Tuesday, November 27, 2007

But Of Course

At the Symposium a couple of weekends ago, the big idea that came out of all of that whole day's discussion was that the queers in this state need a website. And maybe a community center.

Back to the website: as I heard people talking about it, I kept thinking about all of the problems with that idea. Internet-based organizing and communication can be class-based (because who has access to the internet? And good access is another issue out of the cities, since a lot of people I know have dial-up, which leaves most of the internet inaccessible. Flash? Yeah, right.) I also thought, if there's a website, there's going to have to be someone to take care of it, make decisions, post things, and it will necessarily produce some variation of that person (or committee)'s tastes and opinions.

But--I realized today--not if it's a wiki. What we need here is a big queer wiki. Check out this one in Washington (sadly, not queer, but community-based and really used, apparently). Ours could be like that! But with rainbows! (Or not with rainbows if you don't like them--that's the beauty of a wiki.)

Doesn't take care of the class issues, but it would take away the power of the publisher and let the participants decide what it'll be. Yay for no hierarchy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

If You Have to Shop

I'm all for handmade presents... but in case you're, like, wicked busy, or un-crafty, or (like me) have family members who look at handmade objects like you stabbed them in the heart with it, check out these shopping guidelines so that your dollars go responsibly.

There is a website that does research for you, listing the best and worst retailers based on their responsiveness to 5 issues: Human Rights (sweatshops, 3rd world community exploitation, international health issues, divestment, child labor, code of conduct; the Environment (global warming, rainforest destruction, pollution, recycling, renewable energy, greenwashing, toxic waste, eco-innovations, illegal dumping, sustainable farming); Animal Protection (factory farming, animal testing, humane treatment, wild animal habitat;Community Involvement (family farms, local business support, volunteer efforts, sustainable growth, philanthropic donations, nonprofit alliances, establishing foundations) and Social Justice (fair wages, fatalities, union busting efforts, health & safety records, discrimination based on: race, gender, age, ability, religion, sexuality, ethnicity).

And the top ten winners are (drumroll, preferably on a recycled cooking pot, please)...

Shocking. OK, and the 10 worst companies are...Again, shocking.

OK, go forth and consume. (But I'd take a hat you made for me. Or some dilly beans. Or a gift certificate for some free babysitting.)

Thanks to Maine Gaynet for the info. :)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Only the Lucky Ones Get a Mug, William

William Gibson in Rolling Stone, on his career as a sf writer (via kottke):

If one had gone to talk to a publisher in 1977 with a scenario for a science-fiction novel that was in effect the scenario for the year 2007, nobody would buy anything like it. It's too complex, with too many huge sci-fi tropes: global warming; the lethal, sexually transmitted immune-system disease; the United States, attacked by crazy terrorists, invading the wrong country. Any one of these would have been more than adequate for a science-fiction novel. But if you suggested doing them all and presenting that as an imaginary future, they'd not only show you the door, they'd probably call security.
It could all go to gray goo. But it just isn't in my nature to buy a lot of canned food and move to Alaska and try to escape the gray goo.
on a good day, my career seems so utterly unlikely that I wonder if I'm not about to snap out of a DMT blackout and discover that I'm not actually a famous writer of William Gibson novels but that I'm working at a used-book shop that smells of cat pee and drinking beer out of a cracked coffee mug.

Going Back & Forth

So I was reading this article (via personism) in the NYTimes about a woman who is hired (by men, mostly) to organize their personal lives, make social connections, rent apartments, be "the decider" about their wardrobes and their furniture and friends. Despite the ugly connotations of this paragraph:
He calls her an outsourced wife. “The nice thing is that when I ask her to do something, she gets it done and there’s no negative feelings.”
it seems like a kind of feminist thing to do--take traditionally feminine work (I understand that wives are sometimes expected to help advance their husbands' careers by hosting parties and cultivating social relationships, not to mention home and self decorating), separate it from wifely duties, and charge for what it's actually worth. Kind of cool.

And also, super-distasteful that someone should be able to "buy a life" for themselves. It's the dream of consumerism that we should be able to purchase the kind of life we want to have--with the right car and the right clothes and careful selection of mass-market music choices and I don't know what all. What happens when a person can't make the decision about this stuff for themselves (which seems to me only natural, since it's a false choice)? They can hire someone who can.

