Thursday, March 31, 2011

Being a T-Shirt Whore on the Interwebs is like being a Smack addict... well, anywhere there's a lot of heroin lying about.

Remember a while back when I told all y'all about my T-Shirt collection that is slowly taking over every-drawer in my dresser?

I'm finding blogging is leading me to a whole new world of T-shirt whoredom.  I'm not necessarily talking about 6 Dollar Shirts or the unfortunate but appropriately named T-Shirt Hell, but I refer to a recently discovered genre of T-shirts.

The Blog-Inspired Inside Joke T-Shirt.

I kid you not.  This year for Christmas, I may populate my entire Christmas list with Awesome T-Shirts I've See Around The Web That No One Will Get But Me And Other Blog Readers.

First, from Josh at The Comics Curmudgeon (along with the help of the other 'mudges, and the writers of Apartment 3G) is this gem here - The 'Too Fancy For Hoboken and Too Hot For Church' design:

Source
The fun one about this one, is you can get matching underpants.  UNDERPANTS.

Actually, I may bypass the T-shirt and arrange to have "Too Fancy for Hoboken and Too Hot for Church" engraved on my Tombstone.  How kickass would that be?

This next one is the handiwork of The Bloggess:

Source

I'm not sure if I like the shirt so much as I just love the story behind it.

But.. I'll admit, I have an ulterior motive behind writing this post about Awesome T-Shirts On The Web.

I do, it's true.  I am not proud.

Here it is.

Source
Sometimes I just can't wait for Christmas.  And I'm cheap as all hell, and I love, love, love me some free stuff.  And now, right now, right this very minute, the famous-as-well-as-infamous Aunt Becky of Mommy Wants Vodka is holding a contest to win one of her profanity-laden T-shirts.

And i want that one.  In purple.  Because it's true, purple should be a flavour. It's my second favorite color behind red.  If it was available in red, I'd get in in red, honestly.  But I like purple a lot as well.  When I'm old, I'm going to be one of those Red Hat Society ladies, and just wear a shit-ton of red and purple.  ALL THE FRIGGIN TIME.  and drink tea laced with bourbon with my red-and-purple-wearing friends, and man oh MAN is it going to be a kick-ass time.

So yes, go check out the contest.  In the meantime, until I can be a red-hat lady, I will be happy to wear my Aunt Becky T under my work clothes at my customer service job and when I am on the phone dealing with people who by rights shouldn't be capable of driving or owning property, I can look down my own top and think "Yes. 'Shut Your Whore Mouth, indeed."

And I will smile.

We're not all Johnny Cash here...

Jezebel posted an article today about a Republican in Indiana who voted down a exception that would allow abortion to be an option for victims of rape and incest because it might encourage women to lie about being raped in order to get abortions.  The exception was voted down because it would create a 'giant loophole' and that "someone who is desirous of an abortion could simply say that they've been raped or there's incest."

This bothered me on a number of levels.  I might have an easier time with this if the concern was that it may result in wrongful rape convictions, then I could say well, that's a good point, kind of.   Lord knows, we don't need people wrongfully imprisoned, nor do we need more people to doubt the validity of actual rape accusations.

She's just saying he raped her because she wants an abortion.  


Yeah, let's add THAT to a list of handy rape defenses.

But there's no mention I've seen about this concern.  The GOP still seems mainly concerned with making sure that sexually active women face the 'consequences of their actions'.  Besides, if the concern WAS an increase in false accusations of rape/incest, then it'd be just as easy to avoid such a situation by NOT restricting availability to cases of rape and incest, thus negating the need to lie about it.

The other thing that bothers me about these lines of rhetoric is that the right-wing and the pro-life movement seems to be under the impression that women fighting for reproductive choice are simply clamoring for the opportunity to have an abortion of their very own.

I want to make this very clear. No one WANTS to go through this.

The way some folks put it, however, you'd think there were thousands of women out there, getting themselves knocked up on purpose so they can be ready for that uber-trendy photo op outside the abortion clinic.

We're not Johnny Cash here.  We're not shooting men in Reno, just to watch them die.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

They Tell You to Look for Blood.

This post is written as part of Studio30Plus weekly writing challenge.  The prompt is 'Red'.  Although I've attempted to keep it less than graphic, you may want to skip if you're squeamish.


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They tell you to look for blood.

When I was eleven, my grandfather died of colon cancer.  Well, he died of liver cancer, but it originated in his colon.  All four of his children were told that they would need periodic screenings, since colon cancer can be hereditary, like many cancers.  As for the grandchildren, we were merely advised to keep an eye out for blood in the stool.

Blood is red, right?

What I overlooked, in the months that I was hemorrhaging internally on a near daily basis from May to September of 1998, is that new blood is red.  Old blood is black. Sometimes a purplish color.  But not easily recognizable as the bright, vibrant red of new blood.  Red would have sent me running to the doctors, health card in hand, going 'What is wrong with me?'

Black?  Black I ignored.  I ignored it while inside my intestinal tract was slowly decaying, day by day.  I ignored the bathroom trips, and the embarassment of my own functions.  I ignored the pain in my leg, which was the clot that was forming, quite possibly out of my own body's effort to stop the life literally draining out of me.

