Monday, June 30, 2008

More Kid Advice

Yes, a little glut on the blogging. Well, you know, lots of free time... and, it does look like the home internet connection will be over after this week, so I'll almost certainly be a little more spotty. So get it while it lasts. Or something.

For Daughter's birthday (in August) I bought her a subscription to New Moon, an alternative magazine for girls. Alternative, that is, to magazines like Seventeen, Vogue, Glamour, whatever. I don't think she won't read these magazines (she absolutely loves Tiger Beat, for example) but I'd like to give her some other things to think about.

Feministe has a great series of posts this week about how to address these awful magazines with your teen and tween girls.

Today's advice:

* Ask her what she thinks is real and unreal in each issue. It can be a game to score how much fakery there is from month to month - is the magazine getting more fake or more real?
* Are the photos altered? (Show her this example of how photo manipulation makes an average looking woman into the fake perfection we see in magazines.)
* Count how many of the total pages are ads (often more than 50%). What are the ads selling?
* In its subject matter, does the magazine leave out things that she cares about and that are on her mind? What are those things?
* Ask her what effect she thinks an article or ad is trying to have on readers.
* Ask her how she feels (different from what she thinks) after looking at or reading an article or ad. Listen without judging or arguing about what she says.
* Tell her how you feel (give her your feelings - angry, sad, afraid, guilty - not your thoughts) after looking at or reading a different article or ad.
* Express your opinions (thoughts) about the articles and ads.
* Provide her with alternative magazines like New Moon and Teen Voices by subscribing and keeping them in the house all the time. Having them available is like having healthy food in the kitchen. Even if she might always want to eat pop tarts, it’s not the only food we provide!
I like it. Of course, you have to take the time to have these conversations, look your kid in the eye, and listen to what they have to say. If you're doing that already, even if you don't use those questions, your girl will probably be fine.

Kid Vid

Now that Daughter is nearly a tween (a sign of this appeared on her bedroom door this week; it says "Please Knock" on one side and "Keep Out" on the other) I am having a hard time vetting movies for her to watch. My general policy is that anything rated PG-13 needs at best a pre-screening, but in practice it usually ends up being a co-viewing followed by discussion.

I tend to be more lenient about sex than violence (and a combination of the two is strictly prohibited) because, well, I don't think sex is bad, and I do think violence is. Of course, she'd rather die than watch any sex--any hint, suggestion, implication of sex--so it pretty much works out.

But the rating system is so weird. Last night I watched I Am Legend, which was rated PG-13 but showed scary zombies, the end of the world, and an exploding helicopter. But over the winter we watched R-rated Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, and heard the f-word and a mild homosexual joke ("Those aren't pillows!"). So weird.

Anyway, so I've been using this site (via I can't remember who) to check out the movies in advance. Warning: their summaries are full of spoilers. However, it does list every single thing that any parent could find objectionable.

For Shrek, for example (a movie that I can't imagine anyone who wants to see has not seen), it warns:

SEX/NUDITY 3 - A man is seen in bed with bare shoulders and chest. There are a handful of kisses. There are a couple of attempted kisses, in two scenes characters pucker up in anticipation of being kissed, and a woman asks for a kiss. There are some mild sexual references during a scene describing three princesses. Two characters flirt in several scenes; one includes references to physical relationships. A dragon kisses an ogre's bottom (by mistake). A man kisses a woman's hand. A woman exposes some cleavage in a tight fitting gown. Some wooden puppets wear plumber's pants exposing painted bottom cleavage. A donkey urinates on a camp fire. A female dragon falls in love with a donkey. We see a shirtless green ogre.

So if you're worried about what your kid might see, well now you know.

I was thinking about going to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull--rated PG-13--last month, and saw this rating:

So I thought, mmm, maybe a little too much. Maybe she'd like Prince Caspian--rated PG--better (we're Narnia geeks, subliminal christian messages notwithstanding), and got this rating for it:

We skipped the movies altogether. We've been playing Clue instead, which probably gets a rating for implied violence somehow.

"Multiple suggestions of murder. Multiple murder weapons listed: candlestick, rope, lead pipe, wrench, etc. People make accusations of murder. People laugh hysterically and mime murders with tiny murder weapons."

