Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hey! Somebody searched for prairie dog


Somebody from Beloit College. Listen...if you happen to read this, and you're actually looking for information on prairie dog me! I've got a ton of information and it's a fascinating subject. I could at least reccommend some books and studies.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Three notes, unexplained.

Just three things that are on my mind today, without much explanation:

1. Maybe we should bring back courts of equity.
2. Caffiene addiction, which strikes only after one has constant access to free coffee, is a cosmic bitch.
3. Quilted toilet paper: Placebo or innovation?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A public service.

I've recently started tracking my site statistics. It lets me see what people want, what they searched for to get here, and how long they stay. It's become fairly obvious that my blog isn't what they were expecting.

I hate to leave my pseudo- or proto-readers hanging.

So, let's make a FAQ, shall we?

Q. How can I make granola?
A. Many fine recipes are available online. Here
is one for granola bars from Alton Brown. I haven't tried it, but I trust that it's very good. "Good Eats" has never done me wrong. Here's his recipe for granola. Most people who come to my blog are looking for a granola recipe. I honestly will try to come up with one. But these'll do for now.

Q. Where can I buy marshmallow fluff?
A. At the grocery store. If you're asking because you're outside of the U.S, or far from New England, where it's made... here is a handy "Fluff Finder", where you can find a fluff-selling store near you. Remember, Fluff never needs to be refridgerated, and is a MUST if you're making titty cake.

Q. Chinese Nipples?
A. Two, Mostly. Nipple color and areaola size varies from woman to woman, not nation to nation. During pregnancy, nearly all women's areaolae enlarge and darken. Men's nipples vary along the same lines as womens. The function of the male nipple is as yet unknown to science. Sometimes, men who have been extremely obese experience stretching of the areaolae, which after weight loss may be corrected surgically. Again, this varies person to person. There is no one "Chinese" nipple, as there is no archetypal "American" nipple. I hope that answers your question.

Q. Is jackassery a word?
A. A word? Well, what is a word? It is a collection of phonemes that conveys a specific, if abstract, meaning. So in that sense, it is a word. Is it recognized by the OED? No. Black's legal dictionary? No. Webster's? No. Can you use it in a serious academic paper? I would. But then again, I just did scientific nipple research.

Q. Has Annabel Gish made any movies recently?
A. Annabel Gish hasn't done anything. She's a misspelling. Thus, she cannot act in movies. Annabeth Gish has been mostly occupied with "Brotherhood", a series that imagines that the mafia in Providence is Irish, and that Federal Hill is now, and always has been, a thriving Irish-American neighborhood. Not so. Italian, italian, italian. Recently, Guatemalan, Guatemalan, Guatemalan. Trust me. I'm there right now.

Q. Circumcision and precome?
A. Circumcision should have no effect on output of pre-ejaculatory fluid, as that fluid is produced by the Cowper's glands, which are internal. They are nestled right next to the prostate, and produce fluid in response to sexual excitement. That amount may vary from indiivudal to individual, and may be affected by level of hydration, and medications like anti-histamines.

Q. Green Bar Olneyville.
A. Over by the kickball field. Never been, but drove by it today. Looks shady.

Thanks for searching, folks. And if you're frustrated by irrelevant results, let me offer you one piece of advice: PUT QUOTATION MARKS IN YOUR SEARCHES. That way, google will return the whole phrase.

First chinese nipples, now literary scrotums.

"Ms. Nilsson, reached at Sunnyside Elementary School in Durango, Colo., said she had heard from dozens of librarians who agreed with her stance. “I don’t want to start an issue about censorship,” she said. “But you won’t find men’s genitalia in quality literature.”

From a New York Times article describing the furor over a children's book with the word "scrotum" in it.

The book, a Newbery Medal winner, contains an incident where the book's protagonist hears someone say that a rattlesnake bit his dog on the scrotum. In a wave of save-the-children zealotry, libraries and schools have banned the book, in order to prevent this conversation:

"What does 'scrotum' mean?"
"It's a part of the male body."
"Oh. Ok."

Again, the media has exposed one of the leading causes of death in children 4-14
1. Lack of proper enrichment activities
2. Accidentally hearing about or seeing genitalia or breasts.
3. Pedophiles

(Attn: It has come to my attention that the actual leading causes of death of children ages 4-14 are car accidents, accidents in the home, and cancer. Please alert the New York Times)

Guys sure do make passes at girls who wear glasses...

and get advanced degrees, cheerily chirps the Boston Globe Magazine today.

Educated women are getting married more, staying married longer, and having better sex.

