Monday, January 22, 2007

If only we could choose not to have parents

Well, that's the weekend over. Yes, it was about as bad as I thought it was going to be. No, I'm not going to talk about it. Not here, anyway. But for the very reasonable price of...oh, I don't know, a small beer...a large number of tedious anecdotes can be yours. But wait, there's more! Ring now and get a free impression of the way my father-in-law hocks mucus from his nasal passages into the back of his throat, landing with a wet splat against his tonsils!

Heh. That should ensure that none of my phones ever ring again.

It's Blog For Choice day today, it being the anniversary of Roe v Wade and all (and yes, I do realise I am not American, thank you very much, but there wasn't an equivalent decision in Australia; the law is state based, varies a bit, but allows for abortion on request in every State and Territory subject to various time-based restrictions). So, anyway, the topic is Why Am I Pro-Choice, and I can't think of anything at all to say. Not because I'm not, but because I can't imagine being anything else. It's rather like explaining why I'm pro-oxygen.

So I'm going to wimp out, and let these people do the talking for me:
Bluey The Body Rights Thingamabob explains the concept of inalienable bodily rights.
Bitch Ph.D on choice, and why "the fact that abortion is even a debate in this country demonstrates that we do not trust women".
And The Onion, just for the hell of it.

Updated 23/1/07: now that the US feminist bloggers have all got to this, I wanted to add:
Jill at Feministe who provides the best round-up of facts and resources I've seen so far.

Friday, January 19, 2007

The universe is not on my side this week

Yesterday I witnessed one of the most awesome ways to create discomfort ever.

Stand in a bus queue at peak hour. Get there early for your bus, so that all the people in front of you get on a different bus whilst you're still waiting. This leaves you at the head of the queue. But, and this is the genius bit, don't move up when they leave.

This would also work in a queue for a toilet. Or any number of things, really.

There's no reason to move up, right? The bus won't come any faster if you're standing next to the kerb instead of a metre back. The toilet won't vacate more speedily. And yet there you are, behind the head of the queue. And there before you, just the other side of this one person, is a vast empty space. But you can't walk in front of them in order to fill the space. You can't ask them to move up.

Tumbleweeds blow o'er the untouched terrain. The wind whistles through, unimpeded by people. And yet they don't move up.

It's been a long time since I saw so many people silently discomforted so effectively. Genius.

Onto other things.

The in-laws are over this weekend. My father-in-law and I have a relationship akin to that of North Korea and the United States, where we mostly keep things just on the polite side of hostile for safety's sake. We'll see how things develop. If you see a mushroom cloud over my way, my grand plan of Distracting Everybody With Alcohol will have failed. Tell my mother I loved her.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Break out the champagne. Or the aspirin.

I went out with girlfriends last night. Several bottles of red wine and a generous helping of angst later, I weaved my way home. To find that the husband had locked the front door on his way to bed, despite me not having taken my keys.

(The key thing happens all the time. Three days into my Christmas break I discovered that I had no idea where my keys were, and on reflection realised that I hadn't had occasion to use them for the past ten days, and thus they could have been anywhere. I turned the house upside down, even cleaning out rooms that hadn't been cleaned in months, to no avail. I didn't find them again until I got back to work on 2 January. I'd left my keys in a suit jacket, which I'd then packed in a box to be moved over to the new office buildings. I'm a genius.)

So it took me ten minutes of alternately ringing the doorbell, the home phone and the mobile phone before I managed to wake the poor man, who ambled downstairs, let me in, yawned 'oops' and wandered back up to bed. And today - singing along with me if you know the words - I'm tired and hung-over.

Hey, anyone remember that New Year's resolution I made? Nope, me neither.

So for a start, there went any chance of getting to the gym. Basically, if I can't get thin and fit on one visit a week, I don't think it's going to happen. I don't even want to think about the money.

Secondly, I had an appointment with my HR manager, subject line We Have Two Days Left To Decide To Fire You. To which I turned up with hair scraped into a messy ponytail and in dire need of cutting, a shirt of dubious age chosen because it doesn't require ironing, and definitely not enough make-up to hide the bags under my eyes. Add to that my inability to make eye contact (her office was very bright) and my over-reliance on the word 'um' to fill pauses, and I'm sure I came across like the brightest young lawyer on the block. After all, nothing says success like Hi, I'm Hungover On A Wednesday.

Despite which, apparently they're not going to fire me. Probation is over as of Friday.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

With more coffee, this post might have been coherent

The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the city is filled with handsome men looking distractingly sexy in their pinstriped suits and crisp white shirts. I'm not sure where they've all suddenly come from. Perhaps there's a convention on. So far I have resisted tugging any of them to me by the tie (as far as I'm concerned this is the primary purpose of ties; come-grab-me clothing if ever I saw some) and snogging them, but I can't make any promises for the future.