Is it significant that she has nearly all male clients and she's female? Is this horrifying or does she get a high-five?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


I stayed up real late last night reading Elizabeth Hand's Generation Loss. She's a Mainuh, and I could. not. put. it. down. Didn't care so much for the

[IMPORTANT INTERRUPTION: IT IS SNOWING. Now back to your regularly scheduled snarkiness]

over-the-top conclusion to the mystery but I did fall hard for the main character, since I have a particular weakness for artistic junkies with good intentions and scary dark sides (see most of my romantic relationships). And really, anyone who writes with genuine affection for both trailers and rural Maine wins as far as I'm concerned.

Day of Remembrance

Today is the 9th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. It's a day to remember the trans people who have been killed due to anti-transgender hatred and violence this year, and sadly, there are too many of them.

So much of what I do these days is related to gender and its many forms. I think about it all the time. I forget what it's like to not think about it, or to be confused or upset by people whose gender is not immediately clear, or to be buried in that mental binary, although I talk to people every day (even people within our own queer community) who are.

I think it's an expression of insecurity to be threatened by the fact that other people's experience is different. And that's part of the root of oppression, isn't it? That insecurity--that if someone's else's perception is right that yours must be wrong? Oh sad, binary, insecure world.

But just because I'm not threatened by it, and just because I try hard to be an ally, doesn't mean I'm not transphobic in my own ways. I still asked my pregnant friends if they were having a boy or a girl. My brain still tries to pick out the "clues" about someone's birth sex--almost as if it's separate from my own wishes. It's a clever brain, it can recognize cues that are very subtle. I keep trying to tell it that those cues are irrelevant, but it looks for them anyway. I still sometimes stay silent when there are transphobic conversations happening around me, because I am afraid to speak up and then lose a debate. It's a process, and an ongoing one, to unlearn all of this stuff that I have absorbed from the culture around me. I don't think I'll ever be done.

Anyway, there's a great article on feministing today about the Day of Remembrance.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Twinkle Fingers*

I've been so busy being queer that I've been in a media blackout, so I did a little catching up this morning, and was heartened to read about the anti-war protests going on in Olympia.

More, please, just like that.

*Hand gesture used in radical meetings to indicate agreement. Not related to jazz hands.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Thought I Was Done, But I Cannot Pass This By

A blog devoted to men who look like old lesbians (via kottke). My favorite?

"Robert Redford. Actor. Director. Head of Women's Studies at Community College of Denver."

Updates &tc.

New column up shortly at The Bollard. You can also hear it in my own dulcet voice on Lesbian Radio Thursday (tomorrow!) sometime between 1:30 and 3:00 pm EST. Stream it here.

Reporter query: looking for polyamorous heterosexuals. No, really.

Western Mass was great, although it turns out that I don't like Tibetan food and that my menstrual cycle hates me. Interesting circle, that.

Does anyone but me find the Landmark Forum thing creepy? I keep getting invitations from people and I kind of want to run away from anything that promises all of the answers to my problems.

Speaking of answers, it's time for the question of the day: how does one rebuild patience after it's all used up? Suggestions welcome. But be careful how you answer because, well, I don't have any and tact seems to be in low supply as well.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


In just a few hours I am off for a very exciting road trip to Northampton, dyke mecca of the east coast. Or so I understand. Having never been there myself I am curious to find out if, in fact, the rumors are all true. I am bringing along a friend for cuddling and a Holyoke graduate, plus some emergency beef jerky in case I should go into red meat withdrawal, so we should be prepared for all eventualities.

The purpose of the trip is to meet with my mentor, who will be giving me feedback on my novel/thesis. But I think there will also be brunchiness and sleeping late and a rainbow bumpers sticker and perhaps a seedy bar. We'll see.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Problem With

The problem with having process via email is the waiting. And the ridiculous amount of time you spend checking your email instead of working.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I failed to notice that my last post was my 200th. I feel like I should get a cake or something. In fact, there is some cake in the kitchen at work, but the frosting is turning everyone's teeth blue. And it's not in honor of my 200th post at all.

I voted this afternoon and was extremely disappointed not to get an I VOTED! sticker. That sticker is what allows me to feel smug for the whole rest of the day, and I resent the fact that they ran out sometime this morning (as a poll worker/informant told me). Perhaps I should write a letter.

Dear City of Portland:

Please make arrangements to order more I VOTED! stickers before the next election. You ran out before I voted in all three of the last elections, and I think that some better planning needs to happen. Perhaps you could form a task force? Or an investigative committee? I am also available as a consultant for a small fee. After all, smug voting voters are more of what we need. Yours sincerely, Me.


Blog Archive