Apparently, even if you're black or have a Ph.D, you can still hope for a chance at wedded bliss. (What IS wedded bliss- someone else to do the breakfast dishes? The toothsome joys of letting oneself go? The tender security that comes from knowing that if you fart during a candlelit dinner, someone is still obligated to fiddle with your genitals later?)

Thanks, Boston Globe, for de-bunking the myth of the "bitter, sexually unsatisfied college graduate."

Questions the article did not adress:
1. If college-educated women are outpacing high-school educated women in the marriage market, what does this mean for high school educated women? What does it mean for children and families that women with lower earning potential are less likely to be in secure, income-sharing relationships than women with higher independant earning potential?

2. If college educated women, and women with graduate degrees are getting married at far higher rates, and women are getting more college degrees than men, what does this mean when the higher-earning-potential partner in a relationship is the one more likely to interrupt career for pregnancy and childbearing?

3. If I have a bachelor's degree, an associates degree, and eventually a J.D., will my sex life become eventually so satisfying that my life will dissolve into a miasma of lust and reading? If so, when can I expect this? I assume I've got to buy better underpants before that happens.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

It's National Freedom to Marry Week.

I know that a lot of people think that "equal marriage" or "freedom to marry" are just euphemisms for gay marriage. As I've studied more, and read more- that seems to be untrue. While it is true that the politics of marriage, and the fundamental nature of marriage, are being brought up in the context of same-sex marriage, the context and the import of the movement go far beyond gay rights.

Marriage has been changing for hundreds of years. It's become much less a machine for societal replication and stability of inheritance, and become much more a reflection of the importance we place on intimate human connection. Children born inside of marriage have the same inheritance rights as those born outside of it, thus nullifying its importance in inheritance. A man can no longer rape his wife, thus making the criteria for lawful intercourse both inside and outside of marriage the same: consent. These changes, made over hundreds of years, have transformed what was once a codification of male soveriegnty over a household into what it is today: a voluntary instutution based on consent and whatever the partners bring to it, from poor impulse control, to a deep and abiding regard for each other.

There is simply no longer any reason to deny any two people, who are not legally married to anybody else, who are old enough to decide for themselves, who are ridiculously optimistic enough to believe in the thing, access to the institution of marriage. When anyone can marry, marriage will finally reflect the romantic ideal that we pretend it does, instead of the archaic history that we're loathe to acknowledge.

I'd write this longer and thinkier, but, hey, I'm tired and hopped up on sudafed and I'm supposed to be reading for Contracts.

I have been asked-

Why all the peanut butter?

To which I answer: Read the archive.

One doesn't have to be drunk to make outrageous claims.

Unfortunately, due to the lateness of evaluations coming out, there are only about 15 more weekdays in the month of february. Which is lucky, because I can't afford that much jelly.

To review:
Two months ago, I made a promise. That promise: To eat nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, every weekday, in the month of february, if I got an outstanding on any evaluation.
I got that outstanding, in property.

To review from the review:
The law school I go to is one of three that doesn't give grades; instead, it gives narrative evaluations. It's not Yale, kids. However, in order to make narrative evaluations 'mean something', all evaluations contain a 'buzzword'. Outstanding is the best.

To review from the review of the review:
I am a law student. I go to school and I like zombies.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Without my security blanket...

It's odd how being a law student changes your relationship with free time, with normal boundaries, with ... everything.

Example: Yesterday I got sick. Real sick. Bathroom sick. (Some kind of multi-stage devil flu- first it was a chest cold, then a stomach virus, and now it's rattling my bones and pulling at my muscles. Grossness.) My apartment was ten trafficky miles away. So I went to my parents' house. I can't convey how nice it is, as an adult, to have an excuse to have someone take care of you, instead of taking care of myself. However, I was whipped into a frenzy when I realized that I was pretty much stuck there, overnight, without my laptop, my books...anything.

A human being would have focused on not having a toothbrush, or clothes, or the fact that they were horking up their insides- but a law student thinks "Shit! No laptop! How the fuck am I going to study?"

Monday, February 05, 2007

Grrr...I'm a jackass.

There is a principle in social psychology that people, whenever possible, will ascribe negative things that happen to them to external motivations; negative things that involve other people internal motivations; positive things that happen to them internal motivations; positive things that involve other people external motivations. It's called the "attribution theory"

For example:
Suzy and Johnny take a test.
Suzy gets a 55%, failing.
Johnny gets a 98%, passing.

If you ask Suzy why she failed the test, it's likely she'll say that the test was hard, or that the professor's instructions weren't clear enough. If you ask her why Johnny passed the test, she'll say he was lucky. If you asked Johnny why he passed the test, he'd say it was because he was smart, or because he studied very hard. If you ask Johnny why Suzy failed the test, he'll say it was because she was unprepared, or because she wasn't very smart.

