Friday, September 30, 2005
People I know tend to be surprised when they learn that I am not a fan of dogs, cats, or any pets for that matter. Somehow this fact is idiosyncratic with the rest of my personality. Folks seem to assume that I love animals as much as, or perhaps more than, the next person. Au contraire. I enjoy the idea of animals in the wild and used to love going to the zoo to look at the tapir. When it comes to dogs or even "cute little puppies" coming near me however, I would rather they stay away. There are a few of reasons for this.
a. For one thing, I was a very small child. As a little kid, most dogs towered over me. When my parents took me to places with dogs, they barked and freaked me out. They slobbered over me. They generally smell b-a-d. I've never really gotten over this.*
b. My father detests cats. My yia-yia does too. From a young age I was reared to think that they were dirty and to be avoided. That impression/indoctrination has stuck with me.
c. I'm kind of allergic to dogs which poses a natural deterrent.
d. Personally, and most likely for the aforementioned reasons, I can't think of a good rationale for spending all sorts of time and money on a pet. Why not buy a new pair of sneakers, spend time with a friend? That said, even I might make an exception if the pet were purchased from "Wet Pets San Pablo." That place is deserving of anyone's patronage solely because of their fantastic home-video-esque commercials. Perhaps I'll make a trip soon.
2. Major Shakeup at Friendster: This morning right before Fed Courts started I was shocked to learn about a new feature on Friendster. You can now view who has looked at your profile in the past month. Shockingly, this can be quite a few people. Interestingly, I just discovered, that this log builds up over the course of a month but is deleted immediately at the month's end. Now that it's October (by a mere forty minutes) I cannot see who viewed my profile in September. This must be Friendster's version of a perverse notice requirement. By that I mean that the Friendster folks introduced this feature at the very end of the month to titillate their users but provide very little satisfaction. Also, in so doing, they warned people that now their "stalking" actions are subject to scrutiny by the very objects of their curiosity or obsession.
The general sense I'm getting about this feature is that it's pretty devastating for people. It takes the fun out of the anonymity of Frienster, that sneaky sense of snooping with no possibility of detection. The person who revealed the feature to me was devastated and, as the following transcript of an AIM conversation with another Friendster demonstrates, this will likely have a chilling effect on dating. I may go so far as to predict the demise of Friendster.
Dirtina's high school pal, and coincidentally Friendster (DHSP): some girl named "Arlene"** bookmarked me
Dirtina (D): how exciting
(DHSP): i don't want to look at her profile though
(D): i know, it's a total trap!
(DHSP): because then i'll be the one guy [in october] who looked at her profile
* Noted exceptions: Otto & Gretta, the best Beagles in the world. Distinct personalities in their own right. RIP.
** Names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
An article in the New York Times today examined, and not very critically or very well, certain life expectations of female students at Ivy League colleges. The young women quoted in this article intend to put parenting (i.e., mommying) above their career goals. A choice to parent instead of pursuing a career full speed ahead is perfectly legitimate. However, apart from the seemingly innocent and insular "individual choices, this article disturbed us to our very core. In chief, we raise two critiques.
(1) We are disturbed about the institutional impacts of rich women taking up spots in elite institutions because they have the option and privilege to do so but will not make full use of their degrees. When education is as competitve and expensive as it is now, why not leave the class spots open for people who will use their degree? This is especially concerning to us because so many of the students quoted in this article plan to become lawyers. In our opinion the legal profession needs more public servants and more students from underrepresented backgrounds. Another related issue is that when many women express these preferences it adds credibility to assumptions that all women will eventually choose the "mommy track." This is damaging to women in the law and other professions. I'm not arguing that everything will change if women just realign their preferences with equally disturbing second-wave feminist viewpoints but until people start demanding more gender equity, nothing in the workplace is going to begin to change.
