Thursday, September 30, 2010

Happy International Blasphemy Day!

For those who are unaware today is International Blasphemy Day.  The origins go back to September 2005 when a number of cartoons were printed that depicted the prophet Mohammed, which inflamed a good chunk of the Muslim population.

Wikipedia - Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy

I just want to say that for me, this is not about making fun of people who hold certain religious beliefs. I know that some people take their beliefs very seriously, but that does not mean they should never be questioned, especially when those beliefs hurt others (such as this asshat here - Severe Trigger Warning. more on him later) It is about bringing awareness to the idea that no religion should be allowed to punish people (even those who are not of said faith) from questioning, critiquing and yes even mocking said teachings.  Arguments can be strengthened by being challenged - any argument than can be torn down through subjection to critical thought, probably deserves to be torn down.

In the name of blasphemy, here's a few clips I posted to my Facebook, ranging from amusing to thought provoking, and all involving some of my favorite movies, actors and writers.

Kids in the Hall - God is Dead

Dogma - Bartleby and Loki at the Airport

'Almost the Truth' about Monty Python's Life of Brian

My favorite part of this clip is John's anectdote during the Tim Rice interview:

"I remember a gentlemen coming and telling us about how very difficult it had proved to get the Bible into Tibet.  You know?  They'd had seven occasions: the first time there'd been landslides; the second time there was rain, the pages got stuck together; the third time... the third time the mules had fallen off the mountain; the fourth time there were thunderbolts.   'The seventh time,' he said 'God helped us, and we got the Bibles into Tibet.'  The obvious conclusion is that he was trying like Hell to stop the Bibles getting into Tibet."

I'll end this off with an awesome quote I heard the other day:

Morality is doing what is right, no matter what you are told.  Religion is doing what you are told, no matter what is right. - Unknown

Dreams in between the rare bout of insomnia

Usually I never have trouble sleeping.

"That's where I'm a Viking!" - Ralph Wiggum.

As mentioned, it been a rough week and stress brings odd and vivid dreams.  Oh, and I cut off all my hair yesterday, so that plays into this as well.

In the first part, a friend of mine decides to get a neck tattoo, which starts out as a subtle vine of flowers just above the collar bone.  I'm in the Legion, and she rushes in with her daughter, and I can tell something is very wrong because she's holding her head down as far as humanly possible.  I ask what is wrong and she tells me she went back for more inking.  Looking up, the tattoo now extends up to her chin, where it goes from being a jungle of vines and flowers to something that looks like a cross between Optimus Prime and the Thundercats logo, right under her nose and around her mouth.  She's obviously very upset.  I laugh, but in that horribly guilty "Oh my god, I'm so sorry I'm laughing" way.  We try to come up with a solution for the new face-tattoo, but come up with nothing.

Then I'm in a bathroom that looks alot like the upstairs at my friends place.  About five of my co-workers are jammed into the bathtub together.  I'm using (clean, unused) tampons as curlers, trying to curl my newly shorn hair into something respectable, and trying really hard to ignore the fact that five of my co-workers are crammed into the bathtub behind me.

In an attempt to break the tension, I say "Please don't mind my tampon curlers.  I don't have any real ones."  One co-worker hems and haws and tries to think of other household products that could be used in their place.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A woman like that'd make you forget about Hiroshima

.. that's a line from a Kids in the Hall sketch I've had rolling around in my head since watching the Pilot episode on DVD the other night.  It's from the 'Guys on Break' sketch, which is basically about three guys who ogle women walking by and talk about all the things they'd like to do to them, only it's stuff like how they'd like to take them out to dinner or help them work out their issues with their ex in a bistro ("He was a bastard to ya! More Coffee More Coffee More Coffee!").  It's a work of comedic genius, really.

Anyway, that line has been stuck in my head for about a week now.  I think I'd like it if someone were to describe me as such.  I'm not particularly sure what it means, but it sounds cool.  Like someone who makes an impact.  A huge one.


