All right. I am officially sick of this “man cave” shit.

Apparently, since, y’know, there’s nothing else going on in the world, CNN has decided to pick up on the latest trend in home decorating – man caves, mantuaries, mantown, whatever the hell you’d like to call it, it’s the place in the house where the poor, beleaguered husband can go to be surrounded by his manly things and be free of his nagging harpy of a wife for a while.

No, I’m not exaggerating here. Go on, have a look.

The article is entitled “Why he needs a room of his own. The first bullet point is, “Man caves are a place for what a man’s gotta do.”

What, exactly, does a man gotta do?

I understand the importance of having your own space, a place for your things where you aren’t tripping over your significant other all the time. When we bought our house, we liked having three bedrooms so we each could have our own offices, our own spaces. Now that my husband has started the process of moving his office down to the basement (because it’s so much cooler in the summer), we’ve jokingly called it The Lair.

However, it’s being done for practical purposes, not so he can get away from the shrew upstairs. At no time have I ever felt like there’s a “No Girls Allowed” sign on the door, or as though I can’t go downstairs to talk to him, like the rules for these man caves seem to imply.

Jill Scully, 31, of Pescadero, California, doesn’t sneak up on fiancé Nicholas Woodman, 32, in his lair, a barn outfitted with $13,000 of race car simulation equipment.

Nicholas, an amateur club circuit racer and owner of a digital sports camera company, takes the jostling driver’s seat for hours on end — helmet on, lights off, surround sound blaring. Interrupting her fiancé might make him “crash,” so Jill, who helps run Nicholas’ company, waits until the end of the “race” before announcing herself.

“This deal conveniently ensures I have to be a spectator for a good half hour until his race comes to a close and I can interrupt,” she says.

I’m not sure how anything about this is “convenient.” This woman has to stand and watch what her husband’s doing, and be quiet until he’s ready to acknowledge her. I can understand not interrupting for a few minutes – we both play World of Warcraft, and there have been times when one of us has been in the middle of a boss fight when the other wanders in to ask a question. So, sure, waiting a few minutes to ask if he’s seen the car keys or if I remembered to add something to the Netflix queue is fine. But there’s always at least the acknowledgement that the other person is in the room – most of the time, the headset will come right off so whoever needs to ask a question can get an answer.

Having to shut up and wait, though? For a half hour? That’s ridiculous. And why does she have to be a spectator? Why not just go away and do her own thing, if she’s being ignored anyway? It certainly seems as though his time is more important than hers, if she has to stand there and wait. How is that a relationship between equals?

The whole presentation is simply insulting – that men need this place to get away from it all – the kids, the in-laws, the wife. The only mention of a reciprocal situation comes from (surprise) the marriage counselor: “‘My wife has a lot of quilting and sewing stuff in her office and she likes to sew and not be bothered,’ Brody says. ‘I think we all have that need.'”

It’s one thing to have separate spaces, but the whole idea of “mantown” borders on being insulting to the women in these relationships, no matter how CNN tries to spin it. The women quoted all have positive things to say, but the subtext makes my skin crawl.

So, here’s my first mooninite finger in a long time, pointed right at the mancaves.

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Damnit

October 21, 2007

I am giving a finger to Writers Block. It does not matter what I have to write–Blog posts, intakes, evaluations or some sort of fiction–I can’t write more than a few sentences at a time.

It took me an hour to write this. Seriously, fuck you writers block. Fuck. you.

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Ugh, Betty.

October 10, 2007

If you haven’t watched Monday’s Heroes, and you haven’t been reading the online comics, you might want to go catch up.  Here’s an image of my Heroes-crush Peter Petrelli for some quality spoiler space:

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So, we learn that Sylar didn’t bite it at the end of the first season, and the person who is nursing him back to health is Candice, the illusionist/shapechanger from the Company.  Now, I hated her in season one.  The character is just not at all likable.  I suppose, with her working with Linderman and the Company, it’s not all that surprising that she’d pretty intolerable.

Then came her backstory, and my annoyance switched from the present-day character to whoever wrote her past.  I guess it’s both Tim Kring, for the hints that have been dropped in the show (and her final scene as an overweight brunette at Sylar’s feet Monday night) and Joe Casey, who wrote the “Betty” arc for the graphic novel online.

Candice was once a fat, pimply goth girl named Betty.  The perfect, perky, beautiful cheerleaders (who think AP classes are for squares) and the handsome, football-playing, testosterone-filled boys in her class were mean to her and her awkward, pimply goth friend Ren.  Betty gets revenge on a football player, the rest of the team takes it out on Ren, Betty accidentally sends Ren into cardiac arrest revealing her newfound powers and plotting revenge, la la la.  In the end, she stops short of pulling a Carrie and just leaves everyone at the homecoming game freaked out while she strikes off on her new life as thin, pretty Candice.

