cindy Horrocks, who teaches 4th, 5th and 6th grades and Carol Wooldridge who does admissions, are stunned when they open up an envelope containing a ten thousand dollar check from an anonymous donor. Each of the 30 staffers of the school received a check during a lunch in their honor at the Ozona Blue Grilling Company in Ozona. [Jim Damaske, Times]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thanks for telling me what to do with my body

I REALLY wish that shoe had hit Bush the other day. And by "shoe" I mean "bullet," because I came home from work to this news:

The Bush administration today issued a sweeping new regulation that protects a broad range of health-care workers -- from doctors to janitors -- who refuse to participate in providing services that they believe violate their personal, moral or religious beliefs.

The controversial rule empowers federal health officials to cut off federal funding for any state or local government, hospital, clinic, health plan, doctor's office or other entity if it does not accommodate employees who exercise their "right of conscience." It would apply to more than 584,000 health-care facilities.

They finally did it. Bush and his cronies finally passed legislation that allows medical employees to deny women information and resources critical to their reproductive health. It effectively ensures that women are no longer secure in the knowledge that their medical provider is doing all that they can to help them. It means that medical personnel can deny women access to abortions, birth control pills, even information about sexual and reproductive health.

I can hardly contain my outrage at this decision. The federal government should be PROTECTING our right to information and medical services, not limiting it. Women have EVERY RIGHT to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs. Instead, our government has just swooped in and proclaimed that our right to health and happiness is secondary to another person's religious views.

The idea that this bill "protects the conscience" of medical providers is bullshit. If you aren't comfortable with the idea of prescribing/distributing birth control or performing abortions, DON'T GO INTO THAT PROFESSION. I can't get a job driving an ice cream truck and then refuse to hand out ice cream on the grounds that I'm against childhood obesity. Doctors, nurses, and pharmacists shouldn't be allowed to keep their jobs if they aren't willing to DO THOSE JOBS. They don't deserve protection for failing to provide adequate medical information and care for women. This action, like so much of Bush's administration, is absolutely unconstitutional. The government is endorsing religion by empowering people to impose their religious views on the rest of us. No one should have the power to impose their religiously-driven morals on others who don't share those viewpoints.

It is neither reasonable nor fair to expect women to travel elsewhere to receive these services. There are so many places in America that are served by a single pharmacy or doctor's office. And not everyone in those places has the money, resources, or insurance coverage to find another doctor or pharmacy. Furthermore, if you are a young person growing up in such an isolated place, how would you even know what information you are lacking if your doctor won't even discuss issues of birth control or sexual health?

Ironically, I bet every single one of the people who receive "protection" from this legislation have no problem with issues of men's health. Go into any pharmacy that refuses to sell birth control and ask to see how many bottles of Viagra they stock. This entire school of thought is the product of a religious patriarchy that inherently values the health and well-being of men over women.

It's up to the Obama administration to undo this travesty and allow women full control over their bodies and health. Obama, I had so much hope for you. Please don't let us down.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A time for idealism

Maxie at I hate So Much asked her readers to describe their perfect world:

  • My boss wouldn't have some sort of anxiety disorder, and subsequently wouldn't PESTER THE LIVING FUCK out of me 6 hours of the day.
  • I would have fully-developed fine and gross motor-control. I would use this newfound motor-control to wrap lump-free Christmas gifts, eat without spewing crumbs in a 20-foot radius, and drink coffee without spilling it everywhere.
  • The shoe would have hit Bush smack in the face.
  • I would have something chocolaty and delicious in my hand RIGHT NOW.
  • My best friend would be moving in next door, instead of moving 1,278 miles away from me this week.
  • We wouldn't have to second-guess buying kiddie science kits for Boyfriend's cousins, because it might look like we have an "agenda."
  • My grad school would have funded me, and I would be one semester closer to my doctorate.
Fuck. That made me sort of depressed. I have to counter this with things that could be worse:
  • I could still be unemployed.
  • Boyfriend could be unemployed.
  • I could have no Christmas shopping done.
  • McCain could have won.
  • The east-coast ice storm could have hit New York (instead it was 50 degrees today).
  • I could still live with my parents.
I think I'm really reaching now. I don't really recommend trying this list yourself, unless you feel like curling into a ball and sighing deeply for a half-hour.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bony Bitch

