Monday, September 25, 2006

Give Us Some Credit, Mainstream Media

Compare the cover of the U.S. version of Newsweek to the international versions (Oct. 2, 2006 issues):

via Rising Hegemon
via Echidne of the Snakes
via feminist blogs
via Molly Saves the Day

Isn't the internet a wonderful place?

Friday, September 22, 2006

Enough with the Pink Ribbons Already

The (to remain unnamed) "ignominious" foundation that Twisty mentions here gives a lot of money to my (to remain unnamed, as well) place of work to provide mammograms to poor, uninsured women. So, why aren't I defending them? Because this sentence from Twisty's post is dead on:
Furthermore, once all this ‘awareness’ has produced, via mammography outreach programs or self-exam propaganda (both masquerading as ‘prevention’), a positive diagnosis, there’s not any great push to secure treatment for underserved women.
Although this foundation funds the mammograms we provide, they give us NO money for follow-up diagnostics after a women gets a questionable result on her mammogram and NO money for treatment for women diagnosed with cancer. They pay for a mammogram, period. What use is that for someone who can't afford treatment? It's all well and good if they have a negative screening and can enjoy the peace of mind of a clean bill of health. But, what about those women who find out they have cancer and there's no more help for them?

We have secured additional funding to provide basic diagnostic testing, which I am so thankful to say, usually results in a conclusive diagnosis of something benign. We also found funding to pay for program staff to provide follow-up case management to try to help women navigate the medical system - an important service because the vast majority of our clients don't speak English. But, we can't afford to pay for biopsies when a possibly malignant lump is found, and we certainly can't pay for treatment.

This foundation puts a huge emphasis on breast cancer awareness, and has contributed to the proliferation of 20 bazillion tons of pink crap for people to spend their money on. At this point who's not "aware" of breast cancer? What we need is "total lack of treatment options for really poor people awareness." And then we need people to focus their efforts and resources towards making sure all people can access treatment whenever they are sick, whether they're suffering from cancer or mental illness or a really nasty cough that might not turn into pneumonia if they can get treated early.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Advice Martha Stewart Won't Give You

I tend to be less diligent than I should be at getting laundry done. Yesterday evening I put a load in the washer but forgot to put it in the dryer before I went to bed. So, this morning I put the clothes in the dryer when I woke up, but they were still damp when it was time to leave for work. The undiligentness of my laundry-doing meant that the only clean pairs of underwear I had were in that load of laundry, and there was no way in hell I was putting on moist drawers. If you find yourself in this situation, I have a few words of advice for you:

1. A microwave oven dries damp underwear quickly and thoroughly.

2. Five minutes is evidently too long to cook your underwear in the microwave.

3. A little baking soda and lemon juice will clean the smell of scorched underwear right out of your microwave oven.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

To Boldly Go Where No Man Has Gone Before...

I nearly died from the awesomeness. Make sure you have the sound on. NOT SAFE FOR WORK!

Friday, September 15, 2006

An End to Exile

Yay!! My regular email is back, but I still seem to have lost any emails that were sent to me before 10 pm last night and all my archives back to November 2005. I'm not sure if I'll eventually recover any of it. Evidently the server on which our email was hosted experienced a RAID failure. I understand this is very bad and involved multiple redundant hard drives failing. According to the hosting company there was a .001% chance of this happening.

For the time being The Husband has put our email back on our server at home. However, this may cause some difficulty in my sending email since they'll be going out through a cable modem, which is evidently a spam red flag.

Overall, the whole catastrophic data loss thing hasn't been too traumatic (for me...I think The Husband is a bit traumatized). We have backups of all the photographs we lost. I can't think of any priceless emails I was hanging on to; although, I definitely think that I will be looking for something important eventually and realize it's gone. All of our music and videos were stored here. It could have been so much worse, but we'll definitely be backing up locally a lot more often in the future.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Lost, Adrift, Cut Off From Humanity

My regular email address is down for who knows how long, and it's driving me crazy. This is what the server hosting type place told The Husband: "It is being looked into... it is not an easily rectified problem, but I believe it will be up shortly." I'm sure I'm missing out on all sorts of once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that are just sitting there in my inbox unread.

In the meantime, anyone can contact me at unrulyduckling at hotmail dot com. If you've sent something today you want me to respond to, please resend it to the Hotmail address. In the future I won't be checking that address very often, and I'll just use it for blogular activities. But, for right now, it's all I got.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Men are not the Patriarchy

There's been a lot of patriarchy bashing going on lately, and I feel the need to completely explain what I'm talking about when I blame the patriarchy (tm Twisty Faster). Men are not the patriarchy. The patriarchy is a cultural and social system, which imposes roles and expectations on both men and women on the basis of sex. I believe this system and any system that does not recognize each person's humanity as an individual is harmful to everyone. Men are hurt by the patriarchy as well. Now, I don't spend a lot of time worrying about patriarchy's consequences on men because as a whole men have the Kleenex of money, power, respect, authority, etc. with which to wipe their tears. However, as a decent human being I hate to see any person suffer regardless of the type of gonads he or she is toting around.

