Thursday, June 28, 2007


My parents and my fiance parents are meeting for the first time this weekend. If I believed in god, I'd be praying to it right now.

Realistically, I shouldn't be TOO worried. My parents and future parents in-laws have more in common than my parents have with me, not the least of which being the Christian thing.

In hindsight, I should have realized that I was never going to be able to stick with the Christian thing. Even if there was even any good evidence to suggest that the Christian god existed, I would have never worshipped him anyway. For the same reason that I tend to reject the atheistic Vulcan-like materialistic logic, I reject the Christians anti-materialist, "transcendent" mindset. I love the pleasures of the flesh, and I feel the most spirtual, the most connected to others when I'm enjoying them. I love my senses. I love feeling satin and lace, soft cotton and silk. More than that, I love the feeling of flesh; holding hands, hugging, kissing... I love sex. I love the electric feeling running down my spine when my lover runs his hand down my side and settles in the small of my back. I love the radiating body heat when we snuggle close together, and the feeling of his pulse, reverberating against my flesh.

I love tastes. I love sucking on chocolate: letting it melt on on my fingers and how it dribbles over my tongue. I love fresh fruit, and the way its juices get my hand sticky. I love how juices explode all over my mouth when I first bite into them. I love well-prepared meals: how they are works of art for my tongue instead of my eyes or ears.

I love noises: music playing, whispered words in the dark, shouts from a friend across the way, wind whipping through the trees.

I love looking at things: works of art, reading books, but just examining things closely as well. I like to look at things under a microscope, or through a telescope. When I was a child, I used to amuse myself for hours watching ants crawl over blades of grass.

Christianity isn't about any of these pleasures. I can remember one time, when I was about 10, I brought a bright red balloon to church. I wasn't allowed to bring it into the sanctuary, because "balloons don't belong in church".

Another time, about the same age, at Bible camp I wore a pretty blue, off-the shoulder sun dress. It was pretty skimpy, but it was hot, and I hadn't even developed identifiable sexaul characteristics. I was treated, in front of everyone, to a lecture about how people can be identified on what they wear, and if you dress "dirty" you can expect others to treat you this way. Even as a little kid, this made no sense to me.

I like the "If it hurts no one, go ahead and do it" philosophy. Christianity says that things that don't hurt anyone hurt some intangible father figure that seems to be an evil fuck most of the time (I've read my Bible, Old Testament god's an asshole). This is all we have, we might as well make the most of it. And what we have is nueral impulses that allow us to interact with this world and pleasure-indusing hormones. We should use them.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Capitalism sucks

*This is going to be meandering, and probably not going to go anywhere, so if you keep reading, don't say I didn't warn you.

I just learned about the freegan movement. Basically, it seeks to minimize consumption and ones participation in a capitalistic system. I think this is an awesome idea, but hopelessly improbable. It'll probably go the way of the Hippie communes in a little while.

But some days, I really wish that I could join them. I wish I never had to touch another dollar, or look at numbers on paper representing some electronic money that I owe or have somewhere in the ether.

Last spring, I took microeconomics. The very first day in class, I'm sitting in the front row, my laptop open to faithfully type down the notes of the day. This was the class that was going to teach me how capitalism works: how current injustices are a result of a misapplication of capitalism, and are not inheirant to it. This was the class that was going to turn me from my godless socialist ways.

Okay, not really. I went into class thinking that this was a waste of a perfectly good hour that I could be sleeping. I had to take the class for my major. The first day of class, I was sitting in the front row waiting to take notes, but that's because I wanted to get the material, take the test, and not have to be there again.

First day the teacher's giving his lecture, saying that everyone in the United States is a capitalist, that no one is a socialist. I raise my little hand and say "No, I'm a socialist...There's a socialist party in the United States." I was duly ignored, like most of the time.

I stopped going, shortly after the forth class that made me want to chuck my laptop at the teacher. The entire CLASS is based on false premises, not the least of which being that people are inheirantly selfish.