I ignored it until the morning I passed out in the bathroom, banging my head on the door jam.  The morning I couldn't lift my head high enough to even sit up and dress myself.  My mother and a family friend tugged a sweater over me and carried me to the car.  I wept with pain and disorientation, sure I was dying.

Turns out, I was.

Source
The doctors explained it thusly:

Normal Hemoglobin levels:  110-120
Safe Hemoglobin levels: 90ish
Level at which heart failure sets in?: 45

My level?  55.

I was a month in hospital, a week in Intensive Care, where there the doctors had the task of thinning the blood-clot in my leg, while controlling the bleeding in my intestine.

Four pints of dark, thick blood was pumped back into my body.  Eventually, color returned to my face that had become pasty white during the weeks bedridden.  I missed an autumn, watched from my bed as the leaves turn brilliant orange, crimson and warm brown outside my window.

Today, 12 years later, my health issues have stabilized for the time being and have been so for the past two years (she says, superstitiously rapping her knuckles on the desk).  But, I still look for blood.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Conversations with my kid: Fun with short-forms

In the car Reegs is eating pizza that her dad made.

"Mmm... Dee-Lish!  If I take the 'Shus' off then end that means it's MORE than delicious."

Thoughts on this years Juno Awards, keeping in mind that I didn't actually watch them, not having cable.

... But I've enjoyed reading the tweets and looking at the pictures.  And even though I generally hate award shows, I wish I had watched.  In reviewing various photos and blogs and articles, I have a few thoughts.

What the fuck is with Win Butler's hair?  And why doesn't he have eyebrows?


Emily Haines consistently manages to look dead on the inside.  Even when smiling.  She has that coked-out life-beaten dead-eyed prostitute look about her.  It's sad and disturbing, because I really really like her as a musician, but when I see the pictures I just want to hug her and go "Be happy, Emily Haines.  It's not so bad as all that."  The only picture I saw where she looked truly happy (nay, blissful) was the one that was posted on Metric's twitter feed.  She's hugging Buffy Ste. Marie.  And smelling her, it looks like.
I wonder what Buffy Ste. Marie smells like?  For some reason I imagine she smells like fresh tobacco, cookies and Grandma.

I heard so much on Twitter last night about how great Jim Cuddy looked that I was actually kind of disappointed today when I saw pictures.  I mean, he looked good, dapper, as he generally does, but I don't know, I was kind of expecting radiance, I guess.  I thought he was going to be sparkling or something. It's like that Simpsons episode where Homer sees the sign for the world's biggest cookie, then he buys it and is like "Oh.. well I guess it's pretty big."  but you can tell it didn't live up to his expectations.

Well... he looks pretty good, I guess.
It's okay though, I still love you, Jim Cuddy.
Neil Young gets scarier looking with every passing year.

The Canadian music industry is a sea of Buddy Holly Glasses.

This is common in most music award shows, but I hate when performers/presenters/nominees/whathaveyou can't be bothered to dress up a bit.  It's a fucking award show?  If I was at one of these things, I'd be like Cinderfrigginrella in my princesseyness.

I mean, Shania Twain is one of my least favorite people in the world, but at least she knows how to dress for an awards show.
Shania loves our bushes, apparently.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, Classified looks like he's on his way to an inner-city basketball court,

and Hollerado couldn't be bothered to brush their hair
Hey, Hollerado.. try and look a little more greasy, please?
 And hey, to that guy from Barenaked Ladies whose name I can't remember, but I know you replaced one of the Creggan brothers.. well, this MIGHT just be the kind of occasion that warrants remembering to shave, mmkay?
At least Tyler attempted a suit.. kind of?
There were many who managed to clean up rather nicely, both young and old (Ben Kowalewisz, I'm looking at you, baby.  That's right)

I guess this post is mostly about my irritation with music award shows and their distinct lack of glitz.  I know, I know, it's a 'too cool for school' mentality which is prevalent in the music industry (especially amongst rock genres.. frankly, a lot of the hip-hop artists in attendance looked pretty smashing.  Kardinal Offishal's orange suit was a thing of beauty).

Maybe as someone who doesn't get a chance to dress up very often, I wonder why more people don't take the opportunity.

Oh?  The actual awards?  Meh.  Arcade Fire won, the Biebs won.  No real surprises.  Matthew Good was confused as to why his album Vancouver won Best Rock Album when it was released in 2009. I'm sad I missed the Canadian artists tribute.. I'm sure it'll show up on YouTube.

Photo Sources:
www.zimbio.com
www.torontosun.com
twitter.com/Metric

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My Motivation is Playing Ferris Bueller Today..

I've done too much driving this weekend and not really gone anywhere.  Yesterday, in driving my children to a birthday party I came to a few conclusions (that you may have already seen if you follow me on Twitter):
  • Barrie's south end embodies everything I absolutely hate about everything
  • Goodwill has better prices than Value Village but is an infinitely more depressing shopping experience
  • My knit hat is likely the culprit that is causing my forehead to break out like that of a 13-year-old on chocolate and high-dose oral contraceptives
  • On the rare occasions I break down and go to Wal-Mart for something, I feel better if I can't find it.
Something I learned after a night of dancing and some drinking:
  • After a night of dancing in heels and drinking beer, if you go to sleep in your pantyhose, you will wake up feeling like sausage.
Today I drove twice to Midland to take the cats to get weighed so I get them all flea treatments for the next few months.  Then, instead of napping, I decided to drive to Orillia (because two trips to Barrie - one for the birthday party, and once for dancing - and two trips to Midland didn't feel like quite enough driving) to go see my battered and bruised Nanny in the hospital.  She's currently there due to a fall where she managed to break herself in many places in an attempt to clean the top of her refrigerator.   Thankfully she is recovering well, and is in better spirits and more mobile than when I saw her last week.