I understand that comics and hour-long television shows are going to rely heavily on stereotypes.  Can we call the cheerleader/goth themes archetypes yet, or are they still too recent?

During the first season, I rolled my eyes at the portrayal of Claire as the one cheerleader on the squad who was a decent human being, but I let it go.  This season’s episodes with the mean ol’ cheerleaders bullying Martha made me grit my teeth, too, but again, I decided to just deal with it and let them tell the story.

Then, yesterday, while watching the episode online (I missed it Monday night), I had to go back and make sure they hadn’t just filmed Missy Peregrym at a bad angle.  I’d forgotten about an exchange between Candice and Micah during “Landslide”:

Michah: I have a cousin who eats like you. He’s huge.
Candice:  So am I.

After finishing the episode, I went and read the comics, since I haven’t seen them since last season ended.  And lo, the Betty arc. 

I guess it struck a harder nerve because I identify more with the kind of person they’re stereotyping than I did with the cheerleaders.  I was (and let’s be honest, I still am) the overweight, nerdy, slightly goth girl.  I was never quite brave enough to dress like Death (except on Halloween), but I wore my share of black and read far too many vampire novels. 

I realize that there are kids out there like that, who angst it up and believe that The Necronomicon is real.  (Ia! Ia!)  When I went to New Orleans the first time, we went on the Rev. Zombie’s Vampire Tour and the “real vampire” who walked along with us gave me his website and contact info afterwards (because I answered a lot of the tour guide’s questions, I guess.  I was wearing a white blouse and a flowered skirt; I hardly resembling a bloodsucking fiend at all).  He seemed to believe that he was Vlad II Dracula reincarnated, and that the Camarilla truly existed.

So, believe me, I know they’re out there.

What bothers me most about the Betty story, though, was that they did go for the obvious cliche.  I suppose, with her being a minor enough character, they don’t really have to put all that much time and thought into it.   Yet, the story so far has been pretty solid.  Of course they’re going to use sterotypes, but there have been some pretty good twists on them, too. 

Reducing Candice down to “fat girl who used to be picked on” was a missed opportunity.  She could have simply been average-looking.  Kring et. al might have taken a page out of Neil Gaiman’s book and looked at Nuala the fairy.  Hell, Candice could have been a man – now, there’s a plot twist for you (but likely not one that they’d want to explore in prime time, maybe.)

Anyway, yet another two-fold finger:  to the writers for making me overanalyze AND for their lazy storytelling.

Mooninite!

So my six year old comes home from school and we do the daily ritual of: “how was your day, what you do in school today, etc”.  Normally these are pretty mundane conversations.  You know the life of a second grader is not that exciting.

Today was a bit different, she told me they had a drill.  I figured a fire drill always fun to get out of class for 30 minutes.  No…New York state has instuted a new type of drill.  It is called a lock down drill or as I like to refer to it a new play on the old duck and cover drill. 

 I’m not sure if some of you are familiar with the duck and cover drills but in essense they were the solution thought up in the 1950s as to what children should do in case of a neuclear attack.  Hide under their desks and put their hands on their heads.  I think it was a good position since you are close enough to your ass to kiss it good bye.  Any ways, if you ask your parents (or grand parents for you youngins) you will find out it shaped their world view for life.  Knowing that your governments solution to world anihilation was to kiss your ass good bye does not leave you with much confidence.

Fast forward to today.  The concept of these lock down drills is should there be a gang of terrorists or crazed children in the school.  The kids will have a drill to help them deal with it.  Granted I think americans as a whole have no concept of what makes these “terrorist tick” and I’ll cite an example as to why.  My grandmother before she passed away a few years back was talking about how she was so glad the San Diego (PD/Naval Station) had been so quick to protect the Coronado bridge.  I’m sure a sentiment felt by many San Diegoans.  Except it misses the point that “terrorists” are not going to blow up a strategic target, they have no intention of invading and wanting to cripple a milatary target.  They want head lines.

 Any ways back to this concept of lock down drills.  Talk about a band aide (if you can call it that) and a perpetuation of state propaganda that is happening.

I’d give some one the finger as soon as I figure out who exactly deserves it.

The state of panic we live in.

September 26, 2007

My first post here and an issue near and dear to my heart.

