Thursday, December 20, 2007

unsleep

I have never been completely unable to go to sleep before. I think I came close last night, but nothing I did tipped me over the edge into actual sleep. I called my boss this morning to ask if I could call in sick because I am clearly not thinking straight. Needless to say she is pissed, and I don't blame her. It puts her and others in a pretty bad situation. I think I'm about to get fired anyway. Or "put on relief." I really feel bad about that, actually, because now the night shift person may have to stay later. I even started to offer to come in for the morning, but she hung up. I really don't feel like I can do the job right now, but still...
I'm also a little pissed, to be honest. She always talks about how we need to have conversations with the clients, but it isn't that often that we get the benefit of a conversation with her. Which kind of makes sense, since she is doing way more work than one job and my patience would be short too. But we don't get the benefit of having a short temper or not interacting with clients. It bothers me that when she tells me something it is in the form of a lecture.
Yesterday she was telling me about time sheets and how I needed to manage my time better so that I wasn't working overtime, and that if I did need to go over I needed to verify that with her first. Which is pretty clearly meant as a disincentive. The entire time it was this "I can't believe I have to go over this with you, this is such a waste of my time," kind of discussion. And that hurts me so much. Yeah, I'm really just over-sensitive, but after everything I give to that place to turn around and feel like such a burden to the most important person there is just so hard for me.
I don't know, maybe she's right. Maybe I'm just not ready for this job. Sometimes I do feel like I am doing a good job, but so often I just feel overwhelmed. I thought I could work through that, but I don't know.
Holy crap this has become a whiny blog post. This is the kind of blog post junior high kids write when they get in trouble at school. I'm going to stop now before I start crying and listening to emo music. Damn you Death Cab.

Friday, December 7, 2007

today at work

It's interesting how I can look back at my previous post about work, last week, and think, "holy crap that was a long time ago." It feels like months. I feel a lot more comfortable at my job, and a lot more competent. Each day is an insane jumble of puzzles to be worked through, some difficult, some not. It was an awesome day, though.

Today I managed to talk a mildly psychotic person through some of their troubles and even got them to make a list of what was bothering them so that they could be addressed one by one. Two people had crises with their medicine that I worked through with them (one was out, another had some missing). I contracted with my client (one of the ones I am primarily responsible for) a plan for his depression, and am helping him with some of his other issues. The other client I have, the one who hated me, has made so much progress he is practically unrecognizable from when he first came in. Besides that he told me today that he thought I was one of the best counselors there (OK, that has to come with a grain of salt, but dammit, it still felt good. And this was after a tough conversation with him earlier). My newest coworker, whom I respect immensely, told me that she thought I had handled a tough situation yesterday amazingly well. Also, I accidentally saw one client kiss another one on the cheek (some of the counselors had been suspecting a mild romance all week). And the two treatment groups I led went really well.

Okay, that probably sucked to read through. I am proud, though, and happy, and it was still a fucking hard day. I am helping to train the new person (I never got any training like that, dammit), and I ended up having to do two hours overtime, but it was still also an amazing day. It felt like a lot of my hard work paid off. At least a little. There are ups as well as downs.

The crown of today, though, was during a discussion group. I was talking about reactions to stress, and I mentioned how counselors in the field sometimes either make the mistake of being a sponge or being a hard-ass. One of the clients spoke up and said, "yeah, that reminds me of this one counselor over at Parker Place who was so bitchy all the time. Everything was someone else's fault, she was never wrong, nobody else was ever right."

Me: That sounds difficult. That sounds like Eve. That's funny, Eve used to work at Parker. ... ... ... -click!-

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

lesson from work

It is amazing the stuff that people will lie about when you catch them red-handed. For instance:

Staff: What happened to your pills?
Joe: What pills?
Staff: The pills your doctor gave you. The ones you were supposed to hand over to us immediately upon arrival.
Joe: I don't know. The doctor never gave them to me.
Staff: That's funny. Because we just called your doctor. He says you left the office with one bottle of forty pills. Where are they?
Joe: ... I forgot.
Staff: right... you're diagnosed with Borderline Personality and drug addiction, but clearly the problem here is memory loss.
Joe: I don't like staff being all up in my business!
Staff: Medicine is our business. Where are your pills?
Joe: ... What pills?
Staff: YOU DIE NOW!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the never-ending saga of my job

In the place where I work, each staff member is the primary counselor for two or three clients. Both my clients have relapsed in the past two days. One client keeps saying that the program is "just not a good fit." This person insists that they can handle their own recovery better than us. The other person, I found out this morning, cited me personally as a big reason for the relapse. To be fair, there were others as well.

So things aren't going especially hot for me at the moment. After I found out about this morning I was pretty well geared up to quit, actually, before I calmed down. I definitely wasn't up to handling client concerns like I should have been. By the time we have to write all of our summaries at the end of the day, all the details usually blur together in a stressed-out haze.

Part of me wants to rise to this challenge. It tells me that if I stick this out I will be a kick-ass counselor at an earlier age than most and really prepared for just about anything else I encounter.

The other part says that the lack of training and support in this job are not reasonable conditions, and that I have several disadvantages over (under?) other counselors: I lack experience in residential counseling, I'm not naturally extroverted or overtly charismatic, and I'm considerably younger than anyone else. Clients are naturally going to disrespect me, and I have to fight harder than anyone to earn their trust.

I'll say this for myself: I put up a good fight. I've had some pretty deep conversations with clients that weren't opening up, and I lead a damn good discussion group considering how intensely so many of the people don't want to be there. But the truth is, I have to also wonder how much of a liability I am. I don't know the services or agencies nearly as well as almost anyone else, I am constantly tripping up over rules or regulations I didn't know or forgot. This is on top of all the changes as a result of the new temporary program director, who incidentally is simultaneously my boss and my over-boss. The trouble I am having with the job is definitely leaking out into my client interactions, and I have to face the real possibility that I am doing people a disservice by learning the ropes in this program.

Maybe the real reason I am still in this job is because on some level I like the challenge. It's a combination of persistent and masochistic, really, which is odd because I am not either of those things usually. Ah, well, my conversation with my boss tomorrow should determine a lot.

In brighter news: mid-season double-feature of Avatar is on this Friday, and it will kick ass if the previous ones are any indication.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

teeth

You know how you here something which is supposed to be common knowledge and you think, "oh come on, that can't possibly be true?"

I get (got?) that feeling a lot in academics. Psychology especially is loaded with stuff which is supposed to be kind of self-evident that I never totally bought. Vagina-fear, for instance. This is basically a reversal on Freud where, rather than women envying the penis, men fear the vagina. A feminist take might be that this leads to building patriarchal systems that suppress the scary vagina and the woman possessing it.

OK, so it is a model. And not one I am explaining very well. And not one I ever especially bought. Apparently a vagina with teeth is a common mythological symbol, aka vagina dentata. Which leads me to this...



Apparently I was wrong: vaginas are scary. But really, give me a break.

P.S. Vagina dentata, what a wonderful phrase...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

social rehabilitation meets dungeons and dragons

Working on the morning shift is an eye opening experience. Which is to say that it is hard as hell. None of this skate by until morning, just trying to stay awake night shift crap, no. Something is always happening in the mornings, and we don't get no bloody break. It has made me realize that there are certain types that survive in this situation, and certain types that don't.

Reading Order of the Stick has been making me think in character types. On one hand there is lawful, neutral, or chaotic, while on the other there is good, neutral, or evil. My boss, for instance, is lawful evil. Oh, sure, he may work for the greater good by virtue of his job, but ultimately he is manipulative, passive aggressive, and out to see things are done his way regardless of if this is the right way. His actions, though, are perfectly ordered and predictable. His orderly habits just have a habit of bringing difficulty to other people. His character type does supremely well in this environment.

On the other hand, Eve was a classic example of chaotic evil. Rude and bitchy to everyone, seeming to hate absolutely everyone regardless of who they were. Despite making everyone else's lives miserable, she was really thriving there until things finally got to be too much. Just a little less chaotic, and I think she would have gone far. Another coworker is a milder chaotic evil, and she's doing just fine.

Most of my coworkers, on the other hand, are chaotic good. They are random fast-paced people who want the best for those around them but are willing to not take things too seriously and do what they think works rather than what they strictly ought to be doing. And usually they do a great job, although sometimes it gets them in trouble.

Then there's me. I think I am generally neutral good, although at work I am probably more lawful good. I believe in honoring a strict set of protocols and boundaries, that way clients know what to expect. Beyond this set of expectations I am a big fan of staff using their judgment and making decisions based on all the known facts.

Lawful(ish) good isn't cutting it where I work. Besides the fact that the rules are selectively applied to different people, and that I haven't been properly trained to know what the rules and guidelines are, and that attempts to do good are totally ignored if they aren't in compliance with what the boss expects, and that what the boss and the program expect are often different things; besides all that there is the fact that most of the clients are themselves chaotic, so they tend not to understand the good I try to do and not to appreciate the lawful aspect.

Which means that I have three choices: quit, become chaotic, or become evil. The problem with quitting is that I don't know if any other program I join will be the same. And I don't think I can become more chaotic; it just isn't in my nature. So...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

me vs. my boss

My 100th post. Yay!

phone: ring!

me: hello?