This week has been a hard one.  I've been on the outs with one of my oldest dearest friends, and more and more it's looking like we're not going to be able to talk for a while.  I'm sad about this, and at the same time I'm indignant.  It's all different perspectives, but for me, what it comes down to is my feeling that my decisions are my own, and that while I don't require my friends to like what I do, they should respect them.  There is a short list of people I feel accountable to.. it mainly consists of my children, the law (within reason) and my own conscience.  My conscience is clean, I try to live my life as best as I can without hurting people around me. Those who have not walked a mile in my shoes need not pass down judgement.

That's all I'll say on the subject because despite the fact that this blog is my forum to vent, I still try to respect the privacy of others.

and now for something completely different...

I got the coolest captcha when commenting on a post at The Sassy Curmudgeon.

I think I want to try and work this into my vocabulary, because it sounds badass.. Rextro.  What do you think it means?  Something old, kitchy,. and badass.

Yeah.  And somewhat related, I watched Airheads this weekend, and I continue to have a dirty crush on Steve Buscemi's character, who happens to be named Rex, and happens to be pretty badass.

Monday, September 27, 2010

You get what you pay for. Effin' dollar stores.

Dear Dollarama,

Your freezer bags are absolute shit.  Because they are shit, I have three meals worth of spaghetti sauce.. DAMN FINE SPAGHETTI SAUCE, I might add, sitting at the bottom of my freezer, waiting to be cleaned up.  I've never had this issue with Ziploc so I can only assume that you guys just suck.

Thank Christ you people don't make silicone breast implants or there'd be a lot of dead porn stars out there.

Isn't this just fucking lovely

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My quick recap and thoughts on tonights UFC

So my attempt to go see some local live music with a friend tonight went kind of kaput as a result of some poor planning on my part.. finding out when the show started for instance.

In an attempt to kill some time we ended up at a pub where they were playing the UFC thing.  I've only watched once or twice before but I have a few thoughts.

That fight with the black dude in the white shorts and the white dude in the black shorts, well, I think that decision was a pity vote that stemmed as a result of that particularily nasty kick to the junk that white-shorts dude took. Plus he didn't keep his hands up.  You need to keep your hands UP, white-shorts guy.

Even I know that.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Some things I wrote while getting my oil changed...


Your silence acts as a beacon
Throwing blinding light upon me
Squeeze my eyes tight against the glare
I don't want to see
Refuse to see, refuse to say

This endless trail of maybe
Led deeper into oblivion
away from the safety of home
Drawn by my infinite naive hope
Shelter from the storm

This roof leaks, it's no shelter
Rains doubt and suspicion
down on my jaded head
My foundation lies swollen
in damp, dirty lies

These useless metaphors dance jigs
in my head, laughing and reeling
My own self-mockery drives me
and up go my hands as I say
to me, "So Fucking What?"

copyright @andrea lyn cole 2010



Four A.M.
Here we are alone again
When everyone has already gone
Somehow finds us all alone
Those wee hours offer solitude
The air breathes honesty, whispers
Secrets between me and you

copyright @andrea lyn cole 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Katy Perry's Boobs will be the downfall of humanity...

First off, let me say that as a child, I loved Sesame Street. As an adult, I still love Sesame Street. That is to say, i still love the Sesame Street I watched as a child. I pretty much lost all respect for the later years once the brought in the brain-melting 15-minute Elmos's world at the end of every episode.

Seriously, go back and watch vintage Sesame Street and you can see how dumbed down it gradually became over the years. It's sad, because the early years of Sesame Street really did seem to give children and their intellect level some credit.

I will also mention that I have a love/hate thing for Katy Perry.. sometimes I think she's just the cutest thing short of Zooey Deschanel, and other times I just want to punch her in the friggin' face. I think it's just because she's EVERYWHERE and that's a sure way to annoy me.

That being said, today Tom Megginson at Work That Matters, posted about the Katy Perry clip that was deemed too hot for Sesame Street. You can read the article here.

It seems that after some feedback from parents on the YouTube video regarding Ms. Perry's ... *koff*.. erm.. decolletage, the CTW has decided to pull this skit.

Let me sum up their argument for having it pulled, in simple netspeak:


Yes. Please. Won't someone think of the children? All those poor defenseless children, who, as Tom pointed out have obviously never been to a beach, or been nursed, or seen a woman in a tank top before... someone please make sure they aren't forever scarred and corrupted by Katy Perry's cleavage.