Needless to say, I will be using this incident as justification for the utter and complete neglect the top of my refrigerator suffers at my hands.  Better safe than sorry.

For cheap amusement, here's some of the search terms people are using to stumble upon my lovely little piece of the blogosphere here:

"i'm reminded of light beer"
'schrodinger's rapist'
dory
ghost world
hidden staircases
margaret atwood's inspirations
she's the kind of woman that'll make you forget about hiroshima

I'm excited about the first one, because I can only assume that it means there is someone out there who loved those Blue Light commercials with Tom Cavanaugh as much as I do.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

When Life Makes Decisions for You

I don't even like chicken wings.

After the demise of our respective marriages, my sister and I shared a house for about two years.  For the first year, she went to school while I took care of our four children while I was on maternity leave.  I was not well suited to daycare, so when my one-year leave was up, my good friend Crystal, who has much more patience for children than I, joined our household as a live-in nanny as it was a hell of a lot easier than shipping four kids of varying ages out to daycare.

After the ex-hub and I split, I immediately got my name on a waiting list for subsidized housing, knowing that it would be difficult at best to raise two children on a convenience store clerk, and later student budget.  We lived in the house for a little under two years, until fate unexpectedly set in.

It was an unusually warm day in April.  I had finished writing my first year Psychology exam that morning and had rushed home to look at an apartment, as my name had finally come to the top of the housing list.  Here, you are allowed to turn down three available units before they drop you back to the bottom of the waiting list.  I had already turned down a place six months previous on account of our obligation to the unspoken 'lease' we had with my parents.

The apartment was lovely... three bedrooms, two bathrooms, well kept building.  But I was unsure about moving to Midland, when I would be going to school in Barrie.  Would it be better, perhaps, to hold out and see if a place became available in Barrie?  The building manager told me I could think it over, as there was one other person looking at the place, but they too were unsure for whatever reasons.

That evening, we sat out on the front porch, debating what to do for dinner that night.  It was a warm, lazy Friday and no one much felt like cooking anything elaborate, but pizza seemed well.. blah.  The suggestion of chicken wings was brought up.  Inwardly I groaned, but being self-aware of my picky eating habits and how they might be unfair to others, I just kind of shrugged and went 'meh, whatever'.

I was downstairs with the smaller children when I heard the sound.  Nicky was on the front porch studying, and Crystal and Steve (my sisters boyfriend at the time) were in the kitchen, along with my oldest nephew.  My Reagan, about 18 months old at the time, had wandered up the stairs. In a house with four adults and three older children, I figured she couldn't get into too much trouble.

It sounded like a splash - a horrific, sickening splash - and my first thought was that my beautiful toddler had pulled the pot of hot oil down on herself.  I paused in sheer terror, waiting for the screaming... there was a scream, but it came from my oldest nephew as he ran out the front door.  I believed the worst.  I heard nothing from Reagan and  it then to me that not only was she horribly burned and disfigured, but that she was dead.  I broke from my paralysis and came up the stairs to the front landing, and heaved a sigh of relief upon seeing her standing at the front door, babbling to herself, completely unharmed.

However, out of the corner of my eye, up the second short flight of stairs, I saw the flames.

I grabbed Reegs and quite literally picked her up and tossed her onto the front lawn, before running back down to the basement to herd the other children out the back door.  I ordered them to go around to the front of the house and wait there.  I ran back into the house and into the kitchen where Crystal stood in front of a giant flaming stock pot of doom, flames licking the ducts over the stove.  She was already on the phone with the fire department.  Steve had grabbed the birdcage and met Nicky outside with the children.

Panicked, I grabbed a box of baking soda, because they say to put baking soda on grease fires to put them out.  This, however, was less a simple grease fire and more an raging inferno at this point.   Like a lunatic, I threw handfuls of baking soda at the flames that were now licking the ceiling.  The soda sizzled as it hit the flames.  Crystal stayed on the line with the fire department as long as possible, but gave up when the portable phone's cradle caught fire.   As cupboard doors began to blacken and ceiling tiles began to curl and drop to the floor, there was nothing left to do.

We ran.

From the street we watched the smoke billow from the windows.  I could hear glass popping as the immense heat shattered mugs, drinking glasses, and windows. The roughly three and a half minutes it took the volunteer department to arrive stretched out like an eternity.  We stood in the road and stared.  And cried.  We called our parents and told them of the fire and we cried some more.

Later, scrounging through the wreckage, I found a lone pink circle amidst the otherwise soot-black carpet where our cat had curled up in the smoke when she couldn't find her way out.  And I cried some more.

Needless to say, I took the apartment.  And I still don't like chicken wings.



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This post was written for Studio30Plus weekly writing challenge.  The prompt is "Irony".

Saturday, March 19, 2011

half-assedness and artistry

crafting is good for the stress levels so I thought I'd share some of the stuff I've completed lately.

But first!!