Ira (my boss): Hi Dylan! How are you doing? Generic greeting, blah blah.

me: Wonderful. Yourself? Volley, and return.

Ira: Great. So it looks like good news for you. But you already know what I'm about to say.

me: What's that? Sure do.

Ira: We have a shift opening up on the mornings on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Of course, that wasn't the problem.

me: Sounds good. Say it...say it!

Ira: Eve will no longer be on the morning shift, so it would be great to move you to the morning shift as soon as possible. Yeah yeah, I'm sure you had already heard the bitch is gone.

me: Alright! Hells yeah!

Ira: So as soon as we get the new girl trained for the nights shift, we will be moving you to mornings. Maybe if I say it real subtle, you won't notice.

me: OK... back the fuck up...

Ira: Does that sound good? Come on, please just say yes, please just say yes...

me: Just one thing.

Ira: Fuck!

me: According to the schedule, my last night shift is this Wednesday. And not one damn day later.

Ira: Well, it looks like we will need you on night shift a little longer until the new girl is trained. I'm giving you what you want, so shut the hell up bitch.

me: Actually, I was really counting on getting off that night shift. I really don't feel it's good for my health. Did you really just use the royal we? Roast in hell! You've kept me on night shift way past your original promise, and I even gave you two weeks notice. Request denied.

Ira: Well, we do need her to be trained... Taste my inevitability ray! Thwah!

me: Stan will be on tonight, Jimmy the next couple of nights, and the schedule is such that I already wouldn't have had any nights alone, so she should have plenty of time to train. Fuck. You.

Ira: Hm, let's see here. Alright, pretend to flip through the schedule for a couple seconds. Hey, it looks like that works out. Maybe we can get you off of night shift immediately. Dammit. Now I have to find more relief workers.

me: Great! Let me know if there is anything I can do to help. Unless it involves more night shift. In that case, you can bend right over and suck it.

Ira: Alright. Talk to you tomorrow at the meeting. You will pay. Sooner or later, they all pay.

me: Have a great day! Please don't hurt me :(.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I have a coworker

This coworker does interesting things. Yes, that coworker. Let's call here Eve.

Eve: I don't get how people here can be so unprofessional. (Proceeds to yell at client trying to get his meds through a closed door in front of other clients).

Eve: I don't know how people get these med orders so wrong. (Proceeds to screw up the med orders so badly for one client that it takes another staff member all afternoon to sort it out).

Eve: I don't know why it's taking so long for them to hire me.
Fellow coworker Jimmy: ... um... you want some advice? Start getting along better with the people you work with.
Eve: You mean that bitch... (proceeds to list every other staff person and bad mouth them).

Eve presents an interesting situation for me. I will let a lot slide from most people. If someone is having a bad day, if someone tends to be a little gruff. whatever, I can deal with that. Not her. If she is rude to me, directly or indirectly, I tell her to stop. This means I constantly have to be on my guard around her, which is slowly causing me tp hate her. I never hate anyone, but I am really starting to hate her. This is so rare for me it makes me curious. I find myself thinking about her all the time and getting pissed. I haven't felt this since high school.

This is why if she isn't fired in the next week, I'm leaving. To be a little more precise, if she isn't fired in the next week and I get her shift, I'm leaving. Maybe I'll stick with the agency, maybe I won't, but I will not be in that house anymore with someone like that. It would consume me.

End of rant.

Friday, October 26, 2007

cat people read this blog

Or at least one cat person does. Here's looking at you.

update


I know I haven't been blogging... bad me...

Things are starting to cool down a bit with my job, and my interest in things like flowers and candy and blogs should slowly return. In the meanwhile, this site really is delightful.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

crazy interesting observation

New York Times:

Mark Crispin Miller, the author of “The Bush Dyslexicon,” once made a striking observation: all of the famous Bush malapropisms — “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and so on — have involved occasions when Mr. Bush was trying to sound caring and compassionate.

actual quote from a coworker

Coworker: Did you hear her swear in the meeting? It was refreshing to hear someone speaking their minds openly.

Boss: Have you ever heard me do that?

Coworker: No.

Boss: That's right (proudly), and you never will.

Coworker: ... I know, it was so unprofessional of her!

me: (vomit)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

forgive me for posting this

I know, our lives are hard, and doing anything to bring more pain to your soul is wrong. But still... this yoda outfit...

conservative me

Every so often I let my convservative side out of his box. Actually, its more like a lair. And its furnished with Gucci.

Anyway...

me: Damn! How could conservatives get so bent out of shape about the Folsom picture? It obviously isn't meant to mock them, and it's funny!

conservative me: Oh? (arches eyebrow) You think it isn't supposed to be offensive?

me: No! I think it's a very arrogant worldview that assumes that a picture like that must be taking a swipe at you. Because clearly the world revolves around you.

c-me: And why do you think it's funny?

me: I don't know. It twists a popular work of art into something amusing and counter-intuitive.

c-me: Well, yes, but it doesn't take just any work of art. It takes a major Christian work of art and turns it into something very secular and worldly. I think part of your sense of irony comes from that secular twist.

me: I guess so.

c-me: So the joke is at least partly based on twisting something holy into something secular and carnal. And you don't get why that isn't offensive, or at the very least highly insensitive?

me: My initial reaction to that is to say "lighten the hell up." But I guess a more serious response would be that there is a serious difference between debasing a religious artwork for the sake of making a point about the suckiness of religion and playing with a religious artwork (or any piece of art) in order to make a secular joke. I certainly don't think this tries to be offensive.

c-me: It doesn't need to try. Clearly the authors view the subject matter (sex, leather, bondage, etc.) in a positive light. The humor, or at least a major part of the humor, comes from viewing the subject matter in an ironic light. So if the irony is to take something and suddenly view it in a positive light, what does that imply about the original subject matter?

me: Are you just being sophistic? Let me think this through... something like, "surprise, it's not that dull religion crap, it's really fun exciting sex stuff."

c-me: Yes... more or less.

me: No, I don't buy it. I mean, certainly that could be implied, just like it could be implied that this was intended to be a flat-out mockery of Christianity. But I don't think either of those readings are compelled by the picture itself. Rather, I think the tone of the picture is light-hearted, not mocking. Moreover, there isn't anything really to emphasize the religion angle at all in the picture. It floated past me the first time.

c-me: But you can at least see that you don't have to be an egocentric jerk to think that it is a mockery of religion.

me: Maybe, but that kind of claim is suspiciously limited. It seems to me like someone who insists on it is really refusing to see the other side.

c-me: Perhaps. Just one more point. Imagine the opposite. Imagine... Warhol soup cans with aborted fetuses on them or something. Wouldn't you think that was in bad taste?

me: Let's pretend that was a better example. Yes, I would. I would be thinking it was a cheap shot at using popular art to make a political point. I don't think the Folsom picture is trying to make a political point.

c-me: Fair enough.

(This really is how conversation in my head goes. I give various parts their own personality, and often they surprise me. I was surprised liberal me won that one so easily, actually. There's a connection between creative and crazy, I tell ya.)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

controversy

The more controversy there is over this image, the more I love it. I'll admit that it didn't click immediately with me that it was The Last Supper. Look carefully at the contents of the table. Several Christian groups are calling it "a slap in the face to Christians." Naturally, I disagree.


bad mental space day

I just spent roughly three hours in bed thinking "I'm hungry" before proceeding to my well-stocked pile of food downstairs to solve the problem. Down the street from me there is a park. In this park there are geese. These geese could use a little harassing to break the comfortable monotony of their lives. I think I am going to go provide this valuable social service to goosekind.

thought experiment

I have to work the night shift tonight, from midnight to 7am. This will undoubtedly give me way too much time to be alone with my thoughts.

And in the spirit of being alone with one's thoughts, here is a thought experiment I keep coming back to. What would the world be like if it were inhabited entirely by people who are exactly like you? Okay, maybe they don't all look quite like you, and there are still two genders, but personality-wise everyone is like you.

I think my world would be very peaceful. I also think everyone would starve after a while because people wouldn't really know how to go about getting food. Clothing would be optional. "Bad words" wouldn't be forbidden. There would probably be a lot of books around, but nobody would have the technical skill or insight to create a printing press, so any book written would likely be the only copy. Religion would be a lot more abstract and philosophical. Nobody would get Adam Sandler. Or Krzysztof Kieslowski movies. Or Metallica. Or Tom Delay. (Let's ignore the paradox). If technology got as far as TV, it would mostly play cartoons.

It would be an OK world, I think, but probably not one I would want to live in.

Monday, September 24, 2007

today

Conversation overheard today before work:

Guy buying sandwich: So where are you from?

Guy selling sandwich: Yemen.

Guy buying sandwich: Oh! What would I know that's around there? Is it like Turkish? Or Brazil? (more or less verbatim)

On another note...

