Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How To Make Love

I thought this was amusing:

School Randomness and International Lit

Hello lovelies. I feel like I haven't talked to you guys in forever which makes absolutely no sense, but whatever. This is my first full week of fall semester and I feel excited and a little intimidated to be honest. I have no idea why I spread my classes around so horribly, but this semester I'm taking math, English, political science, physics, and humanities. Yes, that soft sound of sobbing you hear is my social life. Even though I like being challenged, I can already tell this semester is going to be a doozy.

I am super excited about my humanities class though, which is International Literature and Culture. I expected to have to read a lot, but even I was shocked by the four pages of listed required readings. The plus side is most of the readings are poems and my professor seems to love what he does. (I was happy to find out our textbook is a poetry book.) We spent the day yesterday talking about privilege and unpacking our own knapsacks by filling out questionnaires. Our professor also criticized the statement "All men are created equal" by pointing out that Thomas Jefferson surely did mean all humans as we like to now think. Seriously, I swooned a little. (I hate to admit that the Tea Party has made me even more critical of our "founding fathers.") Then we went on to talk about the different kinds of literature, how rap music is poetry, and El Aleph. It has been one of the most interesting classes I've had by far.

And I know the class is called "International Literature and Culture," but I was happily surprised to see our professor wasn't joking around. Our reading list is made up of sections from all around the world (Italy, China, Pacific Islands, Hispanoamérica, etc) and women as well. There are also film and restaurant assignments to round out the course. On top of all that, there is a final project that I am already excited for (it has to be some kind of creative piece). And while I realize this is exactly the opposite of what most people want in a class, I think I am going to love it the most.

Anyhoo, I'll leave you with this poem we read in class by Pablo Neruda. (Keep in mind that poetry is meant to be read out loud. It is much better that way.)
The Poet's Obligation

To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.

So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying, "How can I reach the sea?"
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.

So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

When Victim-Blaming Hits Close To Home

I met one of Ryan's uncles for the first time tonight and we ended up getting into a bit of an argument about rape and victim blaming. I usually try to avoid these sorts of topics with people, but sometimes it just can't be helped. His argument was that if girls weren't drinking while underage (since we were talking specifically about rape on college campuses) and behaving in reckless behavior, then they wouldn't have been in the position to have been taken advantage of in the first place. This argument is nothing new of course, but it made me realize that in some ways blogging has made it more difficult for me to carry on these sorts of delicate conversations in my personal life.

Because here's the thing, Ryan's uncle probably wants to stop women from being raped just as much as I do. In no way do I think he's a bad person, but I couldn't stop myself from getting angrier and angrier. I noticed I started to get hot and my breathing became more erratic as I tried to calm myself down and speak rationally about why I believe this type of thinking is pretty reprehensible (which you should know by now if you've paid any attention to what I write here). But I just couldn't. Instead I kept saying the same thing over and over using different words in an attempt to get my point across while he did the same. Then I got angry that I was having this argument with someone in Ryan's family and it made me even more upset. It was when we were driving home that I realized I carry a lot of the baggage from the various conversations I've had online about this topic. Whenever I get into a conversation about rape, I now have a certain amount of anger that I can't seem to let go of. And that really sucks.

Always blame the victim, originally uploaded by mercurialn.

Don't get me wrong, I think I have a damn good reason to get angry over this sort of thing (as we all do). I just wish that I could have admitted that it was this sort of thinking that had made me deny my rape for so long and that for me this conversation is as personal as it gets. It's easy for these people to make vague comments without any sort of true concern about their own safety or the safety of others, but it doesn't work that way for me. We're talking about something I lived and not some faceless statistic. And yet, I never say that. Because I feel like I can't. That I shouldn't. That it isn't allowed. And that makes me even more angry about the whole thing.