By the way, if it is a convention, and you organised it, and you happen to be reading this, please accept my heartfelt gratitude. However, if you wanted to ensure my lifelong heartfelt gratitude, which is obviously a better thing to have, then I would be happy to accept any invitation to the opening ceremony that you care to extend. Because there must be an opening ceremony of some sort, right? For the convention of delicious men? Maybe a parade of some sort, with streamers and topless men dancing and…you know, I have absolutely no idea where I'm going with this, and there went my last chance of getting anything done today.

I think there should be champagne, too, at this opening ceremony. Just, you know, in case you were taking notes.

The husband had to get up before dawn this morning, which in the middle of an Australian summer equates to Too Damn Early. Being a supportive and loving wife, I elected to ride into town with him rather than catch a later bus, and went to the gym before work.

There are people out there who think nothing of getting up at 5.15 in the morning, going for a refreshing five-mile jog before drinking a delicious freshly-squeezed jug of spinach-and-celery juice, nibbling a wholegrain cracker and bounding off for a fulfilling twelve hour day educating orphans. I know this because back in law school I was friends with one of them, a total freak of a girl who did all of the above (not the orphan bit), won about a trillion academic prizes and then ruined the few shreds of schadenfreude-esque* comfort I had left by gaining a good-looking, exotic, talented artist boyfriend. Last I heard they were in Paris together.

Anyway. Moving on. Totally not bitter and envious over here.

The problem is that I'm not the sort of person who gets up at 5.15 am. Under the persistent delusion that I am, in fact, a trust fund baby with a lucrative book deal, I insist on acting like the sort of person who rolls out of bed at about noon, removes the sunglasses at about 6 pm, and then spends the evening hosting a salon whilst intellectual men admire my wit. I think we all understand how far this is from the truth.

So this morning, when the alarm went off in the dark, I was still recovering from the sparkling red wine and…other things…** of the night before. I dragged myself out of bed. I dragged myself to the gym. I even spurred myself into a shambling jog. There were hardly any people there, and for some reason the gym hadn't turned any music on. Because I'm still confused about how to attach my IPod, all I could hear was the rhythmic squeak of the treadmill, and the purr of the motor when I ramped up the speed. I think it lulled me into a half-dozing state.

You know how when you're half-asleep, asinine ideas seem like strokes of genius? There I was, jogging, half-dozing, and through my muddled state I thought hey, I'm onto something here. If I can manage to stay half-asleep, I won't notice how much physical work I'm doing, and I'll be able to work harder. So I hopped off the treadmill and went to try this on some weight machines.

The problem was not that it didn't work. The problem was that it almost did. I woke up on the leg press, unable to work out how many repetitions I'd done. And I really hope that was sweat on the vinyl seatback, and not drool.

Don't worry. I wiped it off.

* There's something about sticking a French suffix on a German word that amuses the hell out of me. Look at it, it's like a teeny linguistic border dispute. So cute!
** Tips for young bloggers: do not give one's blog address out to one's husband's workmates.

Friday, January 12, 2007

If anyone needs me, I'll be hiding under the bed with a bottle of Scotch

Laugh? Cry? Run far, far away?

"There are a lot of things I have concluded to be wrong, without studying them in-depth. Evolution is one of them. The fact that I don't know that much about it does not bother me in the least."

"Every female, beginning at the age of thirteen, completed at age eighteen, should receive training on how to be supportive, submissive wives to their future husbands. This would effectively rid society of feminism, which is nothing but psychological terrorism. Every female should be taught their equal status with men, while recognizing there are differences in roles between the sexes."

"The United States is based on having freedom of religion, speech, etc., which means you can believe in God any way you want (Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc.), but you must believe."

"One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn't possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it. [emphasis added]"

"Men should stick to blue and women should stick to pink. We dress babies in the right colors so why can't we do the same as adults? It is a sin to wear clothes that belongs to the opposite sex and women are particularly bad at violating this rule. Men don't wear dresses (apart from a few sickos) so why should females wear pants? It's a sin! Most women today are transvestites and abominations."

I...don't think I can find anything to say about this.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Breaking News: Women may or may not care about correct peeing posture

So, my attention was drawn to this claim that "Young women in Sweden, Germany and Australia have a new cause: They want men to sit down while urinating".

Quite apart from the fact that the source for this assertion is nebulous at best (believe me, I tried to find information on the 'internet survey of Australian women' and came up with nothing) I'm mystified both that anyone cares one way or the other whether someone else does or does not stand to pee unless the someone in question is tasked with the cleaning-up of random spraylets, and the vehemence of the reactions to the news.

This guy jumps to the conclusion that "this is the latest attempt by liberal feminists to emasculate men. It would take a liberal feminist to be victimized by men urinating while standing."

