Saturday, May 28, 2011

To the woman I got the couches from

you seemed like a grown up. I know you have a job, so someone thought you were responsible enough to pay you for work on a regular basis.

So can you please explain the 6 fucking hang up calls I got in the middle of the night from you? The last time I called someone and hung up I was 15 and I had a crush on them. Is that what you were doing? Sorry, you're not my type. I don't date children.

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's Official! I am one of "those types"

And by "those types" I mean the permanently-housed (for now) and furniture owning.

Yes my friends, I have a mattress and boxspring to put the retro 80's peach duvet on. It's been 6 months since I slept in a bed and not on a couch or air mattress.

The comments are the thing

Do you all remember the story about the homeless young woman who got an internship at Elle? She's got a story that's pretty universal as far as homeless folks go; had a job, lost a job, had a crappy family and friends in the same boat she was. Ends up living in a trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot (since we don't have a Wal-Mart in the city, trailer folks park under I-5 near Greenlake. Last time I was over there I saw 10 to 15 trailers parked on the side of the road.) And now she's coming out with a book, "The Girl's Guide to Homelessness". Good for her, too bad the tiny advance is already spent.

But it's the comments that show the various reactions we have to abject domestic poverty. There's the "can't be as bad off as she says, she has a laptop" and the suggestion to become an escort (I've gotten that suggestion in comments before too- thankfully I have a mighty ban hammer). Bootstraps! Spoiled Brat! You all know these lines.

But there's also a lot of "damn government giving our money to banks instead of to the people". Damn government indeed.

Ah Hell, I give up on writing anything important today.

I have half a dozen semi-finished posts on Important!Shit! that I can't seem to be assed to finish this week.

Let's talk movies instead. Specifically how much I want to go see The Whistleblower. It's like a custom-tailored RQ flick. It's based on the true story of a Nebraska cop who went to work for Dyna-Corp as a sub-contractor to the UN and discovers a great big nasty human trafficking nightmare. It stars Rachel Weisz, and we all know I'd go watch that woman read shopping lists, and is directed by a woman, Larysa Kondraki. It passes the Bechdel test in the trailer, multiple times even. Oh and new Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch is in it along with a bunch of other big fricken names.

So peeps, whatcha watching? Whatcha wanna be watching?

It's Friday and We All Deserve a Little Atheist Love Song

Besides, I'm in a particularly mushy mood lately. Can't imagine why? (cough*turbomuffin*couch)

In Which Miley Cyrus Proves To Be Right

No peeps, this is not a joke. Miley Cyrus, the teen sensation that I have mercilessly teased the Kid about for years (he does not like Miley, yet I insist on claiming he's harboring a secret crush on her)because it is just soooooooo fucking funny, has been yelling on Twitter about Urban Outfitter's anti-gay, pro-theft policies.

Good for her.

(As for the Urban Outfitters straight up steals from indy designers claim- look I don't believe in copy rights. But this is really straight up wholesale theft of an idea. They didn't improve on a design. It's not inspired by, not similar to, but the exact same necklaces made probably by underage moppets in a developing country for slave wages. They could have gone to the artist and done a contract or licensing deal. But no. They had to be shady fuckwads about it.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It took sofas to bring him out of his cave of teenage angst

Dear readers, I give you for the first time a picture of the Kid himself, lounging on our newly acquired sofa (and yes, he is wearing a 2L4O shirt. My shirt, actually.)

I've been relegated to the love seat, because he's taller than me or something. Little bastard.

(Kid is now 16, I figure he's allowed to decide if he wants a picture of himself up in the interwebs).

I think I'm getting a sofa and loveseat today!

w00t w00t! I'm trying to remember the last time I sat on something squishy and comfy. I think it's been 5 weeks.

So thank you, to you know who, for helping out with the delivery. I'll post a pic when they get here. I'm so excited I could squee to break the windows.

