Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anyone out there remember their phonetics?

My inner child and I were trying to think of the naughtiest-sounding phoneme name we could, and came up with lingual-labial fricative.

I know this doesn't exist in English, but if it did exist what would it be? Wouldn't it be like blowing a raspberry?

I hope it is like blowing a raspberry, because that would give it maximum comedic potential.

"Hey baby, you want a lingual-labial fricative?" ***phllllbt***

Now I really think the Burmese panty superstition is false

I previously blogged that I wanted a fact check on the superstition that Burmese men believe contact with women's undies takes away their power. Today in the Star, Antonia Zerbisias writes about it:
According to the Thailand-based Lanna Action for Burma, senior general Than Shwe, whose troops bludgeoned unarmed monks and nuns, is very superstitious. The dictator and his minions "believe that contact with a woman's panties or sarong can rob them of their power."

Doesn't matter if the lingerie is clean or dirty, the fact that it's feminine makes it emasculating.

(Not that it stops Burma's state-sanctioned rape.)

Her quote is from the same organization my research turned up, so that doesn't count as an independent fact-check. But the state-sanctioned rape is new (to me) information, and is readily confirmed by Google.

This really makes me think that the panty superstition is false. Because how on earth do you rape someone if you're afraid of their undergarments?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Sometimes symptom relief is enough

This article seems to be missing the point.

It criticizes the use of cough and cold medicines on the basis that they don't make the patient get over the cold any faster.

But they don't have to.

All they have to do is temporarily relieve the symptoms, whether in reality or through placebo effect, for long enough for the patient to fall asleep at night. And both the yummy orange Triaminic that I took as a child and the hideous green Nyquil that I take now as an adult do this successfully.

I would find it very difficult to believe that having a proper night's sleep doesn't speed up the healing as compared with a restless fitful night. But even if it doesn't make things faster, if you can fall asleep and stay asleep for a good 8 hours (or more if you're a small child), that at least puts you out of your misery for a while, and you get hours of quiet restful bliss rather than hours of miserably struggling to breathe whilst your brains leak out your nostrils in mucus form.

Surely there are some days when that's quite enough to ask of our medicine?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Things I noticed today

1. When I wear a cami under my blouse, I'm far more inclined to get a wedgie - even though the underwear and pants are the same!

2. When I was in uni I lived in a co-ed res with co-ed group bathrooms, and I was perfectly fine with this. So in theory and as a matter of principle, I would have no problem with a man being in a public bathroom while I'm in there. However, in the building where I work we have gender-segregated public bathrooms, and standard operating procedure is that the cleaning people knock and make sure no one is in there before they enter the bathroom of the other gender. But when I'm in the bathroom and a male cleaner knocks, or I enter the bathroom and a male cleaner is there, I don't tell him "No, go ahead, keep doing your job, it doesn't bother me," even though it doesn't bother me. It seems like it could be misinterpreted as a come-on or something. It's like I don't mind a man being in the bathroom, but I'm concerned about what a man might think of me if I tell him I don't mind him being in the bathroom. Which is really odd.

3. They have candy canes at Shoppers Drug Mart! It isn't even Halloween yet! I could buy candy canes and give them to trickertreaters! I considered that too, but if I bought candy canes in October I'd be creating a market for candy canes in October, and that's the sort of thing I'm trying to avoid.

4. Speaking of stores and holidays, I've noticed that Halloween decorations are far less giant spider themed this year than in past years. Well done!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold...

Edited to add for all the people who are getting here from google: This song is The Way by Fastball

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Things that piss me off

I don't particularly enjoy xmas. It's so long and drawn out and noisy and "OMG, everyone must be happy because this is the happiest time of the year!" all for a celebration of the birth of the messiah of a religion that I don't believe in.

What pisses me off is people telling me that I should celebrate and enjoy (as though you can just enjoy something because someone tells you to) xmas because it isn't really a xian holiday, it actually has Pagan roots.