So, let's use a completely inflammatory and provocative allegory to illustrate what the patriarchy does with the ideas of "male" and "female." Think of an abusive husband and his battered spouse. To be clear - the man in this scenario is not to represent the patriarchy. Nor is he intended to represent individual men. Rather he is serving as the idea of masculinity under the patriarchy. By the same token, the spouse is not meant to represent what most individual women experience, but what it is to be the feminine in a patriarchy.

Now, let's look at things from the man's point of view. He is an utterly horrible, hateful person but he is an emotionally destroyed utterly horrible, hateful person. All those things that healthy people experience in a relationship - trust, mutual support, unconditional acceptance - he is absolutely incapable of enjoying. The only way that he can relate to his fellow human beings is in terms of power, control, possession, and dominance. He is a broken and twisted person.

Then, let's think about her. Why does she stay? First of all, she's more likely to be murdered if she tries to leave. It's hell on earth to be beaten and beat down by someone who's supposed to love you and take care of you, but the consequences of trying to escape can be deadly. Secondly, she truly believes she loves him. She wants to figure out how to make it work. It's a huge burden, but she feels the responsibility to try, no matter how humiliating and painful it is. She twists and contorts herself trying to be lovable and acceptable, but she can never, ever get it right. The expectations are always changing, never consistent. One day she's beaten for being a nasty slut. The next day she's beaten for being a frigid bitch. One day, she's beaten for spoiling those damn kids. The next day she's beaten for being a disgraceful, neglectful mother. And she completely believes it's her fault. If she could just be better, smarter, prettier, less of a "bitch" he would stop; he would approve of her, and listen to her, and treat her like a human being. But, she will never be good enough, and he will never stop.

Who wins under the patriarchy? In terms of human potential for interpersonal harmony, emotional health, and spiritual well-being, no one wins. Everyone is pitted against everyone else in a stupid, brutal struggle for scraps of approval and acceptance. But, if you're talking about power, wealth, respect, etc. men come out on top. Because of those rewards there are men in this world that will use every nasty tactic in the book to uphold and defend the patriarchy. However, the patriarchy could not thrive without the complicity of women. Why would any woman buy into the patriarchy? If, as a woman, you jump through enough hoops - if you're skinny enough, waxed enough, slutty enough (but not too much) - the patriarchy throws you a bone. And, if that's all you've ever known, it seems good enough to beg for.

But, do we even live under a patriarchal system?

Well, this is interesting to think about.

As is this. Although I like how they managed to frame it as a positive. Nearly 80% of Americans aren't outright sexists!

This isn't really "interesting." It just sucks.

P.S. I've preemptively decided to moderate comments on this one based on some weirdness over at Holly's. I'm probably over-reacting, so I hope you'll prove me right. Also, this is my blog for me to say what I want to. The internet is wonderful at facilitating some unlikely dialogues, but not every page everywhere exists to give everyone free rein. If I need to, I'll take some time to think about what you have to say (assuming anyone bothers), and if I decide it doesn't contribute to the general asshattery of the world I'll post it. Or, I'll post it and call you an asshat. I haven't decided yet.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Something is Wrong

I haven't really been able to articulate it, but I have not been doing well lately. I wonder if it is possible to be depressed without really feeling sad. For a couple of months now, everything just seems so hard. I'm getting no exercise. I have no motivation to cook or get things done around the house. I don't even feel like taking a shower in the morning (although I do). I'm constantly late for work, and once I'm there, I'm unproductive. On the weekends, I don't want to get dressed or leave the house - not even to go on the back porch and water the plants. One Sunday morning The Husband and I were getting ready to go somewhere, and I was mumbling and grumbling. When he asked me what was wrong, the only true answer was, "I'm awake."

However, my mood seems fine, except for my frustration with myself and my pathological laziness. The Husband and I laugh about stuff together. I enjoy spending time with my friends when I manage to make it out the door. I have a couple of projects going, although none of them require much energy - mostly knitting or writing. My appetite is more than fine, and I'm sleeping well, both of which were serious problems when I have been depressed in the past. I just have no energy.

What is doubly frustrating is that a few months ago, I felt like I had all my stuff together. I was super efficient at work. I was getting lots of exercise and felt fit. The Husband and I were cooking nutritious meals full of organic fresh vegetables. The checkbook was balanced. The house was clean. Then all of a sudden I felt like I hit a brick wall, fell on my butt, and couldn't get up again. I'm an emotional Mrs. Fletcher.

IQ (Instant Quacking)

I'm trying out the new meebo me widget, which you can see over there to the right. I use meebo to handle my various IM accounts, and if I'm signed in there, you can use the widget to send me an IM directly from the blog. I have no idea if it will be useful or convenient, but it seemed like a cool idea, so there you go.