Really? What preschooler is going to give one iota of thought to Katy's rack when there's that grammatically incorrect, third-person-talking, squeaky-voiced furry red mop with eyes to be entranced by?

Grow-up, overprotective parents and mammophobes everywhere.

No Make Up week - Follow up.

Three days so far.. one to go. No, I'm not including the weekend. I figure four business days is enough to prove myself.

I have a confession though. I did cheat a little. I admit that I've used a tiny bit of concealer on the giant nasty pimple that's been sitting right between my eyes, mocking me.

Honestly, it's all in the name of avoiding confusion, lest people think I've converted to Hinduism.

I'm sure it's a lovely system of beliefs, really, but I have enough trouble reconciling myself with the idea of one god, let alone many.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Karmic Retribution at it's finest.

Koran-Burning Pastor Hit With Giant Security Bill

This, folks, poetic justice.

Haw. Haw.

I should add, I not-so-secretly hope this guy gets hit with a defamation of character suit from another, far more awesome Terry Jones.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's on, Bitches. - No Make-Up week.

I love a challenge, so when I came across BlagHags post about No Make-Up week, it sounded like a fun one.

I am a self admitted make-up fiend. No, I don't go the route of sharpie eye-brows and cake foundation, but I do like to have fun with it, especially eye-make up, and to a lesser extent, lip-stick. I work in an office, so reasonably I can say I wear it to maintain a professional appearance but let's face it.. that's a total cop-out. I just like to wear it.

I don't consider myself one of those women who refuse to be seen without being made up. Most weekends, when I'm doing my various running around, I don't bother with it. But depending on my mood, I enjoy the opportunity that make-up allows for me to create different persona'. Vamp today? yes, please. Perhaps tomorrow I will be a fresh-faced girl next door. Lipstick alone has the power to transform and project a particular ideal. A vivid red, and I hold my head a little higher, swing my hips just a bit more when I walk. Switch to a subtle pink and I'm demure, with an upturned Lauren Bacall gaze.

I'm reminded of The Bonfire of The Vanities and Thomas Wolfe's use of The Girl with Brown Lipstick as imagery. The brown lipstick seemed to symbolize sensuality, but with an earthiness, a wholesomeness justapoxed with conspicuous sexuality.

I'm by no means blind to the argument for make-up being a tool of the patriarchy to emphasize woman's worth being based solely on her aesthetics. But I also see no issue with engaging in the trappings of femininity (interesting phrase, though.. the trappings of femininity - as in, those things that keep us prisoner) when one is aware and critical of their social significance. One mistake that past generations of feminists have made is buying into the positive/negative male/female dichotomy, and eschewing those things considered feminine.

Ladies, there's nothing wrong with femininity. But always, always look with a critical eye to why you engage these 'trappings'.

But anyway.. in honor of "No Make-up Week" Here is me, sans make-up, in all my adult acne'd glory:

This should be an interesting week. Let's see how long I last.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ain't got much to do, but there's always lots to say...

Holy wah, do I ever feel accomplished today. Five loads of laundry, cleaned the bathroom, moved the dryer back into the house, cleaned the fridge out, grocery shopped and succeeded in having the children help me by cleaning not only their room (as is expected on any given day) but also the living room and the mudroom. Got the bathroom done, but man.. my shower stall is craptacular and kind of gross. If I were planning to buy this place, I'd be ripping that sucker out.

Facebook's photo uploader is irritating me at the moment. I started uploading some pictures from Thursday night's Big Sugar concert about an hour and a half ago and it's still only uploaded five of them. *shakes fist*

Excellent show by the way. It was supposed to be the opening show for the Barrie New Music Festival. Yeah, the logic of kicking off a New Music Festival with a band that formed and was popular about 10-15 years ago kind of escapes me, but hey.. I'm not complaining.