But I'm not Pagan either! The fact that it has Pagan roots is completely irrelevant! So a holiday in one religion I don't believe in actually has roots in another religion I don't believe in? If they discovered that Ramadan had Buddhist roots, would everyone suddenly start fasting during Ramadan?

It also seems to me that this line of reasoning might be a bit disrespectful to Pagans, although I can't quite articulate why.


Not a thing that pisses me off, just an observation resulting from a long and winding train of thought that came to me before I hit Publish Post:

I make no secret of the fact that I have a negative view of my former religion. I figure as someone who was once on the inside, I'm entitled. I've been there, I've lived it, I've given it really quite a lot of thought including a full-fledged crisis of faith, and I've come to the conclusion that it's a negative thing. Not everyone's going to agree with me, but I don't care; I know whereof I speak.

What I find odd is that people judge me for being anti-xian in exactly the same way they'd judge an outsider who had never been exposed to xianity for being anti-xian. They view my negative assessment of the religion I grew up in, studied, wrestled with, carefully examined, and ultimately decided to leave (entailing some family drama) as being just as intolerant as a negative assessment coming from someone who has never even heard of the contents of John 3:16. To me, that sounds like considering the following to scenarios perfectly equal:

"I'm heard of that Bob fellow, and I HATE HIM!"
"You are so judgemental!"


"I was married to Bob for 15 years, and he was an abusive husband who made my life miserable. I HATE HIM!"
"You are so judgemental!"

I've been trying to figure out if there's anything comparable other than religion where this can happen, where an insider's negative assessment is considered just as unjustly judgemental as an outsider's. I can't think of anything offhand.

I can see myself blink!

The LCD display on my new phone has a bit of a delay. So if I stand in front of a mirror with the lens of the camera pointing at myself and the LCD display pointing at the mirror, I can see myself blink in the reflection of the LCD! That is so weird!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Mindfuck of the moment

Me in conversation: "...and I'm wearing liquid eyeliner. Now, I know what you're thinking, but I have heavy black brows and lashes so I can in fact carry it off."

Which gives me an idea for a mindfuck: say to people "I know what you're thinking, but..." then add something completely irrelevant.

"...and I think the elastics are getting stretched out. Now, I know what you're thinking, but San Diego isn't anywhere near Sacramento."

"...and he said their marriage is essentially over and they're just getting tied up in the divorce process. Now, I know what you're thinking, but red light has a longer wavelength than blue light."

"I do like to put ice in the martini glass itself. Now, I know what you're thinking, but I do have a lot of trouble washing windows without getting streaks."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Coercion and other big words

This train of thought started in this post of mine from last week, which took me to this article in Salon (possibly NSFW - talks about sex and there's a picture of a couple in bed).

This all got me thinking about the one concept that's missing from our debate about age of consent laws, and is also missing from debate about polygamy, and debate about sex work.

That word is coercion.

What our laws tend to do is if we don't want people to be coerced into doing something, we make that thing illegal - generally in a way that punishes the alleged coercer while treating the alleged coercee as a victim. Which is perfectly appropriate if it is, in fact, a case of coercion, but needlessly punishes people if the situation is in fact perfectly well-informed and consensual.

What our laws should be doing is making it illegal to coerce people into doing these things, while making it perfectly legal to do them willingly. If the laws aren't succeeding in doing this, the laws must be rewritten so that they do succeed, rather than taking away people's rights to consensually and fully-informedly do something that doesn't hurt anyone else, or casting competent people as ignorant victims. Is this an easy thing to legislate? Hell no! I wouldn't know where to begin on wording it! But we can all grok the concept. We can all scrunch up our brains and think for a bit and picture how, say, a fully-informed consensual polygamous marriage could exist. And because we the concept readily exists, there must be some way to word it to create legislation that allows for personal freedom that doesn't harm others, but prevents coercion.

