Friday, December 31, 2010

RQ watches movies so you don't have to

Or, a review of 48 minutes of the Road. I couldn't watch any more than that. I like dark, bleak movies, I do. But this, no. There is no tiny sliver of light to hold onto in this film, and the theme of end of the world starvation is just too close to possible. So when Sylvie called me half way through, I was relieved to have an excuse to look away.

Me: I'm watching The Road

Sylvie: Oh my god! I read the book. It's bleak. Turn it off!

Me: The people, the people in the cellar are going to the smokehouse!!!! You know that the cannibals are probably libertarians. They are sooooo the type to eat smoked people.

Sylvie: I read book. It doesn't get better. Turn it off. Put on something happy and mindless. Watch Glee or something.

Me: I hate Glee. Actually I hate all musicals. I always feel super embarrassed for the people singing.

Sylvie: You liked Rent

Me: That's because if you're going to do a musical you have to sing about mortal death. Well all death is mortal, but you know what I mean.

This is where I changed the channel to something more upbeat. I think it was some flavor of Law and Order. And then made tuna melts, cause nothing removes the bad taste left by evil cannibals and certain horrible doom than delicious, buttery tuna and cheese.

But really, 48 minutes of cannibalism and watching a man repeatedly contemplate killing his son (for his son's own good) was more than I could stand. Sylvie confirms that there is no happy ending, it stays bleak. All my little pipe dreams of the man and boy reaching a colony of kindly people at the coast who stuff them full of readily available fish are for nothing.

Of course if you're suicidal, and looking for a movie to reaffirm your absolute hopelessness for the state of human kind before you swallow every pill in the house, this is probably a good choice. And Viggo Mortensen is never not interesting to watch.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

You Will Never Be Good Enough

I reblogged this in Tumblr, but I thought it deserved to be pulled out into the light a bit.

A patriarchal bargain is a decision to accept gender rules that disadvantage women in exchange for whatever power one can wrest from the system. It is an individual strategy designed to manipulate the system to one’s best advantage, but one that leaves the system itself intact.

This was posted in response to a question about why Kim Kardashian is famous. We (serious feminists and/or intelligent ladies) will point and laugh and disdain those women who make these bargains, pretending all the while like we haven't made a few ourselves. Do you shave your legs, wear lipstick, shave or wax your bits, wear high heels, skirts, makeup of any kind, bras? You've made the bargain. Even if you convince yourself a thousand ways till Sunday that you do those things because you like them or because you need to.

For example, I shave my legs and pits. I would love to be able to skip those activities, but I am patriarchy deficient in enough other ways that the scorn from appearing in public with my above-patriarchy approved sized body in a tank top and skirt with hairy legs and pits is more than I can handle. A darling friend, who has a patriarchy approved sized body, can get away with her hairy legs and pits most of the time, but has to wear pants and sleeved shirts in the summer to avoid friction at work. I get away with not wearing makeup because I am traditionally attractive in spite of my size, and I still have a patriarchy approved hourglass shape.

But here's the thing that is rarely said- it's okay to make those bargains. It's better if you can acknowledge that they are actual bargains while you make them, but if someone can't or doesn't acknowledge that they made these bargains shouldn't make them an object of scorn.

That's how we make ourselves never good enough. If you buy into all the patriarchy's beauty standards, then you are ridiculous, fluffy and dumb. If you shun them, you are a fat, hairy legged, man hating, slutty, frigid lesbian (not that there is anything wrong with any of that). But the truth is that we are all trying to get by under a system that sucks. Do what you have to do, while fighting where you can afford to fight. Stop wasting your time policing the bargains others have made (even if those others are Katy Perry, ugh). Picking on the individual bargain makers doesn't solve the problem of having to make the bargain to begin with. It only reinforces the bargain. Take breastfeeding vs. formula, for instance.

Before women (white, middle class and better women) entered the work force in mass (poor women have always worked) formula was the best thing new moms could do for their babies (or so says the patriarchy). Never mind the expense. Never mind the extra effort that you have to put into mixing the formula, heating the formula, sterilizing the bottles and nipples, cleaning the bottles and nipples, and the fact that formula isn't actually as good for babies as breast milk. If you wanted to be a good mom in the 50s, 60s and 70s, you bottle fed. If you didn't bottle feed, you were some kind of low class savage like the naked brown ladies in National Geographic.

Then women start going into the work force and suddenly the benefits of breastfeeding are touted as the only sensible choice for good mothers. Never mind that there is no paid maternity leave. Never mind if you have a condition that requires medication that might get into breastmilk and hurt your baby. Never mind that you work a minimum wage job and will be fired for taking breaks to pump milk on the toilet. If you don't breastfeed your child you are some kind of declasse Jerry Springer mom who also feeds their kids koolaid and poptarts. (Never mind that food stamps and Wic will pay for formula, but not for a breast pump or to stay home with a newborn). Picking on women because they can't or don't breastfeed doesn't actually make it easier for women to breastfeed (unless they take the patriarchy approved route of marrying a dude who makes enough money for her to stay home).

We need to take the fight where it belongs, to the structures that prop up the patriarchy****, and not to the individuals who are just as stuck in the system as we are.

*****You can replace patriarchy with kyriarchy and for every flavor of oppression there are bargains to be made. Lipstick lesbians are hot! Articulate brown people are cool!Disabled folks are fine as long as they are plucky lesson teachers or adorable telethon kids, etc, etc, etc. I'm not in the mood to do a "what about the menz" spiel, but they make bargains too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Eve Eve

The Kid and I are at the darling Sylvia's to make a gazzilion Christmas cookies. Thank you, to everyone who reads this blog and chipped in over the last year. You all make me feel like George Bailey with a laundry basket of cash.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Have Yourself A Very Geeky Christmas

The Kid and I cracked up watching this. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Luke........ There is no Santa!

I think Hollywood got it wrong

Apparently Hollywood thinks that if you put anything female in a movie that isn't all tits and ass- boys and men in the Kid's demographic will run away screaming. It's part of the reason the rebranded the fairy tale Rapunzel as Tangled and promos focus on the manly prince.

I told the Kid he was a mythical unicorn in Hollywood land because he likes stories that have kick ass protagonists, both male and female. He looked at me like I'd been doing drugs. So I conducted a little test. Here's a list of the Kid's favorite characters in some popular entertainment.

Harry Potter- hands down, Luna Lovegood. Not even a second of thought on that one.
Buffy- Zander followed closely by Evil Willow
Firefly- River Tam
Bones- Bones
Leverage- Parker and Haridson
Favorite series of books- Tamora Pierce, Protector of the Small

So my hetero teen boy, in a completely unscientific study, tends to prefer female protagonists. There are 2 dudes on that list (Zander and Hardison) and they come with female co-characters that he loves.

I'm not sure if my unicorn child actually exists now, since the purveyors of pop culture think he is imaginary. Though his dirty, crusty socks all over the floor tell me otherwise.

Another movie I (and the Kid) have to see

Kid and I both loved the awesome Hit Girl in Kick Ass. There may not be enough kick ass action hero women in film, but there are more and more kick ass action hero girls in film (see also the movie Let the Right One In).

In that vein- Kid and I must see this. Cate Blanchet as evil government agent. Kick ass girl child trained as an assassin. The preview looks sooooooooo good.

Kid says that The Hunger Games, which is also be made into a movie, was pretty good. So 2 movies we have to see.

About those 51 million poor people who will be worse off under the new tax plan.

I am one of those people. And since I am all about sharing just how hard this poverty shit is with you all, I am now going to break down my tiny income and taxes for you all. It's a huge taboo in this country, to talk honestly about your own money. So you all might understand if I'm feeling a bit squeamish. It's a bit of social programming I am trying to break.

Last year my adjusted gross income was $5963

My tax refund (including the earned income tax credit plus the $400 Making work pay credit, minus 15.2% in employment taxes for blogging income) was $1823

This year (so far) my income is $4930. If the schedule for the earned income tax credit stays the same (they haven't published 2010 yet) then my refund is $1675 before I pay employment taxes. And because I am considered self-employed (like many of the disemployed who are selling whatever they've got in order to get by) I am responsible for all of those taxes.

