Posts tagged with "grouse" - Faerye Net 2012-07-18T21:08:58+00:00 Felicity Shoulders The 5 Stages of Street Harassment 2012-07-18T21:08:58+00:00 2012-07-18T21:09:40+00:00 <p><strong>1. Denial.</strong> Wait, did someone just say &#8220;<span class="caps">PROSTITUTE</span>!&#8221;? Was that the word? Was it that guy? Was it to me? No, surely I misheard. Let me just listen to the extremely disturbing replay in my head a bit, I&#8217;m sure it wasn&#8217;t that. Or to me. Shit, it really was.</p> <p><strong>2. Fleeing.</strong> Doooon&#8217;t look over your shoulder, fast fast walky walky fast, car around the corner, no one following me, it&#8217;s just nerves anyway. It&#8217;s a beautiful day, you&#8217;re no less safe just because someone reminded you it&#8217;s an ugly world.</p> <p><strong>3. Victim-blaming.</strong> Holy shit, is my bra showing? No, it isn&#8217;t. Also, what the what, Felicity, you&#8217;re a feminist. Cut that out. It&#8217;s about him, not you. [Ed: I bet you want to know what I was wearing. I would too. Because it&#8217;s how we make sense out of this crap, and unfortunately, shift the blame.]</p> <p><strong>4. Stubbornness.</strong> Stop, stop, <em>stop</em> looking in the mirror and checking your outfit for sluttiness, Felicity. You&#8217;re a feminist. You know that this is about that dude and his feelings about women, and the Patriarchy and its inability to allow women to just <em>be</em>, summer clothes and all, without carrying the signification of &#8220;<span class="caps">SEX</span>&#8221; around their necks like a burden and target. That guy is an enforcer. A creepy, crunkle-faced enforcer who wants you to be ashamed of wearing a tank top on a sunny day. He doesn&#8217;t get to win.</p> <p><strong>5. Blog fodder.</strong> Just another lovely reminder, folks! Patriarchy Makes Every Day Special!</p> Alarums 2010-11-11T13:41:40+00:00 2010-11-11T13:42:46+00:00 <p>At 6-something this morning, I surfaced from sleep, confused and still dripping with dreams. I didn&#8217;t know why. Oh. A sharp meeping sound. After a few repetitions and some heavy thinking had convinced me that this noise had nothing to do with my dream, or the <span class="caps">RPG</span> character I was thinking about before I fell asleep, I decided it must be a very small fire, a very mild case of CO poisoning, or an alarm low on battery. Sleepy and probably hilarious information-gathering steps led me to the final conclusion.</p> <p>The alarm in question was in my room. Of course. I lugged a folding chair in and studied the cream-on-cream instructions. I pressed to silence. One ear-bloodying meep. Then, after the interval precisely calculated to give you a few seconds of sweet hope, another meep. I pressed to silence again. Three attacks, then one more, then silence. I had a feeling my travails were not over, but I was also very sleepy and my feet were very cold. I <a href="" target="links">tweeted my woes</a> and returned to sleep. At 8:14, of course, <span class="caps">MEEP</span>.</p> <p><span class="caps">MEEP</span>.</p> <p>Now, I am almost certain that I&#8217;ve blogged about smoke alarms meeping at midnight before, because two houses ago we had a perfect epidemic. But searches are not availing me, so we&#8217;ll all have to settle for <em>d&eacute;ja-lu</em>. At any rate, I could clearly see the path I was beginning: too sleepy to solve the problem, I would postpone it, like the devil&#8217;s snooze button, until it woke me again, and again. I would never feel rested, so I would never wake up fully, never end my night&#8217;s sleep, never be free of the <span class="caps">MEEP</span>.</p> <p>So I carefully bestirred myself, carried the chair back in, took the alarm off the wall, carried it downstairs, put on slippers, cautiously opened the cabinet from which it takes 15 minutes to roust a cat (I thought I heard Qubit behind me, but the <span class="caps">MEEP</span> lacerated her ears and sent her running), opened my big trunk o&#8217; games, silenced the alarm, put it in, closed up, went back upstairs, replaced the chair, heard a desolate moaning, located Qubit to make sure she wasn&#8217;t trapped (she was just scared of the <span class="caps">MEEP</span>), petted her into complacency, and went back to bed.</p> <p>Only then did I check twitter for commiseration, and found out that <a href="" target="links">Ryan has 9V batteries</a>. Sigh.</p> In which I discuss dentifrices 2010-04-26T23:54:01+00:00 2010-04-26T23:54:16+00:00 <p>I have brought it to my own attention that this blog has been both sparse and all-work-no-play of late. Therefore, I am going to post about something very trivial and obvious which bothers me, in celebration of the fact that this is still a blog and it is still on the internet, and all this substantive stuff and serious business needs a little leavening.