Thursday, October 23, 2008

Old friends

I recently discovered that an old high school classmate of mine is famous. Well, moderately so. I suppose it depends on the circles you run in. But she has originated several roles in musical theater in London and the United States, and has performed at the Tony Awards. And knows David Hyde Pierce personally.

I am soooooooooo proud for her!!!!! And jealous. Here she is, several years younger than me, doing what she loves, and not only well, but successfully. Intellectually I understand that she knew, long before I did, what she wanted to do with her life. And while I would have loved theater, I was neither talented enough nor confident enough to pursue that field. But she was. And she is succeeding.

Good for her!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I write letters

Prof. ******

I'm currently taking the cultural anthropology telecourse, ANT 221. While reading the chapter on economics, I noted this factoid on page 195, regarding Gerber babyfood being sold in Africa. "Only later did company officials learn that, in Africa, businesses routinely put pictures of the products themselves on the outside label, since many people cannot read." My husband and I thought that that sounded vaguely familiar, so I did some digging. This is what I found.

Long story short, this urban legend has been around since the 50's, though that time it was told from New Guinea, and the natives were seeing people USE babyfood, rather than having it marketed to them. But all the hallmarks are there - ignorant/illiterate foreigners who are too dumb to understand product labels. Similar stories have been told about Chinese individuals who purchased shortening thinking that it was fried chicken, because that's what the label on the can was of.

For a textbook that does such a wonderful job of highlighting ethnocentrism and bias, I was saddened and upset to find this example used in this textbook. There is no reason to believe that this incident actually occurred, and its plausability rests entirely upon our presumed superiority to other cultures. 

So I'm looking for guidance from you in how to most effectively address this, as I'm certain that neither the publisher nor the authors wish this to be perpetuated in the future. Thank you!


Thursday, October 02, 2008


I am now surrounded by people discussing how much is sucks that foreign nationals are telling us how to run our country. The same people who delight in French bashing, talking about how Mexicans shit in fields and that's why they won't eat peaches, and other insane shit.

My head hurts, and I want to scream.

Debate tonight

If I hear one more word about how Gwen Ifill is biased because of her book, and will therefore throw the VP tonight, I will vomit. All over the speaker. Naturally, this is all coming from my coworkers...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conservative coworkers

I know that Shakesville has addressed this in the past, but I'm stuck. Hard.

I like my coworkers. In their interactions with me they are kind, friendly, supportive, and pleasant. But I'm beginning to experience some cognitive dissonance. Because otherwise.....

I hear comments like (in response to a flaky client who happens to be a woman) "That's why we can't have a woman president!" Like the stories one of our resident doctors is telling about how hilarious it was that, while they were away at a teaching seminar, one of the foreign students said the word "horse" funny, so now they all say it that way at random intervals. Like how a fellow tech was explaining to me, quite earnestly, how she doesn't think that welfare should increase if you have more children, because "the money certainly isn't going to the kids!" (This from a person who told me that her MOTHER was on welfare while raising her and her siblings!!!!!)

I don't know how to handle this. I don't want to come off as a preachy wench. I'm working hard at presenting my positions as coming from a place of compassion. Not only because that's true, but because almost all of them are hardcore Christians, and supposedly should believe in that sort of thing. I push back when I can, not angrily, just disbelieveingly. But it's hard.

So here's my question, I guess. How do you handle the cognitive dissonance between people who you genuinely want to like, but still say douchey things? (This applies to my inlaws as well, now that I think about it....)

Sunday, June 08, 2008


A few weeks ago, a post on Shakesville touched on how hard it can be to be a woman in an online environment. We are harassed, threatened, ignored, catcalled - you name it, it's happened. While responding to that post, I mentioned that "I got all sorts of shit. Hey baby, are ya single? A/S/L?" in an MUD.

A troll responded that "Yes, because god knows that asking someone their age sex and location is offensive, calling someone baby is offensive (the women I know like it)..."

I had a quick, dashed off between appointments response, but I would like to elaborate on it.

