Friday, February 29, 2008

Feminism at its Finest

Great name for a carnival right? I love alliteration. Anyway, it's up over at Menstrual Poetry and it's a really good one. Holly does a phenomenal job, as usual. Go read it!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Good Stuff

I've been on an increasingly desperate lookout for what I like to call proof of good humanity. Basically something, anything that proves we haven't lost the ability to do good as a species.

I found a shining beacon of positivity with the Carnival of Good Stuff posted over at Pollywog's Pond. My post on how to make people think you care about them is included, as are a pretty random collection of... well, good stuff. Go read! Happiness abounds!

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

On privilege

I thought I would hop on the so-called privilege meme floating around these days. When you think about how much farther some people have to go in order to achieve, it's kind of shocking. To be sure, this list works best for people in first world nations. Obviously.

Reminds me of this quote I read somewhere from Barry Switzer: "Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple." (Thanks Will!) Likewise, there are some people born in the dugout who never even get up to bat. I like to think I'm somewhere in the middle.

all that are true for you.

  1. Father went to college
  2. Father finished college
  3. Mother went to college
  4. Mother finished college
  5. Have any relative who is an attorney, physician, or professor
  6. Were the same or higher socioeconomic class than your high school teachers
  7. Had more than 50 books in your childhood home
  8. Had more than 500 books in your childhood home
  9. Were read children’s books by a parent (Hands down, my favorite childhood memories involve bedtime stories. She always gave in to my pleas of "just one more!")
  10. Had lessons of any kind before you turned 18
  11. Had more than two kinds of lessons before you turned 18
  12. The people in the media who dress and talk like me are portrayed positively (I'm not sure the media portrays anyone positively anymore...)
  13. Had a credit card with your name on it before you turned 18
  14. Your parents (or a trust) paid for the majority of your college costs
  15. Your parents (or a trust) paid for all of your college costs
  16. Went to a private high school (on scholarship and lots of debt incurred by my mother)
  17. Went to summer camp (basketball)
  18. Had a private tutor before you turned 18
  19. Family vacations involved staying at hotels
  20. Your clothing was all bought new before you turned 18
  21. Your parents bought you a car that was not a hand-me-down from them (I busted my ass serving pizza and bought my own car thankyouverymuch!)
  22. There was original art in your house when you were a child
  23. You and your family lived in a single family house (after age 11)
  24. Your parent(s) owned their own house or apartment before you left home
  25. You had your own room as a child (for the most part)
  26. You had a phone in your room before you turned 18.
  27. Participated in an SAT/ACT prep course (Maybe that's why I didn't even get a 1300. Or maybe it's because I was lazy and didn't study.)
  28. Had your own TV in your room in High School
  29. Owned a mutual fund or IRA in High School or College
  30. Flew anywhere on a commercial airline before you turned 16
  31. Went on a cruise with your family
  32. Went on more than one cruise with your family
  33. Your parents took you to museums and art galleries as you grew up (The first time I went to a museum was last September when my bf took me to The Met. It was boring.)
  34. You were unaware of how much heating bills were for your family

The list is based on an exercise developed by Will Barratt, Meagan Cahill, Angie Carlen, Minnette Huck, Drew Lurker, Stacy Ploskonka at Illinois State University. The exercise developers ask that if you participate in this blog game, you acknowledge their copyright.)

Hmm! I expected to have more than 9 bolded here. I guess I'm snobbier than my upbringing would imply. How many do you have? Leave it in teh commentz!

Update: Will Barratt, one of the creators of this exercise, has a blog on the subject of class where he dissects it all in a typically academic fashion. Sound boring? It's actually really fascinating and worthy of checking out, especially if the list above made you think twice.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Plastic bags again

Jen x over at the Daily Mitzvah is also cutting down on her plastic bag usage as a part of her Carbon Fast for Lent. Basically, she finds one small thing to do each day during lent to reduce her carbon footprint. Genius, right? The lapsed Catholic in me is kicking myself for not thinking of it first.

Some of the other daily Lenten tips include taking shorter showers, switching to green power, and unplugging the cell charger. All good ideas. It is highly recommended you check it out.

Update: As Jen noted in the comments, the Carbon Fast for Lent idea came originally from Tearfund, based in the UK.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pollution means execution

The Electric Company's blissed out funky tunes never fail to make spelling and environmentalism fun.

