joreth: (Bad Computer!)
I get angry, I mean *rageful*, when I am told in an argument that I feel a particular way that I have not said that I feel, or that I don't feel a particular way that I do, in fact, feel. Telling me that I don't feel passion or that I'm cold and unfeeling, for example, in those stupid fucking anti-science arguments where people attempt to defend their hold on superstition and magical thinking, sends me right over the edge. Yes, clearly, in my passionate rage, I am cold and unfeeling.

I have never really understood why this behaviour triggers my rage, but it always has, for as long as I can remember. In person or online, attempting to say anything about my internal landscape will send me flying off the handle. But I think I now understand why.

I think I have always been inordinately sensitive to gaslighting without ever having the benefit of anyone explaining to me what gaslighting is or how to recognize it.  I have come to this conclusion now because of 2 specific encounters. In both cases, I had dealings with men who have been accused of gaslighting their partners to an abusive degree.

I believe that many of us use gaslighting tactics in normal interactions with many different kinds of relationships because it is an argument tactic that we see so often that most of us are not aware that it is, in fact, gaslighting. I don't believe it is usually done maliciously or that the people who do this are consciously aware that they are trying to manipulate the other person in the argument. I think that it's just something we are socially conditioned to be accustomed to.

Gaslighting is where one person tries to convince another person that what they feel, think, or believe is not true. This is not something that a person can argue. I mean, you can argue that someone else believes something that is factually incorrect, but you cannot argue that someone else *doesn't* believe something that they do believe. Or that they don't feel what they feel. At best, you can point out examples that their actions do not match their professed feelings. But it is not possible to know what is going on inside someone else's head.

Much of the time, this is not done out of a misunderstanding or a confusion. Much of the time, gaslighting is done when someone does not like a situation and tries to control the situation more favorably by convincing the other person that their subjective experience of the situation is wrong, so that the other person will behave in a manner that the first person prefers. Imagine, if you will, a child complaining that she doesn't like brussel sprouts, and her mother says "oh, yes you do, now eat them." This is not because the mother is confused about the child's food preferences, this is because the mother wishes the child to eat the damn vegetables and so tries to convince the child that she does not know her own taste preferences well enough to behave in a way that leads to the veggies not getting eaten. The mother is trying to control the situation, and she does so by attacking the child's perception of her own internal landscape, her own subjective experience. And this is considered a "normal" argument tool. Very few people will overhear that mother and think "abusive". At worst, most people will think "frustrated" and probably agree with her method.

So there were these 2 men who were accused of abuse, and who used gaslighting as one of their tools of abuse. Because of the specific details of the situations that I won't get into here because it's not my story to tell, these were not clear-cut situations and I had not yet adopted my "start by believing them" policy. So I heard these accusations and I didn't know what to think. I wanted to disbelieve them, and I was very upset at the turmoil this caused in my own life. By bringing these accusations out, I was now in a very difficult position between two parties where I had my own reasons for wanting to maintain ties to both sides but accusations and counter-accusations of abuse flying around made being in the middle ... awkward, to say the least.

So I did what I could to remain "neutral". And then, I saw it.

In both of these situations, I ended up having my own altercation with each of the men. In one, it was a pretty massive blow-up, but in the other it wasn't - not in the grand scheme of things. We weren't all that close and the argument was not over anything really important. But with both men, they used a form of gaslighting in their argument with me.

In both cases, I was accused of feeling things that I did not feel and also of not feeling things that I did feel. On a normal day, that's enough to piss me right the fuck off. But coming on the heels of these gaslighting accusations, that made me pause. Suddenly, I had the key; I had the connection to *why* this behaviour angered me so much.

And suddenly, their victims' accusations became much more believable.

So I remain ultra-sensitive to when people make declarative statements about how I feel, how I think, how I see the world. I have not learned to control my rage at this. In fact, I now feel more than angry, I feel like someone has attempted to violate me. Because now I see the tactic as a form of control and manipulation.