There's also something called a locus of control scale, a personality test that is designed to find out whether a person, in general, believes that they do things because of internal motivations, or in reaction to the outside world.

If someone has a very, very internal locus of control, they have a belief that everything that happens, happens in some way because of something they did or something about them. It can be a symptom of a couple really festive personality disorders. They believe that the mail is late because the mailman is mad at them; the countergirl at the coffee shop smiled because she's in love with them; it rained because they wore new boots to work. If someone has a really, really, external locus of control, it's a sign of a couple other fun diagnoses. They believe that their girlfriend dumped them because she's a lesbian; their boss fired them because he's a racist; they failed the class because the professor is an idiot. They believe that nothing that happens to them is within their control.

Most normal people are in the middle of the two.

Today, I was Mrs. Sociopathic External Locus of control. I wonder if this means I'm going crazy; or that, because I noticed it, that I'm completely sane. At this moment I know that I didn't talk in class because I didn't raise my hand; that I didn't get my point across because I wasn't forceful enough. I was also Mrs. Baseline Attribution theory. It's not people's gender or previous education that makes them more assertive than I am; it's that they speak the fuck up- and I don't.

And I feel like a douchebag because of it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ten miles.

My school is only about ten miles away from the house where I grew up.

It feels like a thousand. Saturday night was my little sister's birthday. She turned twenty-three. This week she moved in with my old roommate, my childhood and most constant friend. They've become close since I started law school.

If I were egotistical, I'd say...somehow, I think they're using each other to fill the vast void I've left...and so on. But as I said, only ten miles away. Also, I don't think that I left any void in anybody. But really, my sister and my roommate love the same music, the same bars, the same beers, and the same mammals. They both love Domino's pizza, Clairol hair dye, and posters of teddy bears. My friend and I were always unlikely friends. Other than some difficult to notice characteristics (heartlessness, irritable bowel, suspicion of ethnic cuisine), we didn't have much in common. We are unrelated sisters, almost.

So I went out tonight with my sister, my sister's crush, my friend, and for a few moments, my brother. We went to a bar to see a local band. It was like a high school reunion. Awkward, loud, and forgetable.

I don't belong there anymore. I don't know what it is; maybe I never did. I like to talk in bars. I don't like drinking and not talking, and I'm a lousy dancer. I showed up wearing a light blue button down shirt, a black sweater, and jeans; I looked like a chaperone. I didn't drink, because I'm neurotic about bar eligibility, and I had to drive. My sister had the time of her life, drinking vodka and cran, wearing three shades of eyeshadow and three different types of petroleum based fabric. My friend was also quite pleased by the whole event.

I feel isolated all the time. I'm not quite into my identity as a law student (this blog notwithstanding). I was much more a barista than I ever was a student; I had an apron to wear, and I had friends to drink with; I threw parties. I'm not good at self-identifying through what I'm studying. It was hard for me, at Bennington, because people almost never talked about their majors; they always talked about their work.

"I'm a painter."
"I'm an actor."
"I write poetry."

Ummm...really? I was a lousy student, and a lousier whatever I was meant to identify as. So now that I'm not a barista, and I'm not a college student, and I'm not with my friends, and I'm not with my family- I'm not really anything to anybody. I don't belong in the bars my sister goes to. It's too loud. I don't have fun. I don't like the bands. I don't dance. I'm quickly becoming such a pompous, self-important jackass that I risk alienating my coffee friends.

I lack context. It's becoming quite dire.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Struggling with choice.

Everyone who is pro-choice will have a moment that challenges that belief. No matter how hard-line, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, there will be a moment when the temptation is to limit choice. It could be multiple abortions, or late-term abortions, or parental notification, or drug use during pregnancy; an issue that forces people to confront their own emotional reactions and assumptions about choice.

Failure to fully confront their own reactions is what leads some people to become pro-choice-but. "I'm pro-choice, but I don't think that women should get lots of abortions." "I'm pro-choice, but I don't think that women should have abortions for just any reason." "I'm pro-choice, but I believe that women should get their parents/partners permission." "I'm pro-choice, but I think that women should be prosecuted for drinking/smoking/using drugs during pregnancy."

I found mine.

I'm not at all comfortable with fertility treatments being used to allow women over 65 to become pregnant. I don't think it's a good decision. I think it's a waste of money. I think that it's not fair. BUT. I refuse to become "pro-choice-but". I won't do it.

Becoming pregnant, even at 67, is choice. And I do not, and refuse to allow myself, to support any kind of restriction on who can become pregnant, and by what means. I may be uncomfortable with it, but I don't think I'll ever be uncomfortable enough with anything to believe that my discomfort is worth someone else's choice.