</p> <p>So, people of the internet: I do not want to whiten my teeth. Seriously, I don&#8217;t want to paint whitening agent on my teeth or bathe them in a whitening wash, or even commit the relatively sane step of asking my dentist what whitening process he recommends. And most of all, I do not want to whiten while I brush. This should not be difficult to accomplish. I just want toothpaste that does what it says on the box: when used in a regimen <span class="caps">BLAH</span> <span class="caps">BLAH</span> <span class="caps">BLAH</span>, keeps my teeth from rotting and falling out. Because I like being able to eat a steak, because cavities make eating chocolate painful, because tooth pain can cause headaches, because tooth disease can cause other more systemic health problems. Because cleaning our teeth is a pretty basic hygienic standard we&#8217;ve mostly agreed on for decades (if not more).</p> <p>Which is why it&#8217;s so frustrating to find more and more of the grocery store toothpaste aisle devoted to whitening every day. I actually have to read the fine print on each box before I buy it, to make sure that I&#8217;m not being accidentally whitened. Fates forfend I should try to buy a travel-size of plain toothpaste. It&#8217;s as if I walked into the canned veggies aisle and found that 80% of canned green beans now come mixed with diet supplements, because you can&#8217;t just want green beans.</p> <p>We all have our personal capitulations and complicities with the beauty standard. But we don&#8217;t have to embrace living in a world where every single part of our body has an established yardstick by which its appearance is inadequate. &#8220;Clean&#8221; is a pretty good social standard: for hair, for skin, for teeth. If we accept that the default version of a simple toiletry should include extraneous &#8220;beautifying&#8221;, we&#8217;re accepting that the standard isn&#8217;t just clean, it&#8217;s also &#8220;shiny and manageable&#8221;, &#8220;toned and tightened&#8221;, or &#8220;white and glistening&#8221;. There are enough channels telling people they aren&#8217;t good enough in America. Why does toothpaste have to be one of them?</p> Comfy shoes 2009-04-05T17:49:41+00:00 2009-04-05T17:58:48+00:00 <p>I think costuming is meaningful. Maybe that sounds odd, but it&#8217;s an important part of the look of a show, the messaging of a theatre production, et cetera.</p> <p>But I have this problem, a disconnect between the way I think and the way Hollywood people do. It&#8217;s encapsulated well by a recent episode of <a href="" target="links"><em>Dollhouse</em></a>, where the same professional thief character (being played by two different actresses) repeats that she she has rules to &#8220;never second-guess a client, and wear comfy shoes&#8221;. They say this twice, in two pairs of identical boots, with stilettos around six inches tall.</p> <p>This dredged up one of my televisual pet peeves. Women in standing, walking and running professions in ridiculously high heels. Dr. Cameron, the female doctor on <em>House</em>, for example, working long hours and pursuing a suicidal patient. &#8217;Cuz, you know, I always notice the wicked heels on hospital staff.</p> <p>Now, I own heels. I can even walk in them. They can be pretty and fun. A chunky heel can even offer some comfort and ease of use. But we&#8217;re not talking about chunky heels, or cowboy boots. We&#8217;re talking about spikes at four inches plus, which may perhaps be an everyday shoe for Hollywood, but probably not for a professional thief, or a junior doctor, or&#8230;a homicide detective.</p> <p>Now, admittedly all I know about how female homicide detectives dress I learned from Landsman&#8217;s dress code lectures on <em>The Wire</em>. On that show it involved pantsuits, and, at least in Greggs&#8217;s case, a sturdy chunk heel. Other shows (and shoes) vary: since <em>Life</em> is set in LA, it&#8217;s a little less dressy: Reese wears a button-up shirt under a jacket, usually, and again, a sensible heel like a cowboy or chunky boot (Sarah Shahi&#8217;s a lot shorter than her co-star, so some heel is usually in evidence.) But <em>Castle</em>, in the two episodes I&#8217;ve watched, has made me crazy. They have a very tall, model-tall in fact, actress playing an <span class="caps">NYPD</span> homicide detective. And while my suspension of disbelief is bruised by noting her four different up-to-the-minute coats in one episode (two leather) and trailing pashmina scarfs to match, it&#8217;s positively shattered when she brushes her impractical bangs out of her eyes in order to yell &#8220;<span class="caps">NYPD</span>&#8221; and <em>kick</em> down a door when we clearly saw her deadly wobble-pumps in the adjacent scene. Not to mention when she kicks a knife away from a suspect with a retro round-toe number better suited to ballroom than brawl.</p> <p>Seriously, Hollywood, maybe your costumers like showroom shoes, maybe your directors just want the character to look &#8216;pretty&#8217; and don&#8217;t care what that means, maybe the writer who knows the character&#8217;s personality gets no input into these choices at all, maybe you all live in a Hollywood bubble where women are all size zero and wear lipstick to bed. But out here in watcherland, we would like to be able to believe in our heroines as well as our heroes. Which means we need to believe a badass cop can chase down a perp or kick down a door. And having walked a block in her shoes, I feel certain she can&#8217;t.