One of the more interesting classes in my memory was when we were learning about the Prisoner's dilema. (Which I had already learned of in philosophy). For those of you unfamiliar (and too lazy to click over) the, short version of this story is that there are 2 prisoners, A and B. A or B can turn the other one in. If both keep silent, both go free. If one turns the other one in, the one who turned the other in goes free, the other one goes to jail for 10 years. If they both turn each other in, they both get 5 years.

So the teacher asks "What would you do in this situation?" After about 3 minutes of no one answering, I raise my hand.

"Did I do the crime?" I asked.
"That's not relevant to discussion." He answered.
"Yes it is" I said. "If I did the crime, I would confess. If I didn't, I wouldn't".
"Yeah, well confessing isn't an option" He said. "No one would confess"
"It is an option, and people confess all the time".
"Well, it doesn't work that way. Most people would implicate the other one".

I went back to my internet.

On the last day to drop, he invited everyone to come take a look at their grades. I went into his office.

The first thing he says is "Well, you haven't been attending classes, so you should think about dropping". He then looks at my grade and says "Oh, it seems you have a 92 in class...but it'd be higher if you started attending class".

I smiled, and said thank you.

Going back to my original title, I didn't learn much from class that I wasn't already aware of, but I did find out that capitalism really is the horrible, stupid philosophy that really does bring out the most selfish, greedy characteristics in human and rewards them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Weddings and Feminism

Engagement, weddings, and marriages are popping up on the blogsphere again, and whether or not it's possible to engage in a traditionally anti-feminist institution in a feminist manner. Pandagon,(with an additional follow-up) Feministe, and Hugo have some thought-provoking posts (and really interesting threads, if you ignore the trolls).

This is highly relevant to me, because I did recently get engaged, and I am worried about buying into an anti-feminist tradition. I am worried that I am going to fall into traditional gender roles, and I am worried about supporting the historical aspects of marriage that I find entirely distasteful. I am trying to mitigate the harm I may cause by getting married, but is that really enough?

And, the first link to Pandagon is starting to convince me that I cannot get away from this, because of ignorance of the traditions in the first place. This is embarrassing, and possibly a bit weird, but I was not aware that engagement rings were not exchanged. I did not know that it was just for the women: I assumed that everybody exchanged engagement rings, like they exchanged wedding rings. Not so, and they have a really horrible history.

YET, I want to say that I'm doing things differently. My ring isn't a diamond, and like I already said, we exchanged rings. I proposed, my father's permission was not (and will not) be asked, I am not wearing white, I'm having bridesmen and he's have groomsmaids, my father's not walking me down the aisle, and I'm not having it in a church. We've already agreed that we'll both work, and the theory is that our housework is going to be split evenly (and it's more or less working, so far). Are we egalitarian enough? Is it even a redeemable institution?

I want the social benefits. I want to be legally sanctioned-relationship, with all of the legal benefits. I want to be in a socially-sanctioned relationship, with all of the social benefits. But I do not want to be a wife, I want to be a "spouse". Can I have that?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

To My Friend

For today, I am setting aside cynism for the way that society is set up.

Instead, I'm going to express my admiration for my friend Crystal.

Crystal's mom recently was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's better now, but for awhile there it was pretty touch and go. Crystal felt helpless, as many would be in her situation.

But, instead of forgetting about her experience, she decided that she will try and assist those that she can help. She has decided that she will donate part of her liver to someone who needs a liver transplant.

The best part is the liver regeneriates. In about a month, she'll have regrown the part of the liver she donated, and she quite probably will save someones life.

I'm in awe: she is willing to literally give a piece of herself to save someone else: someone she doesn't even know. She is doing what she can to ease the suffering of others.

That is inspiring.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


My fiance and I have a very odd relationship. It is affectionate, respectful and all that other nice jazz, but ultimately the best word to describe it is "dorky". We are dorks: we giggle and flirt with each other every time we see each other like we were still in high school instead of the living together about to be married couple we are.