I don't want to care that I may have acted like a crazy bitch to someone who essentially blamed women for being raped, but I do. I wish I didn't, but I really do in this case. And part of me thinks that is part of the problem with rape culture. Not only do I feel silenced, but I also feel like I shouldn't be angry about that silence. Sometimes I feel like the more I learn the less I can tolerate and sometimes I realize how high a price it is to not be ignorant. Then again I don't want to blame everything on rape culture, so maybe it's just me.

I really hope it's not just me.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mirrors of Privilege: Making Whiteness Visible

I know this documentary is kind of long, but I think it is really worth watching. Someone linked to it on Tumblr (man I just love Tumblr) and as a white person a lot of the comments really resonated with me. Part 4 is particularly good IMO.

Dan Savage and Sexting

A little while ago I talked about the PSAs by A Thin Line about sexting and how I was irritated with the way they focused solely on girls. In regards to that, I think this video is pretty point on:

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Women's Equality Day

I know everyone is talking about how today is the 90th anniversary of Women's Suffrage, but I don't have much to add. I do want to share this picture though:

Here's to another 90 years of not shutting the fuck up!

You Are Who You Sleep With

I saw this on Tumblr and I really liked it:


I think this is something that everyone has experienced in one form or another. Even if you are as straight as they come, the world around you still dissects and labels all or your partners and sexual experiences and turns it into this tidy little label that becomes part of who you are as a person. I can't tell you how many people I know who think of their sexuality as the main aspect of their personality. And while I wouldn't say that is necessarily wrong, it does seems kind of limiting.

We're all so much more than who we sleep with.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

The Revolution Is Postponed

McCain has won his primary challenge against J.D. Hayworth. It only cost him about 20 millions dollars and his self respect, but I guess politicians are used to that sort of thing.

I giggled when I read this though:
PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) – US Senator John McCain claimed victory in an Arizona primary, easily fending off a challenge seen as a test of the country's anti-incumbent mood as Americans decide in November who controls Congress.
Because of this:

Maddow definitely called it. She must be psychic.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Preschool and Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Just signed Holden up for preschool. I must be feeling zesty today because I not only signed him up for morning classes (and I HATE waking up before 10), but I also said I would volunteer 14 times in the classroom (before you think I've gone completely crazy, volunteering will save us $20 bucks a month).


Also, what is up with this stem cell research ruling? A couple of people want to bitch about grant competition and Christian adoptions and suddenly federal funding of embryonic stem cell research is ruled unconstitutional. wtf? These "embryos" (it's actually a blastocyst because it isn't considered an embryo until implantation) are medical waste. I wait patiently for the right to start screeching about this "activist judge." Guess their hypocrisy has become too comforting to even notice any more.

Monday, August 23, 2010

More about the "Ground Zero Mosque." That isn't a Mosque. Or at Ground Zero.

Alternative title: How a bunch of crazy white people think black equals Muslim.

I was getting my daily dose of news and politics when I came across this amazing little gem of a video. The video isn't high quality and it is pretty hard to understand what is happening, but you can tell that people are pissed and hone in on the one black man in the crowd.

From the Maddow Blog:
An African-American man, identified on YouTube as a union carpenter who works at Ground Zero, walks through the crowd and suddenly becomes the symbol of everything Islam. He protests that he's not Muslim and that the people chanting "No mosque here" don't know anything about him. They won't let up. Eventually we get to "He must have voted for Obama" and "Mohamed's a pig."

The man seems to be a target because the mob needs a target, and anyone who looks different from them will suffice.

Youtube description:
A man walks through the crowd at the Ground Zero protest and is mistaken as a Muslim. The crowd turns on him and confronts him. The man in the blue hard hat calls him a coward and tries to fight him. The tall man who I think was one of the organizers tried to get between the two men. Later I caught up with the man who's name is Kenny. He is a Union carpenter who works at Ground Zero. We discussed what a scary moment that was for him. I told him that I hoped it did not ruin his day.
Wow. Can we get these people some jobs so they don't have time to pick random black men to attack for looking Muslimish? Or as one commentator said, "To put it a little more bluntly, the mob is white, he's not. Welcome to post-racial America." This man apparently works at ground zero for fucks sake. And I'm not one for violence, but that guy in the green shirt looked like he could have used a good punch in the face. (Also, wasn't that guy in the blue shirt, who stopped the guy in the green shirt from starting shit, freggin huge? Holy smokes.)