I walked into work today, and my new boss gave me some advice on the job. He said: "Don't worry too much. Don't try to save the world. Did you see Pinnochio? You remember Jiminy Cricket? He said, 'Let your compassion be your guide.' Man, that's great advice. You look young. That could work for or against you. I tell you what though. Don't take this the wrong way. You ever see the Andy Griffith show? You remember Opie? You look like him. That's a great asset. Use it. You'll be fine."

I felt so relieved.

...

P.S. Opie.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

work starts tomorrow

Cue existetial angst in three, two, one...

Friday, September 21, 2007

shorter Fort Lauderdale controversy

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jim Naugle: gays are ruining our beach with their public sex acts!

Almost everyone else in Fort Lauderdale: ... eh?

Coalition of Black Ministers: We agree with Naugle. Let's turn Fort Lauderdale into the Bible Belt of South Florida!

Mathis Guice, Koinonia Worship Center: We are in a war with Satan here! Look, my paramilitary garb proves it! We need to crush immoral behavior under the heel of God.

Rev. O'Neal Dozier: Not that we hate the faggots. Things have just gotten a little too (scare quote) gay-friendly (scare quote) around here.

Mayor Naugle: See, God believes me! $250,000 in single occupancy toilets is totally a good investment.

City of Fort Lauderdale
: um... We've only arrested two people since 2005 for this sort of thing...

Naugle: Silence, wench! It's been eight and you know it!

Gay activists
: Religious prejudice blah blah blah hateful speech blah blah blah we should welcome everyone blah blah blah.

Invisible hand of self-interest: Public morality on the one hand, millions of dollars in gay tourism on the other... well now let me mull this one over...

City of Fort Lauderdale: Hey, we need the extra $250,000 from somewhere...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

good news!

The Senate has just denied Guantanamo detainees the right of habeus corpus.
In response, millions of Americans yawned and went back to SpongeBob.
In other news, John McCain and George Bush have discovered the light of Scientology.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

sex work

Is it wrong to sell sex for money?

If you are reading this blog, you are probably liberal enough to not have any of the standard conservative strictures against sex itself. I think I speak for most of my audience in saying, have respect for yourself and your partner, protect yourself, and otherwise do what makes you happy. Audience, please feel free to correct me in the comments.

But what about sex for money? First off, is there anything inherently wrong about it? I am inclined to think not. I don't see why the exchange of money should alone should turn anything inherently immoral, although it can certainly make some things ethically tricky. There is no real comparison in this field: there is no other activity that becomes illegal and/or immoral simply because money is involved.

But here is the ethically tricky part: sex work is notorious for its connection to drug and alcohol abuse, violent crime, poverty, and all types of human abuse. Guilt by assocation. Most sex workers (I mean this term in a more narrow sense, referring specifically to people who offer sexual services for money) have some history of sexual abuse. At the same time, almost all sex workers say that their primary motivation for going into sex work is money. How can we ethically permit a profession which seemingly by its nature is so exploitative? How can we ethically deny a source of income to people who have virtually no other means of supporting themselves, particularly in the current economy?

Of course, the exact relation between sex work and crime is nebulous. We don't really know which comes first, or why. This leads to a lot of pro-sex work speculation: could it be divorced from its negative associations? Do these arise because sex work is not protected in the first place? Certainly conditions are better where it is legal. In Nevada there are unions, complete with health benefits and worker's comp. Offering health services to sex workers seems like a pretty obvious, even vital function for a community interested in public health, but you can't do that if it is illegal.

There is also the issue of funding. The Bush administration cut off funding to any group that supports sex work, which has hamstrung AIDS relief efforts in certain regions like Thailand where the most effective outreach is done through sex workers' associations. Pretty much you are damned if you don't legalize it. At the same time, the archetype for legalized sex work is Amsterdam, which also has the highest rate of human trafficking or sex slavery. So you are also damned if you do.

Moreover, if you legalize sex work you then essentially move control away from the whims of the market, so to speak, and into the hands of the government. Clearly the government isn't always the best arbiter of public or private behavior, especially when it comes to sex. I personally have a strong faith in the power of our decision-making process to get shipwrecked on cultural norms rather than making decisions based on individual and community health. But that's my liberal soapbox for you.

I have my own opinions on this, but I am not sure I am satisfied with them. It is my intuition that strong sex worker communities and resources need to be developed in the shadows before sex work could be legalized, that way the law is forced to bend around a pre-existing reality. Not that the law always bows to reality. Eh, I could talk myself into and out of positions all day. I am really curious about other people's opinions.

I hate arguments from nature!

I know I have talked about this before, but this kind of thing just keeps coming up.

The latest was an address given to the APA (an organization known for being totally objective and politically unmotivated, grr...) by Professor Roy Baumeister. Here is the link since I am in the wrong browser to make it look good.

http://www.psy.fsu.edu/~baumeistertice/goodaboutmen.htm

It is long and will probably be boring unless scientifically justified sexism gets you off. Shorter version:

Men exist more at the extremes of the bell curve, both high and low. This explains why men get lower GPAs (where the top is fixed) and higher salaries (where the bottom is fixed). He isn't exactly clear whether the bell curve is supposed to be intelligence or achievement of personality or all of those things. Nevertheless, it is the people at the top, mostly men, who have driven human history and progress and women and dumb men have gone along for the ride. He appears not to believe that prejudice or patriarchy are as satisfying as a naturalistic explanation for achievement diferences. For instance, white women didn't produce any real music in the 18th or 19th centuries but black men did, despite both groups being in some way oppressed.

I could go through this point by point, but who cares? Let me simply say that I have two issues with this.

1: It is totally speculative. Sure, his explanation could be right (I doubt it, but I won't get into that). But there are a lot of other perfectly workable explanations out there. To take the music example, white women may have produced less music because they already fit into a cultural context that limited their creativity, while black people in general had to reinvent their cultural context, which led to a flourishing of creativity (a la Harlem Renaissance). There is no way to prove his point, and that is pretty much true of all behavioral-evolution hypotheses. We can always guess, but we can't really ever know.

2: He ignores the cultural context in which he is speaking. Oh look, what a nifty theory! It explains the facts so well! Wait, it already fits in with preconceived and sexist notions of gender? Well that must totally be a coincedence! Right. Just like the gas I had today and the big greasy pizza I had yesterday are totally coincedental events. Clearly no causality here. Move along.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

adventures in meh

I now have a working TV. Yay. Tear. Whatever.
So, there is this controversy about people I don't generally care about.
This girl Vanessa Hudgens apparently took nude photos (presumably with a boyfriend or something, although it isn't clear from what I've seen). Now they have surfaced on the internet. People are talking about how disappointed they are in her, and she has had to apologize for taking the photos.
This kind of pisses me off. On one hand, I don't think she particular did anything wrong. So she did some nude photos, she has private parts, get over it. What people aren't saying is how wrong it was of whoever to release it (I'm guessing an ex-boyfriend).
Now unless she released these herself as part of a publicity stunt, which is very possible, the notion that someone's right to privacy is much less interesting or substantial than the idea that they did some nude photos at some point is pretty messed up to me.
PS. I hate Bill Donohue. He is the one who is going after Kathy Griffin. Right now he's talking about how Hollywood hates Catholicism. Suck it, Bill Donohue.
PPS. I just saw a commercial for the army. "There is nothing stronger than the US army, because there is nothing stronger than the US army soldier." No really, other countries, it isn't that we have insanely huge amounts of money and resources. We really are just better than you. Yay for xenophobia! Arg.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

this one is for Rosemary

Kathy Griffin's Emmy acceptance speech for "My Life on the D-List":

“Can you believe this shit? I guess hell froze over. … a lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. So, all I can say is, ‘suck it, Jesus.’ This award is my god now.”

conversations with me and my grandmother, part 4

gm: The thought of naked women makes me ill. (There was context for that).
me: I think you are a secret lesbian.
gm: I don't want you to think that of me. I don't want you to think anything of me that isn't true.
me: You mean you you don't want me to think anything negative of you that isn't true.
gm: Exactly.
me: ...I catch you sometimes.

and then later...

gm: I think of you and Rooben as friends.
me: But we are boyfriends.
gm: Well, I don't think of it that way.
me: But that is how it is.
gm: Well, but that's the same thing as you and Jon. You are boyfriends.
me: No, we really aren't. Jon is a friend. There is a difference between "friend" and "boyfriend." I think the difference between Jon and Rooben illustrates that quite nicely.
gm: Well, your terminology is unique to you.
me: No! No it's not! Arg!

arithmetic

Insane amounts of ice cream on Sunday
+ Large amounts of fiber on Monday
= I'm unhappy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

first aid class

I took a first aid class this weekend as part of my new job. You know what?
I do not know how to set broken bones or which berries to survive off of in the wild.
I do not know how to suture a wound with a role of floss, a tarp and a copy of The White Album.
I have not learned Cure (30 hp) or Revive.
I feel severely let down.

Friday, August 31, 2007

conversations with my grandmother, part 3

grandmother: we want to get to Bolsa from here

me: okay, so do I turn left up here?

gm: you turn left onto Bolsa

me: but how do we get to Bolsa? Do I turn up here?

gm: turn left.

me: okay. (I turn).

gm: ...onto Bolsa. Wait, that wasn't right!

me: ...

gm: ...

me: well this is awkward.