Since one of the key points in my original post was that my 14-year-old self was capable of making an informed decision about whether to have sex, I then found myself thinking about how she'd handle the concept of coercion. I am certain that I would have known at that age whether or not I was being coerced, but what I'm not certain on is whether I'd be able to articulate that concept to others. I don't remember if I knew the word coercion at that age or not, and it's a difficult concept to articulate if you don't have the word.

Then I found myself thinking that there are a lot of concepts that you meet in early adolescence that are very difficult to articulate, but it's very necessary to tell someone if they're happening. Examples:

etc. etc. etc.

It would be very helpful at about the age of 11 to know these words, just so you can put a name on your experience. Compare: "He's sexually harassing me!" vs. "He's...saying things to me!"

Now some of these concepts are simple enough that they could be taught as vocabulary words. But others are more difficult. Harassment and abuse, for example, you'd need to give a certain amount of training so the kids would recognize the scope of the words. (And this is nothing against kids, I've heard adults that don't grok the concepts either. Once someone wrote a letter to the editor saying that the fact that Sheila Copps didn't concede Liberal Party leadership to Paul Martin was sexual harassment). And training the kids on what exactly does constitute abuse/harassment/etc. could also result in problems, because the prospective perps would be taking the training as well as the prospective victims. They'd know exactly what their victims know, and may be able to use it to their advantage. This happened when I was in school - in grade 7 we had training on how to resist peer pressure, complete with role-playing. So then in grade 9, when I tried to casually continue socializing with my so-called friends without taking up smoking, they recognized the technique I'd used in grade 7 Guidance class for casually continuing socializing without eating any of the Doritos, and called me on it. But at the same time, it would also be useful to everyone to learn that because certain behaviour constitutes harassment/abuse, it is unacceptable. It's a tricky line and I don't know where exactly it lies. Hopefully someone does.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

New word: squeam

Squeam (verb): the kind of weird cringe you do when someone tells you something that makes you squeamish.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


My new cellphone arrived. It has a still and video camera and apparently can connect to the internet. And it is small enough that I palm it in my hand such that no one will see it unless they're specifically looking for it. And it is a starter phone - the cheapest one currently available. And it was unexpected delivered COD, but it was cheap enough that I was able to pay for it with the emergency cash I keep stashed in my apartment.

I love the 21st century!

Going to hell

Similar letters from Cary Tennis, Dear Prudence, and Damage Control: religious kids who think their non-religious parents are going to hell.

Here's something I don't get, and I say this as a former religious child myself: why would you care if someone else is going to hell? The only reason I can possibly think of is because you want them to be in heaven with you. But surely any deity worth being worshipped as a deity can arrange things so that you have everyone you need for a heavenly heaven experience, while everything deserving of a hellish hell experience experiences just that. (In fact, just to make things easier, maybe some people's hellish hell experience is being trapped for eternity with their evangelical relatives!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Anyone watching Corner Gas right now?

Today's episode of Corner Gas looks different than usual, like it's lit differently or filmed differently or something. Anyone else see it?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

"Dumbledore's Gay!" for Dummies

Are you a non-HP fan who might sometime feel the need to comment on the recent revelation that Dumbledore is gay? Are you an HP fan who doesn't feel like rereading but still wants to be able to comment intelligently? This post is for you! Questions are sorted from complete non-fan at the top to more fannish at the bottom, so start at the top and proceed downwards until you've got all the information you need. I haven't done a full reread yet, just picked and chosen sections based on the Lexicon, so if I have missed anything please post in the comments and let me know.

Wait, what just happened?

At her recent reading at Carnegie Hall, Harry Potter author JK Rowling replied to a fan's question by mentioning Dumbledore (the kindly elderly wizard who was Headmaster of Hogwarts and Harry's mentor) was gay.

How on earth does that subject come up?

A fan asked if Dumbledore had ever fallen in love. The answer was yes, with Grindelwald. As both Dumbledore and Grindelwald happen to be male, this prompted the outing of Albus Dumbledore. The important character information is really that Dumbledore was in love with Grindelwald, but "Dumbledore's Gay!" makes a much better headline.