Yesterday I did something I hate. I went grocery shopping and forgot to bring my reusable bags. So I ended up coming home with 4 double-bags of groceries and a very surly attitude. Ugh.

My good friend Michael brought to my attention a so-called trash vortex floating in the Pacific Ocean. Greenpeace has this neato animator that shows how all that swampy, disgusting muck of our own filth gets from the shores of California and Japan to the middle of the ocean over time. It's not just plastic bags that we're choking the ocean with, but they're a big part. has a few pages full of scary facts about plastic bag usage.

Plastic bags don’t biodegrade, they photodegrade—breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.

Luckily, I live in NYC, where the City Council recently passed a bill requiring stores to recycle plastic bags. Don't live near a recycling facility? Well, for one, get some reusable bags and don't be dumb like me and forget them when you go shopping. even has a cool one that folds into itself and can fit in your purse so you never forget.

If you've already got some plastic bags at home that you can't stand to throw away, a quick google search of "reuse plastic bags" will not disappoint. The first link on the page is for a ThriftyFun (since 1997!) post with tons of reader tips and ideas. Some are good:

"Plastic grocery bags act as a protective cushion when packing dishes or breakables."

"The little plastic grocery bags we get are useful the little ones when teaching them to help clean up a room. They are also good for the little garbage cans in our bathrooms."

Some are gross:

"An emergency pair of plastic pants to put over your baby's diaper."

"I kill two birds with one stone. We have not solved two problems in decades: Dog waste problems in urban areas and grocery bag problems. My pooper scooper has a collapsible frame structure which springs open any grocery bag instantly, and it catches dog feces before it hits the ground. If all dog owners reuse grocery bags for 68 million dogs in the US, they might need more bags."

So don't be a wastoid. You have a lot of options and with your participation, we can stamp out pollution.

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Pull out some hope for me

I've been looking for some Proof of Good Humanity lately, to no avail. Anybody got some to share? It can be something good you heard on the news, or read in the blogs, or something good that's going on in your own life.

I'd love to hear it.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Wherefore the hot wife?

I stumbled upon this Slate article from 2005. (Though I did not StumbleUpon it, actually.) It discusses the phenomenon in teevee sitcoms known as "fat guy, hot wife." Writer Matt Feeney points out sitcom couple after couple that are "ill-matched looks-wise." These couples had a lot of other endearing little quirks in common. "In addition to their girth, a signal characteristic of these men is immaturity. Most of them are unable to master the simplest daily tasks." Oh, and the women have no real discernible personality or value besides being the hot wife that graciously puts up with her clumsy husband's antics. Having never really watched the shows mentioned, I skipped down to what appeared at first to be a pretty spot-on explanation:

"It's tempting to register a feminist complaint about the message these shows convey—that they perpetuate the view that women shouldn't expect autonomy or fulfillment in romance and marriage. They do, after all, play to a certain male fantasy: living the gluttonous, irresponsible, self-absorbed life of an infant and basking in the unconditional love of a good-looking woman."

But alas, that's not it at all. As Feeney explains, the reason these incongruous pairings are so common is because women watch sitcoms, too!

"In portraying husbands as lousy parents, marginal breadwinners, and repellant sexual partners, the fat-husband sitcoms convey a persecution fantasy"

That's right! Women want to be saddled with an irresponsible, lazy, all around jackass of a husband to satisfy our persecution fantasies. Ugh.

Now, that's not even the worst of it for me. Men are given a pass to be overweight, sloppy, crude, etc, whereas the women are relegated to playing the stunningly beautiful martyr, bravely putting up with the slovenly man she loves. Why aren't women allowed to be unattractive assholes? Is that not acceptable for television?

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Wimminz Carnival

53rd edition of the Carnival of Feminists is up at Uncool, featuring lots of great lady-posts from great lady-blogs. I'm in there somewhere. Go! Now! Check it out!

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

How to get shit done when you're depressed

Or overwhelmed. Or distracted. Any and all of the above.