</p> Power of Chest Expansion! 2009-02-16T17:24:06+00:00 2009-02-16T17:25:03+00:00 <p>Once upon a time, at the urging of one <a href="" target="links">Ryan Grove</a>, I added a copy of <a href="" target="links"><em>Essential Spider-Man Vol. 1</em></a> to my collection of <a href="" target="links">old <em>X-Men</em> continuity</a>. It didn&#8217;t strike the same chord with me. We&#8217;re talking seriously old school Spidey &#8211; J. Jonah Jameson was not the only one with a vaguely square head, the villains were kooktacular (and I say that as a Batman fan) and the dialogue was somewhat clunky. Most memorably for me, Spidey&#8217;s powers hadn&#8217;t been pinned down. In one panel, pinioned by ropes, he decided to snap them using &#8220;my power of Chest Expansion!&#8221; I think I fell off my chair.</p> <p>There may be worse sudden power inventions &#8211; the Superbreath of Memory Theft from <em>Superman II</em>, for instance &#8211; but it stands out for its petty perfection. <em>Chest expansion</em>? Couldn&#8217;t he have used his Spider Strength? From whence does this Chest Expansion spring? Since spiders have exoskeletons, it&#8217;s hard to imagine them puffing up their thoraces. It&#8217;s a one-off power (like the Superbreath) that solves the situation he&#8217;s in, with no care for consistency.</p> <p>Every time a character in a book &#8216;remembers&#8217; or discovers a new power or area of knowledge, I think of Spidey snapping those ropes. It&#8217;s lazy. It&#8217;s writing yourself into a situation and cheating your way out &#8211; giving the character a new tool to overcome the challenge, rather than using the capabilities he has creatively, rewriting the challenge, or changing the circumstances. It&#8217;s drawing endless Chekhovian guns out of your trenchcoat instead of going back and writing one onto the mantel. There are probably genres &#8211; campy, over-the-top or deliberately cinematic genres &#8211; for which this works. But for most books, having the author suddenly upload a skill into the protagonist&#8217;s head <em>Matrix</em>-style snaps me out of the action, unsuspends my disbelief, and leaves me feeling betrayed.</p> <p>At least until someone breathes on a cup of water and I forget the whole thing.</p> Petty Peevishness VI 2009-01-28T16:37:33+00:00 2009-01-29T14:08:38+00:00 <p>Dear sweet English. You&#8217;re such an enthusiastic language. You like to grab. But it&#8217;s good to take care of the things you borrow from other languages, even if those languages confuse you.</p> <p>It is unacceptable to fail to pronounce consonants in French words and phrases simply because French has more silent letters than English does.</p> <p>It is wrong to pronounce &#8220;the blow of mercy&#8221; &#8220;the blow of grease&#8221;. Especially on national radio. The momentary blindness of wrath could cause a pedant to crash her car.</p> <p><strong>Coup de grace.</strong> Grahss. GrahSSSSSSSS. Please. For automotive safety.</p> Zyrtec-D: worst packaging ever 2008-08-06T11:43:02+00:00 2008-08-06T11:43:02+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m a very allergic person. I&#8217;ve been on one antihistamine plus decongestant or another for years, which is often inconvenient. For one thing, the insurance companies don&#8217;t like paying for all those meds, so they get the fast-track to over-the-counter. For another, the decongestant in my pills, <a href="" target="links">pseudoephedrine</a>, can be misused as a <a href="" target="links">meth</a> precursor. So the law restricts how much I can buy, requires me to submit my name to a Federal database, requires the store to keep them behind the counter, yada yada. Oh, also (thanks, Wikipedia!) the feds require &#8220;Non-liquid dose form of regulated product may only be sold in unit dose blister packs.&#8221;</p> <p>I go back and forth between on-brand and store-brand, between Zyrtec-D and Claritin-D &#8211; varying antihistamine is better for your allergies, and sometimes there are coupons! Claritin-D comes in standard blister sheets: 6 or 8 pills, perforated divisions, exactly the sort of packaging we&#8217;ve all been opening since our parents couldn&#8217;t get child-proof stuff open and we volunteered to help. You rip the blister, out pops the pill.