I had some Big Work Thing today (yes, today, as in Saturday, damnit), at which I met a couple of people whom I normally only hear over the phone in conference calls and whom I was eager to impress in person (for selfish, career-advancing reasons). At one point, one of these people said something that didn't register with me at the time, but irked me later. Basically, we were talking about safety issues relevant to my job, which involves visiting strangers in their homes for extended periods of time. To make her point about this particular safety issue (being left alone in the home with strangers if our partner were to leave), she used me as an example. Specifically, she used my size as an example:

"We don't want a situation where someone small, like Phoebe, is alone like that."

First of all, yes, I am skinny. Puny, if you will. And by "small," she surely was not referencing my height, because I am 5'7". And yeah, it's not like I dead-lift or anything. But is it really fair to assume anything about my strength, based on how you perceive my weight? Furthermore, is it fair to assume that my weight (or lack thereof) is "fair game" for an example because I'm not fat? I don't think it is. For all she knows, I could either be a fucking power-lifting champ in my spare time, or morbidly anorexic. Maybe I don't want her using me as an example, based solely on my appearance, in front of 15 co-workers. She doesn't know me.

What this really boils down to for me is a double-standard in appearance-sensitivity. Something that I've noticed throughout my life is that people are unabashedly candid when discussing a skinny person's weight, but would absolutely never be so bold as to have the same discussion or make the same comments with an overweight person (or even an average-sized person). I can recall several girls in high school who would tell me that I was so skinny I "made them sick," and frequently put me down for my weight...But I was supposed to take these comments as compliments! Can you imagine saying such things to an overweight person? Everyone would think you were a goddamn monster. But in my case, people seem to expect me to welcome these commentaries.

I know what you're thinking: boo-fucking-hoo, Phoebe. Life is so hard when your body fulfills arbitrary cultural standards for beauty. Way to play the poor-little-rich girl. Well you know what? Someone's weight shouldn't ever be fair-game for a public discussion IN FRONT OF THAT PERSON. Weight is a sensitive issue, period. Whether you are talking to Jabba-the-Hutt or Twiggy, it's not okay to single someone out based on their weight. And it's ESPECIALLY not okay to turn that person's weight into a stereotype (assumptions of strength included). Remember that Wal-Mart worker who got trampled by the Black Friday crowd? They put him in front of that crowd because he was big, and supposedly, strong. The assumption that his weight should have been enough to control a mob of crazed Wal-Mart shoppers got that guy killed.

That's an extreme example. But even in my case, assumptions that my weight determines my strength has caused a lot of people to underestimate my physical skill. I'm actually quite good at lifting heavy shit. And I find it demeaning when someone jumps to help me because they assume that I can't carry/lift something. I wanted your help, I would ask for it.

That post was all over the place. I promise more coherency in the next.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ok, NuvaRing, WE GET IT

I swear to god, if I have to hear that fucking NuvaRing commerical one more time, I will rip out my uterus with my bare hands and mail it in a white envelope to the NuvaRing marketing execs.

You know which one I mean: "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday every daaaaaaaay..."

Yeah, now it's in your head, too. TAKE THAT.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Old people make me sad :(

God, are old people downers.

My 80-something grandmother is moving to an assisted living facility this month. I haven't called her in a while, but my aunt sent out a family email urging people to check up on her, so I phoned. It's hard to talk to my grandmother, because apparently I talk too fast. Ever since I was a kid, adults have been completely unable to understand me for this reason. Our Christmas morning videos go like this:

Me: Wow! A My Little Pony! Thank you!
Grandparent: A high spittle baloney? What? Slow down, child!
Me: A my little pony, Nana.
Grandparent: WHAT? SLOW DOWN!
Me: A Myyyyyyyyy Liiiiiiiiit-tlllllle Poooooonyyyyyyyyyyy....
Grandparent: Good lord she speaks fast!