But more than that, I see it as a symptom of what's wrong with our entire culture. Because I don't think that every single attempt at gaslighting - every single "geez, you're so angry all the time!" - is actual abuse. I think that we've managed to normalize that tactic as simply part of how people argue or disagree, so that even people with good intentions can argue poorly and use the same tactics *as* abusers without actually being an abuser in that moment themselves.

And that's the scary part. If *everyone* uses gaslighting, for all kinds of disagreements, then no wonder so many people can't recognize real abuse when it happens and no wonder so many people don't believe abuse or rape victims when they finally come forward. Every generation teaches the next that this is an acceptable tool in an argument, so that every generation has a reasonable chance of hiding the abusers among them in the throngs of people who simply have shitty communication skills and entitlement complexes.

I don't really have anywhere specific I'm going with this. I just came across some old writing from the time of these two experiences I had, and it reminded me that I hadn't ever gotten around to writing about this. So I'm sitting here, thinking about former relationships (I was reviewing my Breaking Up workshop), former metamours, things ending poorly, other people's relationships ending poorly, abuse, gaslighting, and I ended up here - thinking of all the times people use an abusive manipulation tactic in normal, everyday interactions with all sorts of people. That's kind of terrifying.

So when I fly off the handle because someone dared to make an "observation" that was really a statement that he thinks he knows my emotional landscape better than I do, before judging me too harshly for being "emotional" or "hysterical" or "irrational" or "temperamental", consider all this for a moment. Consider that telling someone what they feel or don't feel is *gaslighting* and what abusers do to control their victims. This person I'm arguing with probably isn't an abuser, and certainly isn't *abusing me* in this one online argument. But what if he is? What if, the reason why he's so comfortable using the gaslighting technique with me online is because he uses it all the time with people who are in a position to be abused by him?

Or, what if he's not and he genuinely doesn't want to abuse anyone? How easy do you think it's going to be to never abuse anyone if the most comfortable argument tools he has are the same ones that real abusers use? Most abusers do not believe they are abusers. Many even think of themselves as the victims (victimization by your control is not the same thing as victimization by my resistance to your control). Abusers are not comic book villains, petting their white cats in their evil lair while they plot ways to break the minds of their victims. Of course he doesn't think he's manipulating anyone. We all think that, mostly. We are all the heroes in our own narratives. So it's really easy to think that I'm the bad guy when I lose my temper. And sometimes I am.

But gaslighting is an evil, insidious tactic that burrows into our society and takes a hold of people often unwittingly. So be on the lookout for signs of gaslighting - in other people and in ourselves. Don't tell people what they are thinking, feeling, or believing. Don't assume that you know what's going on inside someone's head, especially if they contradict you. This is an abusive tactic, and we should all be strongly opposed when we see it happening.

We just need to learn how to see it happening.
joreth: (::headdesk::)

For future reference: if I ask you to drop a subject or to stop talking to me for a period, and I warn you that continuing to press the issue will result in me blocking you, it is not a "threat" that you should feel afraid about; I am giving you necessary information to make informed decisions about your future interactions with me.  I hold no illusions that anyone is "afraid" of no longer having contact with me or that it's even something worth fearing.  Frankly, if someone is afraid of that, then I worry about their emotional stability.  Nor is it because you have a difference of opinion. I am quite good friends with a lot of people who have radically different opinions to me, some positions to which I am actively opposed and even work against. The reason why they remain friends is because we both respect each others' right to hold those positions and not argue about them for the sake of peaceful interactions.  I am opposed to the ideas themselves, not the people, and we can coexist, not just peacefully, but even amicably and as friends as long as a basic level of respect for each others' humanity is in place (if their opinion itself is a disrespect of others' humanity, well, that's a whole other can of worms).

No, when I tell you that I do not wish to discuss a topic anymore, it is not because of your opinion. It's because of your personality. It's because I find your approach to be disrespectful and I am attempting to keep the peace by just agreeing to disagree, at least for now.