So $1675-749 (15.2%of 4930) is $926. Or about half of 2009's refund.

Now before anyone gets all cranky pants about how much of a refund I get compared to how tiny my income is- I would LOVE to be in a tax bracket where I am no longer eligible for the earned income tax credit. That bracket is $35,000 a year for a single parent with one kid. If you know of a job like that- pass it on.

Of course if I were in the Million plus club, the average tax benefit under the new tax plan is about $139,000, or enough to pay for 4 $35,000 jobs. But that's not where it's going to go, is it?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Hey Aeryl! MOVIE!!!!

I have to see this!!!!

1) Aung San Suu Kyi!!! I am a sucker for political dramas. Burma, military juntas, activism and resistance. Yep.

2) Michelle Yeoh!!!! I think she's the perfect choice to play Aung San Suu Kyi. She's totally got the "I can still kick your ass when I'm broken hearted" thing down. And I love that.

3) directed by Luc Besson!!! (who did not sign the "it's ok to rape children if you're Polanski petition) Also directed the Professional.

This is going to rock, hard.

Just let me see if I can find my tiny violin...

Some banksters aren't getting a bonus in their Christmas stocking. Poor dears. Their salaries have been doubled in the past 2 years to compensate, but the poor "Zeros" are facing psychological trauma by receiving their ill gotten gains in their regular paychecks instead of the fat, end of year bonus checks.

My heart breaks. My soul is crushed in empathy. As a poor, homeless single mother, I know the pain of trying to live off $200,000 or $500,000 a year. Why we have had to settle on the standard trash can fire for warmth, instead of this high-end, designer trash can.

It's the Christmas season. Can't we all spare a moment to think of the banksters? Do they know it's Christmas time at all if they aren't getting their bonus checks?

(FWIW- I find this whole song terribly offensive. Why on earth would non-Christians know when Christmas is? Do you know when Ramadan is? Ah colonialism, happily spread by 80's pop stars under the guise of charity)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Words mean things

Have you all played with Google's word tracker thingy yet?

What is does is counts the number of instances a word is used in all the books Google currently has scanned from the last 108 years or so, and then delivers the percentages.

The chart of the words racism and sexism, for anyone playing oppression olympics. ( Ableism and kyriarchy are barely nudges if you include them as well, though homophobia gets a slightly smaller but similar curve to sexism). I find it very interesting that the more politics is written about, the less often corruption is. And perhaps some of our handwringing over dreadful poor people while ignoring that ever widening wealth divide has to do with how little the wealthy are actually written about?

So peeps, what words are you checking out?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And how was your Friday?

The Kid and I spent our Friday afternoon in the office of child protective services thanks to the lovely stalker.

After long individual interviews with each of us, the social worker called me back in to say that the Kid is an awesome kid and that she is closing the case as it was completely unfounded. We joked about how CPS should really stand for "Creates Panic Syndrome". We also discussed the strain that the stalker is putting on the Kid by putting him in the middle of this shit, but of course the stalker would never see it that way. It would totally fuck with the stalker's world view that zie is not the awesome heroic savior to acknowledge that zie causes damage.

But case closed, completely unfounded, Kid is an awesome kid.

Afterwards we met up with the amazing Amanda Panda who took us out for the best tacos in the city (Barracuda in Queen Anne). I had 2 sangrias with dinner, which is enough to send me straight to bed. Kid had a coke with real sugar. And now we are back to our end the crappy campaign.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let's Get Festive!!!!

Continuing the theme of no more crappy- here's some favorite Christmas songs.

The Waitresses- Christmas Wrapping

The Ramones- Merry Christmas I don't want to fight tonight with you

The Pogues and the late, great Kristy Maccoll- Fairytale of New York (warning- this song contains at least one homophobic slur)

The Kinks- Father Christmas


The Hives & Cindi Lauper (I just found this song and FUCK YEAH CINDI LAUPER)

Okay okay okay, one more (I can't seem to stop. I've been possessed by the Christmas spirit. Oh shit. Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)

Bob Marley & The Wailers- White Christmas

Beef Wellington is a traditional Christmas dinner, right?

Beef wellington is my new euphemism for hot British dudes, btw.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Enough with the crappy

I want to be entertained. Happily distracted. Tell me a joke, a funny story, drop a link to a funny pic or a pretty piece of eye candy.

And to start things off......

Who's a stalker?

Since I have some experience in dealing with stalker types (and since the experience is currently being put to use) I thought I'd post this helpful guide to figuring out if someone is an actual stalker or just obtuse.

Sometimes it's hard to judge. If the stalker is someone we've had a previous relationship with, then we may make allowances for stalker behavior based on guilt or compassion or any number of feelings. Stalkers rely on this, and they use the relationship as justification for their behavior. You need to ask yourself some questions. Does this person make me feel uncomfortable or scared? Does this person disrespect my boundaries when I say no or put limits on things? If the answer to either of those questions is "yes" then you are aren't wrong for feeling scared.

First read this little Am I A Stalker list. (Just for fun, I've bolded the issues I am currently dealing with)

  • Telephoning
  • Surveillance (I think hacking a child's email counts as surveillance).
  • Following/Pursuit (e.g., by car, on foot)
  • Culturally inappropriate courtship behaviors (e.g., bluntly asking for sex)
  • Trespassing
  • Sending unwanted letters
  • Cyberstalking (e.g., unwanted and harassing e-mail, or instant messaging)
  • Sending unwanted gifts/items (e.g., romantic, bizarre, sinister, or perverted)
  • Attempts to “save” or “rescue” (e.g., from an "immoral life" or an unpleasant
  • situation)
  • Spreading false rumors about the alleged victim of stalking
  • Threats to harm the alleged victim, others, or oneself
  • Property damage
A rule that I have found extremely helpful in weeding out the dangerous stalker types from the just obtuse types is to bluntly call them on their shit. For example "Your contact is not wanted in any way and if you continue to contact me I will get a restraining order. You are acting like a stalker". For someone who is just obtuse, this usually serves as a wake up call and they go away. If they don't go away, then you have a stalker.

So let's break down some of those bullet points. Most are fairly obvious. Dozens of unwanted telephone calls, emails, etc require you to invest time and energy, even if it's just in deleting voicemails and emails (and blog comments). Save yourself some grief and set up an email filter so that all those emails go to either the trash or (if you are saving them for evidence) a folder you never have to look at. Your stalker is getting some level of satisfaction knowing that you have to hear them (or read them) even if you don't respond. They are hoping that they will just wear you down until you respond, even if it's in anger. And sometimes they do wear you down. We're all human, it happens. It's better for your own sanity and safety to not let them into your headspace at all. If your are worried that by ignoring emails and voicemails you will miss a real threat (and you can't afford a service like Gavin de Beckers that monitors these for you) then find a trusted friend and ask if they will monitor it for you. You can set the email filter to automatically forward the emails to your friend and they can let you know if a threat of violence has been made.

The sending of unwanted gifts is meant as a way to force obligation on you. We've all been taught to be polite and grateful. Stalkers take this social conditioning as use it to wedge themselves into situations where they are not wanted. In The Gift of Fear, de Becker talks about the guys who push you into letting them carry your groceries for you in order to gain access. The gift thing is just another version of that. Sending the gift back doesn't help either. It gives the stalker one more chance at access. Better to either trash it, pawn it, or sell it on ebay. I have gotten MAJOR satisfaction from taking a hammer to particularly fragile "gifts" in the past.

Wanting to "save or rescue" you is one of the ways stalkers justify their behaviors. It also usually involves elaborate fantasies that have nothing to do with who you are. Stalkers are delusional by nature. They are trying to create attachment where none exists. If someone calls them on their fantasy, they will lash out. Like conservative Christians, the facts don't matter if they interfere with the person's vision of who they are and who you are to them.