However, if I was one of the other bands scheduled to play Thursday night I would be complaining, since they kind of got the short end of the stick in a time-slot the same as 'the big show'. As it was, there were two bands that I wanted to see that night as well, but ended up missing, the first being A Primitive Evolution, a group fronted by the wickedly talented Brett Carruthers who I went to public and high school with, and the second being the Schomberg Fair, whom I had the privilege of seeing earlier this summer and would happily see again.

Guys, consider this free promotion my apology for otherwise sucking and missing your shows. I held not the tickets.

The Trews opened the show, and I enjoyed them enough, considering I'm not a real big fan of theirs, and tend to file them in the same 'Schlock95' category as bands like Nickelback and Default. Okay, but nothing impressive. I wasn't terribly sad that we missed the first half of their quite long set.

The show took place at The Ranch, which as you may have guessed is a country bar, and I don't mean the good shit like Johnny cash and Patsy Cline. No no, it's that Alan Jackson Boot-Scootin' wal-mart country that generally makes my teeth itch. So generally if I am there, I am probably shit-faced since it's the only way I can handle being in that place for more than five minutes. It was nice to DD this night since they were NOT playing country. WHOO. It's unfortunate, because as far as bars go, it's HUGE and has a great layout. Oh, and Go-Go cages.

Go-Go cages, as it turned out, were a great way to reconcile my claustrophobia with my desire to actually SEE the band. I am short, and many people are not. I also like to dance but do not like to have my personal bubble invaded too much. So yay for the go-go cage.

So as I said, Big Sugar put on an excellent show. I remembered seeing them back in 1996 when not too many people knew who they were (with the exception of one of the guys in our party who has seen them somewhere in the ballpark of 40 times) and thinking they put on a very high-energy RAWK show. RAWWWWWKKKKKKK. They're also one of those bands that I always forget just how many songs of theirs I actually DO Know.

But yeah. Still waiting on photo uploads. Blargh. May paint tonight. I finished a tryptich based on three songs by Hawksley workman and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

"Oh, You Delicate Heart", "Smoke Baby", and "Paper Shoes".

I need to organize my craft/art closet. I re-hung a cupboard door today, so I felt all cool and handy. Dad is coming tomorrow to help me finally fix the back-door knob before the snow flies.

I feel like going to look at my fridge again and marvelling at the clean-ness. G'night folks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All the money or the simple life honey.

So, as some may know, I'm currently a renter. My landlords are pretty cool. They don't flip if I'm a day late with the rent check, are good about coming to fix stuff and so forth.

Oh, and they kind of gave me life too, so good on them for THAT.

However, times are tough all over and the time comes to downsize and liquidate assets. So I've been given my notice. That's right, I've got roughly 730 days to vacate the premises. I'd say this is a pretty fair amount of notice, wouldn't you?

So this brings me to my newest goal, saving some change so I can get me one of those mortgage-things and a wee abode of my own. In two years I'd like to have somewhere in the ballpark of $15 to 20K saved up and hopefully I can find a decent place in the 130-180K range. Now, considering right now my savings account has a balance of somewhere in the area of ten dollars, I have some work to do.

Last week, like a grown-up, I went to the bank today and set myself up with a real savings account. Not an account that I call a savings account but never really accumulates anything, but one of those high-interest, we're-going-to-take-your-first-born-in-exchange-for-an-ABM-withdrawal type accounts.. the ones that keep your money locked up tighter than a virgin in an adamantium chastity belt.

The savings account will take $100 bucks out of my regular account each month, plus there's a feature that, everytime I make a debit purchase from my checking, the amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar and then the difference is put in the saving account. So that's pretty cool.

I've also been looking into options for paying down as much of my debt as possible, including bugging my bank, whom I have been with for nearly 15 years without so much as being offered a freaking OVERDRAFT into giving me a line of credit at a better rate than the LOC credit I'm current paying off at a different bank. Haggle Haggle Haggle.

So I've been trying to think of other ways I can save up as much money as humanly possible, while still being able to, you know, eat and have a life.

