Saturday, June 21, 2008

What Anglachel said

The problem with Democratic compromises is that they are over things that should never be bargained away, such as privacy, a social safety net, transparent government responsive to the citizenry, and other fundamental principles of liberal democracy.

Compromises are for making choices between acceptable outcomes, but where one may be more to the liking of one party than the other choices. Our rights, such as freedom from unlawful search and seizure, are not on the table.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

There are a limited number of cool jobs in the world

And today I did not work at one of them.

I paid for my teenage fashion habit (and some of my family's living expenses) by cleaning timeshares on the weekends and during the summer. Eventually I worked up to cleaning private houses. While my friends spent their days at the beach, I scrubbed toilets. But I had way better shoes than they all did.

When the Kid was still in preschool, I worked as an admin 40 or 50 hours during the week and went back to cleaning houses on the weekend. I have no idea how I got through those years without breaking. I never had time for anything fun that didn't involve being covered in child detritus and unknown sticky food substances.

For a while, I cleaned my brother's house every week. That was actually all right.Of course he didn't know that it took me less time than he thought it did to clean his house,especially when i was cleaning it weekly. But I also did all his laundry for him while I was there, so I didn't feel too bad about it. I made 75 bucks for 3 hours of work. Not bad.

But today I promised to help out a friend cleaning one of the houses he rents out. I was just to clean the stove and the bathroom fan. It was supposed to be an easy hours worth of work for $20. The bathroom fan took 15 minutes and a screwdriver to clean all the gook off of it. Not a big deal. But my hands still ache from the hours I spent on the stove. I was there for 3 hours. I still only made 20 bucks, I told him that's what the job would cost and I stuck to it. That is less than minimum wage in WA state. I don't think the thing had been cleaned since it's original installation many many years ago.

I am lucky. Cleaning houses is something I do as an extra. It is not my only job skill. So normally I can negotiate my rate and walk away if the pay is too little or the job is too hard. I am also a citizen. So I don't have the fear of deportation should I complain. Struggling home exhausted on the bus today after working and I thought about all those women who do the same thing I did today everyday. Coming home so tired i can barely see straight, I think about those women with little kids who will have to come home and cook dinner and give baths and read stories still. I, thankfully, have a child old enough that i can ask him to throw something into the oven and who longer needs (or wants) a mom to make sure he washed behind his ears or tuck him in.

Once. long ago when the Kid was still tiny and I worked all those hours both during the week and on the weekend, back when AOL was the online community of non-geeky types, I got into a discussion with someone who condescendingly told me to stuff it about the class warfare stuff. They told me the trick was to work smarter, not harder. Today I'd like to kick that dude in the nutsack. Work this hard should be paid like construction work or any other job where you spend your time breaking your body with hard labor and toxic chemicals. The fact that mostly women do it (and do it for free in their own homes) is why the pays sucks. Though we would never expect a dude who can fix his own plumbing to be content with minimum wage or less.

Must See Movies

Trailer for Water

A few years ago I saw and fell in love with Deepa Mehta's movie Water. She tells the most beautiful, tragic stories that show in a very clear way just how political the personal is. Water is about widows in 1930's India, how they are cast off from their families after their husbands die, even if they are jut 8 years old, to live hidden away so as not to bring bad luck on respectable married ladies.

Earth Clip

Last night I watched Earth, about the city of Lahore as India gains it's independence and loses Pakistan. What little I know of India's history is from the 1800's Delhi riots. So I never knew what it was that caused Muslims and Hindus, who had lived together for centuries in peace, to suddenly hate each other with a fiery passion.
It is another beautiful, tragic film.

Of course I would be a complete fraud if I didn't mention that I have a weird adoration for cute Indian boys. And I have dated Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs from the subcontinent (it never works out, they may be the most beautiful boys on the planet, but the boy worship of their cultures makes the cultural divide near impossible to conquer.)But Mehta never fails to put in lots of eye candy in her movies.

Fire Trailer

Next on my list of Mehta films to see is Fire. This movie pissed off people so bad they burnt down theaters. When Water was filming, the location had to be changed at the last minute because protesters burned the set down. It takes some kind of courage for Mehta to keep making these movies. And every ounce of is shows in her films.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

That Squicked Out Feeling

I gotta write this quick as it is my standing SYTYCD dinner date night. I may come back later and update if it comes out wrong.

In comments on this post a while back- Wonder, B and I were talking about that squicked out feeling you get when you get when faced with a moral dilemma.

I've been getting that squicked out feeling a lot these days. Every time I have to tell a fellow Hillary supporter that using racist or fear mongering tactics to bash Obama is wrong.

It would be some much easier to sit back on my heels and watch the ratfuckers on the right tell the people that Obama is a secret Muslim born in Kenya who wants to institute Sharia law everywhere. I mean paybacks a bitch and you get whats coming to you after all.

But I think there are plenty of arguments to be made against Obama without resorting to using the same sexist, racist, fearmongering tools that right has used forever and the left has discovered recently as a way to shut the bitches up.