If I warn you that I will block you, it is not because I can't handle differing opinions or that I live in an echo chamber. In fact, accusations of such are worth blocking for on that statement alone. It is because you are violating my boundaries in my request for peaceful disagreement and the only way I have to enforce my boundaries is to block you entirely because continued pressing of the issue is direct evidence that YOU DO NOT RESPECT BOUNDARIES and are therefore untrustworthy to be around.

I am posting this because I cannot message you after I have already blocked you to explain why you have just been blocked. So if you get blocked by me, this is why. It's not me, it's definitely you. It's not your opinion, it's you.

You are being blocked because you are untrustworthy, not because you hold a different opinion and certainly not because I can't "handle" that opinion, and not because I have to have to have the last word. In fact, there's a good chance that you already had the last word, since I will often not even bother to refute people I'm about to block, I just say "drop the subject or you will be blocked".  You are not being censored (although I appreciate that you think I am a powerful enough person that I have the force of the government behind me, I simply do not have the ability to censor you). You are not more rational than I. You are not more level-headed than I. You are not more open-minded than I. You are entitled, rude, belligerent, pushy, manipulative, and a conversational terrorist*. None of that is more "rational" or "open-minded".

By the time I feel the need to resort to blocking you, I couldn't give a fuck about whatever opinion you think is so important that I'm blocking you over it. By that point, your opinion is the least objectionable part about you. By that point, I am more concerned with your total lack of empathy and your willingness to trod all over another person's request for space. If you can't even give that space on a stupid social media site, I have to wonder if I'm even safe being around you in person, or will I need one of the weapons that I carry on me at all times**?

And the internet is the ONLY place that I have the power to remove people like you from my presence. Every where else in the world, I am forced to coexist with people I am not safe around. Every where else in the world, I am smaller and less capable than those I am not safe around. But here, on the internet, I can force YOU to give me the space I need to feel safe.

So that is what I'm doing when I block you. I give fuck-all about your stupid opinion on whatever stupid subject that started this whole thing. I care that you have no consideration for the people around you. And THAT is why I will block you.

*Even for me that title is a little too hyperbolic, but that's what it's called and I didn't make up the term so that's the word we're stuck with.

**I have had to pull my knife on 3 occasions, only two of which were strangers but all 3 were people who did not back off when I repeatedly and clearly stated my desire for space.

joreth: (Kitty Eyes)
Read this on someone else's blog and thought it sounded like an excellent disclaimer for my personal posts as well, since it's much nicer in tone than I usually am and still makes the points I want to make. I'll be saving this and adding it to my Me Manual blog posts in the future, probably with a few minor edits to reflect my personality and/or circumstances.

"This is a personal post so it has extra rules. I don’t want advice. I don’t want condescension about my age or any other aspect of my identity or lifestyle. I do not want devil’s advocate. In fact, since this is all completely about my individual experience and I don’t mean for it to apply to anyone else’s experience, I’m not interested in entertaining any debate over it. You are welcome to believe that I am wrong about my own life and experiences, if you keep that to yourself. If I see anything in the comments section that makes me regret having been open about my life, it’ll be deleted without further explanation. Commiseration and personal anecdotes are always welcome, though."
joreth: (::headdesk::)
A woman got an email from a guy on a dating website. It was a classic piece of shit - overly-flirtatious, too complimentary, obviously didn't read the profile because there was nothing specific, and creepy in an over-sharing, too-familiar-too-soon way. Naturally, she posted the email online.

Another woman saw the post and recognized it as the exact same one she received from the same guy. Now we all know that guy is writing form letters and we're all mocking him for being insincere and inconsiderate.

Guys, take note: when you send a form letter (and believe me, we can tell it's a form letter) and when you ignore the profile, not only do you come across as creepy, but you get made fun of by the women you're hoping to attract. It's in your best interest to learn how to be sincere and considerate in your first-contact emails.