"Baby" is not a compliment. "Baby" is a term for an infant, one who cannot care for themselves or make decisions for themselves. A compliment, to me, is something about MYSELF. Not a comment on my gender (which I have no control over) or my "hotness" (as perceived via an online avatar). Me. An aspect of my personality. Like "Wow, you listen to other very well" or "You have a great singing voice" or " You have a really deep understanding of positive reinforcement training."

Someone calling me "baby" because an online avatar of mine happens to be a woman is plain stupid, and is certainly not a compliment for ME. It's an insight into the commenter's view - that a woman is there for their enjoyment and, should they not be interesting enough or "flattered" by the "compliment" of their attention, to be scorned and insulted.

So, once again -- fuck you very much, troll. Whatever women you may know who "enjoy it", I'm not one of them. And you would best remember that many women aren't.


So, my baby sister graduated from high school last weekend. I am so very proud! We went back to Ohio for it, which I always enjoy. (Apparently I'm just a midwesterner at heart.) KarateMonkey was shocked at the size of the graduating class - 600+. His class was 35 or so. Mine (from the same school as my sister) was 520.

It was hard for me in some ways. I love my life right now. But.... Being at graduation was a reminder of how I felt those days - only 12 years ago. How the whole world was ahead of me, and how I was going to kick its ass and take some names. I never imagined the depression, the dropping out of school and losing a National Merit scholarship, the fights with my family, the fights with my (now ex) boyfriend, any of it. I never imagined being at this point in my life and not even having my associate's degree yet. Those memories were

But, as my beloved KarateMonkey said "All your choices up to now made you the woman I love. And I love you so very much." And he's right. If I had to go through all of that to find him - well, it was worth it.

It was also a good reminder of just how good an education I got. Between a generous AP curriculum, a diversity of electives, and extracurriculars out the wazoo, I was lucky. And so was my sister. She's got a leg up on life - here's hoping she uses it more efficiently than I did.

Monday, May 26, 2008


KarateMonkey's grandparents live in one of the towns leveled by the recent tornadoes in Iowa. His dad called early this morning to let us know about the tornado, as well as that everyone was okay. We'd like to go out there and help with the clean up, but right now they're only letting in residents of the towns in. We were watching video of the clean up today, and KarateMonkey says he doesn't recognize anything - it's all destroyed. His grandparents' house is just gone. Completely. Thankfully they're okay.

Red Cross is accepting donations, of course. Please give if you can.


Sorry, KarateMonkey has been hogging the computer for the last few days, getting his Oblivion fix. It's a good game, but he gets more fixated on stuff like that than I tend to. Well, let's be honest - his addiction is more intense, mine is longer lasting. 

We saw Indiana Jones today. The theater was PACKED, so we had to sit in the very front row. That kinda sucked. The movie was - meh. Parts were really fun, but parts were really annoying to me. Between plot holes and some really gratuitous CGI, I spent a lot of time saying "Seriously???!!!!"

Thursday, May 22, 2008


(at work)
"It's unfortunate that there isn't a way to say "natural selection" that doesn't imply evolution."

From a veterinarian.

Some days, I just cry a little bit inside.

And then I blog about it!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fed up

I am fed up. Fed up with sexism, misogyny, racism, homophobia. I am sick to fucking death of it. I am ready to vomit that such a large proportion of our society is prepared to swallow all sorts of bullshit, including the sexism that the Clinton campagin has endured; including the racism the Obama campaign has endured; including the homophobia that LGBTQ people have endured; all of it. I am sick to fucking death of all of it.

I'm sitting here, while I should be enjoying my new Flight of the Conchords cd, and instead I am raging inside at the rampant hatred and ignorance I see all around me. I am afraid something is broken in our society, and I don't know if it can be fixed.

I am a feminist. I am enraged. And I don't know what to do about it.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Growing up

My little sister has her senior prom this weekend, and is graduating from high school next weekend, from the same school I went to. Some of her teachers were my classmates. Needless to say, this makes me feel old and unhip.