Then again, I am kind of sympathetic. Them damn goatees sure do make it so confusing to play "spot the Muslim!" How ever shall we find the evil terrorists amongst us now?

As usual, Charlie Brooker really gets the point of it all:
According to a recent poll, one in five Americans believes Barack Obama is a Muslim, even though he isn't. A quarter of those who believe he's a Muslim also claimed he talks about his faith too much. Americans aren't dumb. Clearly these particular Americans have either gone insane or been seriously misled. Where are they getting their information?

Sixty per cent said they learned it from the media. Which means it's time for the media to give up.

Seriously, broadcasters, journalists: just give up now. Because either you're making things worse, or no one's paying attention anyway. May as well knock back a few Jagermeisters, unplug the autocue, and just sit there dumbly repeating whichever reality-warping meme the far right wants to go viral this week. What's that? Obama is Gargamel and he's killing all the Smurfs? Sod it. Whatever. Roll titles.
Seriously, what is the point of news media if they can't actually get the facts right? I don't think that is too much to ask do you? Even I make a considerable amount of effort to make sure I'm not just spouting off. And this is a blog. That I do as a hobby. While sitting in my pajamas. I feel like such a winner right now.

You can read the rest of Brooker's post here. I had to restrain myself from reposting the entire post. The beginning is just brilliant (especially the part about the minarets flipping people off).

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Femininity vs Masculinity

I just started a great book that I plan on reviewing as soon as I finish, but I wanted to share this quote:
After all, while most people assume that women are naturally feminine, they also (rather hypocritically) require them to spend an hour or two each day putting on their faces and getting all dressed up in order to meet societal standards for femininity (unlike men, whose masculinity is presumed to come directly from who he is and what he does). In fact, it's the assumption that femininity is inherently "contrived," "frivolous," and "manipulative" that allows masculinity to always come off as "natural," "practical," and "sincere" by comparison.
I'm in love already.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Birth Control, Sarah Palin, and Muslims (A Video)

This made me laugh:

Defending the Fight to Cast off a Conservative’s “Shackles”

Courtesy of Mrs. Sarah Palin's facebook:
Does anyone seriously believe that Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a racist? Anyone, I mean, who isn’t already accusing all conservatives, Republicans, Tea Party Americans, etc., etc., etc. of being racists?

Adversaries who have been trying to silence Dr. Laura for years seized on her recent use of the n-word on her show as she subsequently suggested that rap “artists” and other creative types like those producing HBO shows who regularly use the n-word could be questioned for doing so. Her intention in discussing the issue with a caller seeking advice was not to be hateful or bigoted. Though she did not mean to insult the caller, she did, and she apologized for it. Still, those who oppose her seized upon her mistake in using the word (though she didn’t call anyone the derogatory term) to paint her as something that she’s not. I can understand how she could feel “shackled” by those who would parse a single word out of decades of on-air commentary. I understand what she meant when she declared that she was “taking back my First Amendment rights” by turning to a new venue that will not allow others the ability to silence her by going after her stations, sponsors, and supporters.

I, and obviously many others, have been “shackled” too by people who play games with false accusations, threats, frivolous lawsuits, misreporting, etc., in an effort to silence those with whom they disagree. That’s why I tend to defend people who call it like they see it while others stop at nothing to shut them up. I learned this valuable lesson when the partisan obstructionists in my state tried to shackle, bankrupt, and destroy my family and supporters, and my record, with endless frivolous litigation when I returned from the Vice Presidential campaign trail. In order to shake off the shackles they wanted to paralyze us with, I handed the reins to another, much like Dr. Laura is doing, so that these obstructionists who hated a Commonsense Conservative agenda wouldn’t win. I didn’t retreat; I reloaded in order to fight for what is right on a fairer battlefield. So, more power to someone with good intentions who refuses to be shackled by their detractors when they are falsely accused of being racist.