Guess what came in the mail today?  I won a blog challenge a week or so ago over a it's never too late to save a hopeless case and today I received, care of one ms. steph gas, this lovely tote bag from her store Rule 42 Inc.  You should go check it out, especially the custom t-shirt bags that I would love to make myself if I wasn't ridiculously intimidated by my sewing machine.  Seriously, it scares the shit out of me.

sexy, no?
I'm pretty stoked that she also addressed me the package with my full name and title, as requested:

click to enlarge.  my thumb is covering my address to prevent stalkers.

In the meantime I've been working on some fun stuff and in honor of the half-assed weekend post, I'll share:

This is a mirror that my friend gave me that had been kicking around her basement for the last four to five years.  It was originally a plain blond wood mirror.  I sanded the frame down and painted it with a bright red acrylic, then decided to do the inside perimeter in black.  I had inteded to do the entire frame red.  Then I used an enamel glass paint to do the zebra stripes in the corners.

It was pretty time-consuming, and I had to do it twice since the first time I used a brush-on varnish instead of a glaze (turns out there's a difference.. who knew?  I know, everyone but me.)  The varnish peeled half of the paint off.  I guess it hadn't quite settled.  So I had to scrub it all off and try again.

The second time around I used a spray-glaze that claimed to dry 'crystal-clear' so I just kind of sprayed the whole thing in this stuff and much to my chagrin, this resulted in a nice frosted-glass mirror that wasn't of much to anyone who actually wanted to, oh, I don't know.. look at themselves.  Out came the Windex and before it dried too much I managed to scrub most of the glaze off the reflected surface.  There's still a bit of a sheen from it though.

Next:

This is the completed frame that I had mentioned doing a few weeks back.  Finding a plain frame was a pain in the ass. I searched the salvation army and finally tried the Dollar stores, as usually they have plain frames in the arts and crafts section.  No luck though, couldn't find them.  So this is kind of a cheap dollar store plastic frame painted red, with black on the interior rim, and polka dots.

I still don't know the photographers name.  I'm thinking my dad might know.

Update:  So I was at the gas station the other day and I saw the guy who took the Betty Boop photo and remembering this entry and my earlier one, I ran up and asked him his name again for the sake of being able to properly credit him for his work.  His name is Corey Ramsbottom and he does a lot of scenic and landscape photography.  Check out his website here.

This one I'm pretty proud of:

Once again, dollar store frame which I happened to find while searching for the frame above, plus paint, and podge, and comic book leavings.  I love the way it turned out and I'm thinking of going back for a few more of these frames, because I'd love to make more of these.

A few weeks ago Facebook had a meme going around where you take the first five people on your friends sidebar (no refreshing!) and they become your team for the Zombie Apocalypse.  I got three of my best friends and two co-workers, whom I happen to like and respect.  Got bored so here's my rendering of my zombie apocalypse team:

I'm third from left.
So that's about all.  I'm off to enjoy the rest of my weekend.

this has been a half-assed weekend post, brought to you by a Simple Dude in a Complex World

Friday, March 18, 2011

Do other people refer to their vagina as Betty?

Because I don't.  But people seem to think I do.  But no, as I've mentioned previously, Betty is my cute little 2008 Aveo.  This doesn't negate the fact that when  I say that I've hurt my Betty (or in this case, a friend hurt my Betty) there is a decent amount of inappropriate giggles that go around.

But yeah, she's hurt.  Hurt bad.  It may be terminal, we don't know yet.

Long story short.. Last evening, there was a car, a what-I-would-believe-to-be-a-rather-illegal U-turn, a swerve and a slam of brakes, a crunch, a sketchy eyewitness account that has led to a possible conflict over fault, and now my car is waiting to be appraised to see if it's worth fixing or if it's a write off.  I wasn't driving, it was my friend that had my car at the time.  No one was seriously injured, although my friend is rather sore today.

So it's been a long day of talking to my insurance company, talking to the rental company, and trying to get a copy of the police report that hasn't been filed yet. 

I'm not going into great details, well.. because.. well you know when something happens and you just get sick of re-telling it over and having people offer their well-intentioned but often conflicting and rather overwhelming advice?  Yeah.  Since there's not much to do until the adjuster gets there Mondayish and until the actual police report gets filed I'm just going to try and enjoy the pretty rental car and wait and see what happens.

*sigh*

Luck of the Irish, indeed. 
my poor girl

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Conversations with my kid: Apathy at the expense of others.

At the grocery store, we run into the girls cousin (dad's side).  They chit chat, and I notice the other kid's fly is wide open.

Me (to A): You're flying low.
A: *blank stare*
Me (trying to be discreet, failing miserably): You're flying low.
A: *grin, more blank staring*
Me: Okay, bye.

We walk away.

Me:  I don't think she knows what that means.
T: No, me neither.
Me: Do you want to go back and tell her?
T:  Meh.  She'll figure it out.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Japan.

I've avoided writing about this, because I don't know what to say.

It's fucking horrifying.  I watched one video of the tsunami and had to turn it off.  It turned my stomach.  I don't deal well with these huge, abstract things that I have no control over.  I cannot wrap my head around the thousands dead, the hundreds of thousands homeless, without food, without shelter, half a world away.

The reactors.  Sweet jesus fuck, those fucking nuclear reactors.

It all terrifies me.  If I think too much I lose sleep.  I get sick to my stomach.  So I try not to think about it.  That might make me a bad person, I don't know.