I also feel like an imposter - I mean, I think people think I'm grown up! Can you imagine if they really knew me?? How I love to giggle at fart jokes? That I still want a pony with all my heart for every birthday and Christmas? That I still spend time scared and sad and mad and uncertain and awkward and all that shit we all thought we would grow out of, but somehow you don't get to? Little did we know it was just the human condition, except as a grown up, you have other shit to juggle, too. Mortgages and car payments and annoying bosses and shallow coworkers and privilege and the lawn and what's for dinner tonight and maybe we'll be not-tired enough to have sex tonight.

I want to warn my baby sister, to tell her that grownupness isn't all it's rumored to be. That she'll likely spend a great deal of time feeling like a kid playing dress up. That moving out doesn't equal certainty and equilibrium and some Friends episode where the guy you love finally figures out to love you back. I don't want to scare her - I just don't want her to feel the same disappointment I did when I started to figure it out.

But I also don't want her to miss out on the joys of it. Discovering that you can leave your dirty dishes in the sink if you want, goddamit! Choose what you want to watch. Go to bed when you feel like it. Meet people who have been places you've never even heard of, stay up talking to someone just because you can. Learn what brings you peace, what gives you comfort, what makes your heart sing.

No, not scared. Just aware. Knowing that, while her big sister is here for her, I don't have a ton of answers, either. I'm still just a kid looking for my path, too. But I've tried to leave markers for her. Here's hoping they're visible.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


I'm so moody today. I feel depressed, but no real reason why. A little lonely, but I have company -- and excellent company at that! I'm just feeling sorry for myself. Which is a terrible time to blog. But I said I'd blog dammit! so here I am. Whee.

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Last summer, our gardening didn't go all that well. We had some upside-down tomato planters, which were cool, but Buffy ate all the green tomatoes off of them. (She shat seeds for a week.) Our herbs did okay, but they were in containers on the deck, which made them vulnerable to knockage by us and by animals, and the containers didn't drain well. And our solitary basil plant just couldn't keep up with our pesto needs. And all the decorative stuff I planted died an ignominious death from lack of sun and/or attention.

So this year, we are doing things differently. We bought all our ornamentals (except my morning glories) at a native plant sale. And we're doing our veggies and herbs in a square foot garden. This has been very nice so far, since our soil here is basically clay filled with little rocks. We have 3 tomato plants, 2 basil, 3 hot pepper (one mistakenly purchased from the bell pepper shelf), 1 bell pepper, 2 cilantro, and I just planted the seeds for sweet onions, parsley, and garlic chives. Ideally we will have a good enough harvest to make our own tomato sauces and salsa, and KarateMonkey wants to try hot  sauce (if the peppers turn out okay).

We also bought some trellises for our clematis (clematii?). Two are at the front of the house, and I just planted one in the back. The front yard one has been mowed several times, since KarateMonkey didn't realize I liked it. The one at the immediate front of the house is just a baby, but I hope by training it vertically I can get some really flashy flowers out of it. And the one in the back is, at the moment, wishful thinking. Ah well.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New dog

About a year ago, we adopted another dog. This was on top of our existing dog and three cats, as well as assorted fish. I wanted a friend for Emma (good dog), plus she's getting older, and I knew that I would cope with her eventual passing better if we had another dog around.

So we went to the shelter, just to look. Well, I knew better. KarateMonkey I think believed that was all we were going to do. But he made the mistake of reading their stories on their cages... Suddenly, instead of a medium-sized male dog, we were looking at an adorable female boxer mix named "Serenity", who was billed as shy and sweet. We took her out for a visit and liked her well enough. We decided to bring Emma by the next day, and if they got along okay, to adopt her. All went well at the meet-up, and we had a new dog.

Little did we know that Serenity was a terrible misnomer. While she may have been shy as a newly rescued stray, she got over it quickly. Suddenly we had a boisterous year old dog bouncing around the house! Her housebreaking was dubious at best, we didn't know any of her history, and she chewed. A LOT. That was tough.

She also went through a bout of terrible kennel cough immediately after she came home. This was followed by going into heat (we had to postpone her spay due to the kennel cough), slicing open a paw pad, eating a bottle of calamine lotion, and eating my two favorite pairs of heels.  Freaking dog.