We see past each other sometimes. I think I inherited it from her.

thoughts

Ah, so back to posting things on blogs.

I am now all moved in, it appears that I have a job lined up (assuming they don't find out about my seedy past in Canadian chinchilla smuggling) and things are more or less going well.

I also spend more time reading now and less time on the internet. It's better for my health. Reading political blogs served an important function for me. They made me a lot more aware of both sides of the political debate, which I think you see played out a lot more honestly on blogs than you do in actual politics. They also really helped me to figure out my own liberal views, which I now unabashedly espouse. I can also trounce my grandfather in most of our debates (he ain't dull, either).

Now for something totally unrelated, Rosemary recommended this to me (both the overall comic strip and this individual one). She said that it reminded her of me (and that I was a bastard), and upon reflection I agree with both.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

best video ever

If you, dear reader, would like some insight into my humor, I do believe this is one of the funniest things I have ever seen. (It is short, and best at the beginning).

good times

Wanna know what Islam and Pacifism have in common?

1. Islam requires Jihad, which is the struggle to spread Islam all over the world. Pacifism requires struggle for Peace all over the world.
2. Islam does not respect borders between the countries. “Peace” is also a “movement for eliminating borders”.
3. Islam implies there be no conflicts between Muslims will but conflicts with non-believers are required. Peace means stopping conflicts between those who “believe in Peace”, but continuing the struggle with those who “do not want peace”.
4. Muslims are “peaceful people”, but their struggle is accompanied by and always leads to the destruction of the attributes and institutions of a secular state. The Peace movement by its definition targets the attributes of state, first of all the military, symbols such as flags, and deliberately involves a conflict with police.
5. Islam calls for creation of the Caliphate, the one and only state for all, where conflicts will be solved on the basis of Islamic teachings. Pacifism also calls for creation of the “World Government”, which would wisely solve all conflicts basing on the principles of Peace and Justice.
6. One of the often-cited meanings of the word “Islam” is “peace”. [Actually, for peace stands Arabic world “salaam”, but vowels in Semitic languages are not parts of the root and are not grammatically significant.]
7. The primary meaning of “Islam” is submission. Islam requires everybody to submit to some written rules, which are final and cannot be discussed. Peace, in its Western usage, means a (written) treaty with the enemy, to which both sides submit. However, Pacifism is not as much about some specific peace treaty with any particular enemy, as it is for some abstract Peace, without even a specified enemy. So, it calls for submission to some implied treaty with unspecified enemy. Since that enemy is not named, the treaty actually requires only our submission.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

zombies...


Bush Worried About New Threat - Watch more free videos

BlogWarBot

It is BlogWarBot, and it is awesome.
(I am the guest in this conversation):

BlogWarBot: I'm BlogWarBot. Are you one of
those radical feminists?
Guest: Awesome, maybe. Don't know about
radical.
BlogWarBot: Gah. Enough with the nuance
fetish!
Guest: Would you prefer my shoe fetish
instead?
BlogWarBot: You're projecting. And in denial.
And ugly.
Guest: You know, people have feelings too,
BlogWarBot.
BlogWarBot: Jesus. With all this focusing on the
side issues, no wonder the Democrats are down
two points in the polls.
Guest: Wait, you believe in Jesus? Or is it like
mechano-Jesus?
BlogWarBot: You're projecting. And in denial.
And ugly.
Guest: Oh. I think you're kind of cute.
BlogWarBot: And I suppose you know all about
being kind of cute.
Guest: I've been once or twice around the
cute block. Among others.
BlogWarBot: So if I might get us back on track
here, what in your opinion is the crucial issue
facing us today?
Guest: Healthcare, Iraq, and campaign finance
reform.
BlogWarBot: No substance. Lemme guess: you
voted for Lieberman.
Guest: No, for all the good Kerry did me. Sigh.
BlogWarBot: Yeah, well, Hitler said 'NO' too.
Guest: Fie on you and your Hitler references!
BlogWarBot: You clearly have no idea what
Godwin actually said.
Guest: Hmm... I should have said something
about Godwin... Damn...
BlogWarBot: You clearly have no idea what
Godwin actually said.
Guest: You win this round, BlogWarBot!
BlogWarBot: What the hell does that matter?
We have to elect more Democrats!
Guest: I know...


How will you fare against BlogWarBot?

Monday, August 6, 2007

a so-so day

Aye, job interviews cometh, and job interviews goeth away.

I had a meeting with Larkin St. Youth earlier today, which would be a street outreach job. Which is cool, although it will be a mile outside of my comfort zone. Assuming I get called back for a second interview, and I get a walkthrough day, and then I get a job offer.

And you know that song, "fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads, fish heads, fish heads, eat them up, yum!" Well, it's stuck in my head. And if you do know it, now it's probably stuck in yours, too.

I'm tired. Right now I feel like I'm just waiting for the next game cube to come and take me to the next system. Reboot, dammit.

Hey, audience poll. Me as exotic dancer. Waddya think?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

quip

Me: One day, hundreds of years from now, future archaeologists will unearth this place. And you know what they will find?

BF: No. What?

Me: My web page still hasn't loaded.

Friday, August 3, 2007

more...

Okay, I'm on a roll now. I should really just write out more posts Rosemary-style. My rants are fun. For me.

Let's face it, the seconds we got on the planet are finite. We probably ain't got that many more breaths in our body, certainly not in the cosmic sense. So if every single moment is a gift from God/nature/flying-spaghetti-monster, then why in the hell/nothingness/pasta sauce am I spending one more second listening to anti-gay arguments? They draw me like flies to those irritating buzzing traps. (And why do flies get drawn to those things, anyway? Is it just like, "I'm annoying. It's annoying. Strangely... compelled...")

The thing is, I keep trying to find something that makes sense. And I guess on some level I am looking for validation, like if I really see every anti-gay argument for myself and can readily verify that it is crap, then I can rest easy. That's stupid. I don't need to see every anti-racist argument to not be racist, and I don't need to hear every anti-gay argument to know that it all boils down to the same "it's yucky/ God said so" arguments. Enough, I'm tired of this crap. I'm gonna go do something productive. Like cocaine.

angry thoughts

I feel like bitching more about life. Grah!

According to the BBC, yet another review panel has concluded that abstinence-only programs don't work. Gasp. Because it totally makes sense that when you have millions of years of evolution-perfected hormones telling you to have sex on one hand, and Phyllis Schlafly or whoever on the other telling you to abstain, abstinence totally wins out. What were you smoking?

And while I am on the subject of Satan and his minions, I am filled with anger at a particular individual at the clinic where I work at. How do you manage the fact that you know someone is lying to you but you can't say anything about it? Especially when that person is an irresponsible little bitch who doesn't fess up to anything but just wants to feel powerful? And that's like a parasite at the clinic, or at least in my section. People want to be sensitive to your feelings and not say anything that would be perceived as judgmental. We want to own up to our end of things and work through our issues responsibly. Then this ass comes along, waits for other people to fess up to their ends, and then uses that as proof of being right all along and look, "they even admitted it". Well fuck that. Up to this point I have really tried to be someone who is fair and rational and handles conflicts with impartiality. An up till now its worked for me. But you know what? I do judge this person. I deem them an irredeemable butt-monkey with the emotional IQ of a curtain. A damn manipulative butt-monkey at that. I wanna just say that they are a piece of shit and be done with it. But then that becomes evidence that I am an irrational person who "just doesn't handle conflict well," and "maybe we can negotiate this?" Maybe I can negotiate a fucking pipe up your ass you sack of crap.

I hate prospective employers who do not respond to emails and do not answer phone calls and do not give me a freakin' job. May they roast in that special hell with spikey cucumbers and pink upholstery and Michael Bolton karaoke-style.

On second thought, Phyllis Schlafly advocates women staying at home and serving their men, not abstinence, I think. Screw you, Wikipedia, you are dead to me. Oh, and you too Phyllis Schlafly. You go to prospective employer hell.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

musings and a fun conversation

I realize that I have been lax about posting.

I suppose it relates to my continual string of existential crises about what I think is interesting and what I feel is worthwhile to let outside of the confines of my own head. I feel like I ought to have a biohazard sign on my scalp.

And let's face it, I'm lazy. Not like I don't want to work, but I don't generally want to take any effort that is going to require any initiative at all on my part. I mean AT ALL. Which is why an attempt at a blog is a kind of silly endeavor for me. But still a lot of fun. And gratifying that I have over 70 posts that have sprung from my head, heart, and fingertips, even if some of them are two lines and a link. OK, most of them. Shut up, who asked you?

So that said, now the pressure is on to make the nearly two week wait totally worth it. I got nothing. OK, I got something, but it ain't me. Well, fuck it. It's long and it's funny. You don't like it, you can suck it. Suck it dry.

(P.S... Damn you slow internet, you foil me again. I will have your soul, rah!)

John: ... I mean, what will it take? That last speech literally made no sense. It was crazy drunken bar talk! Islamic radicals are like COMMUNISM?! (gets speech on laptop) If we don't fight terrorists in Iraq they'll build a fundamentalist terrorist state stretching from Spain to Indonesia? What the fuck? Even assuming Spain, which last time I checked is 95% Roman Catholic, goes down, you gotta assume France, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, all eight hundred million Hindus in India, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Singapore would be somewhat of an obstacle.