Well, obviously. After all, asserting a right to restrict the private and personal actions of other people when those actions do not affect me, the asserter of said right, in any way at all is the textbook definition of the word 'liberal'. You can tell, because us liberals are the ones who discourage women from freely choosing how to spend their Saturday nights, agitate to stop women making decisions about their own health and bodily autonomy, prevent GBLT folk from deciding to legally formalise their own personal relationships or serve their country openly, prevent householders from decorating their own front doors and, for pete's sake, encourage people to stop eating soy. Damn interfering liberals.

(As an aside, I love how that rant ends: "You can remove the urinals from the men's room if that makes you feel better about yourself, but we're still standing.". Either he means that he's going to stand up to pee whilst in a private cubicle and no-one can stop him, dammit, just you try, or he means that he's going to walk into a urinal-less men's room and just, what, pee in a corner? And this is…a demonstration of his unstoppable masculinity?)

In my attempts to verify any of the sources named, I did find a Norwegian article from September last year in which the head of the Democrats Party splutters with outrage that a school requires small boys to sit down to pee in an attempt to ensure clean bathrooms. "It is a human right not to have to sit down like a girl," Kleppe said.

Does anyone need me to spell it out more clearly than that? Humans = non-girls. Girls = non-humans. The fact that it's almost solely women who clean the urine-bespattered bathrooms in question = totally irrelevant.

I mean, Jesus. There aren't real problems in the world to worry about?

Three Conversations

On the drive home last night:
Me: I need to find a way to attach my IPod to myself when I'm at the gym. Any ideas?
Husband: You could tuck it into your waistband?
Me: That won't work.
Him: Or you could...tuck it into your underwear. [starts to laugh] That'd be funny, seeing someone wearing headphones, and the cord disappears down into their underwear. And you'd be all, er, what on earth are they listening to?
Me: The Vagina Monologues?

In conversation with a co-worker, discussing the pregnancy of an acquaintance's wife:
Me: Apparently she's due any day now
Her: Really? Is she having a caesarian?
Me: I don't think so, no. Why do you ask?
Her: Well, she's only got one leg.
Me: ...
Her: Well, it would make it hard to push.
Me: ...
Her: Because, you know, you wouldn't get traction.
Me: I can honestly say that never occurred to me before.

In my office, discussing how to co-ordinate diaries so that my boss can accompany me to various appointments.
Me: I don't know that we need a formal meeting, I'll just come and see you in your office, and we can make sure you can come down on me.
Him: ...
Me: ...
Him: You didn't mean to say that, did you?

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Is it a bad sign that the first task of my New Year was burying a decomposed possum?

My company moved offices over Christmas. We moved into an already-existent building, but one to which we commissioned major internal work. For the past month or two we've been hearing increasingly hysterical updates on how it's going to look: 'You'll all love it! It's open plan, and very modern, everything's glass, you'll love it" seguing almost seamlessly into "You'll all love it! It's not quite…we've had to cancel the scheduled walk-through, but they assure me it'll be ready by January, and it's very open plan…and…glass…look, let me show you an artist's impression. See? Shiny".

Now it's January (and, oh yeah, sorry about the long absence. The laptop is still at the shop, the desktop got partially fried in an electrical storm and I wrote my car off in an altercation with a be-bull-barred four wheel drive. The last thing isn't strictly relevant to the fact that I haven't blogged, but I throw it in here in case there's some sympathy to be had) and we're installed in the new premises. I'm sure it'll come as as much of a shock to you as it did to me that the offices aren't entirely finished.

So here I am, in an office which boasts dusty drinking water, no toilet paper in the bathrooms (that's not entirely true; they've now hung rolls of paper from the hooks on the inside of the cubicle doors. No dispensers, as yet) and workmen standing on our desks and patching the defective glass doors ("it's so modern, and…glass…"). Fun times.

The oddest thing about the situation, to me, is that the workmen are trained to give way to us. That's the wording that was used, trained. I imagine they used some sort of ringing bell/food reward technique. In effect, it means that if I walk down the corridor to grab a coffee (not that I can do that, because the coffee machine isn't yet working, but let's not dwell) the workmen all stop what they're doing for a minute and move aside. I mean, they're not bowing their heads in obeisance, or anything, but it's still sort of creepy.

Personally, I'd have preferred it if they were trained not to leer at all us young women, but that's just the sort of radical humourless feminist type I am.

Anyway, my dears, you'll be glad - or completely disinterested, but hey, it's my blog - to know that one of my resolutions is to blog more often again. I suspect the nature of it might change a little, but we'll see.

My other resolutions? I don't normally do this (make resolutions, much less share them), but on the grounds that it might actually help stick to them, are about as clichéd as one can get: eat less, drink less, exercise more.

In the service of which, I need advice. Does anyone know of a good non-alcoholic substitute for white wine? Especially in summer, I find that the cool lemony acid bite of a glass of wine is what I crave with dinner, and nothing else is the same. It's not about the alcohol, but non-alcoholic wine is terrible. Any suggestions gratefully welcomed.

Happy New Year. I missed you.