Friday, March 30, 2007

This is what happens when I try too hard to be friendly

Me (finding my beloved super sour boiled sweets tucked away on a high shelf in the only shop that stocks them): Ah, I was beginning to think you'd stopped stocking these. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had stopped stocking these.
Lady at the counter: Oh.
Me (jovial): Yeah. I mean, because they're so intense.
Lady at the counter (looking past me for other customers, any other customers): Oh. I haven't tried them.
Me (fixed, rictus-like grin): Oh. Well. They're very intense. Very sour. When a friend asks for one and I share, they always try it and then look at me like I just killed their kitten.
Lady at counter (increasingly alarmed): Have a nice day.

Killed their kitten?

Leaping Mildly Funny Quips in a Single Keystroke

How To Create Unnecessary Pressure On Oneself To Blog, or, A Conversation I Had The Other Night.

tanya: Hey, how are you, haven't seen you in ages
friend: I know! Have you updated the blog? I forgot the url.
tanya: - how about you, been writing much?
friend: Not for fun, only work writing
tanya: Well, there is the url, come say hi some time
friend: Sure! Hey, did I mention I just won an award for best humour column?
tanya: Did I say justsomethingido? I meant, errr, actually, you know what, I haven't been blogging at all.


Knowing my natural tendency towards self-aggrandization and exaggeration, I have in recent weeks tried to adopt a more humble approach to analysis of my favourite subject: myself.

Naturally, this creates a tension with my belief in truth, justice and the expatriate way. It's a fine line I walk, the pressure of honesty keeping me up at night and the desire to overcome arrogance keeping me half-asleep during the day.

But in this one regard, I can no longer hide the truth. A conviction has stolen over me, one that has grown ever stronger until I can no longer ignore its truth.

I have superpowers.

I know, I know, but it's true. I have, in fact, the superpower much desired by children everywhere. The power of invisibility.

At first, I thought it was just a couple of rude commuters. Even a week ago, when I was partway through crossing a road and had to leap back not the curb to avoid being splattered by a car, I wrote it off to peak hour traffic.

But when, three times in a five minute walk to work, I am forced to stop moving and glue my back to the nearest wall because someone - with plenty of room on their other side, mind you - will otherwise walk straight into me, I have to consider other options.

Likewise, when I stand waiting at a shop counter for ten minutes whilst other people walk blithely in, order their coffee and walk blithely out again, and not a flicker of eye contact is made, I have to consider other options.

After all, it can't be that everyone is just incredibly rude, can it?

So henceforth, I will no longer rail at the blindness of others. It is a weighty role that has been foisted upon me - with power comes responsibility, and with superpower comes super responsibility. This is my vow to you: I will use my powers for good, instead of evil.

That, or stealing bottles of Laphraoig from the office of the managing partner.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Also, what the fuck is up with the file picture in the newspaper article?

Isobel Redmond is normally one of the few Liberals I like. Not today.

A South Australian court last week decided that if you consent to one sex act, it is not rape if you then don't consent to a subsequent act and the perpetrator continues despite your lack of consent. Because, you know, it's not like it's your body or anything.

Well, that's not quite right. The court in fact decided that in a particular case, it was inconsistent to find that one sex act (fellatio) was consensual and the other (vaginal intercourse) was non-consensual, given the context and the evidence. I'm not sure how that can be the case, personally: it is in fact possible that she (reluctantly) consented to fellatio but then protested when he attempted intercourse. The judges appear to have said "but there was a series of events that took place over a maximum of five minutes" which…you can't change your mind in five minutes?

So it's a horrible, horrible decision. Not that it's much comfort for the victim, but least it's getting horrible publicity, and for once the State government's habit of criticising every legal decision that happens in this place works out: they're tabling new laws that specify that if consent is withdrawn after sex has begun, it becomes rape.

Which raises a fairly obvious question. If you are having sex with someone, and they tell you to stop, that they don't want to be having sex with you, and you ignore that and carry on anyway…what else could that possibly be except, you know, rape?

But wait, what am I thinking? After all, if they start legislating to prevent sexual assault, who knows what might happen. Why, if that happens, 'even married couples will have to sign a contract before they have sex'.

That's Isobel Redmond saying that, right there.

Apparently, making a law that recognises that if you change your mind about an intimate encounter, express that you do not want something physical to happen and some asshole goes ahead and forces it on you anyway IS RAPE is the same thing as requiring every married couple to sign a document before having loving and consensual sex.

Here's a tip, Ms Redmond, and I'm going to speak in small words so that you understand it. Ready?