</p> <p>Zyrtec, on the other hand, has this:<br /> <center><a href="" title="Zyrtec-D's packaging sucks by Eilonwy Anne, on Flickr"><img src="" width="180" height="240" border="0" alt="Zyrtec-D's packaging sucks" /></a></p> </center> <p>First of all, this is a waste of resources. The box is bigger and more complex (internal divider) to hold piles of individual blister packs, the blister packs use more plastic and foil than a traditional blister sheet. Secondly, they are absolutely positively without any doubt <strong>not</strong> &#8220;Easy Open&#8221; (who thought of the phrase &#8220;Easy Open Blister&#8221; anyway? The word &#8216;blister&#8217; not associated with leisure and ease, folks.). You have to fold the tear to get it started, the loooong tear sometimes goes awry and doesn&#8217;t hit the blister, and even when it does follow the curving perforation perfectly, it only removes a shred of the blister around the pill, leaving the patient to dig at the heavy foil for a while before she can get the damn thing out. That&#8217;s without getting into picayune stuff, like it being easier to estimate how many pills you have left from a sheet than from a jumble of blister sarcophagi.</p> <p>I know, I know, free market, free country, why do I keep buying them? Because I still have some $5 off coupons, and when you need medication to breathe, $5 off three weeks&#8217; supply is not bad. And I can&#8217;t believe that the company won&#8217;t wise up eventually. After all, I am <a href="" target="links">not the only person</a> to post a picture of this package to Flickr with a grumpy caption. They can&#8217;t kid themselves they&#8217;re saving the world from meth by adopting such ridiculous packaging when the other brands aren&#8217;t encasing <em>their</em> pseudoephedrine in hyperbranded pucks that look like mini-golf greens. Give over, guys. I just want to take my allergy pill and go to sleep without sneezing. You just want me to buy it. Why can&#8217;t we get along?</p> Experiment 2008-07-18T11:15:07+00:00 2008-07-18T11:16:28+00:00 <p>Yesterday I undertook to count cars that turned without using their turn signals. I thought I&#8217;d count until I saw just one that <span class="caps">DID</span> use the signal. I was extremely &#8211; one might even say over- &#8211; scrupulous, for I ignored the six or seven cars who appeared not to use their signals but could conceivably have blinked once or twice at the beginning or end of their turn without my seeing. Only turning, not merging, was considered. I also gave a pass to cars turning into parking spaces, just to be expansively generous.</p> <p>So, having let so many fish escape my net, how many cars did I see <span class="caps">IN A ROW</span> turn without using their signals? <span class="caps">NINE</span>.</p> <p><span class="caps">NINE</span>. No wonder I write <a href="">sarcastic rants</a> about the signal use in the Valley. And let&#8217;s not get into how many people actually look both ways before turning onto a busy street.</p> Paid by the word 2008-07-17T17:31:38+00:00 2008-07-17T17:33:11+00:00 <p>I&#8217;m beginning to get a little testy about this old saw that Dickens is overwordy &#8220;because he was paid by the word.&#8221; It was amusing when my dad teased me with it in high school; no more. Boz&#8217;s novels were being serialized; magazine fiction is still, overwhelmingly, paid by the word. If the system is so flawed, then by rights these kvetchers must also hate all magazine story-writers from Asimov to Zelazny. I shudder to think what they must think of Dumas, who Umberto Eco informs me was paid by the <em>line</em>.</p> <p>In short, Dickens is Dickens. Florid, earnest, wordy, absurd, circumlocutory Boz, essentially and eternally himself. If you don&#8217;t like him, don&#8217;t seek beyond the truth: you don&#8217;t like Dickens. Why don&#8217;t you read some Hemingway instead?</p> Does this really work on anyone? 2008-06-16T10:31:11+00:00 2008-06-16T10:31:11+00:00 <p>Since I&#8217;ve been a member of the <a href="">World Wildlife Fund</a> since age 14, my name has gotten on the lists of many conservation organizations. So much so, in fact, that I no longer need to buy return address labels or jot pads. Ever.</p> <p>Regardless of the superfluity of these items that I have accumulated, I save them and I am vaguely pleased by their appearance in my mailbox; it isn&#8217;t just another thing to recycle. I&#8217;m not sure the address labels will have any effect on which organization I add to my giving when my ship comes in, but I have a vague goodwill as a result of them. So they sort of work.</p> <p>You know what doesn&#8217;t work? Putting a celebrity&#8217;s name on the return address label. This week I got yet another letter from Leonardo DiCaprio touting some conservation org. He&#8217;s the biggest offender, but I&#8217;m not excited by getting mail from Paul Newman, either (sorry, sister sledge). In fact, in all my years, I remember being excited by this tactic precisely once: when I was eleven. &#8220;Mommy, Mommy, Bill Clinton wrote to you!&#8221; She smiled indulgently and I learned about boring form letters with star-power return addresses.</p> <p>Does this work on anyone? Is there some sliver of the population so DiCaprio-loving that they will do whatever he broadcasts? Because by sending them to me, they are only moving paper from &#8216;new&#8217; to &#8216;postconsumer&#8217;. And there are never, ever, free address labels in a star-power begging letter.</p>