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 19:56 looking up mojito recipes #
  • 19:57 @toklas23: cheapest nag champa at bull moose. for serious. #
  • 23:24 just got done watching 'i am legend.' mojitos did not improve it. cgi zombies? really? but why? #
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Friday, June 27, 2008


And now speaking with the luxury of free time unhindered by that pesky employment...

The History of Zines (via Critical Mass)

My favorite quote:

By the mid-1990s creative types began wondering why they should mess around with printing and its capital requirements when a free publishing model was available. Zinesters and their younger cohorts began toying with a new medium, the Internet. Content found previously in zines appeared online via the bulletin board and its successor technologies, listservs and newsgroups.

I guess that, typically, here in Maine we were a little behind. In the mid 1990's I had just barely heard of the internet and was typing away on a little BBS called TKO (The Kobayashi Alternative--and if you recognize that reference, you'll know exactly what demographic I was talking to), sending little texty roses @--8-- to other geeky strangers.

My friend/former-roommate/non-sexual-life-partner and I made a zine that had a run here in Portland for a couple of years, but that was the early oughts. And I didn't jump onto blogging until three years ago (good gawd! three years ago!).

Maybe it's just me that's a little behind.

EDIT: A little google research just discovered that TKA still exists! I fell out of my chair when I found it! I may have to arrange a reunion.

Tweets for Today

  • 19:14 shockingly, I am not the only person to whom Life is happening. #
  • 19:27 @chykubrick: I never said I have a life. Good god. Then next thing you know I'd have a lifestyle, and then where would I be? #
  • 00:36 preparing for my last day at work tomorrow: too many cigarettes, too much wine, too little sleep. should be excellent. #
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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 10:06 @chykubrick: My vote is: throw some oatmeal on those puppies and call it good. #
  • 11:06 @chykubrick: OK. Now you're just being gross. #
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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Looking Forward To

Daughter and I went to the library today to stock up on the week's reading, and I decided that some video diversion was in order, given my current level of stress. Escapism works, is what I'm saying.

So tonight I am very much looking forward to a viewing of Cruising (c.1980), in which smooth-faced Al Pacino "plunges into an even stormier sea as a New York policeman who infiltrates the lurid S&M subculture to trap a serial killer preying on gay men."

Lurid. I can hardly wait. I suppose everything you need to know about this movie is this:

Tweets for Today

  • 22:21 radio fun #
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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

If We Had But World Enough and Time

OK, enough with the mystery. The big event that I referred to is that I lost my job. Isn't that a funny phrase? I looked everywhere, I put up posters, I retraced my steps, but it's just lost. I hope it found a good home.

In answer to your first question: No, I don't know what I'm going to do yet. I have a job interview on Thursday and the possibility of another the week after. Since this Friday is the last day, on Monday I go into disaster mode: defer student loans, apply for unemployment, check in with my food stamp worker. I'm not eligible for a severance package because I only work part-time, though I've worked there for two years.

Mine was one of 10 jobs at my agency that got de-funded due to the state's mainecare cuts. Unfortunately, it means that my entire program is closed down for the time being, until/unless they find another agency to run it.

The good news is that I know how to be very poor. In fact, I'd say I'm pretty damn good at it, having had a lifetime of experience. I can do without most everything.

The bad news is that I'm not very good at the not-knowing-what's-going-to-happen thing. The stress is mostly manifesting in my stomach, which burns and churns all day and night. I only want to eat plain white foods (mashed potatoes, animal crackers, marshmallows, rice cakes, boiled rice--and also apparently yellowtail sashimi, which hit the spot this weekend like nothing else). I've been dialing to the classic rock station in the car; it's the music of my childhood, so I figure it must be some kind of comforting. I can't sleep much for days at a time and then spend the next days napping in between errands. I also cry at almost everything, but I think that's more related to my birth control (that's right! I'm one of the least pregnant lesbians in Portland!).

It may turn out that my internet access is one of those things to go, but I'll give you some notice before that happens. There's also a convenient internetty coffee shop just a few blocks away, and I might be spending a lot of time there nursing a $1 coffee...

