Saturday, December 08, 2007


“As a diner, the idea of me chewing 17 bites of one thing and another 17 bites of another is absolutely boring, and not how I want to eat,” said the chef Mario Batali."
Entrees are dead! claims the NY Times. Wives get expensive push presents after pushing out a kid!

Why should we care about the lives and tastes of people who, unlike most of us, are not worrying about whether their ARM mortgage is about to give up it's teaser rate or if we can keep the heat on with the rising utility prices?

Because these are the types of stories the NY Times, arguably the most read newspaper in the country, is publishing. And when those are the kinds of ideas that are pushed onto the rest of us, the competition to succeed (or at least appear that you are) gets tougher.

One of the most awesome aspects of the American dream and capitalism is the idea of social mobility. We have this idea that through hard work and the right opportunities we can succeed and give better opportunities to our children. Part of that involves giving our kids the cultural cues to be part of a better class than they are currently in. It starts with basics like better food and housing, access to doctors and dentists, education. But very quickly it goes to non necessities, the right clothes, the right schools , tutors and extracurriculars, technology, etc. While a huge part of this can be seen as spoiling a child, the reasons for doing it are so that our children feel comfortable and confident in a better social class. It is our version of teaching them what fork to use with what course. And a lot of the work of making sure kids have these opportunities falls on women who play chauffeur and shopper, negotiate parent teacher conferences, make sure that the home looks right for the class they are aspiring to and that the food the kids are getting is not just enough calories for growing bodies but the right kind of calories from the right kind of food in the right kind of portions grown in the right kinds of places with enough variety so that the kid won't look like a complete idiot when someone says "let's have a prosciutto sandwich".

So when the Times comes out with a story about how the entree is dead, I groan internally. This means I am going to have a much tougher time cooking if I want the Kid to have the right social cues.

I am a fabulous cook. I throw awesome dinner parties. People have suggested I open a restaurant or go to cooking school to be professional. I have no interest in cooking for money. Pulling together a meal made entirely of appetizers and small plates is something I could do, but the amount of work involved in coming up with several complementary small dishes on a daily basis is too much for the average mom. We barely have time to cook to begin with, and if we do, we also have the clean up to think about later. The cookware dirtied by a tapas dinner would make a Thanksgiving cook cry. But if we want our kids to fit in, we will do it. Heaven forbid our child gets bored after chewing 17 bites of a one dish meal of beef stew with organic beef and veggies done in a slow food style (slow food being the last trend women had to follow to prove their devotion to their families bellies).

And with all this extra work women are doing, it is no surprise that expensive presents are the part of the barter system. We would think it unconscionable for a woman to say to her husband "Let's see, 40 weeks of pregnancy, that's 6720 hours plus the hazard pay for labor and delivery- that will be $50,000 please, plus a bonus cause I managed to push out a kid with penis who will carry on your family name". But a shiny bauble of sentimentality provides a financial motivation in a less crass way.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Language is such a funny thing

Kid walks into living room with a bowl full of oreos and a glass of milk and joyfully yells my favorite Spanish word "Calcetines!"

Calcetines is Spanish for socks. Kid thinks is should be Spanish for milk. I think that socks and milk should never mix, but the image above is what you get when you search google images for socks and milk.

Christmas for hamsters

Since Varkentine has threatened a show down between imaginary hamster extrodinairre, Ruby, and his coke snorting owl that this is the only suitable present for Ruby this year.

Yes- it is sized to fit a squirrel. I think Ruby can make it work though and I am at a loss as to what kind of creature would make a good body guard for her. Anything that would be big enough to take on an owl would prolly also use Ruby as a canape.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Imaginary Pet Blogging

Bet you didn't know that before her career as an actress in the popular telenovela "As the Wheel Turns" Ruby was a punk rock superstar.

Ruby fronted the band Furry Little Bitchez and may be remembered for the song "Leaky Water Bottle" which was considered by music critics to be the seminal work of postmodern anger in a world where female hamsters are still kept in guilded cages.

Furry Little Bitchez broke up shortly after the release of Water Bottle. In an expose on VH1 it was revealed the Ruby's dissent in planning the bombing of a Petco tore the band to pieces. Ruby just wanted to have fun while her more militant band members wanted to use their music to further their revolutionary ideas. It may be the first time in history the musicians actually thought that more than just kick ass music was needed to change the world .

After the band's breakup, Ruby went to Argentina for the annual Tango festival. There she met Latin American media mogul, Juan Miguel Luis Manana Naranja and the part of the dramatic hamster, Reina Chiquita was written just for her.

More Of Ruby's story can be found here

Quick analogy

Sex is to rape what open heart surgery is to a vicious stabbing.

Sure, in surgery and a vicious stabbing you have someone taking a knife to your chest, but no one in their right mind would ever confuse the two.

It's the little things

"We're looking for a python"

"Would a python eat a gun?"

"They're not fond of cold food."

"Would it eat a warm gun?"

"They don't like metal."

"What about a warm gun covered in meat sauce?"

"Yeah, they'd go for that."

I'm watching the show Life, and that little exchange just cracked my shit up.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

How to teach boys

Aunt B over at Tiny Cat Pants has an awesome post about Masculinism 101 and how men need to be the ones to change rape culture. (I've said it before- women have been trying to prevent rape for eons, if we haven't come up with the perfect way of walking, acting, dressing or never leaving the house yet- then there is no way for women to prevent rape).