Don't take it one day at a time. Or even one hour at a time. Take it one task at a time. Tomorrow can feel like an eternity away if you can't even get out of bed today. So laser-focus on the tasks themselves. When you brush your teeth, really clean the shit out of them! That second molar on the bottom hasn't received enough attention lately, so you should probably be liberal with the brushing and flossing back there.

Objectify it. It's hard to make decisions and get shit done when it's all so personal. If you're perceiving some crappy busywork from your boss as an insult, you're going to get angry and work slower. It's much easier to think of it as simply a task that needs to be done without getting your emotions involved. Not only will you avoid getting upset, you'll become ruthlessly efficient.

Throw out your huge to-do list. Plan instead on accomplishing 5 things each day. They don't have to be great feats either. Writing them down creates opportunities to feel successful when you cross them off. Here's my to-do list for today:

  1. Apply for 5 jobs online.
  2. Get the mail at 4:45pm.
  3. Call my cousins in Tennessee and see if their house is still standing.
  4. Drop the netflix in the mailbox around the corner.
  5. Write a blog post.
Each task has a reason. #1 is obvious because I'm not a millionaire. #2 helps me maintain a routine and gives me something to look forward to. #3 will give me a chance to talk to people I love and exercise my vocal chords. #4 is especially important, because it gets me out of the house and requires me to change out of my jim jams.

This is #5. Check! But the reason is because I like to blog. And it's important to do things you like. I've been told that depression can cause you to lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. So if you still enjoy something, do it.

Answer the phone. I have a nasty habit of letting everyone go to voicemail. It's partly because I love dancing around to my ringtone and partly because I don't want to expend the effort required to have a conversation. But lately I've been actively trying to answer more often and I haven't regretted it. I set up some interviews and found that chatting with my friends actually makes me happy. Imagine!

Remember to eat. (Disregard if you're one of those people that eats your feelings.) It doesn't really matter what it is, but healthier is better for obvious reasons. I've been subsisting almost exclusively on toast for about 3 weeks now. Good thing I take a multi-vitamin! Eating something, anything really, will help combat fatigue and lethargy. Those are the devils that tell you to just watch another Law & Order episode on TNT instead of tackling your super-easy and totally doable to-do list.

Ask for help. Most people don't even know you need it unless you ask.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

I do what I want

So, I've gotten some pretty interesting emails recently about the Blogs I Hate post. First, thank you for being angry enough to send them! I did notice a few common themes:

  • I'm a stupid cunt/whore/bitch/liberal.
  • I'm on the terrorists' side.
  • I should repent for my sins.
  • 9/11 was my fault.
  • I should go cook dinner and/or perform light house work and/or fellatio.
  • WTF does me bitching about conservatives have to do with being a good human?
All valid points. However, please let me address the last one. It's true, very little is accomplished by whining. And perhaps, my time would be better spent at the SPCA, cleaning shit out of cages. But y'know what? I don't give a shit.

If I see something that needs to be called out, I'm going to fucking call it out. Misogynist advertising included. Dumbass government decisions included. Wingnut blogs and websites definitely included.

I very much believe that part of being a good human is pointing out when someone isn't. So many people believe that Reagan was a great president. Only he was a fucking terrible president! He just told everyone, and the media told everyone that he was great, that the "trickle down theory" of bullshit economics works and everyone was stupid enough to believe it. And now after 20 years, after the veneer of time has piled on, obscuring the truth even more, today's Republican presidential candidates are invoking Reagan's name as laudable and worthy of emulating. Being able to fool people into thinking you're good doesn't make you good.

So I guess I'm hoping that if I can draw attention to issues and people that I believe are completely wrong, well maybe everyone else will stop for a second, for one goddamn second and think critically about it. Maybe they'll come to the same conclusion they already had, but at least they wouldn't have just lined up, like animals for the slaughter without second-guessing themselves first.

I believe good humanity thinks, questions, and is often unsure. Good humanity is angry when faced with proof of the opposite. Good humanity isn't going to shut the fuck up either.

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Friday, February 1, 2008

Pros & Cons: Pajamas All Day

Pro: Less laundry!
Con: You may forget to shower regularly.

Pro: Avoid the hassle of having to pick out something new to wear each day.
Con: You pretty much have to stay home unless you're the type to go out in your jim jams.

Pro: Elastic waistband for maximum comfort
Con: ...

(Photo via You can really buy them!)

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