EDT: After a paperwork kerfluffle, I am finally getting my mattress tomorrow. SWEET. By tomorrow night it will actually look like people live in this apartment. Right now it's looks mostly like tidy squatters live here.

Ignore the writer- Class Warrior is where it's at

Via Facebook I found this link . You should click it if for no other reason than to see the Class Warrior's t-shirt. The essay is slightly over-puffed in the way that academic writers are often over-puffed. If you ignore the seesaw rhythm and just concentrate on the dude in a class war shirt in a Circle K, you will give yourself happy thoughts.

As for the crux of the piece, the "join us" everybody, heart of America crux, the author is clearly not as familiar with us unincorporated peeps as he thinks. We don't want to join a system that is fundamentally flawed in it's structure, but if things keep on keeping on, we expect you all will be joining us soon. We'll shove over, there's room for all the unterbussen.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

It's Only Wednesday, But it Feels Like Friday

True story, this song, played over and over and over, helped me memorize the answers to 6 different essay questions on a political economy test once. Seven Nation Army got me through Ancient World History. The White Stripes- powering Lizzie through college circa 2004.

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(If the blogger won't lemme embed- here's the link)

Haiti, the Disaster Capitalism Project Our Elites Dream Of

It's been a year and a half and there are still over 1300 makeshift camps for the victims of this horrible disaster. Or at least there were over 1300. The new President (and friend of Baby Doc) Micheal Martelly seems intent of ridding the country of them as fast as possible. This would be good, if he was moving people into permanent, or even long term temporary shelters, but instead he's just sending thugs into the camps to loot and destroy.

The only appropriate response is anger. But instead we have Republifuckers in our own country, like Eric Cantor, who are making aid to disaster victims in the recent tornado spree dependent on spending cuts. Republifuckers also want to cut spending for weather satellites that do the crucial job of predicting things like hurricanes and tornadoes. I wish had the faith that the dems would fight this, but grown ups don't play make believe games like that. Soon our disaster areas will look just like Haiti's, and that's just what they want.

fucking blogger

still has me locked out so I can only post via email. Argghhhhhhh

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

When you say "overpopulation" I think "racist douchnoodle"

I can't tell you how many time I've had the conversation with well-intentioned, environmentalist "progressive" folks about this one little (huge) bit of "common sense" wisdom. I've heard "Well we all know that the earth is overpopulated" and seen people who sneer "!@#$ breeder" when they see a poor woman with a couple of kids.

The planet isn't overpopulated. There is a resource distribution problem, with the vast majority of resources going to the wealthy global north, and if the poor used resources at the rate the non-poor do, then yeah we'd be in a fuck of a lot of trouble. Thankfully, Sociological Images has a guest post about the exact same perception problem. In the future I may just tattoo the link on my arm so I don't have to type this again.

Us poor folks, either domestically or internationally, have a fraction of the resource foot print that non-poor people do. We own fewer (or no) cars and walk or use public transit. We own fewer electronics and are more likely to get them second hand. We own fewer articles of clothing, eat less meat, etc etc etc all because these things are fucking expensive and every penny counts.

Now this doesn't mean I don't full-throatily support programs that give poor women (domestically and internationally) more control over their own reproduction and family size. Everyone should be able to choose if, when and how many children they want responsibility for. But I don't support reproductive freedom as some backhanded form of eugenics because I'm scared of a brown menace. And that is what arguments about overpopulation often sound and look like.

It's the end of the month

And the coffers are pretty darn low. Rent and phone bills are due in the next 10 days and groceries must be bought. If you've got something to share, please throw it in the pot.

It's The End Of The Month Update

I now have enough money that if I don't spend a penny of it, I got rent and phone covered. But I do have to buy groceries and do laundry, so more than a penny will be spent.