When you do something rude (like these kinds of first-contact emails), the girls are not the bad guys for mocking you. That's the consequence that you get for being rude first. We are under no obligation to be nice to people who disrespect us first.
joreth: (Misty in Box)
Once upon a time, I refused to delete a person's post in the group I moderated when that person's partner demanded I do so, because I had already spoken to the person in question who merely asked me to amend the post for her, which I did immediately.

The partner got obnoxiously offended that I wouldn't just do what he said to his partner's post, just because he was the partner. My response was incredulity that anyone couldn't see why it was a horrible idea to just take someone's word on making changes to another person's presence in the group. 1) I don't know who is dating who - it's the poly community and I can barely keep up with my own network, let alone everyone else's; 2) I don't know the status of each relationship and don't know if someone might be abusing the position - worst case scenario could have some psycho deleting profiles or setting their partner up for trouble like with child protective services or something. But *especially* when I had gotten contradictory instructions from the person in question directly, that was a horrible idea.  Anyway, I said as much and the partner has been telling everyone what I bully I am ever since.

I saw early signs of him having an abusive personality, but no evidence to actually act on it. When asked, I would admit that I didn't like him and that he struck me as being "wrong", or the kind of domly-dom that I usually associate with abusers who hide their abuse under the BDSM label. But, with nothing more than a feeling and an association, I just did my best to avoid him, except when he directly challenged me online.

Tonight I find out that he has, in fact, been accused of multiple accounts of domestic violence and sexual assault against multiple people. My local area has *finally* barred him from social events, and he is, I hear, moving on to neighboring cities.

It's times like this when I don't like being right.

I have a long history of exposure to domestic violence and sexual assault. I know the signs. I am too much of a skeptic to just start willy-nilly accusing people based on a "feeling" or my intuition, and certainly I can miss people who are good at hiding it. But having to rescue my best friend in high school, literally kidnapping her out from under her rapist father who was about to take her to Canada to escape the charges brought against him, and my subsequent work with sexual assault and domestic violence has made me sensitive to those traits associated with abusers.

I do wish people would take me more seriously when I say someone is bad news, even if I don't have police reports to back me up. I listen to what people close to them say about them, and I watch how people behave around them, and I filter it with an understanding of consensual BDSM relationships so as to not confuse the two, and I connect patterns. When I say someone is trouble, it's not because we had a disagreement once. It's because I think they're trouble.
joreth: (Misty in Box)

As I mentioned in my last post, I had heard there was a clinic who was offering the HPV test for men, but I was waiting for confirmation and more information before I posted about it.  I had looked up online on my own and only found more insistence that no HPV test existed except for that used in research.  One clinic in California was taking it upon themselves to use that research testing method to conduct their own study, thereby giving men who participated an HPV test.

Well, I found out that the clinic I heard of that may have had an HPV test for men does not, in fact, have an HPV test for men.  They seemed to have deliberately misled interested patients, as one particular patient tried to confirm several times, through several levels, that he was scheduling himself for an HPV test, and at each level was either told yes, or given an ambiguous or non-committal answer until he finally saw the physician personally.  That physician was the only person to say, flat out, that there was no HPV test for men and that their answering service gives out the wrong information all the time.  The person on the phone, the receptionist, the nurse or medical technician who prepped him for the appointment - none of them corrected the patient on the belief that he would be receiving an HPV test that day.

Remember, when you go in to be tested for "everything", you are not tested for everything.

Let me repeat that:  
When you go in to be tested for "everything", you are not tested for everything.

You MUST go in with a specific list of tests that you want to purchase and get confirmation from the physician herself that you will be tested for those things.  And, more than just saying "I want a herpes test", you have to say "I want the HSV PCR test" or whatever you're looking for.  Some STDs have different kinds of tests with different levels of accuracy and expense.  Make sure you know exactly which test you want and ask for it by name.  