The books are over, how is any of this relevant?

The question is relevant because a major theme of the book is that love is powerful enough to overcome evil. Dumbledore was a strong proponent of this philosophy, so it's only natural to wonder if he has ever been in love.

The answer is relevant because Grindelwald was the bad guy who came before Voldemort (Voldemort being the head villain in the Harry Potter books). If Voldemort is Hitler, then Grindelwald is the Kaiser (although somewhat more evil). In Book 1 we learn that it was Dumbledore who defeated Grindelwald, and in Book 7 we learn that decades earlier Dumbledore and Grindelwald were close friends decades earlier, but Dumbledore ended the friendship because Grindelwald was getting too evil. The fact that they were lovers sheds significant light on Dumbledore's character and decisions.

So why wasn't this mentioned in any of the books? It seems kind of tacked on.

The books are written from Harry's point of view. Harry is a student at Hogwarts, and Dumbledore is the Headmaster. As such, Harry is not privy to Dumbledore's personal life, any more than you were privy to the personal life of your high school principal. There was simply no room to mention Dumbledore's love affair from over 100 years ago.

But why didn't JK Rowling mention it earlier? Funny that she waited until all the books were published and sold...

This is the first time she was asked. JK Rowling doesn't make unilateral announcements about her characters, but she does answer fan questions. This is the first time since the publication of Book 7 that anyone has asked about Dumbledore's private live. Mentioning it before Book 7 would have been a spoiler, because Harry learning about Dumbledore's youth is part of a key plot point in Book 7. JKR did tell the screenwriter when an early draft of one of the movies had Dumbledore mentioning a girl he once loved.

But shouldn't it have come up in Rita Skeeter's book?

I can see two options here:

1. It was mentioned in the book, but Harry didn't read the whole thing. As a point of characterization, Hermione would be likely the read the whole thing, but I can't find any specific mention of whether Harry (or Hermione) actually did. If I'm wrong about this, please correct me.

2. Rita Skeeter didn't find out about it in her research. The excerpt from Rita Skeeter's book concerning Dumbledore's relationship with Grindelwald is in Chapter 18, The Greater Good, of Deathly Hallows. Her only source there is some letters and an interview with Grindelwald's great-aunt, Bathilda Bagshot. It is quite possible she didn't know about their romance - after all, if you're 18 years old and having a romance, do you tell your great-aunt all the sexy details? Dumbledore was about 150 years old when he died, and his relationship with Grindelwald took place when he was about 18 and lasted only a few months. Neither man was famous yet. So to learn about their romance, Rita Skeeter would have to find someone who remembers what two unremarkable (if brilliant) 18-year-olds were doing in private over 130 years ago.

So does this mean Dumbledore was in the closet? What does this have to say about the wizarding world's attitude towards homosexuality?

I think Dumbledore was in the closet about his romance with Grindelwald, but not necessarily because it was a gay relationship. I think it's because Grindelwald was evil! If you met an old man who was once Hitler's lover, your first thought wouldn't be "No need to keep it secret, society's much more open about homosexuality these days."

So in terms of the wizarding world as a whole, I think there are three possible interpretations here:

1. The wizarding world is so open-minded that no one felt the need to point out that Dumbledore's gay or mention it as something scandalous.
2. The wizarding world is so closed-minded that Dumbledore was highly closeted and no one ever found out.
3. Dumbledore successfully closeted his relationship because it was with an evil dictator (before even arriving at the question of sexual orientation) so we can't read anything about the wizarding world's attitude towards homosexuality into this particular.

Have I missed anything? Is there anything in the books I forgot to take into account? Post in the comments and let me know!

Locking the door

Sometimes people say of small towns that they're "So safe you can leave your door unlocked."

This made me think: how much good does locking the door actually do?

Someone comes to break into your house. They try the door. It's locked. Do they go away? Or, being the type of person who wants to break into a house, do they know how to pick the lock or break the door down or break a window? What percentage of people who want to break into a house are unable/unwilling to pick a lock or physically break in?