I dunno, old age refuses to hear youth, maybe. Anyway, talking to grandmother feels like a very slow conversation, with a lot of repeating. It was also a bit of a downer, because she talked some about how she wasn't really ready to move to this new place and was satisfied with her current apartment. Then she said that she was "ready now, but not before." But I don't know how true that is, because Grandmother is from the "shut the hell up and quit complaining" school. So I sort of suspect that she still isn't crazy about moving. Anyway, it made me sad that she's losing her independence, and is aware of it. I always hoped that if I lived long enough to lose my independence, I would be so out of it that I wouldn't even know. Basically, I'd rather be a huge burden to my kids. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that Grandmother is lucid (her problem is that she has crippling arthritis in her knees, and just can't safely get around on her own). I don't want to see her sad. She's had kind of a shitty life, from what I hear, and she doesn't need more shittiness.

After I hung up the phone with Grandmother, our downstairs neighbor knocked on our door. She said that her husband had fallen and asked if we could help move him. The guy is pretty old, and he seems much older than his wife (not in a gold-digger way, but there's definitely an age gap). He had fallen off of a low air mattress and was too weak to move himself to the bed (before you medical-types jump on me, we did first ascertain that he was safe to move. Seems like he had more or less tumbled over, rather than really falling "down."). Boyfriend and I moved him, with quite a bit of difficulty, because he didn't seem to know what was going on and couldn't really move himself. He was shaking and scared, and we had trouble convincing him to lean on us and let go of the doorknob that he was using for support. After we moved him and left the room, our neighbor told us that he had cancerous brain tumors that prevented him from feeling his legs. What kills me is that we moved into this building in June, and at that time he seemed very healthy and active. It's disturbing to see such a fast deterioration.

Sorry about the sad post :( I will work on upbeat, non-wrist-slitting ideas for the next one, I swear! In the meantime, remember that it's down the highway, not across the street.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My official heathen atheist stance on Christmas

Boyfriend and I decorated our apartment for Christmas yesterday. We have a little table-top fake tree, with some lights and ornaments, as well as some multi-colored lights in the window. Since we both identify as atheists, I thought it would be topical to address My Big Official Stance on Christmas (alternate working title: Why We Keep Celebrating a Holiday that We Don't Believe In).

It is a good discussion topic (unless we are with Boyfriend's Southern Baptist family. In which case, it is the WORST DISCUSSION POSSIBLE). I mean, Christians don't often go lighting menorahs, and I don't know too many Jews who fast for Ramadan. A lot of Christians seem to take offense at non-Christians butting in on their holiday, and I can see why they would be peeved.

Lots of atheists justify celebrating the holidays by claiming "winter solstice" and all that. And it is true that this time of the year was originally celebrated for the winter solstice, back when those crazy Pagans were running the show. Then, the Christians decided that they REALLY wanted that celebration for themselves, so they pretty much just took it and (literally) told the Pagans to go to hell. So in a way, a lot of atheists use the holidays to point out that no, Jesus ISN'T the reason for the season, and yes, we still have a right to exchange gifts and put up a tree.

I feel like that is a fine explanation, but let's be honest here: I am not a pagan, and I do not wish to celebrate the winter solstice. So while I can understand telling people about the solstice (because it does make a valid point regarding the origins of the holiday and the existence of other reasons to celebrate), I don't feel like it really "fits" me.

What does "fit" is the simple fact that I like being with my family and friends, exchanging tokens of appreciation, the smell of pine, and pretty lights. I (and everyone else on earth) like things that conjure up happy childhood memories. I like to make my family happy, as opposed to hurting them by refusing to participate in their religious holiday. In short, we celebrate Christmas as a "cultural" holiday; i.e., one that is inescapable given the value assigned to it by our society and families. A lot of Jewish kids who grew up in Christian neighborhoods know what I'm talking about: Sure, your family doesn't "technically" celebrate Christmas, but on the 25th, your mom gets you some gifts anyway. It's all about inclusiveness. We grew up this way, our families are this way, and the damned town/city/state/country is this way. We will be this way, too, but only in some ways.