I think Obama is the worst possible thing that could happen to our country right now. Not because he's black or has a funny name or even because his wife may have been a black separatist in college (seriously- if you weren't some kind of radical in college- what was wrong with you?), but because he is a megalomaniacal sexist with no experience, bad economic plans, and the backing of a very corrupt Chicago political machine.

So I am sucking it up, ignoring the squicked out feeling, and continuing to tell people who really are on my side that if they don't have any arguments against Obama that don't use racism then their arguments are weak.

Anyone else feeling squicky yet?

Good Read

I've been lurking at the Hathor Legacy for quite sometime. Reading their stuff has given me massive insight into those things that bother you about TV and movie characters that you can't quite explain why.

Today they bring up an oldie but goodie episode of M*A*S*H to show the problems of being a competent woman in a room of equally competent men.

Here we have it: the trifecta of requirements our culture has for women interfacing with men but not for men dealing with women. Hawkeye was actually okay with being shown up by a woman, he just expected her to do it in a womanly fashion: quietly, with consideration for his fragile ego. He refuses to see a problem with this (he loves women, after all),

Go read the whole thing and check out their blog. Besides, it gives you an excuse to watch TV, you're educating yourself about the patriarchy. Not killing brain cells and wasting time that could otherwise be spent reading.

The real way to a girl's heart, er bed

Between this commercial at Shakes

And this clip at Tobes

I think that people (boys) may have the absolute wrong idea about how to go about the random hook up/ one night stand.

Here's a hint- girl's like sex. Girl's like honesty. Girl's don't need to be played, coerced or tricked into getting naked. If you have to use trickery to get a girl into bed, you're not really a Casanova. You're a junior date rapist.

So how do you go about it without being a candidate for Mr. Biggest Asshole in the World?

1. Be yourself. You don't need tricks and tips from pick up artists. A sweet, shy geek is way more attractive than a slimy dude with cheesy lines.

2. Be confident. And real confidence is being able to take rejection without turning into a weasel. Someone not responding the way you'd like to your advances does not mean you should keep trying, or should pull out a neg(ative compliment), or become insulting. That just makes you look like a desperate loser. You may not be the guy she wants, but if you don't act like a douche then she won't tell everyone she knows that you acted like a douche. And we do talk about that kind of stuff.

3. Be honest about what you want. If you just want a one night stand or a fuck buddy, be upfront about it. There's no shame in it. And if you are straight up from the beginning then you give her the information to make a rational choice. We all prefer to make our choices with all the information.

4. Sometimes you don't know if the person you're with is someone you want to be in a relationship with, or someone you just want to have fun with. This is called DATING. It is not new. You have a responsibility to let the other person know once you've figured it out though. Not letting them know makes you a douche and keeps information from them that helps them make a rational choice.

5. You'll notice that a lot of the point above involve the words information, rational, and choice. We like to think that sex is all about loins and hearts, but the brain is the biggest sexual organ there is. And the brain likes all the information so it can make a rational choice about what it wants. Choice folks. You want someone to choose to be with you, whether that is for a night or a longer.

See- that's not so hard. Be yourself, be honest, be confident enough to take rejection. Not hard. Really.

And as Pidomon knows, the real way to a girl's heart is knife skills, feminism and yogurt. ;)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Get yourself some education

I watched this long series of powerpoints on the gender gap in academia a few weeks ago. I think it goes a long way towards explaining why some young women are denying the massive sexism of the current political campaign, while older, more experienced women are calling it what it is.

In every discipline, science, engineering, law, medicine, and humanities, women start out at an relatively equal place. But in every discipline, over time women fall way behind. Even taking into account parenting (the great claim of asshole economists being that women fall behind cause they would rather make babies than make money)women fall behind.

So perhaps our young Obama supporting sisters really do believe they have a chance at equality. 10 years from now, I bet they feel differently.

Monday, June 16, 2008

This is how it's done boys

Via Shakes comes some choice quotes from super hot Top Chef- Tom Colicchio

Of our final three, Richard had the most experience, the most imagination, and by far the most technical proficiency. He had consistently wowed us during the season, and frankly, this was his competition to lose. So what happened? In short, he choked. My sense is that Richard lacked that last little bit of grit that causes one to hang in there, no matter what. Call it the “Hillary” factor.

He just gets better the more he keeps talking. And now I want to have a thousand little bald chef babies with him.

Take note liberal dudes- if you want our votes (and in our pants) this is the way you do it. By being an actual feminist. Oh and knife skills don’t hurt either.

Posting may be a wee bit light

A few weeks ago I started writing a novel. This is pretty unusual for me. I normally can't get through more than 2000 words on any one subject before I am so thoroughly bored with it that I want to stab my eyes out. And that's on non-fiction. Fiction gets much worse. I am known for writing "prosetry", short bits of things that aren't poetry but also that are much too pared down and direct to be prose.