And off topic but Blogger is being a fucking tool again. Apparently it's not letting a huge chunk of people log in to their dashboards, so I'm posting via email. Fucking Blogger, WTF?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Nightly Song- Pervy Middle Aged Lady Edition

So I made this little comment to Ouyang Dan today "There are all these new bands that I like, but then I see their videos and realize the musicians are super young and I feel like some weird old lady trying to be down with the hip kids"

Whatever, I coined the phrase discopunk! I think I am allowed to enjoy the junior members of the genre. I mean the music of the junior members of the genre.


So I haven't updated ye old blog since Myspace was a thing and judging by the cluttered template it's looking a little Myspace-ish. At least I don't have loud, obnoxious music that blares at you as soon as you type in the address.

So I need to update, streamline, yadda yadda yadda. Maybe it's time for a new header even. But that sounds like work.

So instead, let's update the blog roll. If you're not on it- leave a link. I've been trying my damnedest to share the love with other blogs that link here, but I'm not catching all of them in a timely fashion. Apologies! Also if you drop me a link I'll throw you in my reader and read ya on the regular.

(This includes you Tata. I need to retract my Rick Bayless love and can't do it without your post.)

This. Times a thousand.

Go read.

I could go into how treating oppressed groups as less than, even if your intent is good (roads to hell and all that) is problematic at best. Ladies are delicate creatures not suited to paid work, brown folks are ignorant savages who need to be civilized, poor folks are huddled masses yearning to break free. Of course those characterizations remove agency, as if those huddled masses at Ellis Island didn't use any courage, bravery or fortitude just crossing vast oceans on the chance at a better life. Noooo, they huddled and yearned and waited for the loving arms of Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam to carry them to destiny. Those brown folks couldn't possibly had a civilization of their own prior to colonization and slavery. Those delicate ladies would be too worn out by a job, but running a home and raising children isn't really work.

Poor folks, we don't need or want your pity. We want our labor to count for just as much as your labor does. We want our kids to have the same chance at schools and jobs and all good things that yours do. We ain't weak.

Damn Blubbery Blub

I may have occasionally been called a cold-hearted bitch and I would prefer that people continue with that impression. So the fact that this little video just made me blub like a giant baby is just between me and you, and you, and you. Shhhh.

(I'm also a sympathetic cryer. Can't help it. If someone gets weepy near me I go all waterworks. That is also a big secret.)

LUCK - NYC Wedding Proposal from Aria Melody DJ on Vimeo.

(and yes h/t to Jezebel. And yes I know that site is problematic.)

Individual VS Institutional, or Me Against the World.

One of the first and MOST important lesson anyone doing any kind of social justice/anti-oppression work needs to learn is the difference between an institutional problem and an individual problem. Actually, most people understand the difference in a vague sort of way. Where they get tripped up is on the solutions to those things.

Institutional problems are structural in nature, meaning they aren't the result of one person going wonky but of the whole system being skewed. All oppressions are institutional, ALL OF THEM. That means that no amount of bootstrapping will end poverty, no change of clothing or teetotaling will prevent rape, no new technology or drug will stop abelism. Suggesting that some individual action will fix an institutional problem is like putting up new curtains so your neighbors won't see your house burning down.

(Mild aside- when I was a wayward teen I used to like the song Institutionalized by the SoCal punk rock group Suicidal Tendencies. Back then I just thought it was a great fuck you to silly grown ups. While thinking about this piece I got that song stuck in my head and now I am thinking that perhaps there was more to that song. Perhaps.)

Some examples of institutional problems and their "common sense" individual "solutions" (yes that's an overuse of scare quotes. Suck it.)

Climate change- let's all recycle!Become locovores! Drive hybrids!. The truth is that without institutional reforms that drastically change the structure of society (how we make energy, what requirements we have for manufacturers, etc etc) then we can all sort all the trash, compost and recycling that we want but we're still going to have climate change. Doesn't mean you shouldn't recycle at all, but don't let that small individual action obfuscate the bigger institutional problem.