I saw posts today from people who said that this was due payback for Pearl Harbour, and I want to punch these ignorant redneck douchebags in the throat.  If this is "God's" payback for Pearl Harbour, then they may want to duck and cover because I'd hate to see what he has in store for America for bombing the everloving shit out of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

What the fuck is wrong with people?

Times like this all I can do is hug my kids and get down and kiss this giant expanse of rock we call the Canadian Shield.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Socks, you have been effectively rocked.

Just a few quick updates.

Went to Toronto with a friend to go see the Schomberg Fair for Canadian Music Week.  I was pretty much pathetically broke so Cory was cool enough to pay my way in and be my 'date' even though I wasn't going to put out (har har).  As always the guys guys in the band proved to be super-awesome to their fans and we got to be dweeby fangirls and hangout with Nate Sidon and Peter Garthside, and were suitably thrilled to find out that Pete's a local boy, as it turns out.  
I'm a nerd of epic proportions.

It was a pretty good show, although not quite surpassing last years show at the Horseshoe Tavern.  I think the sound-mixing was a little off, and as a result the vocals were not fantastic, but otherwise, pretty kickass show.  My socks were effectively rocked.  The two opening acts (the Treasures and Northcote) we caught were pretty good too.

Ugh, by the way, I fuckin' hate people who get stupid drunk and try to pick fights at shows.  Some chick very sloppily bumped into me a number of times, and when I turned around to say 'Uhm.. yeah, about that?' she started making that weird "I've got my eye on you" gesture at me.  What.  The.  Fuck.  Ever.  I left that shit behind in high school.  Learn to hold your liquor, chickyboo.

Yeah.  This one.  ooh, scary.  Source
This is the same girl that thought'd be funny to reach out and turn the mike around (the Dakota Tavern is a relatively small venue, with little space between the stage and dancefloor) so when Matt went to sing it wasn't there. 

I'm way too effin' old to be out until 6:30 am, and the time-change screwed with that even more fantastically.  But I feel kind of bad-assed, nonetheless.

Work is quiet because everyone is away at Pittcon, which is basically the Woodstock of our industry.

I got blog awarded and the best thing is, I don't have to do anything for this one except link back to the lovely lady that bestowed it upon me.  So without further ado, courtesy of the Everyday Goddess is the Goddess Award:

Photobucket
The Goddess Award
This will be going on my validation page, for sure.  Thanks, Everyday Goddess!  I suggest going and checking her out.

March Break is awesome because getting the kids ready in the morning is ridiculously easy.  As long as they have pants covering their butt and they've brushed their teeth, we're pretty much good to go in the mornings.

Yeah.  So, in an effort to curb the late-night snacking, I'm gonna go spend some quality time with my guitar.  Still contemplating a ukelele purchase when income tax time comes.  Unfortunately the need for tires may usurp that vision.  Friggin' ridiculous, right?  I *finally* get my snow tires on, and now I have to think about getting SUMMER tires.  It. Never. Freakin. Ends.

Lastly, I'm still looking for pledges for the Great Strides for CF walk and I will be making myself a pain in the ass over it between now and the time of the walk.  Breathing is awesome and Cystic Fibrosis is lame so if you're so inclined, feel free to make a small donation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

No witty title here, just some seriousness.

Quick Trigger Warning.  If you're triggered by sexual assault, you may want to skip this post.  

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A week or two ago a friend and reader sent me a link to a story that was more than a little infuriating.  It seems a convicted rapist in Thomson, Manitoba was given a slap on the wrist because the victim and her friend had "made their intentions publicly known that they wanted to party"

In the article it's noted that the judge felt that there was miscommunication and so instead of mandatory jail time, the perpetrator, Kenneth Rhodes, was given a conditional sentence, even though the Crown wanted three years minimum.
Rhodes pleaded not guilty at the trial on the basis he thought the woman had consented. Dewar rejected his defence -- but said aspects of it can now be considered in sentencing.
"This is a different case than one where there is no perceived invitation," said Dewar. "This is a case of misunderstood signals and inconsiderate behaviour."
At first I didn't really know how to deal with this.  Any articles I found didn't give many actual details of the evening, other than than the usual speculation of what the women had been wearing (typical, right?), the fact that they went into the woods with Rhodes and his friend, and implications that Rhodes had "misunderstood her intentions when he forced intercourse" on her.  P.S. Kenny, if you have to 'force' it, it's probably unwanted.  Enthusiast Consent, folks, it's a wonderful thing. 

Still, part of me wondered if maybe there was some mistake?  So I hesitated on commenting on the story, until later I had a 'Slap-your-forehead' moment and went "Hang on a minute!  This was a SENTENCING hearing.. not the trial itself!"  So even thought I didn't know the details of what actually went on, based on media coverage, clearly, the jury and/or judge or whatever felt there was enough evidence to support a rape conviction, a charge that, in Canada, requires jail time at minimum.  The sentence is the equivalent of saying "Okay, well *technically* you're guilty, but not really, because she had it coming, being all sexy like that.  Silly girl."

The judge on the case, Robert Dewar was later reprimanded for his comments and removed from cases of a sexual nature.

Have we not gotten over this yet, people?  Have we not gotten over the idea that someone can 'ask' to be raped? No, apparently not.

