Friday, March 27, 2009

Quick hits.

Thanks a million to everyone who donated to Pro-Choice Resources. The Bowl-a-thon was last night, and get this: in the worst economy in the history of the event (and indeed, in the history of the organization), we raised the most money ever--over $42,000 and counting. It was really exciting. I was late to the fundraising party this year, what with the two jobs and the re-relocating, but y'all still brought the thunder and I am grateful.

Here are some niblets of things to read, in case you aren't looking at my shared items on Google Reader:

RH Reality Check devotes an entire entry to last week's episode of Friday Night Lights (which you can watch at and its realistic sex talk. Well, technically, half the post is devoted to the parallel talk on My So-Called Life, and I'm all for that show too.

The HPV vaccine's maker is trying to get the vaccine approved for boys> WaPo reports that, unsurprisingly, the debate over the vaccine has shifted from "will this make girls have sex?" to "is it cost-effective, safe, and worthwhile?"

There's a Men Against Sexual Violence Male Ally Conference at the end of April that sounds interesting. It's a two day event "that seeks to engage men in ending transphobia, homophobia and violence against women." The keynote speaker is Byron Hurt:
Hurt is a former Northeastern University football quarterback and was also a founding member of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program. MVP is a leader in college-based rape and domestic violence prevention initiatives for college and professional athletics. Hurt is also the former Associate Director of the first gender violence prevention program in the United States Marine Corps. A long time activist, author and film maker, Hurt challenges audiences to interrogate the damaging effects of patriarchy, racism, and sexism in American culture.

Some Texas wingnut legislator proposed a bill that would allow the Institute for Creation Research to grant Master of Science degrees in--wait for it--Creationism. Zonk.

Did anyone else hear Peter Singer talking about the ethics of giving on Marketplace recently? Feminist Finance gives you a quick rundown on the story and talks about philanthropy in troubled times. I haven't added up last year's donations yet, but I bet you I come in under the recommended giving for someone with my income, and I'm going to do more giving for poverty relief this year.

Is anybody else being kind of a failure at work today? Sigh.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Unheard voices in the reproductive rights discussion.

Read this tremendous post on the trauma of being a relinquishing birth mother. It was eye-opening to me--both post and comments--and clearly needs to be part of discussions about reproductive rights.
I have given a baby up for adoption, and I have had an abortion, and while anecdotes are not evidence, I can assert that abortions may or may not cause depression - it certainly did not in me, apart from briefly mourning the path not taken - but adoption? That is an entirely different matter. I don't doubt that there are women who were fine after adoption, and there is emphatically nothing wrong with that or with them; but I want to point out that if we're going to have a seemingly neverending discussion about the sorrow and remorse caused by abortion, then it is about goddamn time that we hear from birth mothers too.
The post also contains one of the best rejoinders to self-righteous folks who want to weigh in on your choices that I've ever seen:
Address your own issues. I suggest volunteer work, but I don't recommend any kind of personal contact; you lack empathy. Many cities, even small ones, have beautification programs involving cleanup and planting trees, which might do for a start. You will be enriching the lives of others, improving your own health, you can proudly point out "your" trees, and you'll feel self-righteous with damn good reason for a change.
Is this a good time to let you know that I'm doing the Pro-Choice Resources Bowlathon fundraiser next week? The extreme busy-ness of my recent days has really limited my fundraising efforts, but I've got a week to go and feel certain that I can still do more for this excellent organization. If you haven't been with me through the last few bowlathons, PCR is a local grassroots organization that provides education, financial assistance, advocacy, and outreach. It's not a clinic or a lobbying group, but an organization that exists to empower women to make their own decisions about their reproductive health.

This is a tough year for fundraising in general, and with good reason. But one thing that might encourage you to make a donation is the knowledge that every dollar you donate makes a real impact on this organization and the people who are served by its programs. PCR doesn't receive federal or United Way funding. If you can spare $5, you can help provide condoms for at-risk youth.

=My personal donation page is at Remember: every little bit helps.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Update on my viewing life.

Rachel Getting Married is the first really excellent movie I've seen in ages. I can't stop thinking about it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

1. I'm listening to robins singing their sundown/twilight song, which is one of my favorite sounds. That I can hear this sound at all tells you that a) the window is open and b) spring is probably coming to the Upper Midwest.