Spreading false rumors is one more way to harass and cause damage, hopefully leading to the stalker getting more access. If you confront them about their lies, they will make things worse. I know, the desire to defend oneself from bullshit is immense. You can do some damage control with the people who hear the rumors, but confronting the stalker head on about will not work. Ever. They will never see the light. You may get momentary satisfaction from standing up for yourself, but it will just add fuel to their delusions. There is no way you can get them to see reality. Period.

There comes a time where you have to choose between being right and being safe. (And by posting this right now- I am, for this second, choosing to be right. I will pay for this with another round of emails, voicemails, threats and lies, etc). But I thought it was important to write anyways. Your best bet is usually ignore, ignore, ignore****. When the justified rage at the infringement on your life becomes too much, yell into a pillow and ignore, ignore, ignore. The longer you can go without responding, the more likely the stalker will move on to a new target or give up. But every time you respond, you feed their obsession and the cycle starts over again. (I broke nearly 8 years of ignore, ignore, ignore. So the next round of stalking will last at least 8 more years. Fun)

****** I haven't made much mention of legal or police remedies for stalking. The truth is these often cause more problems than they solve. You have to decide if legal measures will provide you with more safety or less.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Awesome convos with the Kid

It's a bright and shiny morning at la nouveau chez RQ.

Me: How did you sleep dude?

Kid: I slept like the dead. It was awesome. How are you mom?

Me: Awesome. How are you?

Kid: (does weird little happy dance) AHHHH-SOME. The Ahhh-somest ahhsome.

Me: Dude? (raises eyebrow, gives Kid the "you, child, are made of weird" look)

Kid: We're safe. We're happy. We've got our own space. Ahhhhhhh-some.

(It is duly noted that the Kid and I need to expand our vocab to use more adjectives than just "awesome". )

Kid is currently playing Mr. Subliminal by whispering "bacon" every few minutes.

There is something intensely slimey

about a grown ass person hacking a child's email account. Really.Slimey. Though it does prove an argument I had less than 24 hours ago with said hacker. The people who children need to be protected from are rarely strangers on the street, but people that they know.

The Kid and I are not amused.

The Sweetest Thing

The kid is asleep in his bed, all curled up and cute like he is 5 and not 15. There are dirty dishes in the sink and towels on the floor and he jacked my almond joy earlier and left the wrapper on the counter. We took a walk around the neighborhood earlier, and it's not to bad. Groceries and buses are close by.

And it's glorious. We can be messy. We can watch mindless teevee without someone switching the channel to get their screaming newsbunny fix every 5 minutes so that they feel well informed. (I know, guffaw at that, I do.)

I am off to sleepy dreamland. I no longer have to stay up all night and sleep all day to avoid people who are unhealthy. I got to have an actual phone conversation with a friend without having to edit myself for eavesdroppers. It's the sweetest thing, safety. It really really is.

Monday, December 13, 2010

the good, the bad, and the ugly

so it's time for another episode of the high drama that is rq's
poverty spectacle. first the good news, the kid and i are safe. for
the first time in a long time the constant near panic in my chest is
abbated. we have our own little (temporary) space of our own. it's
lovely. and though it's temporary i have high hopes that this is
actually the first step to getting back to a normal, boring, lovely
life. the bad news. i have literally 50 cents to my name. the phone is
about to be shut off. we have some food but are missing the basics
like cooking oil and caffeine. and no internet. hence the poorly typed
post from the about to be disconnected phone. the ugly, well those of
you who i had private convos with will have some idea of what's going
on. it's not a surprise. it is what it is. but we are safe in our
little slice of heaven and i am optimistic. i haven't been that in a
long ass time.

The trouble with being poor is that it takes up all of your time.
Willem de Kooning

Thursday, December 09, 2010

The Poor As Lab Rats

People who are oppressed have always been used as lab rats, things to be experimented on rather than real people. Usually those doing the experimenting have a mild twinge of shame and try to keep the experiments secret (Tuskegee) so I guess it might be shocking to the un or less oppressed to see that experimenting done publicly.
For example:

In NYC, a program called Homebase that helps the nearly homeless stay in their homes is using a lottery system to decide who gets help and who doesn't and then tracking the results to find out if the helped are less likely to become homeless than the unhelped.

I know, gentle readers, it's shocking, horrible, awful, that for the sake of scientific results they would leave the fate of the desperate up to luck. Well, maybe it's not so shocking for those of us who play the social services lottery on a regular basis. It's almost always a crapshoot as to whether an agency is going to give you assistance. Did you fill out the gazzilion forms properly? Do you have the right proof of your circumstances? (Lemme tell you, proving that you are actually homeless is damn near close to impossible. And if you can prove you are homeless, you're actually penalized for it when it comes to food stamps because you have no verifiable living expenses).

Homebase is just being upfront about about the randomness of who gets assistance. It's still despicable that just needing help doesn't actually get it for you, but I think I prefer the straight up lottery system to the clandestine methods.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Guilt or Anger and Apologies.

I shared this video in my google reader the other day

I've heard, way too often, people complain about anti-racism work because "I'm not responsible for the actions of my ancestors" and use the guilt they feel (or think they should feel but don't) as a reason to continue on in their little privilege bubble. That's why I linked it. It's a good response to those types.

However, Renee has some pretty damn valid reasons to be pissed off at the video. While watching it, I did have a fleeting thought or 2 about how it wasn't calling people out on the privilege they currently enjoy.(And I get to have only a fleeting thought or 2 because of white privilege, that's what privilege is about). You should feel guilt for those acts of racism (sexism, homophobia, abelism, classism, etc) that all of us with privilege commit at some time or another. You should feel the guilt, make the apologies, and do your best to never ever do it again. The video completely ignores the ongoing acts that perpetuate oppression.

So, I apologize for linking the video without addressing the problems in it. I promise I'll work really hard to not let those fleeting thoughts and criticisms go by without examination in the future.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Netflix says that I like "dark movies with strong female leads"

So you all get 2 movie reviews. One about a famous and awesome real woman, done by a man, and one about a fictional but courageous teenage girl done by a woman. I'll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, but here's a spoiler warning anyways.

First, Agora. Rachel Weisz is Hypatia, philosopher, atheist, brilliant teacher in Alexandria right at the crux of the struggle between Christians and Pagans. She is perfect, so perfect that she's more of a pedestal goddess than human being. But I don't care, I'd watch her anyways. Also, it doesn't pass the Bechtel test. (blah blah blah, it's not like she'd have had a best girlfriend to confide in back then, blah blah blah).

That said, for who knows what reason, the director had to throw a rape scene into the movie. Perhaps because Hypatia was only allowed to do things she did in Alexandria because she was considered a virtuous woman, Amenabar threw in a rape scene so that there was some sexual tension. But the movie didn't need it and it would have been better served if the rapey character was shown struggling with the choice between logic and Christianity more. That's a much more interesting struggle than "I want a woman and she doesn't want me".

But watch the movie anyways because 1) Rachel Weisz 2)Hypatia 3) The atheist is the only reasonable person in the city. This ain't no throwing the Christians to the lions, and the Pagans don't come off any better.

Next, Winter's Bone. 17 year old Ree Dolly has to go find her meth making father and get him to appear in court so that her family doesn't lose the home and land he put up as bond. Her mom is nearly catatonic. Ree's the only person looking after her and her little brother and sister. It's written and directed by Debra Granik and Jennifer Lawrence's performance as Ree is amazing. She's tired and terrified and braver that anyone should ever have to be that young.

It's also an interesting portrayal of the codes of violence. There are rules, even in the poorest segments of society, of who you can hurt and how. It's a fucked up kind of chivalry (chivalry in itself is fucked up- but that's a whole other essay). Trying to keep track of the complicated rules of who you're safe with and who you're not safe with and what kind of behavior gets you hurt requires a flow chart, or as Ree says being "a Dolly, bred and buttered".

Winter's bone is sad but really good, and deserves every one of the awards it's up for. And it totally passes the Bechtel test. Some of the most crucial moments of the film are between Ree and the wife of the most feared man in town, and he doesn't get more than a line or two.

So what are you all watching?