That's the scoop, and now you know. I'll keep you posted as things develop.

Tweets for Today

  • 14:41 today's favorite typo: finders for fingers. they are, they are! #
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Gardening Quandary

To garden in the lawn or not?

Homegrown Evolution says:
In our cities negative space, the open spaces between buildings, consists of vast seas of parking and empty, unused lawns. We all tend to filter out these spaces, failing to comprehend their size and ubiquitousness. Thankfully there's a growing awareness that our city's negative spaces are in fact negative, that they contribute to blight, profligate use of resources and our general unhappiness.
But a consciousness shift is underway led by forward thinking folks like the parishioners of Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in West Los Angeles who have teamed up with the non-profit organization Urban Farming to rip up their entire 1,200 square foot south lawn to plant vegetables for the congregation and the LAX Food Pantry.
but also, at Alternet:

The edible-landscaping trend is catching on across the country, and with food prices rising, it has taking sadly predictable turns. A Boulder, Colo. entrepreneur, for example, has tilled up his and several of his neighbors' yards and started an erosion-prone, for-profit vegetable-farming operation. It will supplement his income, but it won't make a nick in the food crisis.

That's because the mainstays of home gardening -- vegetables and fruits -- are not the foundation of the human diet or of world agriculture. Each of those two food types occupies only about 4 percent of global agricultural land (and a smaller percentage in this country), compared with 75 percent of world cropland devoted to grains and oilseeds. Their respective portions of the human diet are similar.

What do you think? I'm a big fan of gardening, but the title of that piece (Turning Your Lawn into a Victory Garden Won't Save You -- Fighting the Corporations Will) is nibbling at my conscience. It's the same argument I've had with some of my back-to-the-lander friends: what you are doing is good for the environment and you, but you're doing it all alone. Here in the city we can reach many and do much.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eat Bread? Not Eat Bread?

I'm torn. You decide.

via kottke

p.s: check out her jacket before and after the, um, action. hmm...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Share Time

This is difficult for me to write about. We've had a problem in our household for the last 24 hours, and though it's not something that I'd usually write about here, it's becoming a little overwhelming, and I have to talk about it somewhere.

It's our toilet.

A stubborn clog last night led to some midnight plunger action. Which, when it totally failed, led to some very vigorous midnight plunger action. Which, in turn, somehow led to a leaky seal in the bottom of the toilet.

Since it didn't seem to be what you could call an emergency, I notified the maintenance company when I got up this morning. The guy was relieved that the toilet wasn't gushing down the stairs and ruining his Sunday morning. Said he'd be by on Monday. Said "wrap a towel around the bottom of the toilet."


That's all well and good. But, see, I have some germ* issues. And this has not been easy. The skin on my hands is tight and itchy from obsessive multiple washings. I washed the used towels in extra hot water and an extra hot dryer. I keep washing the floor, washing the laundry basket the towels were in, washing my hands.

And now there is water dripping from the ceiling that is directly below the toilet.

Toilet water. Dripping. From. The. Ceiling. Basically, poo, coming right through the sheetrock, dripping into a bucket that I will now have to bleach, in a room that I am wishing I could saturate with Lysol.

Some germs I have come to terms with: germs that live in garden soil; germs you cultivate on purpose (yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut); germs that kids I know have on their hands (stranger kids' germs are another whole story); germs that live on things in public; germs that live on my better-for-the-environment washable dishcloth. But toilet germs are definitely never in any way OK. Ever. I want to move into a hotel room and/or climb out of my skin.

The one relief is that I do not own this space, and it will not be me tearing out that toilet-water-soaked wallboard. I might otherwise have to boil my whole body to sterilize it, so I guess it works out for everyone that there is such a thing as a maintenance company, and they're coming tomorrow.

*germs are very loosely defined: actual germs, bacteria, ick, ooze, viruses, and fungi all qualify.

Tweets for Today

  • 23:32 is there such a thing as anti-sleepy? #
  • 23:33 @becw: my reaction to stress is "lockdown at all points" #
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Repeat After Me

This weather forecast does not mean that god hates gays.... this weather forecast does not mean that god hates gays...