A local radio personality, Meg Whitton of the 104.1 The Dock wrote about an experience she had at a campus safety assembly at York University.  One of the Toronto police officers told the assembly they could avoid rape by not dressing like a slut. Thankfully the Toronto police chief was quick to eschew the troubling statement from his underling, but as Meg had pointed out, the issue is a lot bigger than a lack of sensitivity on the part of one or even a number of police officers.  It's a problem that is STILL rampant in society.  We constantly look for reasons to justify rape, even in the most heinous of cases.

Take this past week.  The New York Times came under fire for their wholly slanted coverage of a story of an eleven-year-old girl in Cleveland Texas who was gang-raped in an abandoned trailer by up to 18 men.  The NYT were called to task for their coverage that seemed to smack of victim blaming.  Local townsfolk were quoted asking where the child's parents were (fair question, but more importantly, where were the parents of the boys involved?).  They also quoted townsfolk about the little girls manner of dress and activities:
They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
 This quote is my personal favorite (note dripping sarcasm):
“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.” 
I sure the fuck hope so.  I hope it haunts them in their nightmares.  I hope at least one of them wakes up in a cold-sweat, night after night, screaming and shaking with guilt over what they have done to a little girl. 


Can I just reiterate that this was an 11-year-old child?  A LITTLE GIRL. 

I'm wondering where the concern for this little girl is from the locals.  I haven't even mentioned that the men, who ranged in age from roughly 14 up to 27, videotaped the attack on a cell phone and passed it around.  This is how the situation came to the attention of the police, when one of the victims classmates told a teacher that they had seen a video of the attack.

Speaking as the mother of a beautiful, innocent, almost-ten-year old, I'm concerned for this poor East Texas girl, who may have already been dealing with issues at home or in her life, who now has to live for the rest of her life with not only being brutalized by up to 18 men, but also having the knowledge that via wonderful fucking technology, god only knows how many people have witnessed her humiliation.  And to top it off knowing that most of the community seemed to be more concerned with how this little girl may have brought it on herself.

I say, fuck that community.  They sound like a bunch of backward assholes.

Those that claim that the Times article wasn't slanted at all may wonder why they left out this particular quote, that was included in the release from the Associated Press:

"She's 11 years old. It shouldn't have happened. That's a child," said Oscar Carter, 56, who is related to an uncle of one 16-year-old charged in the case. "Somebody should have said what we are doing is wrong."
 Regardless if it's the media or a group of townspeople or the comments section in some of these articles, which I try not to read as it makes me stabby and kind of like I want to vomit, I really have to ask what kind of effed up world we live in where people will look for a reason to justify the gang-raping of an eleven-year-old girl.  That we would look for reasons such as someone's dress in order to take responsibility off of that of the rapist and on to the victim.

These attitudes not only harm women, but men as well.  Because it paints the idea that men cannot help raping women, that, if provoked by a woman (or, shit.. an 11-year-old CHILD's) attire they will have no choice but to attack.  It presents the idea that men are driven so wild by the sight of a woman dressed provocatively that they are unable to control themselves.  Which is bullshit, at absolute best. 

I know a lot of men who are fully capable of reasoning beyond the needs of their own dick.  I believe that the majority of all men out there are fully capable of this.  Fully capable of reading signals, and looking for enthusiast consent.  And the ones that aren't, need to be in prison.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Numbers are just so.. Arbitrary.

I have a new weight loss goal.

So some may not know, but over the last four years I've lost about 60 lbs through Weight Watchers, and just better eating habits and more exercise. 

I stopped going to Weight Watchers this past January because I got pissed off with yet another corporate giant milking consumers for all they are worth.

Since then, I've been attempting to at least maintain, but some of my clothes are telling me I've not been doing a bang-up job on that front.  Mostly everything still fits, but a couple of things aren't looking as nice as they did a month or two ago.  Not owning a bathroom scale, I'd wager a guess I've put on maybe 5-10 lbs tops.

I intend to go back to tracking and attending meetings at a local group that costs a dollar a week rather than the 15 that weight watchers gouges you for.

As mentioned, I also have a new goal, one far less arbitrary than a silly number on a scale (which was, by the way 150 lbs.. at my lowest I was still 20 away from that). 
awesome
The coolest fucking pants on the planet.  I'd say universe because aliens may have the technology to make pants more fantastic than these, but if they do, I don't need to know about it.  I found them today at the Salvation Army for seven dollars.  Never worn.

So yeah.  My goal is to fit into these pants.  Numbers be damned.  Okay not totally damned, some numbering is involved.  These are a size 11.. I'm currently hovering around 12-13.  I think getting to a point where I can fit the most fucking spectacular awesome size 11 plaid pants is an admirable, yet reasonable goal.

So here we are, week 1.

I see London, I see France...
I haven't decided on weekly, bi-weekly or monthly updates yet.

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In other news, last night was the final Midland production of the Vagina Monologues.  The show went over fantastically and we sold around 400 tickets which means a lovely wad of cash for our local women's shelter.  Great show, great ladies, great cause.  I'm both sad and glad to see it done, because although I get my life back now, it really was a lot of fun and I met so many awesome people.

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Chloe's plumbing is all gone, finally got her spayed.  Still dealing with evil demon kitties I currently have, but at least it's without threat of more to come.  She looks truly pathetic right now though.