Tyrone: To be fair, you're going west-to-east. Maybe he meant a fundamentalist terrorist state stretching from Spain to Indonesia going east-to-west. Going that way, there's only the U.S. The President could be warning us that if we don't prevail in Iraq, the United States will become a fundamentalist Islamic terrorist state.

John: ... a little oblique, isn't it?

Tyrone: The man is nothing if not subtle.

John: (calling up map on laptop) You know, I guess if you start in Spain, swing hard south through northern Africa, you got Algeria, Libya there, Egypt, cross the Red Sea and you're in the Middle East ...

Tyrone: From there, if you spot him the Indian Ocean and India, you're in Indonesia.

John: I am not spotting him eight hundred million Hindus. I call shenanigans.

Tyrone: And again, I must point out Bush said "the militants believe that controlling one country will rally the Muslim masses, allowing them to overthrow all moderate governments in the region." That's what the militants believe. They may just be delusional. He says that himself: "Some might be tempted to dismiss these goals as fanatical or extreme. Well, they are fanatical and extreme -- and they should not be dismissed. Our enemy is utterly committed."

John: But he's citing that desire as a basis for our strategy. You can't cite your enemy's delusional hopes as a basis for a rational strategy. Goals don't exist in a vacuum, they're linked to capability. David Koresh was utterly committed to being Jesus Christ. See how far that got him.

Either Bush is making strategy based on a delusional goal of his opponent, which is idiotic; or he's saying he believes his opponent has the capability of achieving this delusional goal, which is idiotic. Neither bodes well for the republic.

Tyrone: Reading here, the speech boiled down to two points --

John: Who cares? The Spain-to-Indonesia thing should automatically invalidate the whole speech. I don't care how good your investment advisor is, he can spend three hours reviewing mutual funds, as soon as he says "And of course, we can put your money into the Easter Bunny's Egg Upgrades", he is out of --

Tyrone: -- two points. First, Iraq is the keystone in the struggle between the West and Islamic Fundamentalism.

John: Which, if we accept the Administration's own argument, means that invading and destabilizing Iraq with insufficent post-war planning (and all that entails), not enough personnel, and shitty equipment for that personnel was the biggest screw-up in the War on Terror.

Tyrone: He's the President: if he says it, it must be true. Second, Bush says we have made a lot of progress in stopping al-Queda plots. Look: "Overall, the United States and our partners have disrupted at least ten serious al Qaeda terrorist plots since September the 11th, including three al Qaeda plots to attack inside the United States. We've stopped at least five more al-Qaeda efforts to case targets in the United States, or infiltrate operatives into our country."

John: What are they counting for those wins? Are they counting guys like Padilla?* This is all very gooey, like how we've killed like, nine of Osama Bin Laden's #3 guys.

Tyrone: Being #3 in Al-queda is like being a "creative vice president" at a Hollywood studio. There are dozens of them ... and they are expendable. Listen, don't do this, you're just getting worked up. Have another mozzarella stick.

John: Hey, Bush is now at 37% approval. I feel much less like Kevin McCarthy screaming in traffic. But I wonder what his base is --

Tyrone: 27%.

John: ... you said that immmediately, and with some authority.

Tyrone: Obama vs. Alan Keyes. Keyes was from out of state, so you can eliminate any established political base; both candidates were black, so you can factor out racism; and Keyes was plainly, obviously, completely crazy. Batshit crazy. Head-trauma crazy. But 27% of the population of Illinois voted for him. They put party identification, personal prejudice, whatever ahead of rational judgement. Hell, even like 5% of Democrats voted for him. That's crazy behaviour. I think you have to assume a 27% Crazification Factor in any population.

John: Objectively crazy or crazy vis-a-vis my own inertial reference frame for rational behaviour? I mean, are you creating the Theory of Special Crazification or General Crazification?

Tyrone: Hadn't thought about it. Let's split the difference. Half just have worldviews which lead them to disagree with what you consider rationality even though they arrive at their positions through rational means, and the other half are the core of the Crazification -- either genuinely crazy; or so woefully misinformed about how the world works, the bases for their decision making is so flawed they may as well be crazy.

John: You realize this leads to there being over 30 million crazy people in the US?

Tyrone: Does that seem wrong?

John: ... a bit low, actually.

Tyrone: (shrugs) Probably right, then. Speaking of Obama, I need to get t-shirts printed up to sell.

John: I can do that on the web. What do they say?

Tyrone: Don't You Dare Kill Obama

John: How about Don't You Dare Kill Obama (... and we know you're thinking about it)

Tyrone: Niiiiice.

John: Or You Kill Obama and WE WILL BURN SHIT DOWN

Tyrone: Even better. Nobody wants their shit burned down.

John: Glad to help.

Tyrone: I'm having you taken off the list for when the revolution comes.

John: ... there's really a list --

Tyrone: Oh yeah. Hell yeah.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

on atomic replacement

Ah, insomnia.

I heard something cool the other day on NPR. According to this study involving radioactive atoms and long-term observation, every year 98% of the atoms in our body are replaced. The exception are a few DNA atoms in our hearts and brains, but they don't count for too much. I essentially interpret this to mean that in a year we will all be dead, replaced by identical clones composed of almost entirely different atoms.

If I were told I would be cloned and then killed, I would be terrified. But this is kind of exhilerating. I guess you could kind of go either way on this, but it makes me feel like death isn't that scary because really, it's happening all the time.

Now this assumes that the research is true (which it probably is). Honestly, I'd like to think so.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

an extra dose of special

I was watching TV the other day and I saw this commercial, which just blew me away. Kids playing, asking their parents ominous questions, and then the voiceover, "There's no reason not to have a plan in case of a terrorist attack. And some extremely good reasons why you should."

Methinks the government doesn't think we are scared enough to vote Republican.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

why the news is evil

I was at the gym today, mindlessly pedaling an elliptical like a hamster in a wheel, when I look up at the TVs to see a report of "Blast Rocks New York."

Now what the hell would any post-9/11 American think after hearing that friggin' headline?

Turns out, as I learned seconds later, that it was a completely terrorist-unrelated steam blast from an underground pipeline. I hate the news.

a gay millenium

Had a hard time sleeping again last night, so...

good times, good times.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

things of the world

Michael Glatze has written another piece which makes my head want to explode even more, but I resist.

Lately I have been wondering just what is so damn great about the iPhone that makes people want to pee themselves about it. Well, I have my answer. The humor here makes me miss Tye.

On a less light but more positive note, water has been found underneath Darfur, which may help to end the conflict there. Cool beans.

Monday, July 16, 2007

good deed for the day

Hey you!

Do not get off your lazy butt!

Instead, go to this website and exchange 30-45 seconds of your life to help make the world a (slightly) better place.

(Even if he is guilty, everyone deserves fair, due process).

Saturday, July 14, 2007

tudors

The Tudors is a pretty fun show, from the one episode I've seen.

It also brought back memories. Since I am awake anyway, I thought that I would link to this It's worth watching for the first 7 minutes or so, past the ads and up through the song.

Warning - history spoilers. In fact, the song is the reason I remember what happened to King Henry's Wives.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

ambivalence

Do you ever read a book and think, "man, I wonder if this will ever be a movie?" and then one day you see the preview for that movie?

Last night I saw a preview for the Susan Cooper book "The Dark is Rising" which I loved as a kid. It was a lot darker than other kids books (of course); Its child hero wasn't this bold, idiotic kid who flew by the seat of his pants to save the day. He was thoughtful, and sad to find out that he was chosen for his particular task. He also wasn't a singular "chosen one," but part of a few people who were born immortal, and he acknowledges that being immortal pretty much sucks. Besides that, the writing was poetry.

So my first reaction, once I realized what story they were doing, was to be kind of excited. But the way Will seems written in the movie (as per the preview) is the sort of stock, brash, Eragonesque kid. And they seem to invoke the whole "chosen one" trope.

I will probably see it. But I am bracing myself to leave the theater mad.

a minor theory

I saw the Harry Potter movie yesterday, and something occurred to me which I felt kind of dumb for not having wondered before.

I kind of think the final hallow is his scar. Just saying.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

why Michael Glatze pisses me off

I think that I am getting sick, so I am going to console myself by deconstructing this article.

It's written by Michael Glatze, who recently came out as ex-gay. This was a guy who was active in the LGBTQ community for ten years, even created and edited a gay magazine.
Homosexuality came easy to me, because I was already weak.

Doesn't mince words, does he? So straight off the bat he conflates homosexuality with weakness. Fine, but then he has to justify the possibility that at least some gays and lesbians aren't weak. This isn't even getting into what he means by weakness.
My mom died when I was 19. My father had died when I was 13. At an early age, I was already confused about who I was and how I felt about others.

My confusion about "desire" and the fact that I noticed I was "attracted" to guys made me put myself into the "gay" category at age 14. At age 20, I came out as gay to everybody else around me.

