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dangerous chocolate

So last night I went to get a cup of hot chocolate and almost wound up in the emergency room.

I’m allergic to milk, it triggers asthma attacks. It’s not stable, the amount I can tolerate and the severity of the reaction varies, with no schedule or cause that I can discern. Last night someone at Starbucks absent-mindedly gave me real milk instead of soy in my cocoa and a couple of hours later I was feeling it.

It wasn’t too bad, just a little wheezy and I won’t be running any marathons this week. I’ve spent time in oxygen tents for less milk than that. But something that struck me was that if I had needed medical attention, I might have had no choice but to start a lawsuit over it.

With no health care plan, no insurance, and no stable income, any medical bills are likely to be quite a bit more than my total net worth. Or gross worth, for that matter. It makes me wonder how many apparently frivolous lawsuits are really acts of desperation along those same lines.

Anyway, I want to reassure everyone that I’m okay. I’ll be a little wheezy for a few days, but I’m improving and should be back in action tomorrow. For today, I’m sticking to movies, books and bed.

Take care everybody.

Real Rape

This is not a safe post. The links which follow contain real people sharing their stories of rape, and reading them made me feel seriously sick.

It started here, with one woman telling her story in a blog post. The times she was raped, the results of reporting or not reporting it, the reactions, the fallout. It’s hard enough to read just on its own. And then there are the comments, see people read the comments and felt a need to share their stories. So there are more on that site than just Elyse’s. But see, I didn’t go to the Skepchick site today, I saw that from this post on Pharyngula, which has a large and well-established crowd of commenters, who have also chimed in with their stories.

At this point I’ve read them all. I felt like I had to, like I somehow owed it to these people to read their stories.

And it’s awful.

There are so many of them, and there are so many similarities between them. Elyse talked about “the script”, and how it needs to be rewritten, and after you read ten or twelve of those stories you see her point. Because the parts that are most similar aren’t the rapes themselves, but the attitudes of everyone else. The third-parties, police and friends and family and witnesses, these are where you see the same things over and over. This is where there’s a script people are following.

I don’t have any witty snark or words of wisdom to add. I just feel hollow and sick after reading all those stories. I’m going to finish up here, take a shower, and curl up with a book.

I will, however, first post a few hopefully useful links. Here’s a summary of the Crystal Clear Consent rules that the Pharyngulite Horde are working on, with links to the ongoing discussion and refinement of same. And here’s a link to a useful part of the National Domestic Violence Hotline website which I also found in the comments and thought was worth passing along.

That’s all I have for now. Feel free to comment, but don’t expect me to respond tonight.

Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.

Another month of search terms.

Spending an evening with friends cooking and canning and drinking mulled wine is a fine thing, a good idea. Continuing until after three in the morning is less good. Then sitting down & chatting is probably not a great plan, but hey, you need to get your laid-back socialization in. But opening the bottle of blackberry brandy was clearly a bad idea.

That was Wednesday night. Yesterday one of these people there fell ill, and today I’m feeling sick. At least there’s rain to cheer me up!

If you’re thinking that I’ve missed my search terms, fear not! I didn’t get the post written yesterday, but I did get the search page loaded up with the proper 30-day period listed. So the post is a day late, but the terms are correct! I’ll be skipping the repeats unless I think of something to say that makes me laugh, and as usual the search terms are bold while my commentary is italic.

Read the rest of this entry

Copping out again.

Well, at least I have the excuse that I’m still sick. Getting better, but so very slowly.

What really bugs me though, is that I had something I wanted to write about when I finally got out of bed around noon. Well, maybe tomorrow I’ll have enough sense to do my writing when I can, rather than hoping to do it when it’s convenient.

Learning curve

Topic #307:

What skill would you most like to learn in 2012?

I’d really like to learn to turn my vague ideas into concrete reality. If that’s not practical, if that’s too much to ask, then I’d like to learn to flap my arms and fly to the moon.

Sick, just punching the clock here

I’m sick and no good at the thinking today. So here’s this just so I still made a post today, now back to tea and drugs. Later.

The Fucking Patriarchy, Part 4

Boys don’t cry. Man up and grow some balls, you sissy, or are you just gonna cry like a girl?”

More than anything else, the fucking patriarchy hurts and oppresses women. But if we’re going to take in the scope of the thing, we have to look wider than that. Because the fucking patriarchy hurts and oppresses everyone.

Women are inferior, therefore anything a man does that is at all like a woman diminishes him, is something for him to be ashamed of. This has led to some of the most ridiculous stereotypes, since the ideal woman is clean, well-dressed, and able to do all the cooking and cleaning on top of whatever else everybody is doing, the stereotypical man is slovenly, unwashed, and lazy. I can speak to this one from personal experience, when I go out in public clean, well-groomed and stylishly dressed, it’s almost certain that someone will assume I’m gay.

Gender roles are silly things. The idea that your sex is also a job, that it comes with responsibilities specific to it, is an old one. It can be found all over the world, but no two cultures seem to agree just which duties are “manly” and which are “womanly”. There’s no practical reasons for them, we could easily just ignore these tired old social conventions and be who we like, except we still have this ghost of a dinosaur telling us to conform, conform, conform.

Conformity is a powerful force in the human psyche. When someone refuses to conform they’re ostracized, demonized, and frequently targeted for violence. The fucking patriarchy survives on conformity, and has mechanisms to defend itself from iconoclasts.

Another short post, I’m sicker today than I was yesterday. At this rate I’m going to have to stretch this out. Maybe that’s for the best, talk about something else tomorrow and get back to this subject. I’ll think about it later, for now I’m going back to bed.

The Fucking Patriarchy, Part 3

Well, I’m clearly coming down with a cold, so I’m going to try to make this quick today.

What do you call someone who isn’t interested in a long term relationship, but just wants to swing free and have casual sex? Does your answer change with the sex of the person in question? These aren’t just rhetorical questions, it’s easy to accept things like this as normal and never really think about it, never even notice the double standard.

What’s with health insurance that covers viagra but not birth control? Or vasectomies any time, but tubal ligation only if the woman has at least three children? Why is sexual autonomy simply assumed for men, but women have to fight for it?

The only answer I’ve found so far is the base assumption of the fucking patriarchy, that women are inferior. Their desires simply aren’t as important. Controlling whether you get pregnant or not isn’t as vital as getting a good hard erection. As for sterilization, well, a man knows his own mind and can make his own decisions, but women clearly can’t be trusted with important choices like this.

Back in August there was debate going on about women’s health services being covered by insurance companies. (I think the actual issue was making coverage a legal requirement, but I don’t remember and I’m sneezing too much to look it up.) The GOP was heavily opposed, especially to covering birth control. The arguments they presented were bizarre, suggesting that broad access to birth control would threaten extinction. Leaving aside the insanity of such claims, why is it even a debate whether health insurance covers women’s health? Did they have a similar argument over health services specific to men? I must have missed that one.

Starting to feel pretty miserable, so I’m off to take some cold medicine and get some tea and soup. More tomorrow.

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