The world we live in or more to the point the world we believe we live in.  I’m going to cite an example from personal experience.  For the past seven years I’ve been running shall we call an accidental test.  It’s something that every time it came across my conscious I thought, “This needs to be corrected.”  But seeing as it was not high priority and I didn’t want to incur the extra expense it has always been quickly relagated to the “when I get a chance bin.”

So what’s this about?  Well let me ask you all a direct question (since most of you are techno savy), what would happened if you put a server running, FTP, web services (IIS and php), SMTP services on the internet without firewalls or virus protection?  This server was locked down removing netBIOS, all services properly secured (running as a limited user) and relay prohibited for email forwarding without proper login.  Set on auto patch and left by it’s lone some going on seven years.  I kind of give away the answer with that last statement.  Beyond random port scans and a brute force attempts now and then absolutely nothing.  The checksums on the server are the same every quater.  Beyond normal log file creation and growth, nothing has changed about it (you might ask what the hell I’m doing with this server if nothing ever changes and it’s now seven years old suffice it to say when something is free..well yeah it’s free and I don’t care).

So after all this technogarble what does this have to do with the state of panic?  Interestingly I would assume if I polled your average techno savy person they would probably say ‘ZOMG HAX” if you left an “unprotected” machine open to the internet.  Much like the concept that if you don’t have super secure airports the terrorists will get ya.  Both are possibly true but I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that if this server had actually anything of value some one with actual skills would have by this point presented me with a surprise.  Much like if you want to blow up a plane or a building, if motivated a little security is not going to stop you.

I personally hate the way modern culture is heading, pick up a kid off the play ground after he falls off the monkey bars and watch out for the pedophile law suits.  Secure your home or it will get robbed! Invade a foreign country because if left to their own resources they will attack you!  The internet is unsafe!

I have no real point to this beyond saying wake the fuck up and live in this world not the imaginary world presented to you.

I don’t have a middle finger pic, but I’m waving mine proudly as a write this.

Results Typical

September 5, 2007

It should be fairly obvious to people who’ve met me that I’m uncomfortable in my own skin.

The second I see a camera pointed in my direction, I find something or someone to hide behind. There are more shots of my hands blocking my face than actual pictures. It’s definitely a self-esteem thing, and a body image thing – seeing a bad picture sends me into a funk. I am also always the one in the candids caught in mid-sentence or mid-sneeze, or with a wine glass halfway to my mouth. Picking out which wedding pictures could go in our album was an ordeal (and I didn’t even get to have a nice cup of tea first).

I own more pairs of shoes than is really necessary. The logic behind it is simple – when I go shopping for clothes, I will inevitably try on things that look great on the rack, but once I get them on in the dressing room, I’m wondering who switched out the awesome shirt that I found with this piece of sackcloth. I’ll leave the store annoyed and slightly depressed, and feeling like the day was a failure. So, y’know. Shoes are pretty safe – they can redeem the whole trip.

In the interest of improving my self-image, and being more healthy in general, and, just once, being able to, say, wear leather pants before I’m too damned old to be wearing leather pants, I’ve gone ahead and rejoined Weight Watchers online. I did it for my wedding and it worked.

However, a honeymoon in New Orleans (hello, Cafe Du Monde) and buying a house that turned out to be more of a fixer-upper than we realized started me on the road to gaining back what I’d lost. (Home improvement will be the topic of a future Finger post, I’m sure, starting with the nightmare that was our kitchen.)

So, here I am, five years later, trying again. It’s actually fairly easy. I know the system, I remember a lot of the tips and how to make healthier choices. What sucks, though, what I’ve been working up to in this ramble, is the stepping-on-the scale part of it all. They tell you only to get on it once a week, on your weigh-in day. To do it at the same time of day, wearing similar clothes. That looking every morning is counter-productive and can be discouraging, since your weight fluctuates. I’m pretty good about it.

Okay, kind of good.

I’ll look every other day.

For three weeks, even though I followed the plan to the letter, the gorram scale didn’t move. I should be thankful it didn’t go up, I know. But hitting a plateau like that after only three-and-a-half pounds… Ick.

All weekend long, this rant was percolating in my head. It was going to be a pretty bad weekend anyway – two birthdays to celebrate, my dad’s and a friend’s, and I knew for at least those few days, the best I could do was stick as close to the diet as I could between restaurants and a family cookout and hope I didn’t gain.

Then, when the time came for the official weigh-in… I’d lost a pound.

So, this finger is for the scale. Yes, I realize it’s an inanimate object. Yes, I realize I’m in control of my own weight loss – I could exercise more, I could drink more water, I could do lots of things. And yes, I realize giving the finger to the scale for going down this week doesn’t make much sense, either.

Here it is, anyway:

Mooninite!