Kitchen Squee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have you all discovered the magic that is smoked Spanish paprika yet? Have you? Cause if you haven't- GO GET SOME RIGHT NOW OMG WHY ARE YOU STILL SITTING THERE READING THIS!!!

No seriously, I just put goulash in the crockpot and used the smoked paprika (and a little of the cheap regular paprika to round it out) and the smell is soooooooooooooo amazing I would eat a hunk of raw meat. I do not think I can wait the 8 hours for it to be done.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Just because A is true doesn't mean B is false

Julian Assange may very well be a rapist. He's also very likely to be an egomaniac who hates America. These things can be true, and it's still important that we get information on the secret things our government has been doing in our name.

(I should note that part of my belief in radical democracy also includes a belief that neither governments nor business have the same right to privacy that individuals have. A government is not a person in the same way a corporation in not a person.You can't fire a non-employee from a business, and you shouldn't be able to prosecute a non-citizen for going (nonviolently) against a government that isn't their own.) (On second thought, you shouldn't be able to prosecute a citizen for non-violently going against a government that is there own.)

It's not hard. It doesn't take a leap of logic to say that Assange is very likely a misogynist asshole, but the dumping of government documents means the people of Spain can see just how much influence a foreign government has over their judicial system, or the people of Honduras can find out what was going on behind closed doors during their recent coup.

A lot of the arguing I see happening are the same arguments we saw about Polanski. "But he's a great artist!" "But he had a horrible life!" "Nazis!" "Sharon Tate". All those things are true, and Polanski is still a child rapist.

The difference, of course, is that Assange's masterpiece is not a film or even a carefully crafted and researched piece in the New York Times, but the dumping of massive government documents so that people can figure out for themselves what is going on. It's slightly more important than pretty camera work, but doesn't negate the rapey parts of his personality.

Oddly, this is one of the few cases where you can actually be bipartisan. Assange should answer for his crimes in Sweden against women, but perhaps we should all simmer down a bit on the calls to assassinate him or to deify him.

Besides, it's much more interesting to check out what the leaks have done. Being that the elites are supposed to be the cream on top, it's entertaining to me how often they end up acting like tantrum throwing children. That's diplomacy in a nutshell, diffusing tantrums with promises of lollipops.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

A Little Thought Experiment

Let's imagine for a second the Obama is the person people thought they were voting for: a stealth progressive, a grassroots community organizer type, a pro the-little-people democrat, the anti-war candidate.

We'd still have:

Health care reform that mostly benefits the insurance companies.
A mortgage crisis with nothing being done to help the homeowners.
A 24% disemployment rate (9 percent counted, 18 percent actual, the rest are underemployed and I think that number is low)
2 wars with more wars brewing
No extension of unemployment benefits
Skyrocketing wealth disparity
A federal freeze on spending and COLAs for federal employees.
TSA getting grabby and the continued erosion of the bill of rights.

So even with a Democratic House, Senate and presidency, democratic platforms can't be enacted. That is one seriously broken system. The representational part of representational democracy is broken.

That's what I mean when I say that voting doesn't make a damn bit of difference, the powers that be simply won't let us get what we voted for if it's not in their best interest. I don't know if this is new, or worse than it was before, but it's bad.

How we fix that is a big scary question, one too big for me or you to figure out by ourselves. But I know one thing, you never ever get what you want if you don't ask for it (or in this case, demand it). I find it a far better use of my time thinking about the kind of world I want the Kid to live in. It's what gives me hope, the idea that things have not always been this way, and they won't always be this way.

100 years ago, 40 hour work weeks and women's suffrage were pipe dreams. 60 years ago, trips to the moon were impossible. So perhaps it's wistful daydreaming. Perhaps I have replaced a belief in god with baseless optimism. Perhaps I am just audaciously hopeful. But here's a few things that I want in a better world:

20 hour work weeks. I know! Shock, awe, how could we possibly live with 20 hour work weeks? But think about all the downsizing, the "increases in productivity" which are just code words for "we make one person do the job of 2 or more". We would solve unemployment in a heartbeat. If working 20 hours a week means you can afford the basics like food, housing, medical and education, then the rest of your time is yours to do with as you please. Want to make more money and buy shiny toys- congrats, you now have the time to do that. Want to spend time puttering around making music or art or baking pies. Do that. Want to raise your kids instead of sending them to 8 or 10 hours a day of daycare, do that. It would make it easier for PWD to work if endurance is one of their problems. (still have to work on that tricky ableism thing, I know the hours are not the only thing causing high unemployment rates among PWD). It would make being a poor student who has to work full time possible, because full time would now be as many hours as you'd spend in a work study job (well slightly more, but you get the drift). Boomers who don't have enough money to retire? Well now you can work half time while opening up a position for someone else.

A serious commitment to body autonomy. I am just so freaking tired of it being every bodies business what someone else does with their own body. I don't fucking care what you put into it (food, drugs, medicine, penises, babies, etc) or take out of it or who you do those things with as long as you're all adults with informed consent.

And since California's prison situation has been in the news lately (let's just say that all those non-violent drug offenders fall under RQ's body autonomy dream) how about an end to the prison industrial complex. My ultimate dream world involves a world without prisons. I'd much prefer a society of choice, you choose not to follow the rules then go live elsewhere. I don't care where, but not here. Sure there end up being whole societies made up of rapey mcrapersons, but since they'd be hard pressed to get women to stay it might die out pretty quick. But since exile is only possible now for people who kill in the 10s or 100s of thousands, how about we make the whole penal system a bit less racist, classist, and horrible all around.

And while I'm on the whole society of choice thing, no more nationalist bullshit. Pick where you want to live, anywhere in the world. Agree to to follow that society's rules and your in. No "illegals", no scary border guards. No handwringing about the immigration problem. We like to think that America is all about freedom, but most of us never got to choose the society we live in. We can choose 100 types of breakfast cereal, but not our social identity. That's not really freedom.

And while we're dreaming, and end to the fucking kyriarchy. No more isms. No more excuses for making one person worth less than another.

What do you want? You'll never get it unless you ask, so ask away.

Book snobbery

So this is a meme that's been going around a bit:

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here. Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Bold those books you've read in their entirety, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish or read an excerpt. Tag other book nerds. Tag me as well so I can see your responses!

1. Pride and Prejudice- Jane Austen

2. The Lord of the Rings- J.R.R. Tolkein

3. Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling

5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

6 The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte

8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations- Charles Dickens

11. Little Women- Louisa May Alcott

12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller

14 Complete Works of Shakespeare

15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier

16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien

17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger

19 The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell

22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald

24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (nobody finishes War and Peace, nobody!)

25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy- Douglas Adams

27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll

30. The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield- Charles Dickens

33. The Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis

34 Emma -Jane Austen

35 Persuasion - Jane Austen

36 The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres

39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden

40. Winnie the Pooh- A.A. Milne

41. Animal Farm- George Orwell

42 The Da Vinci Code- Dan Brown

43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery

47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood

49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52. Dune- Frank Herbert

53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons

54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon

60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac

67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding

69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick- Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72. Dracula- Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson Burnett

74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson

75. Ulysses- James Joyce

76. The Inferno- Dante

77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78 Germinal - Emile Zola

79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt

81. A Christmas Carol- Charles Dickens

82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple- Alice Walker

84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro

85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White

88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom

89. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down- Richard Adams

95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole

96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare

99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

So I've got 49 read (that I remember. I feel like I've read Les Miserable and The Count of Monte Christo and a bunch of others that were also made into movies, but I may just remembering the movies). And I'm not going to count the starteds. I've read a bunch of Shakespeare but never sat down with the complete works.

Whaddaya got?

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Just in time for Christmas!

A federal pay freeze!!! Santa, it wasn't even on your list!

I've never been the kind of poor person to hate on the slightly less poor, so I'm feeling some serious empathy for people whose pay starts (in my location) at $21,641 and maxes out at a grand $27,075.