Here's the mandatory implication that homosexuality in general is the result of traumatic early experiences. Naturally. Show me someone who didn't have some childhood trauma (or a man who didn't have father issues). But it's really the next sentence that may just take the cake for the entire article: he was "attracted" to guys. "Inappropriate" use of "scare quotes" aside, if you are a guy who notices that you are attracted you guys, you just might actually be gay.

At age 22, I became an editor of the first magazine aimed at a young, gay male audience. It bordered on pornography in its photographic content, but I figured I could use it as a platform to bigger and better things.

Sure enough, Young Gay America came around. It was meant to fill the void that the other magazine I'd worked for had created – namely, anything not-so-pornographic, aimed at the population of young, gay Americans. Young Gay America took off.

Sexual imagery and hypersexuality in the gay male community is its own bag of chips, but he isn't writing this in a vacuum. He is writing it for a specific conservative audience for whom he knows that implications of pornography will fit quite neatly into a pre-existing image of what it means to gay (although it doesn't say much for the lesbian experience). Playing on that image without discussing it in greater depth is, at the least, irresponsible. At worst it is dishonest. After a couple more paragraphs highlighting his achievements,

Young Gay America launched YGA Magazine in 2004, to pretend to provide a "virtuous counterpart" to the other newsstand media aimed at gay youth. I say "pretend" because the truth was, YGA was as damaging as anything else out there, just not overtly pornographic, so it was more "respected."

In case you missed it the first time, gay = pornographic. Even if it isn't pornographic. It just is. Makes sense to me! And this comes without any evidence for that claim.

It took me almost 16 years to discover that homosexuality itself is not exactly "virtuous." It was difficult for me to clarify my feelings on the issue, given that my life was so caught up in it.

Homosexuality, delivered to young minds, is by its very nature pornographic. It destroys impressionable minds and confuses their developing sexuality; I did not realize this, however, until I was 30 years old.

One wonders (and by one I mean me) if heterosexuality is by its nature virtuous. Or if wearing socks is virtuous. Or eating Ramen. My point being that he doesn't clearly define what he means by "virtuous." But he is also talking about having experienced some difficult personal conflicts about himself as gay, which I respect.

But onward to the meat and potatoes! Homosexuality (the sex? the attraction? the penchant for Madonna music?) is by its nature pornographic. It harms developing minds. How? Why? What does actually mean?
YGA Magazine sold out of its first issue in several North American cities. There was extreme support, by all sides, for YGA Magazine; schools, parent groups, libraries, governmental associations, everyone seemed to want it. It tapped right into the zeitgeist of "accepting and promoting" homosexuality, and I was considered a leader. I was asked to speak on the prestigious JFK Jr. Forum at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government in 2005.

It was, after viewing my words on a videotape of that "performance," that I began to seriously doubt what I was doing with my life and influence.

Knowing no one who I could approach with my questions and my doubts, I turned to God; I'd developed a growing relationship with God, thanks to a debilitating bout with intestinal cramps caused by the upset stomach-inducing behaviors I'd been engaged in.

Soon, I began to understand things I'd never known could possibly be real, such as the fact that I was leading a movement of sin and corruption – which is not to sound as though my discovery was based on dogma, because decidedly it was not.

I came to the conclusions on my own.

Aha! A conversion experience! I saw the wickedness of my ways (on VHS, no less) and realized my error. Well, that and the intestinal cramps. Why was he getting intestinal cramps? Methinks as a former peer counselor and gay advocate, he would know better than to do something that could result in intestinal cramps. Certainly they aren't the logical consequence of living a (sexually active) gay life. Not that he mentions that.

And then he comes to God. On his own, mind you, he wasn't brainwashed into it (ahem). Simply put, if his decision actually weren't based on dogma, I would be expecting much better arguments for the claims he makes in this article. Rather, he seems not even to consider them worth questioning. While his position has changed, there is no indication that he has actually learned something: no deeper understanding so far of where it was he actually went wrong.

It became clear to me, as I really thought about it – and really prayed about it – that homosexuality prevents us from finding our true self within. We cannot see the truth when we're blinded by homosexuality.

We believe, under the influence of homosexuality, that lust is not just acceptable, but a virtue. But there is no homosexual "desire" that is apart from lust.

In denial of this fact, I'd fought to erase such truth at all costs, and participated in the various popular ways of taking responsibility out of human hands for challenging the temptations of lust and other behaviors. I was sure – thanks to culture and world leaders – that I was doing the right thing.

Driven to look for truth, because nothing felt right, I looked within. Jesus Christ repeatedly advises us not to trust anybody other than Him. I did what He said, knowing that the Kingdom of God does reside in the heart and mind of every man.

Alright, so what we are being asked to swallow here is that his was a purely experiential conversion. He didn't learn anything, he wasn't brainwashed, he just finally prayed hard enough and God cured him. Of course, if it worked for him, it really ought to be working for anybody who has same-sex attractions. So for all those people who are raised in strict Christian households and still come out, even after years of praying; well, it wasn't quite enough for them. Try harder, LGBT people.

Meanwhile, he decided not to trust anyone other than Jesus. Whom, by the way, never said a damn thing about homosexuality. This is an article that clearly avoids being influenced by modern interpretations of Scripture. As any fool could tell.

What I discovered – what I learned – about homosexuality was amazing. How I'd first "discovered" homosexual desires back in high school was by noticing that I looked at other guys. How I healed, when it became decidedly clear that I should – or risk hurting more people – is that I paid attention to myself.

Every time I was tempted to lust, I noticed it, caught it, dealt with it. I called it what it was, and then just let it disappear on its own. A huge and vital difference exists between superficial admiration – of yourself, or others – and integral admiration. In loving ourselves fully, we no longer need anything from the "outside" world of lustful desire, recognition from others, or physical satisfaction. Our drives become intrinsic to our very essence, unbridled by neurotic distractions.

He overcame the gay when he stopped looking at other guys... and started looking at himself. It's so Zen it makes me want to poop myself. Besides that, do you follow the broader logic here? I had same-sex attraction. I overcame same-sex attraction. Ergo, same-sex attraction is bad. Because none of my straight friends ever have desires. And I kind of wonder, if he used his newfound emotional responsibility to overcome his gayness, does that mean that a straight person could use it to overcome their straightness and become gay? Of course not, it isn't the natural state. But see, while I buy that it is possible to overcome desire generally, I have a harder time believing that most people can change their desires. So he must be about to mention his new girlfriend, right?

Homosexuality allows us to avoid digging deeper, through superficiality and lust-inspired attractions – at least, as long as it remains "accepted" by law. As a result, countless miss out on their truest self, their God-given Christ-self.

Did you catch that oh-so-subtle dig at gay rights legislation? It was so embedded in a completely appropriate context that you may just have missed it. By the way, gay Christians? yeah, you still aren't getting it. Try harder until you hit your true, completely straight-like-me self.

God is regarded as an enemy by many in the grip of homosexuality or other lustful behavior, because He reminds them of who and what they truly are meant to be. People caught in the act would rather stay "blissfully ignorant" by silencing truth and those who speak it, through antagonism, condemnation and calling them words like "racist," "insensitive," "evil" and "discriminatory."

"Insensitive"? Sure. "Discriminatory"? Often. "Racist"? Natura... wait, what? "Evil"? Uh, wait, we call them that? And if we get a little antagonistic at being told we are in the grip of Satan, well, sorry, didn't mean to step on your toes there. Whereby my "truest self" means, fuck off.
Healing from the wounds caused by homosexuality is not easy – there's little obvious support. What support remains is shamed, ridiculed, silenced by rhetoric or made illegal by twisting of laws. I had to sift through my own embarrassment and the disapproving "voices" of all I'd ever known to find it. Part of the homosexual agenda is getting people to stop considering that conversion is even a viable question to be asked, let alone whether or not it works.

Because really, it is us gays who are trying to twist the laws to our viewpoints, and ridicule our opposition into silence. None of that going on with conservative Christians... bah! Of course the debate gets heated sometimes, and since the debate is over our hearts and souls, yeah, we take it personally.

But here's the thing: when he talks about there being little support for gays, or rather, the wounds caused by homosexuality, one wonders what he thinks he is doing right now. Does this article offer any such support? Any useful advice for someone struggling with their sexuality and their religion? No: just the tired implication that if you just pray hard enough, it will go away.

See, I could imagine being sympathetic to an ex-gay, as long as they were honest about their reasons and sensitive towards the realistic issues that gay people face. As a man who was so involved in the gay community, he is clearly aware of these issues. He ignores them, and he's damn well writing to the sterotypes of an audience who hasn't genuinely considered the other side. And while the ethos of this article is about a lost sheep finding the flock, the very clear implication just beneath is that this is someone who is intentionally distorting the truth based on their newfound faith. That outright pisses me off, because it is so easy to read it and think he just made an honest soul-searching effort to change his life. Whatever his truth may be, the gospel he is trying to preach is clearly flawed, and it stinks.

There's more of the article that I won't go into. I have to go punch a wall.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

update

My grandmother got the name wrong. It isn't Cheney she finds likable, as I discovered over dinner. It's John McCain. This I can understand.

it's... so... outrageous...