And then be prepared to argue with them over the necessity of getting tested.  Many clinics and doctors still take the position that certain STDs like herpes and HPV are so prevalent, that there's no point in worrying whether you have it or not if you're asymptomatic, so you don't need to get tested.  They figure that if you don't have herpes or HPV yet, you will soon, so just don't worry about it until you start showing symptoms and need treatment.  If you're OK with that, then fine, but if you want to have test results in your records to show prospective partners, then insist that doctors provide the services that they offer to the patients willing to pay for those services, and if they won't, go elsewhere.

It is true that many people either have or will have HSV or HPV, and it is also true that, for the vast majority of those people, the virus is little more than an "inconvenience".  It is also true that stress about health and medical procedures can, for some health issues, be worse than the health issue itself.  Many people are worse off for worrying about things than they are for having those things, and for a great deal of things, too-often testing does not significantly increase your odds of survival or better health.  People who go looking for health problems will often find them, even when those problems are mild or things that the body can heal on its own.  Many people put themselves through unnecessary procedures and surgeries to take care of things "just in case" that probably won't hurt them and that are so mild that they'd never know they had if they hadn't gone looking for them.

All of that is irrelevant if you have done your research and you just want to have accurate and update medical records for your prospective partners.  I caution people against using test results as a way to justify and entrench their own sex-negative fears.  Some people hold onto their "clean" records as sort of a talisman to justify rejecting and being hurtful towards prospective partners who might have an STI.  I can't tell you how often I've heard statements like "I'm clean and I want to stay that way".  The fact is you won't.  STIs should be treated as any other equivalent illness.  You will get sick, whether it's the flu, strep throat, the measles, or warts and cold sores.  By all means, take precautions, but be consistent.  If you're afraid of getting a life-threatening illness like HIV, use condoms, get your flu shots and pertussis boosters, wash your hands regularly, don't go to work sick and insist that other sick coworkers go home, and get your physicals and preventative exams done on time.  

Being sick sucks, but STIs are no better or worse than any other comparable illness, so don't use your test results as a weapon against people with STIs, or to look down on people with STIs, or to think you're "safe" from life-changing surprises like illnesses.  Get tested so that your partners can make informed decisions, so that you can see patterns in your own health history, and to help you and your physician decide on appropriate medical  procedure schedules.  If you routinely have abnormal pap smears, for example, then you ought to be getting the HPV test regularly & often, like annually or semi-annually.  If you consistently have normal pap smears, have no history of cancer in your family, and your sexual network is fairly static, then you can probably get checked less often, like every other year.  

But, yes, definitely get tested "regularly" (for whatever definition of "regularly" fits your particular health circumstances) and definitely insist that your physician provide you with the proper services.  Just make sure to use those tests in the same way that you'd use any other health test - to evaluate your personal risk assessment and manage your personal health checkup schedules, not to freak out about being "unclean" or to ward off "dirty" partners.

For a list of the STIs that you can and should be tested for, download the Sexual Health & History Disclosure form, which includes spaces for you to add your latest testing dates & a record of your past and current partners, their testing status, & the transmissive activities you shared with them and can be found here, along with some other convenient charts & graphics

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
Recently, [ profile] tacit was waiting in the TSA line for a plane trip when someone came up to him and said "I know this isn't any of my business, but what's with the bunny ears?" Before he could answer, the guy in front of him turned around and angrily said, "I'll tell you what's with the bunny ears, he just wants attention! I'd knock them off if I could!"

[ profile] tacit didn't respond to the guy directly, but did tell the original questioner that the ears were a gift from a friend. He wishes now that he had said they were a gift from one of his girlfriends, just to poke the angry asshole.

I told him that he should have said "actually, I had a daughter... she got sick..." [ profile] tacit's eyes got big and filled with a mixture of horror and admiration. He said "you're not right!" and then he and [ profile] datan0de immediately filled in the rest of the story designed to make the asshole feel as badly as possible for jumping to conclusions and becoming angry over what someone else had the audacity to wear in public. This mythical "daughter" would have had a birthday on the day of this fateful plane trip, had she lived. The ears were her last gift to "daddy". He was on his way to visit her grave. And it went downhill from there.