Happy holidays. You ain't getting a COLA this year (or next) cause someone wants to play bipartisan weasel.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Anyone else find the call to arrest Julian Assange, a non-American, for treason a little hypocritical coming from the same people who were pro-outing Valerie Plame?

And I feel the same way about Wikileaks and I did about Plame. The person committing the crime isn't the journalist doing their job, but the government employee (Cheney, Turd Blossom) who leaks that shit.

Why the sudden urge for civility

All over the teevee, newsbunnies and talking heads and "serious people" are talking about the "shock, horror" level of discourse in society of late.

They want us little people to be more civil, more thoughtful. We only say such mean angry things because technology lets us publish without a time out to consider our words.

I have only one thing to say to that.

Fuck off you overpaid wankers.

We yell and scream, fight and insult because we are justifiably pissed off. Our country is fucked. Our economy is fucked. Our political system is fucked. And instead of doing the hard work of making it better, you all are sitting on your fucking hands whinging about how mad us little people are. Anyone doing any kind of anti-ism work will recognize your calls for civility as the meta version of "if you were only less shrill/angry/loud then people might pay more attention to you".

The problem with our country is not the level of civility. The problem is that the 20 percent at the top, (which includes every single person who makes it on those teevee news shows) have robbed those of us at the bottom of the basic resources we need to live. We won't be quiet about that. Uncivil words are the least of your problems.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

This heaven gives me migraine

Ugh. So I am curled up, in the dark, wearing my sunglasses so that I can look at the compy screen without puking. You know what this means, RQ has a migraine. A bad one.

I've been on the migraine train for a long fucking time. After rounds of expensive meds which never worked(when I had insurance, at the mo I am insurance-free, which is a nice way of saying FUCKED) the only things I can do are 1)hide because this level of pain makes me very not nice 2) take fist fulls of advil for the placebo effect 3) ban all light (though the thing they don't tell you is that being stuck in a quiet dark room for hours/DAYS is boring as fuck) and 4) do a face plant onto a hot water bottle.

I could write odes to my hot water bottle. Best fucking 11 dollars ever spent. Seriously. I almost gave it away to a homeless guy the other night, but by the time I came back downstairs with it(and soup and coffee and warm socks and homemade bread) I think he found a shelter to sleep in. So yay? I got to keep my hot water bottle baby.

But since all these measures only make me less likely to whip out the fucking powerdrill and put a lovely stress relieving hole through my temple, I am soliciting you, oh wise ones of the internet, for your best DIY migraine cures.

In the mean time, I am going to dream of the one drug that actually worked to kill my migraines when they are this bad- vitamin V for valium. I love you valium. I miss you valium. Someday, you and me valium, you and me.

Friday, November 26, 2010

So I have this conversation like 20 times

Me: "really, there is no stopping it. We are on the verge of serious societal collapse. Who you vote for doesn't make a damn bit of difference, neither party is really going to change anything"

Various other people: Then you should buy a gun. If it's really going to get that bad, you should have a gun.

Me: Some variation of "teenage boy in the house, blah blah blah"

VOP: No really you need a gun

Me: No really what I need to do is learn to grow some tomatoes

VOP: Then you should have a gun to protect them.

Now I am not a pacifist. I believe that self defense and defense of others are acceptable forms of violence. And I'm not even anti-gun, but again, teenage boy in the house. I wouldn't hesitate for a second to beat the shit out of someone hurting my kid, and I have gotten in the middle of strangers trying to hurt other strangers. But I have never had to go beyond angry screaming in those situations (but from other situations that I'm not in the mood to discuss, I know I wouldn't have a problem fighting back if it came down to it).

It does strike as a serious and not often enough discussed problem though that the VOPs in every one of these convos have all been 1)lifetime democrats and 2)Christian. I'm pretty sure that Jesus wouldn't have been so quick to defend a tomato plant from a hungry mob. But what the fuck do I know, I'm mostly an atheist at this point.

And then tonight I am watching The Story of India (pbs documentary) and it gets to the part about Ashoka and his conversion to Buddhism after the slaughter at Kalinga. Apparently his move towards non-violence involved a pretty severe police state because "It is difficult to make men do good".


But the problem lies in the "making" men (and as they put it in Doctor Who "women, undecideds, trees and multiforms")do good. Making someone brush their teeth doesn't always mean they are going to love the minty fresh feeling. What you have to do is understand that violence is as bad for those that commit it as it is for those they are violent to. It rots our brains and souls and hearts the same way plaque rots your teeth.

But again, I'm just a little almost atheist, agreeing with Buddha and Jesus on a bunch of shit that a vast majority of their followers don't get.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The TSA as a microcosm

Let's see....

So women, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are not Christian, or who are not USian, or who don't look USian enough, or who stand out in some way that doesn't read het, cis, white, TAB, middle class (or better) and male have been complaining about the TSA since it's inception. Shut up and deal, it's for your protection that the government 1) treats you like a criminal 2)violates the constitution 3)if you don't do anything wrong there is no reason for you to be singled out.

And for a very long time, those of us at the bottom of the kyriarchy have been told pretty much the same things about everyday life here in the US. Shut up, you feminists ruin all our fun. If you (POC) don't want to be harassed by the police then don't act suspicious. If bad shit happens it's because you deserved it.

So it isn't much of a surprise that mass public outrage only occurs when it's a white dude and his junk at the airport. Same is true for our country, outrage only occurs (or is noticed) when tea partiers pout. Oh you poor het, cis, white, TAB, middle class (or better) dudes.

And our government (or the lackeys that shill for it on the teevee) responds with the usual shit, "let's make things worse by going the corporatist route! Privatize!" Which might actually make things better for the het, cis, white, TAB, middle class (or better) dudes, but the rest of us will probably have it worse. We all know how well private security firms treat women and brown people (coughKBRcough). But the het white dudes will get passed through by other het white dudes without much of a problem. And then the whole country can go back to feeling secure that only people who deserve it will have a stranger reach in their underwear.

But the underlying problem still exists. Less security (if you include the freedom from groping and peeping toms as security) and less freedom (now that getting on a plane makes for enough reasonable suspicion of criminal activity that the government can search your person).

And none of this security theater has ever caught a terrorist. It's missed at least 2 that we know of. What keeps us safe is good old fashioned intelligence and police work. Catch them before they ever get to the airport. The only reason to have security theater is to test just how much the American people are willing to put up with before they notice the boot on their neck. Keep scared, keep patriotic, keep the war on terror dollars flowing. No money for schools or medicine or roads, we've got scary brown people to kill and security theater to pay for.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ms.Warren Goes to Washington

So Elizabeth Warren, champion of the middle class and consumer advocacy in finance goes to work for the Obama administration and we get:

"Instead of layering on regulations that don't fully protect consumers, a better approach would focus on how to give consumers the power to make the right choices for their families -- and, at the same time, to ease the regulatory burden for the lenders."

Look, I have the right to choose between 75 flavors of corn syrup laden breakfast cereal, with full knowledge that they are corn syrup laden breakfast cereals. What I don't get is an affordable choice of non-toxic breakfast foods. Information is only the beginning of reform, not the answer to calls for it.

But Warren's softening is not a surprise. You cannot work from within to fix a structure this decrepit. If try to go inside, you will be corrupted. Plain and simple. You cannot be a part of the broken system and attempt to change a broken system. You cannot consistently choose the lesser of two evils without becoming a little bit evil.

There is no one in government who represents the bottom 80% because once you get into to government, you are part of/ or working for the top 20%. That's all there is to it. It's not a massive secret conspiracy. There is no dark cabal meeting in secret to figure out how to take away our resources and rights. It is just good old fashioned class warfare. And our class is losing, despite the overwhelming numbers on our side, because we keep trying to play the game war by their rules. And the rules are fixed. House always wins.

(If this fucking post doesn't have more analogies than the fucking breakfast cereal isle at your local grocery store, then your store sucks at the false choices of consumerism.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My 2 cents on the TSA

First lemme explain something. I am a freak of nature. I love flying. I have little games I play with myself on airplanes, trying to guess the exact moment the wheels leave the ground and then touchdown somewhere else. I love the smush you back in your seat feeling of takeoff where your stomach goes a little wobbly. And I love love love the idea that you get in this metal tube and several hours later end up in a completely different place from where you started.