Hiding under the table as the boys still don't understand "Closed for Business"

Coming soon.. Tsunamis, Fangirlishness and Rape Culture (in unrelated posts, of course).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hidden Staircases, Secret Rooms

So, being thirty has its perks, aside from being able to date from three different decades without being (terribly) creepy and the assumption that if you're living with your parents it's because you're taking care of them in their twilight years and not still mooching while you finish college.

Of the perks I just found out is that I get to join Studio 30+ which is a nifty group for bloggers over the age of 30.  The following is my first weekly post for this group.   The prompt is "Childhood Dreams".

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I'm on the floor again.  It's the third night in a row.  The third night sleeping in the big giant bed in the loft at my grandparents house.  The third night I've woken on the floor beside the little dormer window, the one where you have to crouch down because the ceiling slopes so low that it's impossible, even for a little girl such as myself, to stand at full height.  I'm chilled, in my thin purple nightgown with the kittens on the tummy. Rings of frost circle the leaded panes of the window.  I can see my breath hanging in the night air.

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Groggily, I turn to crawl back over to the enormous queen-sized bed with the royal blue spread, but out of the corner of my eye something is not right.  In the tiniest corner of the room, right next to the window, the only window in the room, right where normally there's stood only an oddly angled door to a small storage cabinet - angled oddly to compensate for the low sloping ceiling - there in the mist of the vague light of the earliest time of the morning is a staircase.

"That's never been there before.." I think to myself.  However, I am very small, and my mind is always jumping.  But I'm sure if there had always been a staircase there, I would have noticed.

Hunched over, I crawl back towards the window.  Looming before me is a dark, narrow, foreboding wooden staircase.  The top steps are obscured by the blackness of the tiny passageway.  I can only imagine what waits at the top.

Over the years I've dreamed time and time again of familiar places, places I have been to countless times, spent countless hours in, visited on numerous occasions.  My grandparents house, my high school, the local post office, the library.  I dream of these places, and always, in my dreams there is something new, something undiscovered in places I thought I knew as I know my own body.   Always there are stairs.  Reaching conclusions, making discoveries, stretching the boundaries of my imagination.  My secret, hidden surprises.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Conversations with my kid coworker: Happy International Women's day

I'm returning from a walk downtown, on my break with a grocery bag

Coworker: Ooh, what'd did you get?
Me:  Lunch, Buns and Tampons.
Coworker:  .....   That's what I get for asking.
Me: You betcha.

*pause*

Me:  I have to go to the bathroom now. 

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I don't understand getting freaked out about buying tampons.  In honor of International Women's Day, I challenge all actively menstruating women out there to, next time you're picking up supplies, don't ask for a bag. 

Don't hide it.  Fuck.  Buy tampons.  Buy pads.  You're a girl, and a whole lot of girls have a period. Anyone who has seen a fifth-grade health class knows this.  It's not a secret.  It's not a vast conspiracy.

Don't creep up to the counter and quietly try to bury them under all your other groceries.  I dare you, women, to unapologetically plop those babies down on the conveyor, and HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH.

Why?  Because this is nature.  This is what we do.  Why would we hide it?  Why should anyone feel shame walking into a store and buying hygiene products?  Are we trying to pretend our periods don't happen?

Okay, well yeah. That's exactly it.  Because it's not pleasant.  It's kind of gross and sticky and painful and yeah, generally unpleasant.  But it's how we're made.  Don't apologize for it.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

"Mom, this was the best day ever."

I've lived a lot longer than my seven-year-old, so I have a longer frame of reference, so I could possibly argue that.  But who wants to argue with a happy-seven-year old?  Besides, it was still a pretty darn good day.

We saw family.
We saw more family.
We saw friends.
We stood at the top of the world and looked down into the clouds.
We ate ice cream.
We splashed in puddles.
We listened to old mixed CD's in the car and got excited to hears songs we hadn't listened to in years and sang at the top of our lungs.
We explored the city in the rain.
We ate pizza from a mediterranian restaurant.
We played I Spy and tried to trick each other.

My youngest has fallen in love with the city.  The lights, the buildings, the people.  Her excitement brings a smile to my face, but saddens me as well, because part of me knows as soon as she's old enough she'll want to leave our little town for bigger things.  She marches to her own beat and I fear small town life will not hold her for long.

My oldest is much more cautious, much more leery to try new things.  She likes routine, doesn't like risk. But like a trooper, she stood on the glass floor, and even bounced a little.  And, as she proudly told me later, she 'didn't puke.'  There was never any doubt, babydoll.

They really are something, these girls of mine.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Opportunity is knocking and I'm dripping wet, scrambling desperately for a towel...

Phew!

This week has been a bit of a shit-storm in that I've just been ridiculously busy.  Tonight is the first night that I'll actually be home in time to make a decent dinner for the children and I.  Between dinner with friends, kick-boxing classes and play practices, I've not gotten home before 7 a single night this week.  The house is a wreck, as the demon kitties have pretty much taken the place over.

Tess picked up my coat yesterday and made a valiant attempt at getting the cat smell out of it.  It smells like vinegar now, but vinegar is known to eventually dissipate, so my hopes are high and I'm grateful to her for trying.