I don't go to church anymore, even if my mom asks me (and she hasn't asked in a long time, thankfully). That's where I draw the limit in terms of cultural participation. I will go into churches for weddings, funerals, etc., but I think that going as far as attending a Christmas service would place me in a very hypocritical position. Basically, the "fun" stuff (if you always consider the holidays "fun," which I don't) is something in which I feel safe as a participant. I can justify it as a "cultural" thing, a "winter solstice" thing, a "traditional" thing. That part of Christmas is so far removed from Christianity at this point anyway, thanks to sweet, sweet capitalism. But once I have to sit through a sermon it's no longer something that I feel I can justify in the same way. Not to mention that I just don't want to fucking hear it anymore.

So that's why we have a tree, lights, ornaments, and will exchange gifts with our families on the 25th. Are we greedy and selfish for celebrating a holiday in which we do not believe? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. If anyone feels like challenging me on that, I'd just like you to know that you are totally welcome to celebrate Spaghettimas, even if you don't believe/understand/know anything about the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Pastafarians. See, shouldn't everyone be so generous with their holidays?

By the way, our tree topper is a pink-frosted donut ornament. With sprinkles.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Maybe they should be treated for "head-up-ass" syndrome

I firmly believe that the US Armed Forces will always be the last frontier in conquering sexism. P.E. classes could be desegregated and the FCC could ban gender-typed marketing; but the US military would still insist that women are too weak to sign up for the draft, or too fragile to serve on the front lines, or too seductive and distracting to the men.

Evidence: Private Monica Brown. The CBS article is good and you should read it, but here is all you need to know:
  • Pvt. Brown was serving as a medic on Afghanistan's front lines with a paratrooper unit.
  • Brown's platoon drove straight into a massive ambush, complete with a roadside bomb, intense small arms fire, and mortar fire.
  • Brown ran through that ambush to provide medical aide to two of the most seriously wounded men.
  • As the ambush continued around her, Brown threw her body over the men as she worked on them, to protect them from the ongoing gunfire and explosions.
  • Brown then dragged the men back to the truck, and continued to shield them with her own body.
For all of this, Pvt. Brown earned a Silver Star. She is only the second woman to earn the Silver Star since WWII. She saved the lives of those two men, at the risk of her own. Both her brigade commander and sergeant major recommended her for the award, fully acknowledging her heroism.

Are you ready for the kicker? Sure? You're positive you really want to feel this story punch you in the face? Ok...

The two men who Brown saved, Larry Spray and Stanson Smith, don't really care that Brown saved their asses when they were bleeding, burned, lacerated, and dying. They don't care that in addition to doing her job as a medic in extreme conditions, she risked her own life to shield their bodies TWICE. Apparently what Spray and Smith care about is that Pvt. Brown has a vagina:

But both of those men, Smith and Spray, declined to give 60 Minutes an interview. When we asked why, Smith said flat out women have no business being on the front line..."People ask, you know, like, 'Was she a superhero? Did she do anything, you know, super woman, super heroic?' No, she did her job," Best (a gunner with the platoon) says. "And she did a very, very good job doing it. Now, that fact that she was 18 and, you know, a female and all, you know, that adds something to it."
I don't understand how the fact that Brown was not "supposed" to be there negates from what she did. She shielded two severely injured men with her own body as she gave them life-saving medical attention. Whether she was "supposed" to be there or not is irrelevant. She was. She did. It happened. People in cases of "right place, right time" aren't usually "supposed" to be there either, but everyone talks about how fortunate they are anyway.

As for Best's comments, I call shenanigans. While Brown was certainly "doing her job" as a medic, she went above and beyond the call of duty when she continued to expose herself to enemy fire. Her job as a medic is to treat wounds, not to act as a human shield. So yeah, I would say that what she did wasn't necessarily in her job description. Best's dismissive comments are the direct result of his inability to see past Brown's gender. He clearly feels that her femaleness gives her some sort of unfair "edge" in earning a star. I'd bet dollars-to-donuts that if Monica Brown were a Mark Brown, he would not be so quick to dumb the actions down to a job description.