(2) The viewpoints in this article implicitly assume that all women have the choice to stay at home with their children. While maybe some of these Yalies from the burbs can rely on their daddies to pay for their whole education, college and law school, and then rely on their husbands to foot their bills, not all women find themselves in their Manolo Blahniks. From comments like these, "My mother's always told me you can't be the best career woman and the best mother at the same time," Ms. Liu said matter-of-factly. "You always have to choose one over the other," the judgment that is very clearly being made is that women who have to be both a career woman and a mother cannot possibly be good mothers, or good career women. The disturbing part about all of this is not that women who choose to stay home are making a politically incorrect choice. What bothers us is the lack of recognition that is is a very privileged choice. And this article presented women who showed an almost total lack of understanding of this fact. Making matter-of-fact statements that it is impossible and unrealisitc to expect to be a good mother and a career woman screams at low-income and single mothers "Hey! No matter how hard you work, you won't ever be as good at being a mother as we are because we can afford it!" The fact of the matter is that it's not realism telling women they can't do both well: It's women like Ms. Liu and the others quoted in this article spouting the short-sighted and self-aggrandizing career or mother dichotomy.To close with the words of Rortina, "Q.E.D. MF."
For the whole article check this out.
Monday, September 12, 2005
Case in point: Last night I cooked a relatively elaborate dinner, paprikash to be precise. I followed the cooking with a plant potting session and kitchen-clean up. I looked up muffin recipes. I searched for futon covers online. I made cookies.
Things are getting out of hand and I'm beginning to wonder, is Martha Stewart actually just one of the world's biggest procrastinators?
Friday, September 09, 2005
I am NOT surly.
I am many things. Surly, as it turns out, is not one of them. I am, I must admit, a hopeless fan of TV that should be reserved only for 17-year-old girls.
And I'm not just talking about the OC because, let's be honest, that's in the vein of Dawson's Creek: that excusable sort of bad. The self-referential "wink wink, nudge nudge we're laughing at ourselves as you're laughing at ourselves so we're laughing at you" cyclical humor that makes you want to puke from motion sickness, but doesn't stop you from lining up around the block just to get to the Boalt showing of the first epeisode (Welcome to the premiere, bitches). I'm a fan of One Tree Hill and plan to be an avid viewer of the new show that looks bad enough to be good, The Reuion. Not to mention my lingering longing for the deceased Buffy. So it goes.
But I'm not surly. I'm not. So get off my back already. I'm tired. And I think Surreal Life is about to come on.
I guess there are four observations that I wouldn like to share with you, dear reader. I'm not sure twhat they are yet, but let's give ita shot....
POINT THE FIRST: I'm not a big fan of Star Trek. I hate to say it, b/c I'm a HUGE fan of the IDEA of Star Trek. I love Next Gerenation (TNG for my fellow nerds). I jsut can't get into other shows. I mean, awesome, they don't have money b/c 'the human race has outgrown it's infancy.' (Comments, Hagan?) But our arch-enemies still have paper plates stuck to their heads. And Romulan Ale tastes like Ass
POINT THE SECOND: I am intoxicated, as is my editor. So, grain of salt
POINT THE THIRD: If any of you out there wonder what the post-revolution dystopia might look like, I reccomend Berkeley. Really excellent.
POINT THE FOURTH, Myra Rubert likes really lame music. I"m not talking about the Shaggy, though that's not so great. And I'm not talking about Boyz II Men. And I'm not talking about The Weather Human, either, sihnce I'm a big fan of the Weather Roommate. I guess it comes down, as it so often does, to Bonnie Tyler. There's a special place in hell for the poetry professor who told me that my work reminded her of Bonnie Tyler, in a good way.
BONUS!!! POINT THE FIFTH: If this is the drunken, slightly less reactionary version of the Becker-Ponser blog, I call Becker. At leas tthe guy's got some training in economics.
With that from Rordog and this wisdom, "Don't think - just post,'' here's goes.
It was Kerouakian - no don't. It's a "c."
In other news, I received what appeared to be porn in the mail today. I had received Pottery Barn catalogs since moving into my new apartment but Playboy is a whole different story. Perhaps this all stems from the time I gave away my information to Parliament, the cigarette company. Oh the things one does when out and dancing... it seemed like such a good idea.
That's all for now but if someone could tell me if they've received a Playboy catalog recently - that would be awesome. Yeah, thanks.