However, I continue to lock my door. Not because I expect that potential burglars/attackers will be stopped by a locked door, but because it will slow them down and make some noise. Hopefully this will alert me in time to grab the phone, look through the peephole, dial 911, and maybe be prepared with a blunt object or a knife or some chemicals to spray in their eyes or something. But honestly, I don't think it's going to be a full deterrent to that many people.

Shyness as selfish

I recently heard someone say that shyness is inherently selfish, because if you're shy you're overly concerned about what other people think about you, as though you're so fucking special that people are paying attention to every single little detail about you.

Thing is, empirical evidence suggests that for a huge chunk of my life, they were. In elementary school and middle school and early high school, my peers tormented me for so many tiny stupid things that you'd think would go unnoticed. Because my jeans were the same shade of blue as the jeans of an uncool guy in the class. Because the lines on my forehead form a sort of square when I furrow my brow. Because, if I wear the waistband of my pants at my waist (this is the 80s), it is very close to my ribs (because I'm shortwaisted). Because I walk quickly. Because my mother also walks quickly. Because my mother's prettier than I am. Because I was seen walking around on the driveway of my parents' house in a pair of heels (testing if I could walk in them). Because I was seen standing next to the principal of the other high school while we were both waiting to cross a street. Because I was seen alone on the playground. Because I was seen talking to a boy named Mike on the playground. Because I finished the math worksheet before any of the other girls in the class. Because I did a cannonball into the swimming pool, even though everyone else was doing cannonballs and to this day I have no idea why they singled me out. Because I generally have good posture. Because I was smiling. Because I wasn't smiling. Because I uttered a five-syllable word (even though two of the syllables were just morphemes making it into an adverb).

From preschool to probably the middle of high school - a good 10 years of my life - I would randomly get tormented for strange bizarre miniscule things like this. I couldn't anticipate what would get me tormented - I felt like every aspect of my life was up to scrutiny and if I broken any of the unspoken rules I'd be punished, and empirical evidence backed this up. If this happened now I might call the tormenter on it - "Why are you so obsessed with what colour my socks are? You really need to get a hobby!" - but as a kid I was surrounded by this every day so I had no idea that it wasn't normal. So you can see why I might be painfully shy.

I'm only just beginning to recover from this, and what it took to recover was 10 years of being treated with basic human respect to outweigh the 10 years of being constantly scrutinized. And that I was only able to achieve by having been fortunate enough to develop a few solid friendships that are independent of my environment (so I don't necessarily need to make friends with classmates/coworkers/neighbours), and by moving away from family and the place where I grew up to a busy neighbourhood in a big city where everyone is busy with their own lives. People who live in small towns, or in the town where they grew up, or surrounded by relatives, or who need to have friendships in their neighbourhood or workplace, might still find themselves subject to this scrutiny, or might be more strongly affected by this scrutiny whether or not it exists.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Things They Should Invent: study of introverts living in nursing homes

When I hear about what life is like in nursing homes, I dread it. Even if the care is exemplary, it would be hell for me because I am an introvert. Rather than having their own shower, nursing home patients are bathed (because they can't do it themselves). Health care workers come check up on them in the middle of the night. Their lives are necessarily regimented because the institution is, well, institutional - they have to wake up and go to bed and eat and be bathed at a specific time rather than whenever they want.

For me, that's no way to live. I get great joy - yes, joy is le mot juste - from sleeping in as long as my body needs to, having a ridiculously long shower and doing some of my best thinking in the pseudo sensory-deprivation that ensues, then eating whatever I want whenever I want at my own pace. I call this process rebooting my brain, and it's an essential part of staying sane and personable enough that people don't defenestrate me. Another thing that's important is being able to completely let my guard down. I cannot completely let my guard down when another person (apart from mi cielito) is in the room, or may enter the room. I could never let my guard down at my parents' unless I was home alone, and my personality suffered for it. If I lived in a nursing home where there were no locks on the doors (which is normal, according to a PSW friend of mine) I could never let my guard down, at all, ever, for the rest of my life. That's not a life worth living, that's just being kept alive.