But I'll give Best a fair shot, here: Let's look at the actions of some past male Silver Star awardees. I'm sure history will show that those men worked MUCH harder for their recognition:

Antonio Rodriguez Balinas (1951): Defended the left flank of his company from ongoing enemy attacks at great risk to his life. Hm. As a second lieutenant, isn't it his "job" to defend his company from enemy attacks?
Harry Frederick Bauer (1942): Was a Lieutenant Commander who was wounded, yet ordered his own men to turn attention from him and rescue another man instead. Bauer died, so I would say he definitely risked his own life while "doing his job" (ordering his men to rescue a wounded man).
Michael A. Monsoor (2006): Ran into a street under insurgent gunfire to rescue a wounded comrade. Sounds familiar.
John Stebbins (1993): Was supposed to be serving as a clerk for the Somalia conflict, but joined fighting anyway. That alone earned him the Star. But he had no business being there!

Sorry, Best. Looks like plenty of men have earned the Star for the same reasons as Brown. Try to contain your exploding head.

In 2008, there is not a single fucking excuse for feeling threatened by a woman's ability to match the ability of any man. We prove our equality all the time, but ignorant asses like Spray, Smith, and Best always find ways to justify the cognitive dissonance. Heaven forfend that they ever justify it by re-examining their personal perceptions of women. Brown could have thrown her body over a hand grenade for them and they would still claim that she didn't do anything special.

How about some fucking appreciation?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Le Femme Obamas

Today I head a teaser for a "news" story on the potential designer for Michelle Obama's inaugural outfit; later, I read a story on Jezebel about what Malia and Sasha will wear. And to all of this I say: WHO THE FUCK CARES? No one ever speculates about what suit Barack Obama will don. No one analyzes the shit out of his tie colors and the crease on his pants. Can we talk about the things Michelle might like to do with her new position in the Whitehouse (And I'm not talking about decorating the fucking Christmas tree)? You know, I never hear it mentioned, but the woman has a fucking career, too. We could talk about how that might play into her future plans? For crying out loud, why don't we write about Sasha and Malia's favorite sports or school subjects? WHO CARES WHAT THEY WEAR?

My point is that the media can not seem to learn that WOMEN ARE NOT FUCKING DECORATIONS. Michelle, Sasha, and Malia are not pretty accessories for the president-elect. They are people. With minds. And one of them has a really fucking awesome career (can I just point out here that while Barack Obama was still a senator, Michelle earned waaaaaaay more than he did? like, over $100,000 more a year?). And there is more substance to them than how they look when they wear clothing. So it would be fucking awesome if the media dug a little deeper (I'm talking to you, Jezebel).

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Writer's Block

I'm feeling a bit clogged in the cranium, if you will. So I'm taking a cue from the One Minute Writer blog and writing for one minute on today's topic: What is your least favorite food, and why?

Vegetables. I fucking hate most vegetables. I know that vegetables are really more of a group of foods than a single food, but that's what I hate. Boyfriend has actually forcibly inserted broccoli into my mouth, only to have me push it out with my tongue. They taste bitter (or like nothing at all), some of them have bad textures (corn kernals), and some of them are too hard to chew (shut up. I have a delicate jaw). When we are at a family dinner, I will always fail to place the green beans/broccoli/cooked carrots/corn/nasty-ass vegetable combo on my plate. Instead, I will take seconds and thirds of the potatoes and rolls.

The only time that I will eat vegetables is if they are in a stew (and even then I often eat around them), deep-fried (particularly zucchini), or covered in ten pounds of cheez-whiz/peanut butter (this is how my mother got me to eat them as a child). I will not force myself to eat vegetables for the sake of my health. I'd rather stick a fork up my anus. Make that three forks.

I imagine that I am quite lacking in many essential nutrients. This does not bother me. Ask me again when the DIABEETUS (thank you, Wilford Brimley) kicks in. Because this bitch loves her sugar.