So it takes a lot to make me mad about flying.

But since 2001, 9 times out 10 I get my checked baggage "randomly" searched. (Happened again on our recent flight here. I wish I had collected all the TSA letters I've received over the years. They'd make a poignant collage).

And every time I go through the fucking Denver airport and am wearing a skirt, I (and every other woman wearing a skirt) get singled out to go through the chemical sniffer machine, that damn machine that manages to blow puffs of air in a manner that seems specifically designed to blow your damn skirt up.

And I know from stories that people in wheelchairs get subjected to extra crappy security measures.

And while I couldn't care less about the full body scans, I understand why someone would and am fully behind those that complain.

And bad-touching little kids with enhanced pat downs. No.Fucking.Way. This mom would have you arrested if you tried to touch my kid. But if you complain, not threaten violence but threaten to use the legal resources generally known to be available to all (well not all) citizens, you're treated as if you just threatened to blow up the airport.

And I am pretty sure that by writing this, the next time I try to fly will be a nightmare.

But it's not okay.

I remember when I was a kid and the big scary commies in the USSR were the boogy man of the day. I remember being told that part of the reason why they were so awful was because people in the USSR weren't allowed to travel freely. You had to get government permission to go from one town to another. And now I can't help but think that we're doing the same damn thing to people. Can't travel freely if you don't support government intrusion. If you complain it's off to the TSA gulag for you.

All this from a country that claims to value freedom above everything else. If that ain't fucking Orwellian I don't know what is.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

What we need is a system for exit counseling, like they have for cults

I keep hearing the same shit from those enveloped by the "fear". Same sad old arguments. Same major disconnect from what is staring them straight in the face. And I can't help but think about how culty they are, both dems and republicans. Both legacy parties give their members specific groups to hate, to think of as a threat. Not unlike that horrid scene in A Handmaid's Tale where all the handmaids tear a man to shreds for raping a pregnant handmaid and killing the child (when in reality he was part of the resistance). Sure, you've got it bad, but here's a fresh body to eviscerate. Both legacy parties give their followers specific talking points to repeat ad nauseum (I actually just got the OLD standard "communism fell because commies were unmotivated to work because the government took care of them line- for real). You know the modern lines- Obama is a socialist from the right, Progressives are a bunch of whiny titty babies who ruin everything from the left.

So how do we wake them up? How do we shake off all the bullshit beliefs they are buried under without wanting to swallow a bullet ourselves in frustration and tedium (because dayyyuuuum, it's tedious and good lord they can be vicious little twits.)

What I do know is that when I remove the left/right rhetoric and just tell people what I want from my government, they almost universally agree, regardless of party. I want work to pay a wage people can live on. I want people to be able to get healthcare because they need it and not because they are wealthy enough to deserve it. I want everyone to have enough healthy food to eat. I want kids to have good schools to go to and for college to really be accessible for everyone. I want the unpaid contributions to society to count for something, like mothers and pwd who can't work at a traditional job but still are a contributing part of society.

What I keep hearing from people is the same line "Yeah of course those things would be awesome, but we'll never get that". And that is a problem. Small, boxed in thinking courtesy of your traditional legacy parties. 80 percent of us need the same things, those 4 old freedoms that Roosevelt wanted, but specifically we need freedom from want and freedom from fear. And our current system is putting the screws to us hard on both accounts (thank you pervy TSA workers for adding to the fear levels with your government approved sexual assaults).

What little bit of googling I did about exit counseling for cultists involved being respectful of the cultist's beliefs, while gently countering them with facts. I admit, I often get tangled on this part. I'm just tired of having the same argument, and those legacy party cultists sure aren't respectful back.

But..... Once upon a time there was a world where the idea of a democratic government was something that only existed in ancient times. And once upon a time there was a world where women voting was seen as something that "would be awesome, but we'll never get that". Same is true for a 40 hour work week, overtime pay and OSHA regulations. Same is true for free public education. You don't get anything if you don't know what you want. And for the cultists, all they know to want is that the other side doesn't win. We've got to give them bigger, better things to fight for than fight with each other (and us).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I'm in a thouroughly shitty mood

The kind of mood where I start smoking again.

So you all get music. M.I.A. doing Hussel

And I wish I could embed it, but you tube won't let me. So a link to Janelle Monae doing Tightrope

Friday, November 12, 2010

Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh, One More

Richard Armitage who plays a spy on MI5, and was a bad bad man on the new BBC Robin Hood, and was delicious in North and South, and was Dawn fucking French's fiance on the Vicar of Dibley. Black hair, blue eyes, terribly English. Yep. He's pretty fucking perfect.

Because it's Friday and we all need some eye candy

Sylviaaaaaaaaaaah and I just watched the Georgia O'Keeffe movie and he played Jean Toomer. Everytime he was on screen we got a little wiggley in our seats.

THIS is Kate Winslet's new boyfriend. Nicely fucking done Kate.

I totally see the attraction.

Back off ladies, he's all mine.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Your trashy hollywood gossip of the day plus wild speculation

So the lovely Rachel Weisz has separated from her husband, Darren Aronofsky.

And a few months ago, Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes split up.

Now Kate is dating a super hot underwear model and Rachel is rumored to be hanging out with Daniel Craig.

Both their ex husbands signed the stupid 'I <3 child rapist Roman Polanski' petition.

So now for the wild speculation- douchebags who are so totally cool with child rape that they will sign their name to it end up being left by their (much more talented and richer) wives. Said wives will then start shagging dudes who are vastly hotter than douchebag ex husbands.

This is your marital tip of the day. If you want to keep your wife, don't be cool with child rape.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The single most radical thing you can do right now to make the world a little better

Holy shit, what a fucking title, right?

This must be a snake oil pitch. Or something. Well it's something. It's probably going to sound a little fucking preachy, hippy, free love crappy. I get it. Those kinds of things make me squirm in my seat, whether it's someone bowing their head to say a prayer before a meal or telling me that their magic crystals cleansed their chakras.

But this you can do. And you don't have to believe in any kind of deity.

Try to be a little less judgmental. I know, I know. Where is the fucking fun in that? I know, we HATE all the right people. I know there are a thousand ways they don't measure up to what we think makes a worthwhile human being. I know, we are on the side of progress so our disgust is well-earned and just. I know.

But it is that well-deserved hate that keeps us separate. That is what makes us think left/right when the truth is Top/bottom. That little bit of condescension, snobbery, judgment, squeeful hate of those we deem unworthy is the prize we get for living in a stratified society.

From lefty types, good democrats all, I have heard it is okay to hate: poor single mothers with too many children by too many men, fat people if they are over a certain weight, the disabled if their disabilities aren't of the wheelchair/seeing eye dog/ sign language varieties, people who don't buy organic, mothers who don't/can't breastfeed, gay people who talk about being gay too much, progressives in general, and and and.

And I am not immune. I hate suburbanites and country folks. I don't get rednecks and people who like most country music. And teabaggers, of the fucking teabaggers.

But if I take a minute, step back from the little endorphin rush that happens in your brain when you think about things you hate (and yeah, I am sure there is a little rush) and logically think about why someone is who they are, I come up with some understanding.

For example, that woman with too many kids and too many baby daddies is just following the narrative of true love means patriarchal family and babies. She's doing exactly what she's been told to do since she was a child, find a nice guy, settle down, have kids. She hasn't been told that the fact that it keeps failing for her is because it's a fairy tale, she thinks she just needs to find the right prince.

And that tea bagger partier is the buffer class for the elites. Of course he's pissed and scared. He really will lose out if the horrid and unfair inequities of society are fixed. He doesn't have any value to society if he loses his role as gatekeeper for the elites. (While I can understand where he's coming from, this doesn't mean that he doesn't NEED to lose that position. It just means I can be a little empathetic when justice comes).