Someone should do a study on how nursing home conditions affect introvert patients, whether they're significantly worse off than extrovert patients, and maybe come up with new care models to help people preserve their psychological privacy. I tried googling, but the results were tainted by non-scientific definitions of "introvert" - people who think the word means shy or quiet or nervous or doesn't want to go to the potluck, rather than the technical definition of being energized by being alone.

Things They Should Invent: don't heat the subway

They're always talking about how the TTC can save money. Here's my thought: don't heat the subway. Or perhaps heat it a little, but set the thermostat to 10 degrees or something.

Why? Because if the outdoor weather demands a coat, everyone is wearing a coat when they go into the subway. If it's heated to 20 degrees, everyone gets sweaty, which in uncomfortable and unpleasant and inconvenient. In the spring and fall, I find myself actually taking off my jacket as soon as I enter the station just to avoid being soaked in sweat when I arrive at work. Given that everyone dresses for outdoors whenever they leave the house, I seriously doubt anyone would notice if, in the winter, subways were at a temperature where you need a jacket. I think you should be able to take your gloves off so you can read or do your homework or play video games without your fingers freezing, so some heat might be necessary if it's like -20 outside, but if it's 10 or maybe even 0 I don't think we need it.

Now air conditioning is very necessary in the summer, because the trains themselves generate heat in the stations, and all the bodies generate heat in the trains. But I don't think heat is nearly as necessary, especially when it's like 15 degrees out.

Best. Ship. EVER!

I would love to know if anyone in fandom predicted this! No, seriously, go read it!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Burma and panties

It seems people are mailing panties to Burmese embassies to protest the military junta.

The manoeuvre is a calculated insult to the junta and its leader, General Than Shwe. Superstitious junta members believe that any contact with female undergarments - clean or dirty - will sap them of their power, said Jackie Pollack, a member of the Lanna Action for Burma Committee.

"Not only are they brutal, but they are also very superstitious. They believe that touching a woman's pants* or sarong will make them lose their strength," Ms Pollack told Guardian Unlimited.

*I'm pretty sure this is the British use of pants to mean underwear.

I would really love a fact check on this superstition. Everything I can google up cites this same source - representatives of this organization trying to run this campaign - and googling the organization just turns up more articles about panties. I can't find anything from before this campaign started.

I have some old underwear that I could stand to get rid of, I could even arrange for traces of menstruation if that would help, and frankly I think it's a hilarious protest if its basis is actually true. But, given that there are weirdos out there who would pay money for used women's underwear, I don't want to send my underwear out to strangers unless I am more certain that it would produce the desired effect.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bizarre dream sequence

When my alarm went off this morning, I couldn't open my eyes so I decided to skip exercising and sleep for another hour. I promptly fell back asleep and had an extremely vivid dream - everything from the colours to the plot to the emotions were way stronger than usual. Then I woke up. Five minutes had passed. So I closed my eyes again and had another extremely vivid dream. Then I woke up. Five minutes had passed. So I closed my eyes again and this happened again.

This went on for a full hour and a half. Extremely vivid dreams, each five minutes long. The weird thing is, when I woke up in between, I couldn't get out of bed. I could sit up and look at the clock, but I was somehow incapable of rolling out of bed and starting my day.

Nothing like this has ever happened before. I quite enjoyed the dreams though. I wish I knew how to make them happen again.


On the Environment Canada Weater Office page, there's a banner ad (in Tory blue, which isn't part of the Enviro Canada colour scheme) linking to the Throne Speech.

Isn't that odd? Does that sort of partisan cross-promotion on a politically neutral page strike you as a bit, I don't know, crass and unbecoming government?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Age of consent

The big omnibus crime bill the conservatives want to pass includes, among many many things, raising the age of consent from 14 to 16.

I am strongly, almost viscerally, opposed to this.