2. We broke 50 F today. I went for a brutal jog--any jogging at all would be brutal at this point, since I'd been running exactly twice in the last three months.

3. Classes are over. I leave here on Tuesday. I am very sad to be leaving. I love this place, I love the people, I've had an amazing term of teaching, and I'm going back to quite a different work life. This has to change.

4. I wanted to tell someone to watch 2 Days in Paris, so I'm telling you. Ditto for Happy Go Lucky. In a minute, I'm going to watch Rachel Getting Married. I also started watching MI5 on Netflix, and man, that show is not messing around. Highly recommended.

5. There was one fraudulent $5 charge on my credit card yesterday, and the company called me right away and closed the account. I'm pretty impressed with this. But I'm also baffled by what a pathetic case of fraud it was.

6. I have a lot of packing to do. How much you want to bet I do most of it on Tuesday morning right before I leave?

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Weekend update.

Oh hai internets. I'm home for the weekend, where I've discovered that Ace has inexplicably stopped the manic denuding of his belly. I've never known him to have fur on his belly, so this is a monumental thing that I have to trace to his increased quality time with the Brit. Ace spends his evenings wedged up sausage-style between the arm of the chair and the Brit's leg, and often makes himself known during video chats, and all of this seems to be doing him some good. He looks less neurotic, anyway.

My drive home was nice. I spent an inordinate amount of time on ipod overhaul on Thursday night and Friday morning before I left, and this made things very very pleasant, music-wise. It was a long-overdue project, and kind of an annoying one. I also consulted google re the thrifteries of central Wisco, and made several stops in pursuit of old-school thrift--in other words, not Goodwill. Some hallmarks of old-school thrift: handwritten price tags boasting actually thrify prices, piles of crap, and old ladies at the checkout counter. Three of the places I ended up going were exactly like this, with the bonus of radio polka at the best store. Unfortunately none of the stores had stuff I wanted to buy, but at least I know where to go if I'm ever marooned in Wausau.

Last weekend, the Brit visited me and we hung out and ate Indian food and went to the gym. The weekend before that, I was in Chicago for about 24 hours. Will someone tell me why it's been so many years since I've spent time in Chicago? I don't even think I ever visited when my brother was living there. I love that city, even though the potholes there are NOT MESSING AROUND. There are some infrastructure problems. I took some bonehead zen-driving route to get out of downtown on my way back to Wisco, and the decrepitude of the bridge I crossed to get to the freeway shocked me.

Anyway, the Brit and I have to go back there together and have a good long afternoon in the Art Institute. On this trip, I only had about 1.5 hours, in which time I saw a whole mess of the permanent collection and a really stellar Munch exhibit. Then I heard a Bach concert and reconnected with a friend from Sweden I hadn't seen in about 14 years--she was one of the soloists. I also got to meet her mom and munch on her baby the next day. And I stayed in a Lincoln Park hotel that was awesome, right across from the conservatory and zoo, both of which are freeeee. A conservatory garden will fix you right up when you think you've had about all you can tolerate of a long winter.

And you know, I've had about all I can tolerate. The backyard is a mudpit and the garage is full of seeping meltwater and there are allegedly buds on the lilac bush, but there's still a lot of cold and snow and ice everywhere. However, the frequency of teaser days is increasing, and I have to confess that I didn't wear my coat at all yesterday while the temp was in the 40s. I also saw 4 people in shorts. I know I mention this phenomenon a lot, but you must agree that it's pretty noteworthy. On Thursday, the day's warmth turned into heavy fog when the sun went down. I came out of my studio late at night into a scene out of a black and white art movie: thick mist catching the pale light of the old-fashioned streetlamps in the park, throwing the skeletal trees into sharp relief. There have also been a lot of fabulous conjunctions of Venus and the moon. These are the things you cling to when winter seems like it will never end.

I don't know what the rest of the weekend holds. I'm catching up on work, we're watching some of David Attenborough's Planet Earth series, the Brit's in the basement pulling down gross ceiling tiles and exposing a hot mess of old mouse nests. I'm making rosemary lentil rice soup, after spending the rest of the day eating pastries, pretty much. It's all good times.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Man, I have been a CRAP blogger lately but can't write now because I have some very very hot plans: laundry, desk job work, possible etsy photography, teaching. I just wanted to say hi.