  • All money from my Etsy Sales goes into savings
  • Half of any HST credit, work bonus and other unexpected payments go into Savings, the other half into the 'fun money' (or bills if I am behind)
  • Any money when I roll my change goes to savings
  • Take more clothes that I don't wear to the consignment shop
  • Bottle return money. Start having more BYOB parties.
  • Bring a little hat to put at my feet when I go to open mike night, and hope people take the hint.
  • Find Line of Credit with lower interest rate than I am currently paying, and make sure that's where the interest rate STAYS.
  • Put $100 each to LOC, CC and Student loans each month, whenever possible.
  • Come tax time, use return to pay off LOC. For the remainder, half goes to savings, half to fun stuff.

  • Cancel Accident insurance. I am insured through work so it's redundant, plus being accident insurance, if I did hack off my leg with a chainsaw, they'd probably find a way to say I did it on purpose.
  • Remove 'Full Value' option from my car insurance. Each year this just gets higher, since the car gets devalued. I don't commute far now, so if my car gets written off for some reason, I'll drive a beater.
  • Learn to do my own oil changes.
  • Quit drinking Timmie's and go back to office coffee. Make own coffee in travel mug for long trips.
  • Pack my own lunches
  • Eat leftovers for dinner
  • Call Rogers about better long distance plan.
  • Check out RCSS's coupon board when grocery shopping.
  • Pre-game when I go to the bar. Store bought beer has a lower markup than bar beer.
  • No more free sex. I should at least get a meal out of the deal. One less meal I have to budget for in the weekly grocery bill.*
  • Lose that last damn 20 pounds so I can become a Lifetime member at Weight Watchers and stop paying to go to the damn meetings.
  • Recruit as many people as I possibly can so I can get a sweet discount for kick-boxing.
I know the obvious one I've missed is giving blood on a regular basis, but I'm not a good candidate for blood donation, what with the clotting issues and all.

And now, A Musical Interlude:

*NOTE: Dinner does not mean there will be sex, but sex better damn well mean there will be dinner. Or breakfast, I'm not picky.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I miss my friend.

And it saddens me greatly.

But it also pisses me off, because as grown-ups I'd like to think we've evolved beyond the silent treatment.

But then again, we probably should have evolved past passive-aggressive blogging.

If you're reading this, I'm ready to talk when you are.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My trip to the psychic fair

Yesterday two good friends and I, in the name of doing something fun and different and relatively cheap, decided to check out a psychic fair.

In matters that one might call 'supernatural', I'm kind of what you might call a hopeful skeptic. I have an interest in things like clairvoyancy, mediumship, telemetry and whathaveyou, but still not sure I really believe in a lot of it. I've seen and experienced things that lead me to believe that there is a lot more out there than modern science has found explanations for. However, there are other things that people claim to be supernatural can really be chalked up to psychology, and unfortunately in some circumstances, good old hucksterism.

I think there are planes of existence and dimensions that science is not yet capable of exploring and explaining but may be able to, one day. Just look at the atom. I'm sure that once upon a time, the idea that all matter was made of tiny little particles that you can't see probably seemed like a whole lot of bunk, until we were able to create the technology to prove such things.

Anyway, the fair had about a dozen or so booths, a number of people doing readings and such. The aromatherapy/reiki booth was interesting and the two girls (twin sisters I believe) who worked the booth were fun and interesting. My friends both had some kind of foot therapy thing done, which they said was very relaxing. This is one of the areas I have an easier time buying, as I think a lot of it is psychological. Who has not been triggered by a scent at some point or another? At the same time though, it all may come down to a form of meditation, and forcing yourself to RELAX. I think a lot of the reason reiki and aromatherapy and the like seem to work is because you have someone there to guide you in your state of relaxation because in this day and age, it really is something that a lot of people are incapable of doing on their own.

A lot of the booths had people doing readings of all types, and since I was broke I kind of bypassed them. An amusing Scottish man did a quick (and I mean that literally, the guy spoke SO fast) numerology thing for each of us. Horoscopes and numerology rank pretty low on the credit scale for me because:

A) if people want to believe in something bad enough, they will see evidence that supports their belief and ignore that which conflicts.. this is confirmation bias.

B) I never seem to fit the descriptions of my 'signs', or I'll only half-fit them. The exception to this is my chinese horoscope. Last Christmas my co-workers and I all went out for breakfast at a local Chinese place and there was a fair amount of laughter all around when I read that 'Monkeys generally have a low opinion of others'. What, me? Really? nooooooo.