You can put in whatever name you want where it says "edit nick" (that was not readily apparent to me at first) and then type an IM like usual. The only problem with using meebo is that it can't tell when the computer is idle, so if I forget to manually set my status to "away" you may think I'm ignoring you, but really I just wandered away. Don't take it personally.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Jury Duty

A few days ago I was chosen to serve on a jury. As annoying as it was and as much as it threatened to ruin some delicately planned machinations at work, I was a little excited to try something new, something I'd only ever seen on TV. However, it was far from a Veronica Marsian romp of cleverness and intrigue. (Although, I was chosen to be foreperson because of my adorable youthfulness.) It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

I was forced to confront the fact that I live in a pleasant little bubble compared to most women. I work in an office full of progressive women; my husband seems to have effortlessly opted out of the patriarchy; and my friends are well-educated, thoughtful people. However, in the regular world, there's a nasty streak of contempt and disrespect for women very close to the surface. I believed I was keenly aware of this, but I rarely encounter the reality face-to-face, and it felt like a punch in the stomach.

Before the trial even began, and we were just in the process of jury selection, the judge was giving us instructions and trying to break the ice. Unfortunately, all his attempts at humor involved wives as difficult harpies and how his daughters are greedy and willful. Yeah, that's hilarious, you chauvinist jerk-wad.

The case we were going to be hearing involved an accusation of domestic violence. The attorneys asked potential jurors questions trying to determine how they might respond to such a case. One woman actually said that she didn't know if it was right to charge men in this sort of case because women tend to bring it on themselves. I was under the mistaken impression that even if some people privately believe that sort of crap, everyone understands that it is inappropriate to publicly say so. Even if she was just trying to sound crazy enough to get out of jury duty, couldn't she have come up with something less vile?

After we heard the case and were deliberating, a major point of contention was the credibility of each person involved since there was almost no physical evidence to indicate what actually happened. The phrases " know how women are," and " know how women get," were bandied about with alarming frequency. At one point I started yelling about "how men get," which involved popping little ladies in the eye when they have the nerve to object to men having affairs or when they neglect to cook dinner. Not that I believe men as a whole tend to get violent any more than I believe women as a whole tend to get hysterical, but the fact that most of the other jurors seemed to find her less credible just because she was a women made me feel a little violent and hysterical.

In the end I had to admit that there was enough reasonable doubt about what happened that night that it would be wrong to convict. However, I've been struggling about whether or not I made the right decision. Personally, I'm pretty sure that he did hit her on purpose and out of anger, not self-defense. But, how sure is sure enough to convict someone who is entitled to a presumption of innocence? How much doubt is reasonable?

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cafe Japon

The Husband and I tried Cafe Japon in Addison this evening. As a non-sushi eater, he enjoyed it, but I don't recommend it. It did have fairly cheap happy-hour prices - $1 for most pieces of sushi and $1.95 for hand rolls. I liked the hand rolls, but I had never had one before, so I have nothing to compare them to. A hand roll is a sheet of seaweed rolled into a cone and filled with rice and fish or shellfish and vegetables and stuff - sort of a sushi taco. Both of the ones I tried had cooked shellfish in sauce in them and were quite tasty.

It was the sushi pieces that I was unhappy with. Just a couple of weeks ago, I was raving about some squid I had from Central Market, so I was looking forward to eating it again. But, what I had at Cafe Japon did not taste fresh. They served it at a tepid temperature and it was really stringy. I also had some salmon roe, which I usually love love love. However, this didn't taste fresh either, and the eggs looked wrinkly and dull. I was also disappointed by the mackerel, which is served salted and marinated, so it's usually very flavorful, but this was too bland.

The Husband enjoyed his dish, which was essentially a sushi roll, but instead of rice and seaweed it was beef wrapped around vegetables. The only reason why I might recommend Cafe Japon is that is has more or less acceptable, inexpensive sushi, as well as dishes that non-sushi/seafood eaters would like - both vegetarian and carnivorous. However, I don't plan to go back.

Seriously, Just Don't

Tequila shooters. Are they ever a good idea? Probably not, but if you do decide to go there regurgitation is going to be your friend. Do it early and often. You'll thank yourself in the morning.

And, after 9 tequila shots (I could have sworn it was only 7) trust me, your husband is so not "getting laid" despite your drunken bravado. However, if you take my advice and chunder mightily before you go to bed, you may just wake up without a fatal hangover in the morning, much to your surprise. And "Oh, thank the lord, I'M ALIVE!" sex is pretty damn good.

If you're going to quaff the Mexican madness, at least take advantage of the liquor-inspired self confidence and be sure to have your picture taken with a really awesome mustache guy.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Your Top One Album of All Time

I have procured 100* free downloads from, and I'm feeling adventurous. Tell me what your favorite album of all time is, and if eMusic offers it, I will download it and give it a listen - unless I think you're yanking my chain. Don't even try to trick me into thinking you really love Milli Vanilli or something lame like that.

*Actually, by the time I post this I'll probably only have 87 left because I am super jazzed about downloading some of Paris Combo's stuff. Seriously - super jazzed.