Dr. Laura did not call anyone or any group of people the n-word. Curiously, the same criers over this issue didn’t utter a word when White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel called a group protesting the Obama Administration’s actions, “f***ing retards.” When this presidential spokesman uttered this term I commented that the President would be better off not including Emmanuel in his circle of advisers, and my opinion was based not just on the crude and disrespectful term Emmanuel used to label people, but because he too often gives the President very poor advice. I was called intolerant and narrow-minded by many on the Left for commenting on that issue. Many of these same Leftists are now spinning the Dr. Laura issue into something it is not. As usual, their hypocrisy and double standard applications are glaring.

- Sarah Palin
1. The First Amendment doesn't say you won't be criticized for what you say. How difficult is that for people to understand?

2. Using the word "shackled" about a white women who said the n-word 11 times, to a black caller, on radio is kind of disgusting. (She told the caller, "If you're that hypersensitive about color and don't have a sense of humor, don't marry out of your race." That is pretty fucking racist sounding to me.)

3. Quiting your job does not constitute some great victory. Please stfu.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The First Amendment Works Both Ways Sarah Palin

I can't find it in me to actually use my twitter account yet, but I do love having Sarah Palin's inanity just a button push away.

Like this gem:

So let's see, using the n-word eight eleven times is all great and jolly but building a Muslim community center on private property is a travesty? (Who is really a "constitutional obstructionist?")

Maybe Palin should be asking the same question she did regarding the "Mosque" decision:

Or as some random twitter user said about a totally different issue:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Women Aren't the Only Ones Who Use "Fat" As an Insult

I seem to more and more disappointed with Jezebel. Spending a full weekend unplugged from my internet fix has exacerbated a lot of these feelings and when I read "Calling Me Fat Is Insulting, But Not Why You Think" I had to wonder why I even continue to visit the site. Yes it is a handy one-stop-shop of news and commentary, but lately the quality of posts seem to be on the decline. (Then again, the quality of my posts have been on the decline as well so maybe August is just a shitty month.) What bothered me the most about this particular post though, was the way it actually glossed over the bigger issues of fat-shaming. What could have been the perfect opportunity to have a genuine conversation about whether or not being called "fat" is an insult, turned into basically an empty public "f-you." (I always get a kick when people take the time to post about how much they don't care about something.)

From the post:
This week I've been told—via several internet platforms—that I'm fat. I'm not offended by the insult. I'm offended by the idea that it's is a surefire way to hurt a woman's feelings. Can't you be more creative, internet?
Agreed. It is kind of like being told you'll never find a man or get married. Instead of being hurt or sad, all I can think is "that's the best you can do?"
Being told that I'm fat by strangers on the internet is nothing new to me, and while I grappled with it initially, my skin eventually became thicker than whatever's on my upper arms. After awhile, I learned to ignore such comments, but there's been a recent influx of them via email, Twitter, and Facebook. I think it might be because I was in a video I posted for the first time in a while. Or maybe it's because I recently wrote about being annoyed by all the fat jokes that were made of Lisa Lampanelli at David Hasselhoff's roast. Whatever the reason, this new barrage of attacks on my appearance really irked me, but not in the way they were intended.

My biggest beef with these kind of lowest-common-denominator taunts is that they're completely lacking in any ingenuity or intelligence. Also, while mocking someone's weight is meant to be a personal dig, it's actually impersonal. The "fat chick" thing is so overused and tiresome that it's really not specific enough to any one person. It's basically the form letter of insults.

And look, maybe I'm fat and maybe I'm not. The point is: I don't care. It's actually taken me nearly my entire life to get to this point of comfort with my body. And, ironically, being told that I'm fat doesn't hold any weight for me, personally.