Just try it out. Just a little empathy and compassion. If you really hate it, you can go back to hating on people tomorrow.

(This post is brought to by the Veil of Ignorance. Go forth and google)

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I'm seriously thinking about

squatting as political protest/ means of solving homeless issue.

Look, we all know "the rents too damn high".

So any readers out there with squatting experience? I've googled around a bit but i haven't found any organized squatters in Seattle like you'd have in NYC, but we do have our organized tent city.

One of the cool kids

Elizabitchez is trying out this tumblr shit.

for the lighter side of the universe ending, or maybe I am just trying to find my bell hooks flavored joy in these crappy times through silly gifs of bizarre things.


Yesterday, after all the midterm election hullabaloo, the Fed released 600 BILLION dollars in funds to buy long term treasuries. This is quantitative easing, a way to keep interest rates low for large institutions that want to borrow money during a time of rising inflation.

Now with little fanfare, and no political fight, 600 BILLION bucks just made its way into the economy that wasn't there before. It will have no tangible benefit for you or me or any of the bottom 80 percent. If we were capable of borrowing money right now, we would probably be hit with killer interest rates.

At the same time, unemployment benefits are running out this week for thousands, tens of thousands, many many Americans. One of my dearest friends called me panicked last night. You could here the pale fear in her voice. If I can scrounge the $, I'm bringing her wine tonight and getting her good and drunk. I told her we can all live in the park together, or we'll go squat in some of the empty, newly built, luxury condos that can't be sold.

600 billion would go a long way towards housing, feeding, and employing those of us in the bottom 80. But we are not a priority.

The Do Something Rhetoric

This is a theme I have heard repeated over and over at those of us who don't want to waste time and energy on a failing system "do something!" "Why don't you do something about it if you feel that way?"

Blink. Double Blink.

Because 5 years, 2000+ blog posts, being regularly screamed at, insulted, and basically abused by people on both the right and the left, plus the years of volunteerism, the protests, the protest medic-ing (yep, I'm the girl who knows how to wash tear gas out of your eyes) is nothing. Nothing if I am not contributing to the system in the only kyriarchy approved way, through little scraps of paper marked with a "choice" about who controls us. To them I have done nothing.

And I remember being the asshole who yelled at Nader voters in 2000 (I apologized during the primaries) and being the asshole who had "no respect for someone who wouldn't do their democratic duty". (I apologize now).

What I know now is that choosing not to participate in a corrupt system is much more work than "doing something". That the amount of energy required to pull back the rhetoric curtains and critically view the system is immense, and it is "doing something" to expose it. That if I were to shut up, vote blue or red, keep my thoughts to myself and do as I am supposed to do, I would personally fare better is something I have thought about. I might even be employable if I could tow the line. But I can't.

In the same way I can't shoplift, even though I can see that it would be better for me and my family if I could just pocket what we need instead of paying for it. I can't suck it up and pretend that the system just needs the proper tweaking from the right guys to make it work. It needs to be smashed and rebuilt.

I am doing something, with words like a hammer I am trying to chip away at this little corner of the system.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Things we all should be able to agree on, but don't

Oh Mr. Gramsci, you have ruined me forever. I can no longer look at "common sense" ideas without needing to pull them apart and examine them for upper class benefit.

So all the teevees, all the channels, all the talking heads owned by giant warmongering corporations spent the last few weeks encouraging, demanding, browbeating people into voting. Vote, vote or die. Get out the vote. Blah blah blah. And at this point we ALL should know that our best interest is not first and foremost in the minds of the talking heads and their corporate masters. When they tell us to do something, it is because it serves them, not us.

And it is not at all surprising that in a system that only allows for 2 parties who barely differ from each other (shit sandwich, shit sandwich with pickle) that people who are pissed at the status quo take the only option they are given for venting and vote for the slightly different status quo. There is no other option. No other option will be allowed to be viable. It is not in the best interest of the elites. And if it ain't in the interest of the elites, you and me ain't ever gonna get a chance to choose it. Period.

We should all be able to recognize this in the same way we recognize that commercials for painless, easy hair removal are full of shit. We know, in our hearts, that politics is a rigged shell game and we are the dupes on the street, handing over cash and trying to guess where the best governance is hidden. But we keep playing, keep giving legitimacy to our "betters", keep voting and watching the talking heads and pretending that the screaming arguments we have over what branch of the monarchy elite controls us matter. We are kept confused with ideas of left and right, conservative and liberal so that we never ever look at the real structure, top and bottom. Up and down. Haves and Have Nots.

We fight with each other over the best way to serve the interests of our masters. We scream at the people who refuse to participate in Democracy Theater. We should all be able to see that this system is set up to divide us from each other so we keep fighting over the scraps of resources allotted to us bottom 80% instead of demanding a better split from the powers that be.

We should all be able to see this shit. We should all be able to agree on it. But Democracy Theater is a powerful show and we keep fighting each other while the powerful run off with bags of money.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Survey says!

So i was seriously trying to decide if I was going to spend my last 3 bucks on bus fare to go vote.

I decided nope. Not worth it.

This is a process. And because I am fairly open with who I am and what my thoughts are online, you all get to watch me waver and waffle and chew through information and figure shit out. You all get to watch me be broke and vulnerable and scared and sometimes (ugh) weak. But it's a process and hopefully at the end of this adventure I will be a better person than I was when I started. It helps knowing that out in bloglandia there are people who watch this sausage making process and keep me honest.

So not voting. May spend the 3 bucks and hit a thrift store and see if I can find a cheap winter coat instead. Better use of time and resources. (And so obvious that I was reading feminist hulk twitters while writing this).

Monday, November 01, 2010

Word on the street

We're just days from yet another election and soon we'll have firm numbers on the Democratic enthusiasm gap. In the mean time, the layers of shitty supposition regarding why women may or may not give a flying fuck about what happens to dems at the poles or who the people are that have just said "fuck you and your democracy theater" keep piling up like kitty roca in a dirty litter box.

Here are a few things I've been told I am because I feel the way I do about voting:

1) There was the oh so fun Nazi reference, twice. Apparently by not voting for the not as obviously evil party, I am voting for Hitler, who is dead. And has never run for any office in the U.S. But none the less, a non-vote for democrats is a vote for the Nazi party.

2) I have been swayed by the mass propaganda machine of the right wing and the tea baggers. I find this weird because I avoid MSM like the plague, and wouldn't go near a bit of right wing "news" if it had hundred dollar bills tied to it saying "free for the taking". But I am a tool of the conservatives. I have not ever even considered giving a vote of a dime to a rethuglikan, but that doesn't seem to matter. I've bought their propaganda, which I haven't actually seen or heard, hook line and sinker.

3) The fact that I have serious, documented issues with the Democratic party is unimportant. They are the party of all that is good and right and wonderful. Criticism of the party as a whole and the members as individuals is not to be tolerated.

4) I just don't know how important this election is. What with the threats to bodily autonomy (which the Dems made pretty clear they were okay with during the health care debacle when they made it HARDER for a women to get an abortion) and the economy (10% counted disemployment, 20% actual disemployment) if the rethuklicans win we can look forward to a great big heaping change in our current policy of handing out fat wads of cash to corrupt banksters and tightening governmental budgets through austerity measures. Or not.

5)What do I expect, it's only been 2 years? Of course for things like DADT and assassinations, Guantanamo, warrantless wiretapping, internet privacy, etc etc etc, I do expect that the leader of the democratic party would be full-throatedly progressive on that shit. But I am asking too much. And of course it's only been 2 years with a majority in the house and senate.

Perhaps if these paragons of democratic excellence turned down the misogyny, the classism, the obvious condescension towards us "low information" non-voters... Or not. My problems with the party still exist despite how its cheerleaders are currently behaving. But maybe for some other turned off voters, the idea of who we might have to share the damn poll booth with is enough to make staying home with a nice alcoholic beverage and what ever tv channel isn't broadcasting election results sound like a more pragmatic use of time and energy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Hey compy geeks, assistance por favor


So new lappy is fine, but I am working on someone else's dead computer and while I have some skills in the dead desktop arena, I have come to the end of that skills set. If I get this thing fixed, i get a new winter coat out of the deal. So yay.