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dear Michael

This came through on a listserv that I belong to and I can't resist sharing it here. Maybe another response for the petitioners who want to "protect marriage?"

This piece is credited to Pastor Gerald Olsen of Bangor, and I remember seeing it the first time it went around, in 2005. It's still brilliant:
Dear Michael Heath and assorted Maine bigots,

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from you and understand why you would be for banning same sex marriage.

As you said "in the eyes of God marriage is based between a man a woman." I try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is, my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2. clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination? Oh, sorry. IS there degrees ...

7. Lev.21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev.19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn
them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

11. And one of my real concerns is that gay lobsterman who wears clothes made of two or more fabrics and hauls lobsters on the Sabbath....Four abominations in one day....Wow......

12. And one last question.....Why are Christian bigots so obsessed who people love? I think I know the answer.

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I am confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Bible Readers of America

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Restructured Time

Dear Friends,

I'm going to be cryptic here, but bear with me. I will be more specific later this week. But for those of you who know, I want to say that the news that I've been waiting for? I got it. It is as I feared, and for July 1.

Don't worry, I don't have cancer or anything. I will share more details when I am able.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 15:59 Skipped the wedding today. I will suffer eternal guilt, and also have to eat an entire pan of rhubarb crisp, which is maybe the same thing. #
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Friday, June 06, 2008

Public Opinion Survey

If you (and by "you" I mean "I") go the wedding of some friends (and by "friends" I mean "people I've known for a long time and whom I really like but whom I don't usually see except when our lives accidentally cross") who are actually not getting married at this wedding because they are actually getting married at a family event later in the month--if you go to this wedding/potluck gathering, are you required to bring a gift? And if so, what kind of gift is appropriate for a potluck gathering/wedding celebration of some genuinely sweet radical folks who definitely aren't registered at Macy's or anything?

Comments are open.

EDIT: After all that, I didn't even end up going. I had one of those days. You know, those days. The ones that prove the truth of Murphy's Law, and make you think maybe it should be renamed Jen's Law. By 1:30, when it was time to go, I honestly couldn't make it off my couch because the previous six hours had been so horrifying. I'll send a card.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Do You Love Your Job?

Sometimes I feel a little like this:

via slog

But I think I might hurl balls of play-doh or cooked noodles instead of office furniture. Because I'm not so into the hurting people thing. But otherwise...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Tweets for Today

  • 12:18 it's raining on my laundry #
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Go, Go, Go

Burdock 2008

for a free and sustainable future

August 19-26 in
Starks, Maine.

A participatory community gathering
Workshops, discussions, & skillshares
Kids workshops & Activities
Campfires, swimming, music & art
Lots of fun & free healthy food
Participating rain or shine!

  • Workshops
  • Do-it-yourself skillshares
  • Sustainable living skills & wild crafting
  • Biodiversity & environmental protection
  • Indigenous struggles
  • Race, gender, sex and sexuality
  • Capitalism and class
  • Political prisoners: struggles & support
  • Unschooling & youth empowerment
  • Alternative Building & more!
  • Music, Bartering, Building, Performance and Celebration
  • Building a Yurt in Celebration of Patrikya, a center of Burdock who passed on this spring. All week long-bring skills and materials.

Community Dinner & Jam in Honor of Patrikya: August 21st 6pm-10pm: Come enjoy food, music and celebrate the life of Patrikya.

Barter Fair! Saturday August 23rd from 1-4pm Bring crafts,medicine, food, clothing, books or anything else you want to trade.

Open Mic (less) Night: Friday Night August 22nd

Burdock Cabaret: Performance, Puppetry, Circus Shows & Music on Saturday Night August 23rd

Suggested Donation of $5 per day or pay what you can (no one turned away for lack of money)- includes all camping, food, workshops, and music.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I'm working on a queer youth writing project, which has been a lot of fun and I've learned a lot. We've received hundreds of writing submissions from youth all over the country (and Canada, too).

But if this work doesn't break my neck (laptops are not the ideal ergonomic situation) it will definitely break my heart. Remind me to never grow up gay again, OK?


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