So I got tired of all the magical teenage pregnancy stories out there. And I decided I was going to write something a bit closer to the truth. It's coming along. Slowly, but I broke the 2000 word mark and I'm still excited about it, so that's something. The plot seems to be working itself out in my head, but it's taking a bit more brain space than I expected. Ouyangdan says it sounds a bit like a Jodi Picoult novel, but I think it's going to turn out a bit more like Lynda Barry.

Anyways, wish me luck. I'm not gone, just distracted.

For Pocochina and Redstar

Cause I know how much you both love yogurt

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Linkathon

Go Read LadyBoomer. She has an awesome post with video up about the abusive and deceitful tactics of the Obama campaign in TX.

Pocochina (the fabulous awesome Pocochina)writes about selfishness and the female voter

Hillary1000 writes about the crappy Father's Day Message Obama gave to the black community. (I told you all he has nothing to offer the black community except his skin color. Dude doesn't really care about or identify with it.)

Tobes has an answer to Anonymous who thinks that lady brains are too small to deal with complicated technology.

What kind of food would they be..........

Via Feministe comes a post about Obama and McCain and what kind of food they would be if they were food.

Now I have to agree with this one

“McCain would be one of those wrinkly old hot dogs rotating around itself for years and years, going nowhere.”

But this one, no.

Obama: an arugula salad with heirloom tomatoes (locally grown and organic, naturally), fresh figs, goat cheese and lemon-pepper dressing.

Obama is so obviously fat free, sugar free yogurt. He's something that we women are supposed to eat cause it's good for us, but it tastes like crap and just makes you realize how unlike the real stuff he is.

A different take on Father's day

This was the year that I finally laid to rest the idea of both of my parents.

Oh they are both still alive. But I feel like an orphan. I have for some time. My parents are the poster children for abuse and neglect. They could be Jungian archetypes for the bad parents in fairy tales.

About 5 years ago I finally gave up on my mother. She is mentally ill and abusive, but refuses to be treated for the illness. Refuses to even acknowledge it's existence, despite the hospitalizations. When she started treating my son with the same manipulative crazy talk that she had used on me my entire life, I cut her off. Sometimes it is much easier to do necessary things for the safety of our children than it is to do it for the safety of ourselves.

With my father it's a different story. He is the original MRA type, if he doesn't get ownership of the wife and kids, then he wants nothing to do with them. When I went to live with foster parents in high school, he was called. He was asked to help. His response was that we were not part of his family.

A few years ago, I needed some information from my dad in order to get my passport. I hadn't spoken with him since the lovely conversation above, 14 years I think. With my hands shaking and a giant ball of lead in my stomach, I called him. I stuttered through the phone call. He was all sweet and charming. "I knew this day would come, I've been hoping for it" he said. He made me promise to email him pictures of the Kid and me. He seemed genuinely happy and excited that I called.

So I sent him emails. I sent him a postcard I bought in Rome to thank him for helping me get my passport. The postcard was returned. The emails were never answered. I wondered if I had gotten the email address wrong (I did for one or two actually) and maybe I just had the wrong mailing address.

This year, I decided I was finally going to have definitive proof. I was going to know if he was inept or a complete asshole. I found a program that provided return receipts for emails, just like when you send regular mail. It will tell you if an email has been read, the location it was read at, how many times it was read, etc. A pretty handy program actually (who says girls don't like technology?) I needed to know if he was reading anything from me at all.

And I sent him a nice letter. No blame, no guilt, just sweetness and light the whole way through.

And he read it. He read it half a dozen times at least. So I waited for a response. And waited. And waited. After a few weeks, I decided that it was time to give up on the fantasy that I ever had one decent parent. And so I sent him another email. But in this one I balled up all the anger and pain his years of neglect had caused and gave them back to him.

I told him what my life was really like as a child. How the crushing poverty he left us in by his refusal to pay child support made mom do things and put me in situations that were far from safe. I told him that she had spent nearly 30 years taking out her anger at him on me. I told him that he was not allowed to live with the fantasy that his leaving us made us better off. He had to know what damage he had caused. I told him that I could understand his leaving mom (she's batshit crazy after all) but that as a parent I would never leave my child in the hands of someone so toxic, and I couldn't forgive him for that. I told him that I was sending him back all of the pain he had caused, and that I hoped it would rot in his gut like a cancer.

I was not nice. But I was honest. And I kinda like my orphan status. It let's me shrug off the sins of my parents and be who I really am instead of the sum of damages they caused. It's incredibly liberating.

I was reading something about hero myths not long ago. About how the hero is usually an orphan sent out on a quest to make them worthy of finding their real parents. But that is not how it works in real life. In real life, after those talk show type reunions where missing parents behave themselves for the camera, the problems remain after the camera goes away. Maybe it's guilt. Maybe it's fear. I don't know why actually. And being a mother makes it even harder for me to understand. But I know there are many many many of us who have horrible parents. Not just annoying, but damaging, parents. And we survive. Sometimes we even thrive.

So if you are another orphan- have a big drink with me and celebrate that. The simple fact that we live is something.