Source
Next week is bound to be even more hectic as I have two full rehearsals and the performance of the Vagina Monologues Thursday night.  Exciting! I'm so glad to be a part of this. Local folks, I still have tickets available.  $20 bucks and the proceeds go to the women's shelter.
In other news, a few other opportunities may be cropping up that I'm kind of excited about, some that I'll mention here and some that I'm going to hold off on going into detail about until I know more. Next Friday marks my first night as a karaoke host at our local Legion, Branch 523, or I'll be getting trained at any rate.  If I don't suck, then I'll be slinging and occasionally singing on my kid-free Fridays.

In other news I got contacted by my friend Mike last night and he told me he's organizing a team for the Great Strides walk for Cystic Fibrosis in Barrie this May.  As I've mention, his brother and my friend Sean just went through a double-lung transplant after living with CF for most of his life (Educate thyself).  Which is awesome, because we all like Sean, and are pretty darn glad to have him around for a while longer.  So Mike asked me to join his team and I was all Sure! even though I kind of suck at fundraising.   But here, I'll get a head start on it now.

Give Me Money Or I Will Send Sarah McLachlan After You.

Maybe it's my approach?  *shrug*

I'm feeling, to quote that human-internet-meme-slash-trainwreck-of-the-week-who-shall-remain-nameless, like a "bitchin' rockstar from Mars."  The next few months hold quite a bit of promise and I'm excited about new possibilities on the horizon. 

Grabbin' life by the short-and-curlies, yo. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fire, Fire, Fire. Fire in my Brain.

I woke up this morning with no alarm.  Thankfully I startled myself awake about ten minutes before I usually get up.  I showered and when I returned to my room, I was confronted with the unmistakable odor of a feline that had decided to declare something as 'His'.

My winter coat that, in a moment of sheer and utter laziness, I had dropped on the floor just behind my bedroom door upon entering the house the previous evening.  Lovely.  That will teach me to be more fastidious.

The fire alarm went off while at work today.  I promptly evacuated, and to clarify I mean that I left the building, not that I shat my pants.  Thanks, Vicky, for making sure I am more careful about that particular word in the future.

As I left I glanced at my wallet on my desk but decided to leave it.  I did grab my coat, as why escape a potentially burning building, only to die of exposure to the cold.  This is Canada, after all.  Always thinking.

As I stood in the parking lot with three out of my roughly 15 to 20 co-workers, along with a handful of Tim Horton's employees, I wondered what all of our elementary school teachers would think of this gross lack of respect for the fire bell.  In the time it took our staff to wander their way out, half of us could have been dead.

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I entertained the fantasy that if the building was indeed about to burn to the ground with my wallet and all identification within, I could jump in my car and assume a new identity in a new place.  I could be a dancer, or a surly truckstop waitress, or join a carnival.  I could buy a farm and grow tomatoes and sell pie at the side of the road.  I'd send for the children and they could join me.  We'd live in relative obscurity, off the grid.  Maybe open a small restaurant.  The cats would be left the little dollhouse, free to leave their smellieness where-ever they please.

Like Edward Norton's character in the 25th hour, just drive.  "Nothing at all for miles around"  Like Monty Brogan in that fantastic ending, that ending that you are never quite sure is the actual ending or just a work of Monty's imagination.  Like that, but without all the drug charges and such.

There was no fire.  I returned to my desk.  My wallet was there, my identity safely tucked inside each of the little slits meant to hold licenses, credit cards, rewards cards.  Life goes on as usual.

Sometimes, my mind wanders.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The CCF and the Humane Society could use a lesson from this woman

I am not generally a charitable person, in the strictest sense of the world.  I don't make a whole lot of cash donations to charitable organizations.  I know, I know.  But I'm a woman on a budget, plus I'm kind of a misanthrope who questions if my charitable donations are really going to someone who needs it.  I never said I was a good person.

Today I read a letter that first made me laugh, in that horrible 'Oh my god, I shouldn't be laughing at this' kind of way.  It was a letter written to Jenny at The Bloggess from a woman named Ally, of Christchurch, New Zealand.

As you may already know, Christchurch was hit by one huge sumbitch of an earthquake on February 22, and Ally was writing in hopes that Jenny, in her vast interwebs popularity, would be willing to ask her readers to help the people of Christchurch in their time of need.

Read Her Letter Here.  You Will Not Regret It.

It's okay.  I'll wait.

... *twirls in chair*  *tries to balance pen under nose* *picks at errant hangnail*

Oh, you're done? Good.

Now, if your reaction was anything like mine, you laughed then immediately went "Holy shit.  We need to help these unfortunate fuckers STAT."  

Did you?  Cool.  Go Help Them, then.

I think organizations like the Christian Children's Fund and the Humane Society could learn a lesson from Ally.  Honesty is the best policy.  Don't guilt people, don't fucking depress them.. because what happens then?  People get depressed.  They get overwhelmed, because they want to help ALL the starving children and ALL the abused kitties and puppies with their big sad eyes and distended bellies and flies on their faces.

Then what happens?  Your average Joe or Josephine.. they feel bad.  And resentful.  Because You, Charitable Organization, have made them Feel Bad.  And We Can't Help Everyone. And what do we do with unpleasant feelings?  We tune them out.  We change the channel when Sarah McLachlan starts singing ".. in the arrrmmmms offf annnn annnnngelllll" and the little puppies and/or African kids come on the screen.

And then No One gets help.

I love Ally's approach here.  Honest, direct, and creative.. and effective.