I didn't obey the minute-limit, but it's my blog and I can do what I want. So thhpppttt.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Passport 2 Teen Pregnancy, Part Deux

Awhile back I wrote about some concerns I had about spending the upcoming Thanksgiving Holiday with Boyfriend's family. You can read all about it here, but it you're anything like me, you generally don't follow the links back because you're a lazy sonofabitch. So I will be really nice and sum it up for you: Boyfriend has an Aunt and Uncle, with two daughters, Cute Cousins 1 and 2 (CC1 and 2). They are some sort of crazy Southern Baptist, from a VERY southern state. This year, CC1 is 12, and Aunt is doing an abstinence-only sex ed with her called Passport2Purity.

Boyfriend and I are quite concerned about this abstinence-only sex ed, for all of the reasons illuminated in my last entry (I know you didn't click the link, jerk). So we had talked about it and decided that if the opportunity arose, it would benefit CC1 to give her our perspective on sex (that it's AWESOME).

Ha! No, that would be age-inappropriate (that talk doesn't come until next year). We just wanted to let her know that A) She should ALWAYS seek either birth control pills and condoms if and when she decides to have sex, without shame or embarrassment and B) It's totally okay if you decide to have sex, so don't think that you're any less of a person (this is an especially important message if she gets molested or raped. Not that it's okay to be raped, but that it won't devalue her in any way).

We got to spend about two full days with this branch of Boyfriend's family. There were about 14 people in the house, so we figured that we probably wouldn't get a chance to talk to CC1 (although I was just dying to say something). On the last night of her visit, I went to call my mom privately in the basement, and CC1 sort of wandered in after me and was hanging around. I figured this was about the only chance I would ever get, so I said good-bye to my mom and went to talk to CC1.

Basically, we only got a little bit of time. I started by asking her about her Passport2Purity trip, and if it was embarrassing ("Yes!") Then I asked her if her mom told her about birth control or condoms on the trip. Of course not. This pisses me off. You take a whole fucking weekend to talk about sex with your kid and you can't include something about birth control or STD prevention? Are you fucking kidding me?

So I went for it and gave her my spiel about THESE ARE WHAT BIRTH CONTROL PILLS LOOK LIKE AND SWEAR TO GOD YOU WILL USE THESE AND CONDOMS WHEN YOU HAVE SEX (I hope it came off less desperate than that). I also got in some bit about how they aren't bad and she shouldn't be ashamed or scared to buy them, and the pills don't kill babies and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Then she got called upstairs for something. When whoever called her was done, she ran right back down to talk to me more. She seriously had a ton of questions, and she was super curious. Boyfriend figured out what I was doing and joined me to talk to her. We got a few more things in before we got interrupted and had to postpone the convo for later. Unfortunately, we didn't get another chance to talk to her alone (There were three other kids in the house and I swear we were like some sort of crack to them). So when she left the next morning I told her she could email us anytime she wanted to talk.

But wait, there's more.

We left on Sunday, by train (we're so old-fashioned, by which I mean "too cheap for plane tickets"). Two hours into the train ride, Boyfriend's phone rings. Sure enough, it's Aunt. CC1 spilled. Aunt asked for me (as an "outsider," I am naturally the main culprit). She wasn't very happy, to say the least. Well, no shit, I did undermine her parenting strategy. So I sat through a thorough telling-off. Looking back on it, I remember sitting in the train seat talking on the phone, quite upright. But then I could feel my spine slowly melting and swaying as it slowly turned into some sort of gelatinous goo. And just like that, I lost any nerve to actually debate Aunt on her choice of sex ed. Instead I spent the phone call telling her that I was "sorry for offending" and "respected her decisions."

I think that my yellow-bellied response was the right thing to do, for the sake of family harmony. First of all, I knew what I was doing in terms of undermining Aunt's parenting. I know what a big problem that is, and yes, I had considered how I would feel as a parent if someone did something like that to me. So I feel conflicted about our decision to talk to CC1. But what I've ultimately concluded is that in this case, CC1's health and well-being is at stake. CC1 is unlikely to hear this information from her school (VERY southern state, if I haven't made that clear enough already) or her parents. And anyone with their head NOT up their ass knows that abstinence-only sex ed has significantly higher rates of teen pregnancy and STDs than comprehensive sex-ed. So if Boyfriend and I can do ANYTHING to get the information that she needs and deserves to protect herself as she gets older, then we will. I knew going into it that CC1 was likely to tell Aunt. And I knew that I was risking some serious family Drama.
So bowing to Aunt's almighty sense of indignation was the least price we could pay, I think, for the potential to help CC1 avoid a lot of nasty troubles.