And again, with the numerology guy, some stuff fit me (jack of all trades, master of none.. yup. I also liked 'You do good things well, but you do bad things just as well when it comes to the drink and sex' - haha, nice.) but a lot of it I just kind of shook my head and said no, that doesn't sound like me.

There were also some booths selling some very nice artwork and handmade jewellery and such.. these had more appeal to me than trying to find my spirit guide or my guardian angel. Spirits and angels and communication with the deceased are more things that I have a hard time giving credibility to, especially as recently I've been privately grappling with a lot of my own beliefs/ideas regarding what happens after we die. But again, there are things I have seen with my own eyes that won't allow me to write off the idea entirely - Mom, you know what I'm talking about.

One of the readers was in Barrie for the first time so they were offering a 'One question' reading for free (usually for $15). I don't see the point in turning down anything that's free, if my effort is minimal, so I signed up and when my turn came I went into talk to Mother May, a matronly Jamaican woman and apparently third-generation psychic.

This was my second time ever speaking to a paid psychic (I have a couple of friends who 'see' whom I have spoken with). My first paid experience was for lack of any other better word, terrible. I came out of the reading very upset with some of the predictions she had made. The fortunate part was that her visions concerning my personality and my family life and whatnot were way off (she claimed I had unresolved issues with my father and that I didn't get a long with my sister etc etc.. yeah, FAIL.) so the predictions she had made were pretty much inaccurate too.

The only nice or good thing she had told me was that I should take up painting, so in an effort to take something positive out of the experience, I gave it a try, and well, I enjoy it. So that's something.

The woman I saw previously gave me a very negative vibe as soon as I had walked in. Mother May on the other hand gave off a very soothing kind of air. I asked my question (I'm going to keep it to myself, as it's personal) and she gave me an answer I had already kind of figured for myself. Although the confirmation was comforting, the skeptic in me couldn't help but think "but isn't that what anyone who asked such a question would 'want' to hear?" I felt my own confirmation bias kick in, as most of the things she said applied pretty closely to my situation, except for one.. but you find yourself going "but by *this* she could mean *this*" to which point even the stuff that doesn't make sense, makes sense.

All in all, it was a fun way to kill an afternoon, and it got me thinking about a lot of unexplained phenomena that still exists in the world, things that we still have so much to learn about like dreams, and deja vu and why some people seem more attuned to the energy around them. Why, when I walk into an old old house, do I feel a warmth or well-being that I don't get walking into a pre-fab model home? Is it the ability of inanimate objects to absorb the energy of people they once belonged to?

Being skeptical doesn't necessarily mean that seeing has to be believing, but it does mean questioning what our senses tell us.

well, that's all for today. I'll be mulling these questions and more while I do laundry. Oh Sunday.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Quick dream recap

lots of weird dreams last night, can only remember dribs and drabs

- Making plans to bathing suit shop at the beer store with my mom
- ending up on some kind of lunch date with a mid-aged bookish gentleman who played a number of musical instruments, and kissed me passionately before leaving to play a show somewhere
- Standing in a tourist-type gift shop (I know this, because there are racks of t-shirts that have wolves and eagle designs on them) in a white teddy/negligee, ransacking my overnight bag wondering where my street clothes are
- Finding myself outside on a small residential street. Everyone is outside on their lawn enjoying the day when one neighbor decides to come out and start lobbing grenades that look like giant lead fishing weights into the street. They don't explode so much as break into a lot of pieces but I am distinctly aware of their potential to hurt the bystanders. After one nearly hits a baby in a stroller in the head, I walk over to the grenade thrower and berate him. I think I punch him too.

I have issues, I'm sure.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Burn a Koran day = Bad idea.

Over at Laughing In Purgatory, Andy's been discussing the Burn the Koran Day.

Basically, the Dove World Church is planning to burn Korans to commemorate the ninth anniversary of September 11th, just to make a point. I'm not going to start on my confusion with choosing such an arbitrary number to commemorate.