But she is a sweet dog. Her entire body wags when we come home, and she adores Emma. She will play fetch or tug for hours, and is scary smart. (Unfortunately, she is also stubborn!) She can pick up a basketball in her mouth, though it gets stuck and she has to paw it out (she can't open her mouth any further!) And we adore her. 

BTW, Buffy is a Joss Whedon reference. Coming to us with a name like Serenity, what else could we do? Kaylie didn't fit, and Zoe was what my ex wanted to name a kid. And Fred would have made for too many explanations, but would otherwise be perfect.

I also just spent 5 minutes looking up whether or not tulips are toxic, as she proceeded to eat the petals off of several in the yard. Fortunately it sounds like the bulbs are the problem. Thank god for ASPCA poison control....

So, without further ado - Buffy Marie!


I like my new coworkers. Really, I do. They are kind to me, and understanding about how it can be hard to be the new kid, and enjoy my geeky humor. They are compassionate to our patients and clients, which makes me happy. And they do good medicine, which is ever so important to me.

But their casual cruelty in their language, in their thoughts, in their oblivious privilege, make me sick. I have had one person suggest (jokingly? I couldn't really tell, or bear to pursue it) that the earthquakes in China are "God starting some population control." Another has, on separate occasions, referred to Mexicans, gays, and a Jamaican in a way that assumed I would know he meant someone off. Wrong. Lesser. I just kept saying "And?" Trying to get him to say what he was implying, or at least make him think about it. My direct supervisor is DEEPLY evangelical Christian, as well as a Fox News advocate. He tried to tell me the other day that Fox just "balances out the rest of the liberal media, and that's why they're biased." I countered that, if you're going to be biased, at least own it. Don't pretend to be objective. I may have made some ground there. Maybe.

It's hard. Hard to censor myself every day. Hard to like these people sometimes, and other times want to scream and cry in frustration. I don't want to look for another job - in a lot of ways, it's a very good one. But I think I'm going to have to spend extra time at my favorite liberal blogs, just to remind myself that I'm not alone. Thank goodness.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

New Job

One of the recent developments in my life is (yet another) new job. Last summer I left my day practice veterinary hospital for a temporary job at a (somewhat) nearby zoo. It was amazing, and amazingly frustrating. Part of the frustration was the 75-90 minute drive one way; another part was being told that I was "too sarcastic". The biggest part was that, though I felt I was being responsible and staying in the hospital and doing work rather than going along and just observing procedures, this apparently made people wonder if I was "interested in animals." No, asshole, I drive this far 5 days a week so that I can be around things I hate. Christ.

When I left there I went to a multi-specialty practice much closer to home. A friend of mine was a doctor in the department I was going to, so I had high hopes. Unfortunately I had little -- actually, nothing -- in common with my coworkers, no patience for the BS in the rest of the hospital, and ethical disagreements with some of the things I saw being done around me. So I left there in mid-April.

So now I'm at yet ANOTHER specialty practice. However, it's a new specialty to me, and I'm learning cool stuff. My coworkers are nice, though at various places on the conservative spectrum. I'm working to change minds, though! I'm calling people out on blatant sexism and racism, and it seems to be working. So I have sorta high hopes. Which I worry about, because it's not unusual for those to get dashed, particularly when it comes to work.

Far too long

... since I've posted here. J. Goff noted this earlier, as he wished us a happy anniversary. From last year. The nice thing about anniversaries is that they come around at the same time every year, so it was still appropriate.

It was hard to blog there for a while. Part of that was simply lack of time. I was working too much, and unhappy when I came home, so I didn't much feel like writing. Part of it is also insecurity. There is very little that I can say that hasn't been said better elsewhere in the liberal blogosphere. So, rather than making this uberpolitical and trying to cover all the newsworthy stuff -- I'm going more personal. Stuff that pisses me off, that makes me happy, that I wonder about.

Why start back up? Well, I got some very good advice from an excellent blogger a few months ago. "Don't think every post has to be the next great American novel - just sit down and write something. Every day. It works."

So that's the goal. Every day. Something. I think I can do it. Especially if KarateMonkey helps, the lazy shmuck.