If my husband rolls over in bed and throws a less-than-platonic arm around me, and I wriggle around and start kissing him, and an hour later the bedclothes are on the floor and we both have big grins, no-one is going to find themselves in a court of law a year later. If you yourself aren't convinced that you (or your partner) can recognise consent without formal documentation thereof, that is your issue. But you know perfectly well that people do not end up in court defending themselves from rape charges unless they've been accused of rape by their victim. And you also know that the number of false accusations is minuscule. And you also know that when you look at the statistics, only around 2% of reported rapes in this State end in conviction. Reported rapes. Which on a conservative estimate, number perhaps 10% of actual rapes.

So you also know that the risk in this area of law is not that perfectly well-meaning gentlemen who pursued consensual sexual relations without a signature on the dotted line will find themselves in gaol. It's that women like the one in the above case, who found herself on an empty stretch of road with a much bigger man who forced her head onto his penis and then turned her over forcibly and raped her, telling her all the time (by his own admission) that she was enjoying it really, who are found by a friend curled into a foetal position on her couch some hours later, and who have gone through a trial and an appeal, are told that their withdrawal of consent is unrealistic and illogical.

The idea, Ms Redmond, that without written documentation or express formalistic verbal consent (the Antioch strawman) perfectly innocent people can find themselves accused of rape is a deliberate obfuscation, a deliberate misdirection, a deliberate fucking LIE. And you're a smart, educated, well-informed woman. So you know that.

Which makes you a fucking asshole.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Well, now this is just getting ridiculous.

So yesterday afternoon, a friend calls to tell me that there's a bushfire burning an uncomfortably short distance from my house. The husband calls the hotline and we're told not to go home as they need the roads clear for fire fighting vehicles. We spend the evening at a friend's place listening to local radio and drinking wine until we are allowed home (after 8.30pm).

The house was fine, as was the cat who'd been happily snoozing upstairs all day. Nigel the fish wasn't: after perking up for a day or two he had relapsed and was pretty clearly about to die. So I put him in the freezer (mmm, goldfish popsicles) and he is No Longer.

I'm deliberately not giving out details of the bushfire only because I'm not keen on having my geographical location pinpointed. But if you know me and where I live, and was wondering: we're fine.

And, universe? STOP IT.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Ides of March and other woes

The tales of woe continue chez tanya. The Future-proofer blames the Ides of March, but that's been and gone, and still no respite. Even the fish are suffering. Arthur the fantail got stuck under the oxygen pump the other day, and by the time we realised and rescued the poor thing (fish being quiet creatures, even whilst their fins are being pulled off by the force of the suction) it was too late and we had to consign him to the Great White Telephone. Nigel the black moor seems to have lost half a dorsal fin and some of his tail to some event, we know not what, and has been consigned to Fish Hospital whilst we try and feed him up. Fish Hospital is a plastic fishbowl, around which he is swimming somewhat disconsolately and making an attempt to heal.

The husband is doing little better, although he is not consigned to a plastic bowl. After threatening to call into work Incompetent after a weekend of curry-spilling (on trousers, at music festival), coffee-spilling (on shirt, just before leaving for work), glasses-breaking (no idea how) and watch-losing, he is treading warily around the world lest it bite him.

And out there in the world'o'blogs, some assholes are trying their damndest to hurt the careers of some awesome women. So here's my tiny bit of help:

This is a crosspost to effect a Googlebomb, correcting an injustice against a fellow feminist blogger.

Jill Filipovic, who blogs at Feministe and Ms. JD, is a NYU law student who has been the subject of cyber-obsession on a discussion board allegedly populated by law students. The discussions regarding Jill Filipovic (and many other female law students) are sexist and sexual in nature, rating the women’s physical attractiveness and fantasising about sexual contact, both consensual and non-consensual. Neither Jill Filipovic or any other of these women contributed, or gave their permission to be discussed, to the discussion board in question.

Jill Filopovic’s name and class routines etc have been regularly posted to this board, and at least one of the pseudonymous board-members claims to be Jill Filipovic’s classmate. Photos that Jill Filipovic posted (with full rights reserved) to an interent photo-storing and sharing site have also been posted to the sleazy discussion board without her permission. This is a horrendous invasion of Jill Filipovic’s privacy, a violation of copyright law, and calls the ethics and character of the alleged law-students participating in these discussions on the discussion board into question.

A major side-effect of an already nasty situation is that the sexist, objectifying cyber-obsession threads come up on the first page of internet search results on
Jill Filipovic’s name. To an inexperienced user of the internet, it may even look as if Jill Filipovic and other female law students chose to compete in these Hot or Not rating competitions, instead of having their pictures posted without permission.

This post is an attempt to balance those internet results to point to the significant writings of
Jill Filipovic instead, using the Googlebomb tactic and also linking this post to social networking sites (eg. del.ici.ous, Stumbleupon). Please feel free to copy any or all of what I’ve written here to your own blog in order to help change the top-ranked search engine results for Jill Filipovic. If you don’t have your own blog then please at least link to one of Jill’s post[s] listed below at your preferred social networking site and give it the tag “Filipovic” (as well as any others you think appropriate).