My first reaction? Go ahead. Books are inanimate objects. They are not sacred. The Koran? Not Sacred. The Bible? Not Sacred. Hugh MacLennan's "The Watch That Ends the Night..?


Okay, fine. Not sacred. Pretty fantastic read, but not sacred.

From what I understand, the church isn't seeking to wipe out the ideas found in the Koran. It's not burn ALL Korans, just burn A Koran. Just to make a point. Basically, it's baiting.

Good job guys. As Andy in Purgatory pointed out, this will likely succeed in pushing more moderate Muslims to extremism. The act of a few whackjobs will probably result in greater widespread hatred of an entire group of people who were otherwise minding their own business.

Sound familiar?

I'd laugh at the irony, if it wasn't so friggin' terrifying.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sexualizing Organ Donation? Are you Kidding me?

So while waiting for my laundry to dry I was browsing through some old posts over at Sociological Images and came across this particular post from November 2008

Using sex to sell the most unlikely things

Now forgive me, as I am about two years behind the times here, but I think we can all agree on the ridiculousness of using scantily clad women to sell canned mushrooms, or of sexualizing sea monkeys. And the archery ad just makes me wanna laugh my ass off. C'mon seventies, you weren't even trying to hide your objectification of women.

However, my focus is on the thoroughly disturbing first ad, from a Belgian Men's magazine:

What. The. Fuck. (Sorry Grandma but in this case, I think it's called for.)

This ad is supposed to promote organ donation? Our basic message here is "See this chick? She's HOT. We all know what organ you really want to put in her, but maybe you can settle for a kidney. That's *kind* of like getting to do her."

I threw up in my mouth a little.

Instead of taking the logical marketing conclusion and NOT dehumanizing and objectifying a woman in need (I'm guessing from her lack of any noticeable body weight that she must be suffering from advanced kidney or liver failure. That's sarcasm, folks), but rather focusing on her humanity, maybe showing that she has family, or a promising future to live for. You know, saying "Hey.. what if this was YOUR daughter/sister/aunt/niece - wouldn't you want them to live??"

Instead we have an ad that likens organ donation to a sneaky way to commit sexual assault. Frankly, it makes me want to rip up my donor card and leave it alongside my corpse after I slit my own wrists in despair at my total loss in faith in the human race, as a big 'EFFYOO' to marketers everywhere.

I won't, granted, but it's tempting. Way to do a huge disservice to the cause of organ donation, since I'm sure I'm not the only one who would feel that way.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Because with chicks.. it's cool, ya know?

Read an interesting article in the Toronto Star today regarding a study on Late-Blooming Lesbians - that is to say, women who for most of their lives identified as either straight or mostly-straight, who later in life, enter into relationships with other women, sometimes leaving family behind. The study suggests that women's sexuality may be fluid rather than a static state of being. It suggest that women who 'come out' late in life may not have been repressing their sexual tendencies as many might assume, but that a woman's sexual preference can actually change over time.

This is not to say that it's a choice, but to put it simplistically - like, utterly, ridiculously simply - have you ever had a food that for years you had an aversion to, then one day you decide to try it and you like it? Tastes change.

This idea doesn't surprise me in the least. My own sporadic research into the subject, along with human anectdote has left me open to the idea of fluid sexuality for some time.

What surprised me about the article and the study is the seeming assumption that it is women that have this fluid sexuality and that men remain static.

Richard Lippa, a professor of psychology at California State University who has done a series of studies on sexual orientation, says most men are strongly attracted to one sex or the other —they have a preferred sex and an unpreferred sex.

But “there are more shades of grey to women’s attraction,” he says. Women, he says, tend to have a preferred sex and less preferred sex. Women are much more likely than men to report some degree of same-sex attraction.

I'd have to wonder how much of this binary is related to societal perception and acceptance of homoerotic behaviour in men as opposed to that in women. It seems a common occurence that over the last decade or two a women can engage in homosexual behaviour, call it 'experimentation' and still identify as straight.

However, on the flipside of that coin, the opinion expressed that any homosexual behaviour in men and societially speaking, they're gay, gay, ever so gay. Even in some cases of unconsensual (ie. jailhouse) sex, this is considered to be true. Men who 'come out' late in life are generally assumed to have been repressing their 'true' sexuality.