What's upsetting to me is that I can tell that most of the comments are coming from women. (Because what dude gives a shit about women's arms or would feign worry over the baby I look to be pregnant with?) And that really upsets me because how can we ever be strong if we're always just going to play on each others' perceived weaknesses? How are we ever gonna get up if that's the way we get down?
First of all, being called "fat" should not be an insult because it is basically just an adjective. I'm white. I have red hair. I'm fat. None of these descriptions mean I'm less of a person or lesser in any way. The idea that being fat is somehow akin to being inferior is really the problem here, not random douche bags on the internet.

Fat, originally uploaded by Christi Nielsen.

Second, maybe I'm just dense but isn't calling some "unintelligent" also pretty lazy and uncreative? Don't get me wrong, I do it kind of a lot myself. But what I don't do is bitch about how unoriginal the world is while patting myself on the back for my own ingenuity.

And that brings me to the part of this post that irritated me the most; the assumption that women are pettier than men (because they would never be concerned with something as trivial as upper arm fat) and that women are supposed to be this giant sisterhood that stands united. The idea that women are "catty" or "bitchy," more so than men, is something that really pisses me off. Women are no pettier than men and I'm pretty sure pettiness is hardwired into our species. It has nothing to do with the fact that some of us have vaginas. Trying to reinforce this idea is actually pretty sexist when you think about it because it relies on the notion that when men fight with each other they have the right and authority to do so, but when women fight with one another they are stepping out of line or behaving irrationally (because there's no way a women could be pissed for perfectly valid reasons that have nothing to do with being overly emotional/jealous/petty/irrational). Assuming these people are women based solely on some idea that only women would stoop so low is what I actually find insulting; not some vague idea that women will never be truly equal because some people called one woman on the internet "fat."

The questions we should really be asking are why being called fat is such a travesty and why we conflate petty behavior with being female. Not the future of feminism.

There Is No 'Ground Zero Mosque'

Does anything else need to be said? This fake controversy is ridiculous as all hell.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Las Vegas Weekend Pictures

*cross posted*

Here are some pictures from my weekend in Las Vegas. I had a lot of fun but I didn't get to take nearly as many pictures as I would have liked.


I am putting the rest of the picture under the cut since there are kind of a lot.

continue reading...

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I decided to do a little roundup of some of the yummy things I've made lately since I won't be blogging for a few days. The nice thing about blogging about food is now I often step outside of my comfort zone and find new things to make. It helps turn a chore into something I look forward to doing every day.

Parmesan Crusted Chicken Picatta
Smokin’ Chicken Burger
7 Up Pound Cake
Grilled Raspberry-Chipotle Chicken Salad
Ravioli with Wild Mushroom Sauce

You can all the recipes and more here.

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I am in Vegas this weekend celebrating my sister's 21st birthday. I plan on posting pictures when I get back, so I'll just leave you with this:


You're welcome.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Lady is Dead

I have no idea what this is, but I love it:

The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts

I was wondering if anyone has read The Feminine Mistake - Should Women Sacrifice Careers for Family? by Leslie Bennetts. I saw the book referenced in a Jezebel comment and then I saw this video on youtube:

I agree with Bennetts that most people don't think of working to pay for child care as an investment, but I also think raising your children when they're small is an investment in their lives (if possible of course). And after reading this review by Joan Walsh I'm not sure if I should take the time to read it or not.

So, I was wondering if anyone of your random people in the interwebs has read The Feminine Mistake. If so, did you like it?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Only in America is helping someone commit suicide considered more morally acceptable than being gay.

Like everything Colbert does, this segment is ridiculous. I was a bit suprised to find that the gallop poll he is referencing is legit though.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Here is the poll results from gallup:


The answers to these questions have to do with morality and nothing to do with whether or not these situations should be legal or not, but I still can't believe that premarital sex and having a baby out of wedlock are considered worse then stem cell research and the death penalty. That's just crazy talk to me. And while I am glad that having an affair is rightly seen as morally wrong, to consider it worse than cloning humans is a tad much I think.

You can read the full poll here.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010