I have linked to these sites in this post:
Jill Filipovic’s bio page at Feministe
Jill Filipovic’s blog posts at the Ms. JD blog
Jill Filipovic’s article about these scummy lawschool sleazebags at Feministe
Jill Filipovic’s article at Ms. JD: When Law Students Attack

If any of the other female law students stalked by the same sleazy site wish to copy this text with names altered, you hereby have my full permission to do so. All other rights reserved. (C) 2007 tigtog

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Of course, in the time it took to write a post justifying my lack of a post...

If you're looking at this page through Internet Explorer, I apologise for the wonky formatting that the last post caused. Also, why on earth are you looking at this page through IE?

Anyway, I've been thinking for a few days I should post just to try and improve matters. And I have a post I'm working on about this story. But I don't have the brain power for it right now, for a variety of reasons.

Reason One: The Laptop of Multiple Crashings

Remember my laptop? My shiny, shiny laptop? I had never had a laptop before. I wanted one really really badly. And after a year of hard work* I got a nice fat tax return, with which I excitedly went out and bought the laptop.

Which waited 8 days, thus putting itself 1 day outside the Automatic Replacement window, and started crashing. Over and over. So I took it back to the shop, and they diagnosed a faulty hard drive and…other things, and I waited for them to order in new parts, and duly the laptop was returned to me.

Without an operating system installed.

"Oh, you should be able to run that from your recovery disks"
"What recovery disks?"
"That you burnt."
"I had the thing for eight days, during most of which the computer didn't work, when were you thinking I'd have done this?"
(deep sigh)"Send it back, we'll order some in".

So I did, and they did, and the laptop was returned to me once more. And there was much rejoicing, and the pitter patter of tiny keyboard strokes brought joy to the household once more.

For about a week.

So I'll go back to the shop, and I'll have to go all lawyer on their asses which I really, really don't want to do, and I'll…well, hopefully end up with a working laptop, because it's been four months now, and the thing's depreciating by the second, and it's all a horrible use of time and energy. Which could be used writing intelligent insightful posts about pornography, feminism and free speech. Or drinking.

Reason Two: The Work Function Of Much Alcohol and No Food

I don't mind work functions, normally. Free wine, free food, decent conversation, what's not to like? Unfortunately in this case, although the wine was indeed free, and free-flowing to boot, the food was entirely animal-based and the conversation…less than riveting. Time after time, the wine waiter topped up my glass. Time after time, the servers came round with exquisite nibbles of food; asparagus wrapped in prosciutto, elegant little chicken sandwiches, sausage rolls in flaky sesame bespattered pastry, bruschetta with pieces of rare steak and caramelised onion perched atop them, honeyed meatballs in dipping sauce…one by one they wafted past me, and one by one I waved them away.

Three hours in, I decided I was just too hungry to stay, and departed. When I got out onto the street I realised I was a lot drunker than I thought I was. By the time I got home - later than I'd intended - I felt horrible. Just horrible. I called hello to the husband, watching TV in a room out of sight, and went upstairs to strip off and take a shower before facing him. Except that then I realised I couldn't get my necklace off because the motor skills required were entirely beyond me. Getting dressed again in order to go downstairs and ask for help? Equally so. So I decided that lying on the bed for a few moments would help, much as the best way to open a tricky lock or achieve an elusive orgasm is to not over-think it but just relax and let it happen.

(So you would have used a different analogy. Sue me)

Needless to say, an hour later the husband came upstairs a little confused and woke me up. And then took my necklace off for me, ran me a shower and made me a bowl of soup. I'm such a catch.

All of which meant that I was inappropriately hung over yesterday and couldn't write intelligent insightful etc.

Reason Three: The Unfeasibly Labyrinthine Work Journey.

It's currently taking almost twice as long to get to and from work as usual, thanks to a car racing event that has blocked off half the city streets and several arterials whilst welcoming a huge influx of young men in wife-beater t-shirts and loud cars. Yesterday the husband tried to drive into the city to pick me up, and after twenty minutes stuck in traffic gave up and parked wherever he could, leaving me to walk almost a mile to the car. Which I wouldn't have minded, but I got stuck behind a horde of said obnoxious young men and had to listen to their commentary about a girl sporting a skirt of the I Can't Believe It's Not A Belt variety for three blocks.

This had nothing to do with my lack of serious posting. It was just annoying, and I was on a roll.

Reason Four: The Internet of Time-Wasting Opportunities.

This isn't a reason either. It's just an excuse to post the fact that if you think you've found enough reasons to procrastinate, and you haven't yet tried nailing jelly to a wall, you're not procrastinating hard enough.

*Mostly standing around in bottle shops pouring people glasses of wine but if it adds to the pathos to claim that I was a coalminer, I'll come to that party.