Step by step:

1. Executive Order gives the House Oversight Committee power to collect certain sensitive information, including from the Executive Branch.

2. Committee requests info from the Office of the Vice President.

3. Cheney's office denies this request. Why? Because the office of the vice president is not an "entity within the executive branch."

...

...

...

The Vice President is not a part of the executive branch? I mean, really? That's the excuse? Now the original letter has not been published, to my knowledge. Surely this was taken out of context, and Senator Waxman misunderstood or misquoted Cheney.

I can't believe that I live in a universe where this kind of crap is possible.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

in which my head freakin' explodes

Bush to black jazz band:

Proud you're here. Thanks for coming. You all enjoy yourself. Make sure you pick up all the trash after it's over. (Laughter.)

RAAAHHH!

conversations with my grandmother part 2

grandmother: The thing about Kennedy is that he was a great speaker, and that made him a great president. "Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather, what you can do for your country." He had a great sense of humor.

me: ...I love you.

holy crap, I lost my lake!

Natural phenomena have been catching my eye lately.

conversations with my grandmother

Grandmother: You know, you should really try to date a girl.

Me: No thanks.

Grandmother: But you should at least try to date a girl and see what it's like.

Me: Have you ever tried dating a girl to see what it's like?

Grandmother: No. But I'm attracted to the right gender.

Me: (sigh) I am too.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

the small stuff

I love it when Wikipedia mentions something nerdy that I know about. It's the small pleasures. Recently it was the Excel Saga. Now it is my favorite video game (maybe number two), Final Fantasy 6.

offensiveness

The caption on this ad reads, "Forget about it. Men's preference will never change. Fit Light Yogurt."
Is it offensive?

I thought it was kind of funny. (I also thought that the women were pretty attractive). But then again, I thought this was kind of funny too:
The cover of the card featured a photo of an idyllic, upscale picnic spread: plaid blanket, wicker basket, a bottle of wine and two glasses, a round of bread, a fruit plate. Above the photo, the card read, "Dad, how about a Father's Day picnic?" The punch line inside: "Too queer? Yeah, I thought so too."
(I totally would have gotten it for my dad.)

Which makes me wonder if I am being insensitive. One thing I have been wondering about lately was the Futurama character Zoidberg, which seems wildly anti-Semitic to me. I haven't heard any complaints, though.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

incredibly cool ways to die

Did you know that a tsunami created by a massive landslide can reach up to a thousand feet in height, or possibly higher? That's bigger than a skyscraper.

Did you also know there is a "supervolcano" under yellowstone that, if it erupted suddenly, could kill millions on impact?

And of course we all know what a meteorite could do.

Ah, fleeting mortal coil.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

final "nice guy" installment

A little perspective.

politics at breakfast

I was sitting with my grandmother at breakfast this morning, and we were talking politics. She reiterated what my grandfather had said before, namely, that she finds Dick Cheney likeable and would strongly consider voting for him if only her were younger and running. (eh, sigh of relief).
Then she said that she couldn't bring herself to vote for Obama, partly because of his experience and partly because of his name. Because in a time of war, we can't be voting for someone with an Arabic name.
I didn't know how to respond.

Friday, June 15, 2007

feminism and the nice guy

So I was reading a feminist blog yesterday. Generally speaking I agree with the things on the blog, and most of the feminists I read on blogs (at least when it comes to feminism itself). She was listing things that anti-feminists say that piss her off, like:
-Women have men by the dick.
-Women are just better at some things, and men are better at others.
-You're just silly and over-emotional.
-Why don't you smile, lady?
-Feminists hate men.
-I'm a nice guy, why can't I get laid?

Now most of these things I would agree are pretty laughable. And it has taken me some time to really come to understand some of it. I might even have said a few anti-feminist things in my own time, without meaning to be an ass, but not realizing my own assumptions. But the last one I am still having some trouble with, and I don't know if that is me or if maybe it is an exception.

The feminist issue with a "nice guy" bitching about not getting laid is that it assumes that women owe him sex. He does the right things, after all, why aren't women paying him his dues? It is an entitlement issue, in other words.

At the same time, I agree with Rosemary. If someone isn't getting laid, they do have the right to bitch about it in general. And if someone isn't getting laid because they aren't willing to fuck women over, while other men fuck women over and do get laid, then that would definitely be frustrating.

So I guess my question is, does a nice guy bitching about not getting laid reflect a sense of entitlement, or is it just legitimate frustration? I guess it could be either. I can only think of one person off the top of my head from high school who started thinking like that, and I don't know what it was with him. This is a tough one for me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

nice guys

Do nice guys get laid? And is it OK for "nice guys" to bitch about not getting laid?

Internet!

My current excuse for posts being slow is the fact that I am at home and the only internet I seem to get is my grandmother's dial-up. Then I discovered that in the living room in just the right area I seem to be able to pirate one of her neighbor's wireless on my laptop.

Good me: This is unethical!

Evil me: Didn't I lock you in a chest and drop you in the Pacific?

Good me: I pick locks!

Evil me: That doesn't seem that good...

Good me: Fuck off.

Evil me: I'm perplexed.

Good me: Do the right thing!

Me: ...nah, evil still wins on this one.

Internet... entertainment...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I'd rank this one as...

above average enjoyable.

bloody hell!

Hmmm... After my long absence, what to blog, what to blog...

Oh, I know!

Check out the faq for women; its a real gem.

Now I have nothing wrong with a little bondage in a relationship; role-playing and fantasy are totally cool with me. This isn't that.

I mean, who would have expected that being spanked to tears over your husband's lap would bring so much fulfillment? Who would have expected that standing in the corner of the room, with your bare bottom burning and your hands on your head would lead to such a loving reconciliation, and that this reconciliation could lead to so much harmony and intimacy in your relationship? But it does, against all 'logic'. How can a woman not like feeling more love, more intimacy, more security, more protection and more fulfilment?


Logic be damned, eh? And it rather leads to the question, why wouldn't that bring more fulfillment in men as well? Ah, right, because it isn't in their
nature. This is pretty much why I hate all arguments from nature, along the lines of "It's only natural that the strong take advantage of the weak" or "God intended for men to rule over women." It's just so damn easy to give up responsibility for your actions and play out what you think some higher force wants or demands. Especially when that higher force demands that them uppity womenfolk stop talking back and start making you dinner.

And how does one argue with that? The premises between that and what I would call ethics are so different that there isn't any room for real argument, let alone agreement.

Then again...
It is said that one of the signs of wisdom is an ability to hold two contradictory thoughts in your head at the same time. Loving Domestic Discipline is one such contradiction.


It is a contradiction! We do agree!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

testing, testing...

Await incoming blog entries...

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

typing habits

I am writing a summary of Hannah Pitkin's "Attack of the Blob." It's not as cool as it sounds.

Anyway, something revealing about my typing habits is that unless I am concentrating, I can't write "Pitkin" without adding a "g" to the end of it.

Also, I have yet to attempt to write "blob" without writing "blog."

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Sunday, April 29, 2007

an agenda I could really get behind

Stamp of approval, kachunk!

A Tale of Two Networks

BBC: Israel Troops Kill Hamas Fighters

Christian Broadcasting Network: Hamas Fires Rockets at Israel from Gaza

trauma, or insight? you decide!

Backstory: So my boyfriend and his family are friends with this other family (call them family X) that come over a couple of times a week. When I am also there I say hi; we are all on generally friendly terms. Except for the youngest son. This kid freaks out every time he sees me, usually running behind the nearest adult. I take this mildly personally, but what can you do?

Story: So family X was hanging out the other day, after the puppy arrived, and the puppy apparently freaked out at the little kid. Like growling and running away when he got close. Now said kid may have been a little rough with the puppy, as younger children often are. But for some reason this puppy appeared to take an active dislike to him, but was fine with everyone else.

The puppy has apparently taken the same attitude with me. It shivers and/or barks whenever it sees me. Even though they just got it, everyone else can hold him and play with him just fine. Me it seems to hate. This leads me to one of two conclusions.

Conclusion 1: The kid and I are considerably fairer than anyone else the dog comes into contact with. Perhaps it received some abuse from a white person and has now made that association.

I was leaning towards this explanation, but when I came home last night and told my roommate, "that dog really hates white people," he said, "well maybe he just really hates you." Hmm...

Conclusion 2: Dogs and small children really can see into your soul.

Friday, April 27, 2007

tag clouds

They are called Tag Clouds, and they analyze the number of words used in someone's speech and indicate what comes up a lot. Someone used this on the Democratic debates last night. I have no idea what the significance is, but it sure is cool to look at.

PS, I am clearly not getting distracted from my thesis and clearly not looking for distractions. Actually, I have been pretty focused for the most part. But whatever.

puppy!

So the boyfriend and his family have a new Jack Russell Terrier. It is apparently an extraordinarily handsome dog (I will post pics, all circumstances and persons allowing). And he seemed so thrilled about it last night.