As with most issues involving children, I look at this by putting myself in the kid's shoes and remembering my thought processes at that age. I was not yet ready to have sex on my 14th birthday, but I was ready to have sex before my 16th birthday. However, and this is the important part, on my 14th birthday I was perfectly capable of deciding for myself that I was not yet ready to have sex. Apart from medical advances in the past 12 years, I had the same information then that I do today, and was able to use the same reasoning then to determine that I was not yet ready for sex as I use today to determine that loving sex with mi cielito is a good idea while jumping the homeless guy who shouts stuff at me is a bad idea. This reasoning has served me well - I've never had sex that I ended up regreting - so I have no reason to believe that 14- and 15-year-olds are incapable of deciding for themselves whether to consent to sex.

They say the purpose of raising the age of consent is to protect kids from sexual exploitation, but it's degrading and paternalistic to do this by passing a law saying that people are not capable of making a decision they are perfectly capable of making. The existing law already raises the age of consent to 18 for situations in which one party is in a position of power or authority, rape and pimping (I forget the the legal term) and other similar stuff are already illegal - surely any capable legislator can close any existing loopholes without declaring competent people legally incompetent.

But the weird thing about this issue is it's very difficult to speak out against raising the age of consent without sounding creepy. I've heard other people do it, and they almost all came across as creepy, like they wanted to have the right to have sex with grade 9 students for their own personal purposes. So because of this, even though I'm so strongly opposed to raising the age of consent, I'm very hesitant to speak out. I don't even know if I've managed to succeed in not coming across as creepy here, I only dare speak out here because I'm not using my real name and I have a proven track record of prudishness. I just wish it were easier and more appropriate to speak out against.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Lassie on Whose Line

Watch everyone on the entire show turn to smiley mush:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Words words words

Play a word game, donate free rice to hungry people.

I donated 2180 grains before I got tired of playing (I don't know if the game ends or goes on forever), and the highest level I reached was level 44, although I tend to hover around level 40 on average.

I'd expect this would be significantly harder for people who don't speak as many foreign languages, unless you go around memorizing huge lists of vocabulary instead of determining the meaning of words from their etymology.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Things They Should Have Invented: MMP information at polling stations

Even though I felt innundated with information about MMP, I've heard quite a few stories of people getting their referendum ballot and being all "WTF is this?" but the polling station employees weren't allowed to explain it to them.

What they should have done is have literature with non-partisan information about the two systems available at the polling stations. So when people went WTF, they could look at a pamphlet (and go home and google and come back if necessary) and then vote somewhat more informedly.

My inner child on security cards

Both the building where I live and the building where I work have those security cards that you wave in front of a sensor, then the sensor beeps and unlocks the door.

I've noticed that we invariably describe it as "beeping the thing."

Which has glorious potential to sound dirty.

"Could you do me a favour and beep me? My hands are full so I can't get my thing out."

"My thing won't beep today for some reason. It took three tries before it worked."

"You can beep without taking your thing out of your pants?" "Yeah, if the thing is sensitive enough."

More information please

I'm not following this.

She wired the money to her boyfriend. Her boyfriend wired the money back to her. They showed the scammer the receipt, but the wiring was between her and her boyfriend. Unless I've read it wrong repeatedly, they never actually wired money to the scammer. So how exactly did the scammer get their money? Is there banking information that allows your identity to be stolen on a moneygram receipt? Is there some kind of password involved? It would be really helpful to know where precisely the security leak was.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Weirdest corelation ever?

I'm not 100% certain, but I think my acne has worsened since I started taking 1000 IU Vitamin D. So I'm going to cut it out for a bit and see what happens.

Al Gore MUST run for president!

Do I want Al Gore to be president? I don't give a monkey's. Do I think he's make a good president? Haven't given it a moment's thought.