It really could have gone worse, I think. Aunt could have completely cut us off from speaking to her daughters, which would have been too painful. Instead, she did a very "Christian" (or just plain nice) thing, which was to tell us that she loved and forgave us (whether she really feels that way is questionable. But it was nice to hear it, rather than ex-communicating us from her family).

Aunt also said a few things on the phone that bugged the shit out of me, which I failed to argue (harmony, harmony). She made the comment that "I wasn't ready to talk about this with her." Oh really? YOU weren't ready? Because I think what actually matters is whether your DAUGHTER is ready. And she seemed pretty fucking ready to hear about it to me. Plus, if you are going to have a whole weekend to talk about fucking, then you had BETTER be ready to discuss any and all aspects of it. Aunt also noted that CC1 is "12, not 14" to illustrate that she is "too young" to hear all this. Sorry, I fucking disagree. 12 is the PERFECT age to know this. Know why? Because it's old enough to comprehend, but (hopefully) before the need to practice. So when she IS 14 she's already armed. Also, she may not be having sex now, but that shit happens fast. I mean really. I think I decided I wanted to finally have sex in about two weeks' time. And if I hadn't known anything about birth control or condoms BEFORE then, I imagine that I would have figured I would be just fine without them (you can't get pregnant or STDs from just one time/if you pull out/ if you do it in the ass, right?). Not to mention that CC1 isn't some delicate fucking snowflake. Her head won't explode if she hears those words at 12. My middle school started sex ed in grade 6. Frankly, waiting until 12 is a bit generous, in my opinion.

Aunt got pretty condescending when she told me that I am young, don't know anything, and will change my mind when I'm 45 with kids. Actually, no. I'm pretty fucking sure about this. Mostly because my reasoning is grounded in reality, while yours is grounded in your pastor's asshole. That's why future 6-year-old will fucking school you in the latest stats on birth control effectiveness.

Aunt also said that CC1 was "upset." Really? If anything, CC1 is probably confused, because two people she trusts suddenly told her the OPPOSITE of whatever crap her family and church feed her. But I highly doubt that she is "upset." She was curious. She had questions. She said that she wanted to talk more. She never indicated that the conversation made her uncomfortable or that she didn't want to talk about it. If that was the case, I wouldn't have talked to her.

The one thing I regret is that I did tell CC1 to not tell her mom that I told her these things. When I said that, I was particularly thinking that I didn't want CC1 to tell her mom personal details about MY sex life that I was sharing as an example (age I started on birth control, etc). Admittedly, I would have preferred if CC1 didn't say anything to Aunt at all, for the obvious reason that Aunt would be angry with me. Of course, this is how it came across to CC1, who has been taught that an adult should never tell her not to share something with her parents (which is a good lesson). So I was sorry that I said that, because it probably came off as shady to CC1. But I'm not a creeper, I swear.

Anyway, we think it's mostly over (until next holiday. This could be one of those things that drags on for years). I am sorry that Aunt (and probably Uncle) are upset and may not trust us with their daughters in the future. I am sorry that I intentionally undermined somebody's parenting. But I am NOT sorry, nor will I ever be, that I did what I could to give CC1 honest information for the sake of her reproductive health. I am NOT sorry that I gave her the idea that she CAN have sex if she is safe. I am NOT sorry that I told her that she should not be too ashamed or embarrassed to protect herself. In this case, CC1's right to health and safety trumps Aunt's right to insulate her daughter in an archaic purity bubble.

Boyfriend and I now joke that this is that historical holiday we tell our kids about when they ask why Daddy's family doesn't talk to us. Ah, memories.
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