In comments the question was asked:

It gets fairly difficult for to differentiate when you start talking about date rape. Or a sex act that occurs when both are drunk. That’s harder to define, no? Is it rape because the law says a party can’t consent when drunk? What if the party really meant to consent? What if the party consented when drunk but felt guilty [about being drunk, about the sex] the next morning? What if the party wouldn’t have consented when sober but got up the nerve, so to speak, when drunk?

THOSE are the kinds of situation that scare the fool out of me as the mother of a son. What do I tell HIM to ensure he is safe?
Well, as the feminist mother of a son, lemme tell ya.

When Kid was very small, I started teaching him about consent. When we would roughhouse or tickle fight, one "no" was all it took for me to stop. And I taught him that one "no" was the line I drew at him stopping. Period. End of game. We both got to say when it was too much and those boundaries were absolute.

I taught him this not just because it would help him pay attention later in life when things with girls start happening, but also as a way for him to judge the behavior of another grown up and to give him a kind of toolbox for dealing with Catholic priests or Boy Scout troupe leaders. If he was secure in the knowledge of his own bodily autonomy, then he would be better able to judge when someone was trying to take it from him.

Now that the Kid is of an age where girls are very soon to be The Most Important Thing In The Universe! I can take those experiences and show how they relate to sex. Consent must be an absolute "Hell yes" and anything short of that is a "no". "Maybe" is a no, saying nothing is a no, "I don't know" is a no, "Not now" is a no- and not an excuse to ask again five minutes later. I am teaching my son that the only good way to enjoy pleasure is when both people are ready and happily excited about it.

I did hear one super rad idea at TCP though. If you want to make sure the girl is willing and able to have sex, ask her to put the condom on for you. I am definitely adding that to the lesson plans. And that is how you teach boys not to be rapists.

Overheard in Seattle

"My step mom had literally like killed 12 people, but she hasn't killed me yet"

Outside Westlake Center

I was saving that for a post about how interesting catching random bits of conversations can be, but I have yet to hear anything that comes remotely close to being that interesting. I have to wonder if the guy meant "literally", cause if he did his stepmom may be one of the most prolific female serial killers in history.

Then again, maybe he and his stepmom are engaged in some epic WoW battle.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Say it with me!

Gender is a construct. Repeat: Gender is a construct.

What does that mean. exactly?

Gender, as opposed to sex, is an idea created by society. Sex is biological. The only inherent difference between men and women is the ability to produce children. Period. Everything else that you think of as male or female is an idea created by society.

Women are not naturally more nurturing, men are not naturally more aggressive. Women were not just gatherers, men were not just hunters. Not all men feel the need to sow wild oats, not all women fall in love with every guy they sleep with. These are ideas created by society to keep the basic power structures intact, regardless of whether those power structures are fair or even the most efficient way of running a society.

From the moment we know the sex of a child, we start putting gender roles on them. Tiny babies who wouldn't know blue from pink get dressed to match their sex. Guess the wrong sex of a non-distinct baby in a gender neutral color like green and the mother will issue a sharp correction pdq. The sex of a baby shouldn't even matter, since it will be a good long time before that baby is having any sex of it's own.

Everything that we think of as feminine or masculine is created, and if it's created rather than inherent- it's changeable. Men can love babies and fashion, women can love football and fast cars . Liking things that don't "belong" to your gender doesn't make you a Tom boy or a Girly man, it just makes you a human with varied tastes and experiences.


Maybe it's all the drugs I've been taking (or trying not to take- and they're all Rx, btw). Maybe it's just that I have been living inside my own head way too much lately. Maybe I'm just a hairsbreadth from the edge of reason, but I've been thinking about god lately.

First, I was thinking how boring it would be to know everything that was going to happen before it happened. Imagine watching Adam and Eve in the garden all happy all the time, never doing anything but eating and sleeping and fucking. They have no struggle because their world is perfect, so they never have to do anything creative. Get fruit, eat fruit end of story. I don't know about you, but if I were god, I would be bored to sobs after watching my creations do the same damn thing day after day after day.

So if I were god, I'd create free will. Sure, giving creatures free will means giving up some of my all knowing, all powerful god authority. But it would certainly be more interesting than watching "get fruit, eat fruit" all the time. I don't know if I would have started the free will program with a forbidden tree of knowledge, but it does give the "1st" people (as I am in no way, manner, shape or form a believer in the biblical story of creation- this is all a thought experiment, so go with me) their first real choice- knowledge or perfection.

I think it would be one of the best soap operas ever, to create this world and then sit back and watch what happens. Sure, maybe every now and then you get bored with the story line and throw a flood into the mix just to see what comes from it. But if your goal as god is entertainment, then minimal interference would be the best way to go.

After that, I was thinking about the creating of beings to begin with. Sure, it might be fun to create your first bunny rabbit or oak tree or person, but after bunny rabbit number 1000- it would get dull. So I would pawn off the actual reproduction on the creatures themselves. And fore those creatures smart enough to figure out that reproduction leads to babies (and a whole lot of work) I'd give them orgasms so that there is incentive to have sex and make sure that they didn't get pregnant every time they have sex.

So that is what I've been doing. I've been playing god in my head.

Monday, December 03, 2007

If you're looking for something tawdry...

You might want to check this out: Don't Touch The Pink Stuff

Monday Link-O-Rama

The household is in a bit of a crisis at the mo, and while I deal with some big stressful crap I am not so good with the blog thinky crap. Instead you get Monday Link-O-Rama!

Echidne has a couple of great posts about the upcoming recession and the tiny house movement.

Pandagon has a great piece on structural racism and the war on drugs

Sir Robin always has the funniest random Flickr blogging.

The Kid and I are obsessed with winning free rice

I like layer tennis. I wish there was a match every day