My friend, B, probably summed it up best when he said we were "unique". And "unique" is the kind of wedding we will probably end up having.

Our Wedding is planned for somewhere in 2009 (depending on when I graduate). I'm leaning towards a fall wedding, but that's not set in stone. Now, I wrote about how difficult this is going to end up being, seeing as neither of us knows a damn thing about planning a wedding, but we've both been working on it with due diligence*. The list that we have so far determined is as thus:

Will do:
-Brandon gets to wear a sword
- I get to wear a tiara
- I want some Bridesmen, he wants some Groomsmaids
-He wants his childhood pastor to officiate. This is will go through provided a) said pastor agrees and b) agrees to let me pre-screen the Biblical quotes
- I want to get married outdoors (or, in lieu of that here)
- The most important part of this wedding is the food
- We will write our own vows**

Won't do:
-I will not wear white. I think I'm plenty pure, but white looks gawd-awful with my gamers' tan.
- I will not get married in a church (except for the previous exception).
- No one will be walking me down the aisle, and neither will they walk Brandon
- I will not be changing my name. Neither will Brandon
- We are NOT spending 10,000 dollars or more on this wedding.
- We will not spring for an open bar

*Meaning, as the procrastinators we both are, that we occasionally talk about what might be cool to do.

** I don't think we could do pre-set vows. Our relationship is far to dorky, and I would only be able to vow to "love" him.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Apologies, and some not apologies

Holy hell, you leave the internet for a day or two and everything goes to pot.

Some of you have noted that I deleted my poem "Memorial Day". There has been some speculation as to why that is, and I just felt like clarifying some things. I deleted the post because some of the comments were getting downright abusive (suggestions that I needed to be "raped by a marine" were particularly not appreciated, whoever that anonymous coward was). Rather than trying to keep on top of these comments, and the weird places that the thread was going, I just scrapped the whole thing.

So, here are the apologies: I'm sorry I wrote a crappy poem, I am sorry that what I portrayed was not what I meant. I really should leave the subtlety to Keats. The point of the poem was a criticism of Memorial Day; I do not like it, I do not like how we glorify soldiers, and I do not like the violence we encouraged because of it. The point of the poem was not how all soldiers are evil, but rather, how most can and do evil when it is ordered of them. The soldier really saw himself as all of the things in the poem: strong, hard-working, capable, moral et cetera and he really saw his enemy as evil, amoral, a terrorist. BUT, when he was told to do something immoral, he jumped to it, because soldiers follow orders, even more so then we do (a le Milligram). They did for the Trail of Tears, they did it for pretty much every war, and they have done it in Iraq. And any way you try to pretty it up, the job of the military is to kill people. You can say "defense" all you want, but a bullet is pretty pathetic shield. And twice a year, we memorialize war: death and destruction.

I am not sorry of the feeling that compelled me to write the poem. We pick heroes of the most violent among us, and that should stop. If we wanted to memorialize people who sacrifice, why not firefighters? Why not Peace Corps members? Why not doctors? They are in the
people who do positive things for the greater good: they save lives, and don't kill to do it. But no, we pick people who kill to protect as our heroes, we memorialize who destroys as opposed to who creates. The people necessary for a vibrant democracy: journalists, educators, active citizens, lawyers, judges: we malign them in favor of something that every country on the planet has. For every war we have ever been in, the other side had soldiers too, doing the same thing that our soldiers did (if we torture less it's still a matter of degree, not actions). I will not buy into American exceptionalism, nor will I bow to the god of blind patriotism.

And just because my friends AND family were in/ are in the military, does not mean that it changes what their job is, nor how I feel about it. It just normally means that we don't talk about it. Oh, and along the same lines, I still don't think we should cut veterans’ benefits, a soldier may kill, but the government's the one who sent them to do it in the first place.