31 March 2006

the itchy and scratchy show!

I have a tendency to miss small details in life. I tend to over-commit to things, leading to the occasional fainting spell and/or heartbreak. This inattention to my own personal well-being has also led to the following list:

Places I Have Poison Oak (today)

both ankles
both forearms
in between my ring and middle fingers on my left hand
on the top of my middle finger on my right hand
my right elbow-pit
my right knee-pit
just below my right collar bone
the left side of my neck
the bridge of my nose

Fortunately nowhere totally inappropriate (yet) - I hear nipple p.o. is a doozy.

27 March 2006

Feng shui, or something

According to Supernaturale, feng shui says, "To find your love area stand in your doorway (the door to your home, your apartment, your room if you share a household). The love area is the furthest most rightest corner."

My love corner therefore consists of (1) my over-full closet, (2) a bag of recycling that really needs to be taken out, and (3) an IKEA lamp that is currently holding a very wet, very poison-oak-covered pair of Carhartts. Hmmm...perhaps some rose quartz crystals are in order.

It also says feng shui is anti-tree, though, so that just can't be right.

16 March 2006

Feminism be damned.

I am not a fan of male chauvinism. Larry Summers – not my guy. I am a huge fan of equal pay for equal work, the ERA, and a general avoidance of discrimination. I have, in fact, been called a “screaming feminist” (sorry for the repetition here) by men who like to wear shirts that imply that they are lesbians. I am, however, also not the kind of woman who has to deal with a lot of male chauvinism. I work in a field dominated by women and I almost never get hit-on by strangers.

But there are certain times in my life when I’m reminded of how awesome it is to be a young woman of precarious means. Say, hypothetically, that I rear-ended an Audi today on my way down to City College. After calling my mom to cry, calling the insurance company to report, and getting my general shit back together (and out of my car), I faced a seriously bent hood on a very small, very meek, very inexpensive Daewoo (that’s a kind of car, for those of you not cool enough to know that). So I headed to a recommended body shop, pointed at the hood of my car, noted that I only had liability insurance, and was told to “wait till Dan got back from his break.” “Dan,” my friends, in the course of 30 minutes called me “darlin’” at least four times, told me that he could “fix anything but a broken heart” (literally. fortunately Pierre’s bent hood was not heartbreak caliber), fixed my car, and let me choose how much I would pay for the endeavor. This rocks. An otherwise shitty week totally salvaged by some random dude’s kindness and metal-hammering skills.

Of course, they might treat all customers the same way. If my dad drove his Mercedes in with his 6 feet of height, silver hair, and golf-club polo shirt, trying to get a dent fixed, they might have let him pay cash and called him darlin’. Or if I had bitched instead of sniffled, and been wearing a suit instead of jeans they might still have said when I asked how much, “Well, whatever.” I’ll never know. That’s what’s funny about life. Empathize all we want, we really have no idea what it’s like to be someone other than ourselves (unless you have an identical twin, I guess). What would it be like to walk through the world prettier or blonder or less pretty or male or really tall or super-short? Partially deaf? With an extra toe? With perfect pitch? I have no idea. But I do know that when faced with a mechanic or a hardware store clerk, I’m damn glad to be a woman.

Here’s a related question: why is it that when you have limited car insurance, mechanics try to work with you to save you money, but when you have limited health insurance doctors go out of their way to screw you. I once got a root canal thinking I didn’t have dental insurance, but really wanting the root canal, only to find out that I was still insured (thank you, California Teacher’s Union). When the dentist went to file with the insurance company they also had to reimburse me, because they’d charged me the “uninsured price” which is MORE than what they charge insurance companies. Uh, unfair? So is it the insurance companies themselves sucking? Or is it that most mechanics know what it’s like to have weak car insurance, but most doctors have spent their entire lives happily health-insured? Or something else? Also, I’ve never had a doctor call me darlin’. Though that might be a little creepy.

09 March 2006

When P.C. misses the point.

Okay, so I admit that I read a disproportionate number of NYT articles just because they have the word “Yale” in the title (or, more and more, the names of people I know. WTF?). That said, here’s another that makes me cringe.

So at the end of this month the Yale Law School will hold a symposium on executive power. The presidential kind, not the CEO kind (are they different?) One of the people who is going to speak is John Yoo, the dude who wrote the memo for the current administration that justifies torture (in the legal sense) and who thinks wire tapping, any war-time, any place, is just dandy. I actually think anyone with something to say should (if invited) be able to say their piece without censure in an academic setting, but at a liberal law school, what is there to do if not protest.

But what are our dear Yalies protesting? Some 21-year-old who took notes when he was a law student (oh, and apparently he’s a genius) and used the n-word to mean African American. Then prudently posted the notes on the internet (not because of his stellar vocabulary, but because this is normal in law school land). Now, I’m not saying it’s a good idea to use racial (or any other kind of) slurs, in note-taking or otherwise, but SERIOUSLY? This is what's being protested? And the kid already apologized. Several times.

I’d like to think that the YL folk are letting Mr. Yoo come just so they can throw rocks at him, and that this silliness with language is just a diversion, but somehow I doubt it. Not that it bears comparison, but if you looked at any of my class notes from when I was 18, you wouldn’t find racial slurs, but you would definitely find some inappropriate comments. (Actually, I think I spent most of that year counting the number of times a certain professor used the word “concatenate” in a class. An average of more than once is all you need to know. But I digress.) What's the right analogy-cliche here? The elephant in the room? Throwing the baby out with the bath water? Fixating on the minutia of one person's past word choices while ignoring his peer's anti-Geneva Convention sentiments?

There’s, like, a war and shit right now, and our best and brightest legal minds are getting huffy and (more importantly) spending their scholarly time protesting a word that, for many factions of our culture (including much of the faction that the word is a slur towards), is just part of the vernacular? If a guy who thinks that German shepherds are a reasonable interrogation device is allowed to speak and debate, shouldn’t the guy who made a poor short-hand decision have that same privilege?

04 March 2006

Yes and no.

This is great. Perhaps negative, but great.

This is a ridiculous and terrible idea. The definition of "native" is loose, I agree, but unless you're going to create different types for each regional watershed, cut it out. You're introducing non-indigenous seed. And, um, not to make assumptions about other people's hygiene, but I usually try to find places that are already vegetated when I need to relieve myself. Who shits in a clearcut?