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.


(Pretentious Bastard, you may want to skip this one, I certainly don’t want to trigger anything.)

This month is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Summary: My great-grandmother had breast cancer at 35. She had a double mastectomy and survived. My grandmother battled both breast and lung cancer–but I suspect that the lung cancer has more to do with her smoking. My aunt had breast cancer a few years ago. My mother had breast cancer at 60. She had a single mastectomy and a year of radiation treatment. I am happy to say that they all survived.

There is a genetic test that determines if you have a gene that’s been linked to breast cancer. It is being pushed on women, especially on women with family histories of breast cancer. There’s even a television ad to try and get women to take it. I feel that taking the genetic test is somewhat pointless. My odds for getting breast cancer are told in my family history. I don’t think that the genetic test is going to tell me anything I don’t already know–that I have a high risk of developing breast cancer? I already know that, thanks. One look at my family history tells me that. What it will do is force me into a group describing themselves as “previvors”. These women have already decided that they will get breast cancer and survive. Good for them. However, I choose to be myself, and not define myself by a disease that I have not yet developed.

This is why I am ignoring the articles being sent my way about preventative masectomies. I will not mutilate my body from fear over what might happen. Regular check-ups are happening, and will continue to happen until I die (given the preventative attention and family history, it probably won’t be from this). Once I actually develop breast cancer, it will be treated in the most effective way possible. (After all, I don’t see any men at risk for testicular cancer being told, “Maybe it’d be for the best if you just had them removed.”)

The finger below is for people who decide that their way of dealing with illness is the only way, and try to use fear and emotional bullying to make everyone deal with it the same way. Respect that it is my body, and my decision. It’s also for cancer itself, from my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, my aunt, my sister, and myself.

The Salute

So, Apple puts out their 8-gig iPhone for $599.  Couple of months pass, they drop the price to $399 and declare that the $499 4-gig is being discontinued.  Believe me, I understand how that’s going to piss off customers who bought them early.  Back in my bookstore days, we discounted the top ten bestsellers by 30%.  If something hit the list after it had been out a couple of weeks, we’d inevitably have people come in wanting us to refund the difference (because we hadn’t tapped into the psychic friends network for booksellers and read the list ahead of time, shame on us).

Good business practice says, if it’s within a reasonable time frame, you oblige.  Apple refunded the $200 difference for anyone who had bought the phone within 14 days of the price drop.  Should they have extended it out further than that?  I don’t really know.  On the one hand, I have to say no – the people who bought them early were willing to spend the original amount.  It’s Apple’s right to drop the cost, and they didn’t have to give any refunds at all. 

On the other hand, our own OfficerGleason has a JesusPhone that he bought shortly after they hit the shelves, and I’d like him to have more money to spend on beer, shoes and tulips for a pretty girl.

My cynical side says, “Suck it up, bitches,” but my loyal friend side says, “Apple needs a smiting.”

Anyway.  That’s all just intro.  I’m not giving Apple the finger (today). 

The finger instead goes to Dongmei Li, who has decided that Apple owes her a whole lot more than $200.  She’s suing for $1 million dollars in damages because she stood in line for a long time, ended up with the 4-gig phone (because she didn’t want to wait for the next wave of 8-gigs), and was outside of the 14-day window.  Ars Technica goes a bit more in-depth into the situation, and holy frivolous lawsuit, Batman! 

At first, I figured (benefit of the doubt and all) that maybe she’s some kind of reseller who scooped up a whole fuckton of JesusPhones and lost money on what she hadn’t resold before the price cut.  But, no.  Looks like she’s just a pissed off consumer wasting peoples’ time and money because she can. 

I’m sorry, lady, but you went and stood in line on launch day, $600 in hand, because you wanted a shiny.  Being an Apple customer doesn’t mean you can demand a million dollars when things don’t go your way.  Well, I suppose it means you can demand it, but it doesn’t mean you can get it. 

What you can get is this finger.  It’s probably more than you’ll receive from your ridiculous lawsuit.

Hell no, I’m not hip!

August 17, 2007

Hell no, I’m not hip!

Just for the record, no matter what wants us to think, the hip kids are not at home blogging. It’s very stupid for one blogging website to proclaim that it is inherently “hipper” than the other blogging websites.*

Spare me the list of WordPress features, please. That’s not the point. They’re not focusing on the features. Instead they create a sort of peer pressure, of “all the cool kids are on WordPress.” We may all be deluded enough to think that you want to read about what we think is stupid (you’re reading it, so clearly we’re not THAT deluded), but I’d hope we’re not deluded enough to think that we’re cool because we use WordPress rather than Blogger.

A brand is a brand–it exists to convince you that something that is almost identical to something else is unique enough to make you better somehow. Fuck that! We are who we are no matter what, and express the thoughts we have. Whether we use a pen, WordPress, or the terribly uncool Blogger isn’t the point. WordPress, you’ve earned the finger.

The Salute

* It does occur to me that there’s another meaning of hip that could mean “wise to” or that you’ve caught on to the neatness of something. While that may be the meaning they’re going for here, that’s not how it comes across.