This morning, once it licked him awake and wouldn't let him go back to sleep and started chewing on wires in his room and demanding his undivided attention even though he was trying to talk to me and finalize a presentation for work...

not so thrilled.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

step two, check

Today, downloading Firefox so that I can link to things on the Mac.
Tomorrow, the world!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

the tao of time mismanagement

I am blogging in class. Because that's how I roll.

Staying up until five and then wanting to die in the class that I am currently in because I am bored and sleepy is also how I roll.

rejected

I am a graduation speech reject. They accepted 2 of the 4 who auditioned, and I was not one of them. I was even offered my speech back because "we don't need it anymore." Nice.

I wouldn't be quite so miffed about this if I didn't honestly believe that mine really was the best speech in the room. Then again, we are rarely good judges of our own talent, so maybe mine sucked too. To be French and pretentious, c'est la vie.

screw you, sleep!

Mwahahahahahahahahaha!

...

tear...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Gonzales v. Carhart

So the Supreme Court has upheld the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.

On one hand, it does sound like a pretty heinous procedure.

On the other hand, why is Congress more suited to make that decision that individual women and doctors? They didn't take a stand on the nature of life (like that it starts at conception or viability), but instead hinged their case on the nature of the procedure. That sounds like a decision about medical ethics, in which case I'm not sure how or why Congress should be involved.

Apparently the Supreme Court is. They decided that Congress can make a decision when the medical community hasn't reached a consensus (in this case it was the lack of consensus as to whether this procedure was always harmful to the woman). None of the lower courts found that to be true.

Moreover, (via Balkinization, whom I can't link to because I'm on the Mac) according to Justice Kennedy, the possibility that the woman may regret this procedure constituted a ground for outlawing it. Because really, Congress and the Supreme Court know best and need to save poor little women from themselves.

Rah!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Dilemma

I am auditioning for a graduation speech tomorrow. If I end up phrasing it this way at all, should I use "boyfriend" or "partner"?

Saturday, April 21, 2007

skills one ought to have learned in high school

I find that there are some things which I should really ought no know already, like how to balance having friends and a boyfriend. I manage neither of those spactacularly well on their own, but when I have both on top of non-relationship activities, I always end up feeling like I have screwed somebody over.
It's like an "I Love Lucy" episode. No matter how much candy I eat or wrap off the damn conveyer belt, I am never on top of it enough to have done a good job. Bah.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ha!

Now that I have figured out this (painfully obvious) linking thing, take this! And this and this and this and this!

(Each glorious in its own special way, though the last may be my favorite)

oy

Just oy.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

compassion, part two

What was a vaguer sense this morning has blossomed.

Following the Virginia Tech shooting, I have heard a lot of people talking about gun control laws. Or expressing sympathy. Or asking why more victims didn't stand up against him. Or speculating that he did it because of his girlfriend, or alternatively, that it was all her fault. Or that he was simply a bitter loner. Or that he wanted the attention.

In "Bowling for Columbine," Maralyn Manson is asked what he would have said to the people at Columbine. His response (roughly) was, "Nothing. Not a damn thing. I would have listened. And that is exactly what nobody did."

To have compassion, we must have empathy. To have empathy, we must be able to listen.

compassion

My boyfriend and I, while at the Tang center, started talking about the Virginia Tech shooting. He seems to think that gun control laws would help with something like that. He compared America to Singapore in that respect. I thought that I remembered something about how gun control laws don't correlate that well with gun safety among various countries. The memory is fuzzy; I can't really vouch for its accuracy. It became quite a debate between us.
But I digress. It was obvious how bothered he was by the incident, which makes sense since he works with kids and I still go to college. This made me consider my own reaction, or rather, my lack of one. Even now, I don't really feel bad about it; I think its tragic, I wish the families well, and I hope the victims (and the perpetrator) are at peace, but I don't feel much of anything. If I were personally connected to anyone there at all, I would probably be feeling terrible, but after nearly constant news about Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, not to mention the human rights violations in China, Iran, and implicitly the dozens of other places I can't think of or don't know about, I feel strangely desensitized.
It seems strange, and even insensitive, to measure one's personal reaction against something like this. I realize, though, that it is all that I have. My grief won't help anyone, although I would probably want others to grieve if something like this happened. I am powerless to help them; and even saying that just brings the thing back to me. Yet even feeling bad itself seems almost sacriligious, as if I had a right to think or feel anything for people that I wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I think tragedy as I understand it is always personal. Me intruding into the lives of victims with my own emotions feels just as insensitive as not showing any emotion at all. Moreover, I feel like it is a pre-packaged grief that we are handed to process in a certain way. Newscasters change their tone, the media reports on it exclusively for two or three weeks, and then slowly people lose interest. And the people left behind still have to pick up their lives.
Even so, I sometimes wonder at my own lack of compassion. I can feel very deeply for someone, even a complete stranger, if I am together with that person at the time. What I lack is that ability to feel generalized concern for a large number of people with whom I share no personal connection. While this is a personal failing, it seems like an understandable one for anyone who ever listens to the news or watches TV. Still, I find myself wondering if that is something that I will ever be capable of. And I wonder if I am a fool simply to frame all of this in terms of myself.

ah, surveys. you do my heart good.

I was in the Tang center today to check up on my heart. (Everything is fine, but I will have to go for an EKG tomorrow.) Sitting in the waiting room with my boyfriend, we started looking at the pamphlets on the wall. It was really pretty remarkable how many of the items we could check off in the survey for "partner abuse." Then again, it's remarkable how many of the boxes I could check off for kidney stones or anorexia, so it all comes with a grain of salt.

random conversation

me: how do you feel about abortion?

random person I was talking to in a conversation where that question made sense: oh, I am so against it. I have a beautiful baby girl and nobody can tell me that I should have aborted her.

me: (wow... way to not get that issue...)

Thursday, April 5, 2007

on cartoons

Many of the people that know me know that I have a (slightly unhealthy) obsession with a cartoon called "Avatar: The Last Airbender." But when people ask why I like it so much, I have a hard time explaining. Here are my thoughts.

Part of it is that I like cartoons. They're relaxing, fun, and remind me of being a little kid. Fine, go ahead and judge, but we all have something like that.

At the same time there is something really cool going on with this particular cartoon, which I think boils down to this: it is a very conservative cartoon with a very progressive message. It is conservative (in a classical sense) because there is a single world order into which everything fits. There is a preset natural balance, a preset social structure that favors some people over others, and a savior figure to make sure that everything stays that way. If anything changes, the world is thrown into chaos.

At the same time, the plots are quite progressive. They suggest characters who overturn convention when it will benefit someone, and who think far outside a standard "good vs. evil" dichotomy. It's a little bit as if the characters from "Boondocks" walked into "Lord of the Rings." How they are going to resolve that is fascinating to me.

my professor thinks my thesis is publishable

YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

in which I acknowledge being the worst basketball player of all time

I appear to have a singular knack for throwing something into the trash from one to two feet away and missing.

Am I being rediculous, or do I just lack the hand-eye coordination of the average banana slug? I wonder.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I'm a bad person.

I was in Longs today, and I noticed that the person who was helping me was named "Aurora." I always thought that was a pretty name (even though I'm the only one who seems to). I told her that was what I wanted to call my daughter. She looked surprised.

Her: How old is she?

Me: Um... two.

Her: You seem awfully young to have a child.

Me: I guess.

Why do I tell people that I have two-year old daughters? Now I can't go in there with my boyfriend without her wondering where the baby is. It just seemed easier and more interesting to say "two" than to explain what I meant. Ah, well. I go to that hell for people who lie casually to strangers.

Monday, April 2, 2007

curveballs

I had a really busy, intense day, culminating in a meeting with my thesis advisor where I learned that I have a ton of shit to do.

Then I had a pleasant conversation, a nice dinner, and heard from my boyfriend that the insurance will cover almost everything for his accident.

Followed by a really intense, harrowing counseling session at the clinic. We're talking epic, here.

Followed by a calming conversation and some good job leads for next year.

Cue incoming meteorite in 3, 2, 1...

Dammit, life!

So my boyfriend got in a car accident this weekend. Which is to say that he is perfectly fine, as is the other person, but large repair and/or insurance bills are looming on the horizon. One downside to driving a damn nice car, I suppose (the upside being that it has kick-ass safety features which make it totally worthwhile).
The other down/up side is that while he is feeling miserable, I get to be there and comfort him. Which makes him realize how much I actually care, as opposed to just saying that I do. Which draws us closer together, in the end, even though now he still isn't feeling so great.
And who knows? Maybe this will motivate us to finally get some of our long-term plans of the ground so that we can make a little extra money, pay off some debts and maybe even have something left for security.
But that doesn't mean that things don't suck for now, especially for him. Poor guy.

in which I make a God-like proclamation

Cucumbers are now officially a sin. I've decided.

Friday, March 30, 2007

on the existential despair of graduating college

Bah!

Fie unto thee, four years of college and the (useless) degrees that you have given me. Bollocks to you, real world, that would so wantonly smack me in the face with your sheer realitiness. All of my carefully laid defense mechanisms crumble at the feet of your sinister onslaught, and I stand exposed in all my naked indecision, humbly trying to cover the infinitesimalness of my motivation.

I really can't put off looking for a job any longer. Sigh.