Here's the history.

Compy was having some power button issues. Button would stick and wouldn't let the thing be turned off sometimes. Compy got turned off. Several hours later an attempt to turn it back on failed. Nothing, no juice, no start. Just dead.

It's decided that the power supply is the most likely culprit. New(ish) said to be working one is procured. Correct attachments to make the 20 pin into a 20/24 pin are purchased. I go through and disconnect and reconnect each connection one at a time from the old power supply to the new.

Nothing happens.

Talked to guys who built the compy originally and they recommend hot shorting the jumpers. Find the jumpers from the power button, disconnect, stick a screwdriver in to complete the circuit and turn on power. The fan gives half a lazy spin, but the compy does not start (btw, everytime the compy is on the green motherboard light is lit, so some kind of juice is getting to it.

FTR, I did change the power cord and where the cord was plugged into first.

I'm heading out to radioshack to buy a multimeter so I can test both the old and new power supplies. But if they are both working then I have no idea what to do next. Compy seller says he doubts it's the cmoss battery (and I think I remember the cmoss battery doing the turn on/ turns off right away thing when it dies, not the no power at all thing).

So geeks, what do you think I should do next?

Monday, October 25, 2010

How come?

So lemme get this straight.

We've got a dem house, senate and president. They are the majority. And for the last two years they have failed to give the people of the country what they want/need.

But if we don't vote to keep them in power, then another group will take over and not give us what we want/need on a much grander scale.

And no one has even noticed the most obvious problem with that logic. If the only way to govern according to the will of the people in this country is through one-party rule, then how are we still a democracy?

Question for the peanut gallery

Ever since I stopped believing in Democracy Theater, I no longer have any interest in discussing the minutia of politics with the so called "high information" voters. You know who they are.

I can't stand to have the talking heads on the teevee screaming in the background. I don't care what new scandal has happened. I really don't have the patience to listen to the new latest evil thing the republicans have done now.

But the party loyalists, the high information voters (really, cable news =/= actual news) get livid when, in an attempt to get out away from whatever current hard sell spiel their delivering, I tell them I don't believe in voting anymore. And if they don't get livid, then they get this look on their face like I just kicked their dog and told them Santa isn't real.

I guess I should do a whole post on Democracy Theater. But in the mean time, have any of you all experienced the kicked puppy/ santa is dead reaction? It makes me really unwilling to discuss politics anywhere outside the safe places of bloglandia, not so much because of the screamers, but because I don't think people should be forced to see this until they are ready to see this. When they are ready they go seeking it out all on their own, no indoctrination required. And no kicked puppy faces.

It's the Lizzie Space-Time Vortex Of Awesomeness

Or what a difference a day makes.

So after a year of anti-social exile it's amazing how fast things go back to not horrid. As soon as the plane landed my phone was full of "where are you, are you here yet" text messages. I didn't even leave the airport before I saw the first of many long lost friends (Hi C! You are my cat-loving freaking hero!)

So today it was brunch and drinks and crafty art projects and dinner and movies and wine and fun and laughing and people who I love and like and OMG I used to be a super social fucking party girl. And I'm still charming and fun, even if I'm a wee bit older.

It is rad and the title of this post comes from what was supposed to be an hour long brunch turned into 3 and half hours plus a waitress demonstrating bad ballet moves.

It is good to be home, and urban, and social and safe. Most importantly, safe.

Thank you bloglandia. You did this.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Off to the airport in just over an hour

and am seriously dreading the possible Southwest fat tax. We're so fucked if I have to buy another seat.

So think positive happy thoughts for us.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Okay Pandora

I leave you alone for a minute and you veer off into the soft fancy acoustic guitar crap the 70s. Do not want.

ETA If you're gonna play weird acoustic shit, Starfuckers is the way to go.

Escape is imminent

Or however you spell that. Flight booked. Cab driver found who will hual us anywhere for less than the shuttle guys. It's all good.

Now Lizzie must take some deep breaths and chill the fuck out. And then pack like a mad woman.


southwest's site is down and it's the only way to book the cheap seats.

why can't i put a crying emoticon in my blog posts. Oh yeah. Because this ain't live journal.

Middle class values don't what?

Hey Salon. Hey NY Times. How about instead of the hand wringing about how different the poor are from everyone else, you ask one.

Or two. Or 20.

But for fucks sake stop using your assy Regan stereotypes to show the difference. I'm fucking poor as dirt. I've never met a Welfare Queen and I've been poor all my life. I lived in the ghetto for almost a decade. Never saw one there. All I saw was people trying everything they could to get by, same as you, but with less opportunity to do something to powerfully change their lives.

But once again, with feeling MIDDLE CLASS VALUES DON'T SOLVE POVERTY. Poverty isn't a moral or ethical failing. You really want to end poverty, hand over the cash. Period. Everything else is abstinence only education.

The Great Escape Blegathon Continues


so thanks to two lovely godless whores I'm at 700 bucks. I'm trying to book a slightly pricier flight that leaves tomorrow, but southwest's site is made of lose.

Thank you thank you thank you

So far I've got $150 in donations. Sweet!

If i fly Southwest and risk fatty shaming/ seat denying then I can get us out of here on Wednesday for $360 plus $75 for the cat.

I still am stuck on the $176 shuttle to get us from dante's 9th circle of rural hell to Orlando.

So that's $611 needed minus $150

I need $461 to get out of here. Not a huge amount, but it seems like a mountain at the moment and my strength is dwindling. You only have so much useful adrenaline in you to get through crisis shit before your body just says "fuck you". And my body is at the fuck you stage. Thanks you traitorous skin bag.

so that it.

$461 and counting.

ETA: Are you wishing you could give but think paypal is the work of the devil? How about a Southwest Giftcard instead?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

After you're done with your fauxbo fire.......

How about warming up with this topless lady radiator
.Double bonus points that she's headless, armless and legless.

Oh noes

The Slits lead singer, Ari Up, has died at age 48.

I saw her perform her reggae punk rock a few years ago at a dive in Seattle. She was magnificent. A weird combo of joy and aggression that I found very appealing. To be that forceful but still positive is a unique trait.

For Realz?

Say you're a rich person who has everything. I mean you pretty much stole everything, or you inherited stuff that was stolen. But either way, what you've got is more than enough resources to afford a damn furnace.

But maybe you wanna make like you're one of the little peeps. Maybe you've always had a romantic vision of hobos and their vagabond lives. No ties or trophy wives. No board meetings. No snorting coke off the ass of a woman who wouldn't look twice at you if you didn't have enough money to buy Bolivia. Oh wait, that might be something you don't want to give up.

But now you fucking MOTU (masters of the universe) can experience your own sanitized little version of the carefree homeless life with this portable trashcan fire.

So wrap that $38,000 bottle of Macallan in a paper bag. Cut the fingers off your driving gloves and eat your caviar straight from the can while you warm yourself with the glow of this beauty. You too can experience the freedom of abject poverty without any of the actual horrors.

And since once again it's 3am and I'm awake

You all get a movie description review. Cause I'm browsing Hulu and I need something to fall back to sleep too.

This has to be the least appealing sounding movie description ever written

They're in their 20s. He works in a video store; he's eager, chatty, sleeps in his car. She rents adult films, looks disheveled, rarely speaks. He chats her up, she brushes him off. He takes her address from store records and contrives to run into her. He rings her doorbell; she tells him to go away. He invents a story of a great-aunt who's died; she lets him in but holds a butcher knife between them. So it goes. He presses for a relationship; she ignores him, insults him, or yells. He's persistent, inviting her out, cooking, washing her hair. Both have demons and, as their natures become more clear, his addictive personality and her sex nausea may be on a collision course
Let's see, you've got an opportunistic stalker who won't take no for an answer. You've got a woman who is either frigid or being slut shamed for her porno viewing. I'm not sure which (or maybe it's both) and oh look, it's a comedy. A fucking romantic comedy.