Teen Pregnancy: Use condoms. Yeah that's only part of the reason for teen pregnancy. Poverty, birth control sabotage, older boyfriends with coercive power, a (usually realistic) view that there really isn't really any benefit to waiting till later to parent, and lack of abortion access are all part of it. Notice that most of these things can't be solved by an individual, let alone a teenage girl child. This doesn't mean we shouldn't provide comprehensive sex ed and access to birth control, but it does mean we should shut the fuck up when it comes to shaming teenagers who decide to parent. That shit don't fix the problems.

Disability access: Let's find ways to unbind the wheelchair bound! Wheelchair users aren't bound. They're not some damsel in distress tied to the railroad tracks by Snidely Paralysis waiting to be rescued by Dudely DoWright and his Be Healed and Walk Again powers. They need the same things everyone needs, to be able to get through doors and into buildings, to cook meals and take showers and clean their clothes. New technologies are great for individuals, but the focus should be on ensuring universal design practices are universally applied. And disability doesn't begin with blindness and end with wheelchair users. There are so many different ways a person can be cut off from the basic world that a one size solution would fail.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Note to self

Chopping onions while dancing to the Gossip is a good way to lose a finger. (Of course not dancing while listening to the Gossip is a scientific impossibility).

And how fucking awesome is Beth Ditto? About a thousand million points of awesome (also a scientific fact)

Fuck Yeah Spain!

6 days of protesting over austerity measures. 6 fucking days, not a word in the nooz.

Speaking of protests over austerity measures, I actually had a convo about this last night. (It's so nice when the reality proves my babbling correct). Austerity doesn't work as an economic driver because riots and protests over basic things like jobs and food tend to discourage foreign direct investment(FDI). Foreign investors see the country as unstable (rightly so) and put their cash in other places. FDI is important because it is the only way to increase the overall surplus in a closed loop economic system. To shorthand that for you- imagine a country's resources are a pot of soup and that soup has to be divided among all the people. Regardless of how you divide the soup (equally among everyone, more going to some people and less going to others, whatever) you only have the soup you have in the pot to play with. FDI adds extra soup.

Keynesian economics tries to avoid the riot problem during downturns by having a country borrow from itself during downturns to keep everyone in soup and paying itself back during upturns by increasing taxes. This not only creates a more stable country, but a more stable investment environment. (And yes, I am aware of the problem of speculation creating a vampire investment economy that sucks the life out of the real economy. And yes, I think financial products should be extremely limited and regulated to death. But this post is about a quick and dirty explanation of what we've got going on right now and not what a better way of doing things might be).

Close, but......

Latoya Peterson at Racialicious has a pretty good post about If You Haven’t Been On Food Stamps, Stop Trying to Influence Government Policy and what follows is going to be a bit of minor quibbling because I think she's on the right track.

Food stamps, per the law that created them, are supposed to provide an EMERGENCY food budget only. Think of the food stamp allotment as similar to minimum wage. It is by no means enough for you to live on healthily for an extended period of time. It is just enough to keep you from the most severe effects of malnutrition and hunger, like minimum wage is just enough to keep you above the poverty level but not enough to provide the basics for an extended period of time. Both of these assume that individuals will only be at that level for a short period of time before improving. We all know that there are lots of people who never advance from minimum wage jobs or who qualify for and require food stamps for extended (years, decades) periods.

Not having enough money to eat healthily while on food stamps is then an institutional problem and not a problem with individual choice. It can only be fixed by the institution. Even if you once knew a person who ate nothing but organic locally sourced fresh veg and meat and whole grains while feeding a family of 10 on foodstamps and cullings from her personal garden. That would be an exceptional INDIVIDUAL case and not a viable solution to the INSTITUTIONAL problem of emergency food assistance not being enough to eat healthily over the long haul.

And Peterson seems to get that, mostly. But then the end of the post includes a bunch of links about how to eat healthy on food stamps. It changes to focus back to bootstrapping individualism instead of social justice institutionalism. While those links may be mildly helpful for a few food stamp participants, they water down the message of institutional change.

Because M.I.A. isn't just for days that I'm pissed off