Taking a social constructionist view on things, I'd be interested to know if these researchers have considered prevailing social roles and conditioning as a factor in the perceived difference between the 'fluid' female spectrum of sexuality and the 'static' binary of male sexuality. Could it be that males report a distinct 'preferred' and 'unpreferred' gender because from the youngest of age, society discourages any sort of admission of homoerotic leanings, unless of course one is ready to 'go big or go home' and fully live up to the typical all-out gay stereo type? That, where women for the last couple decades at least have been allowed to express to certain extent at least a passing fascination with our sisters? Women have been allowed a middle-ground, where in males, this possibility of a middle-ground has all but been stomped to shit.

Something to ponder, anyway. Thoughts?

100th post! - I have seen hell and thy name is Wal-Mart.

I have just been to the seventh circle of hell and back. I took my girls back-to-school shoe shopping, and I did it in one of my most hated, godforsaken encampment of the damned, Wal-Mart.

Last summer I made a conscious decision to de-Walmart my life, based on a desire to support local businesses that have floundered under the corporate mega-giant's reign of terror in the greater midland area. The general worry when a Wal-Mart moves into a semi-rural area is this:

Wal-Mart Moves In.
Local Businesses are Unable to compete with a giant corporation and its cheaper merchandise and shoddy employment practices.
Local business gets shut down. Only jobs available are at.. you guessed it.. walmart.
Local Economy goes bankrupt. Can no longer afford to shop at Wal-Mart.
Wal-mart shuts down.

Now we have an economic black hole and all those lovely social problems that go with it. Yeehaw.

Since last July I believe I have made purchases there 4 times, and each time I've felt just a little bit dirty, a little bit degraded and a little bit like I had died inside.

However, I'm a mom on a budget and as a friend of mine put it.. "I'd like to save the world, but sometimes I'm broke and I just need a T-shirt" So every so often in times of desperation, I suck in my breathe and try to get in and out of there as fast as possible. Back to school shopping combines some of my other favorite things that make my teeth itch:
  • crowds.
  • spending money (yeah, I'm a tightwad. I fully admit it. If you've ever lived for three days on melba toast and jam, you would be too).
  • shopping with my children.
I don't mind shopping with one kid at a time, but both of them together and it's sensory overload, trying to watch them both as they run off in opposite directions, trying to hear them both as they talk to me simultaneously about two different subjects, trying to scold them both for touching, touching always TOUCHING CHIT.

I swear to christ, my oldest daughter is not content unless she has lain hands on every last piece of merchandise in any given aisle. I've threatened to tape her hands together in stores. To a lesser extent, I have made her walk with her hands clasped behind her back.

So yeah. Not my favorite Past-time. Add to this the lovely lurking 'helper' who shadowed us through the shoe aisle. Note to folks in customer service: Be available, but don't lurk. It's creepy and annoying, and you give off the vibe that you believe the 30-something woman shopping with her two children are about to rob the place blind. Seriously, knock it off.

And don't yell at my kid.

Yeah. This woman openly berated my oldest for not taking the shoes off properly. Laid into her, telling her "I have to try and sell these I can't if you're gonna wreck them!" at which point I turned and said "Uhm. she's TRYING THEM ON." Admittedly I misunderstood the issue.. I thought she was accusing T. of simply playing with the shoes when the issue was that she, in kid fashion, was taking them off with the opposite foot, like they tend to do.

So, yes. Creepy lurker lady had a point. But hey, I'm the parent, I'm present... maybe try addressing ME instead of laying into my kid, okay? Laying into them is MY job, thankyouverymuch. Needless to say, I was pretty much livid.

It's a horrible Jekyll and Hyde transformation I go through when forced to enter one of these places. Granted, a lot of it has to do with the fact that I usually only go when money is tight, so that's probably a factor in my overall grim mood in these places.

But Hey, I survived. Last year I managed to avoid the place straight through the xmas season, and I'm hoping through careful budgeting, and a lot of online shopping that I can do so again this year as well.