No, I just want him to run for president so I can see how his opponents would give negative spin to the winner of a fucking Nobel Peace Prize! I've done enough work on communications and speechwriting and PR that I can usually anticipate how something will be spun, but this one I can't work out at all!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Hopefully watching the returns isn't an essential part of my good luck ritual

I voted, with full good luck rituals, and I did see a beautiful doggie at the polling station so that's a good sign. But my prospective strep throat seems to have turned into a head cold, so instead of watching the election I'm going to take Nyquill and go straight to sleep. This will be the first time in my adult life I haven't watched the results come in - I hope it won't hurt the outcome.

(You may scoff at my superstition, but there has been 100% correlation between successfully completing my rituals/seeing a doggie/watching the results and favourable election outcomes).

Monday, October 08, 2007

What 2003 would have looked like under MMP

One more link to DemocraticSPACE:

What the 2003 election would have looked like under MMP (you have to scroll down a bit).

What actually happened in 2003.

I've been taking it easy lately because my body is trying to decide whether or not I'm about to get strep throat. More later when the idea of writing down the thoughts in my brain becomes more appealing than the idea of drinking juice and sleeping.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

For if you have the choice to vote in more than one riding

Democratic SPACE has some information on in which ridings your vote might be more influential

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Election Roundup

Before I forget, here's a repost of my election stuff. This is from the last federal campaign, but it applies to the current Ontario election. (This might be the provincial election where I can reuse these!)

How to vote
Where to vote
How to vote strategically.

Update, because some of the strategic voting links have moved:

Election Prediction Project is here
Hill Knowlton predictor is here
DemocraticSPACE's strategic voting guide is here (it isn't up yet, but they say it's going up today.

I really shouldn't read the G&M comments page

Apparently abortion wait times in Ottawa are six weeks.

So how do we fix this?

They say we're complacent about our abortion rights. I'm not sure if that's the case. I think it's just that, like with anything, we tend to assume the situation's the same unless given further information. I know about the Morgentaler clinic, I have a family doctor, I could go to the Bay Centre or Planned Parenthood or Hassle-Free, and if all else fails Telehealth could probably refer me. I have a plan and a series of backup plans, my elected representatives are all pro-choice, so what else would they have me do? I don't think having fully processed all available information and made an action plan = being complacent. Now I know that there's waiting times, so now I start following up after I miss one period (which I never actually have) instead of waiting to see if I miss the second. But aside from that, what?

They also say people are hesitant to speak out because of the stigma of having an abortion. I'm totally willing to represent as a potential abortion patient, but I don't know how much that would count since I'm not pregnant and not in Ottawa. But yeah, because people are afraid to speak out, I'm going to out myself here: Until I reach menopause or get a tubal, I consider myself a potential abortion patient. I'm just not sure what I'm meant to do with that.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of reading the comments page. I don't recommend it. It's full of assholes and will just make your blood pressure go up. But I do have two productive comments arising from all those assholes (in addition to all my usual comments, which we'll take as read because they are in the archives and in everything I've said in my life.)

1. A lot of people in the comments seem to take great personal offence that anyone would ever get an abortion. I'm not sure why. However, for those types of people, I'm offering you a fabulous once in a lifetime opportunity. You, yes you, can stop me from ever getting an abortion! All you have to do is get me a tubal ligation! Just one successful tubal, and I can promise you I will never get an abortion ever in my life! The tricky part: I'm 26, never married, no children, never been pregnant. Because botched surgery can result in incontinence, I require an experienced surgeon in the top quintile who has never once performed an operation that resulted in incontinence. Hook me up, and you'll have removed one person from the pool of people who might possibly have abortions.

2. If you think about it, it's mind-boggling how many times you ovulate in your lifetime. Do the math - it's close to 500 times! I, personally, have been through nearly 200 menstrual cycles. Two hundred! That's 200 times I have successfully avoided getting pregnant. So if I found I needed to have an abortion next time around, that would be one abortion I did have, and 200 abortions I didn't have. People should really do this math before condescendingly assuming that people who need abortions don't know how to prevent pregnancy. I'm sure if you do the math, you'll find an astounding success rate in almost everyyone in the world.