Shelly chimed in with "I think assholes should be made to feel like assholes!"

And that is the crux of my entire online persona. I am the cautionary tale. I am the consequences of your bad behaviour and I will not let you ignore the consequences.

According to Why We Are So Rude Online:

"We're less inhibited online because we don't have to see the reaction of the person we're addressing, says Sherry Turkle, psychologist and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ... Because it's harder to see and focus on what we have in common, we tend to dehumanize each other, she says."

My posts are a reaction, a deliberate attempt to show other people those reactions that they can't see online. When someone is an asshole online, most of the people I know back off. They don't reply to OKC messages, they unfriend, they disengage. I do that too, but before I do, I make a conscious decision to allow that person to see my reaction. That's what all these rants here on LJ are, that's why I post the Online Skeezballs exchanges, that's why I get into flame wars.

I will also eventually back out and disengage when I can't take it anymore. But I won't let their behaviour go unpunished. My goal is for everyone who treats people poorly to see what happens when you treat people poorly. I want there to be consequences for treating people poorly. I want you to be unable to retreat unscathed from treating someone poorly. I want that kind of behaviour to do as much damage to the troll as to the victim, because, apparently, hurting someone is not enough motivation to stop. Perhaps self-preservation will be a start.

These sorts of studies also explain away trolling behaviour by the security provided by anonymity - that people say mean things to each other online that they would never say in person, because they don't have to see how their words affect people.

This is another way in which my behaviour is different from "trolls". Because I will say these things in person. I will tell you what I think. One of two things happens in real life, however. Either my tone gives a clearer indication as to my motivations, intentions, and emotional state and reduces the confusion that so often happens online where people mistake what I'm saying for something "mean"; or I am actually saying something "mean" and I know it will hurt you, but I'm saying it because you need to hear it - exactly the way I do it online.

So, yes, people can hide behind the anonymity of the internet & say and do things that they wouldn't do in person. This is unacceptable. And yes, people say the things they do because they don't have to deal with the reactions of the people they are hurting. This is also unacceptable.

But this is WHY I say mean things on the internet. I am not allowing people to get away with saying something mean without consequences. I am not allowing them to remain ignorant of the reactions they are causing. And I am not doing or saying anything that I wouldn't also say directly to that person's face. I am the person who will tell you that your ass looks fat in that dress because that's a shitty question to ask someone and a terrible way to trap people who care about you, and you should feel the consequences of putting someone in that awful position. And I won't just say that your ass looks fat in that dress, I will TELL you that I'm saying so because I think it's a shitty question to ask someone and a terrible way to trap people who care about you. So that you know.

When I go through TSA, I opt-out of the body scanners on principle, which requires them to give me a pat-down. I insist that the pat-down be held in public, in front of everyone (including anyone who might have a camera on them) where they have to be held accountable, and when they ask about medical conditions, I tell them (honestly) that I have endometriosis and I'm on my period, so I'm bleeding & my breasts & groin are sensitive to the touch. If someone is going to make me uncomfortable, I'm going to make them uncomfortable right back. I have ALWAYS gotten professional pat-downs without any inappropriate touching (other than the fact the pat-down itself is inappropriate), and some were downright ineffective in their effort not to be "inappropriate".  I also pack sex toys in my luggage, which grossed out a customs agent enough that she stopped searching my bag & waved me through.

When people ask me a rude & personal question, I will tell them the answer. That always makes them uncomfortable, and I say "don't ask questions you don't want the answer to". I intend to make them feel as uncomfortable as they made me feel. I will respond, and you will not escape my response.

I am not about "radical honesty" where you have to just "toughen up" and "grow thicker skin". In fact, I'm about the opposite - of developing thinner skin so that you care more about what you're doing to people. I am about making people develop more sophisticated empathy so that they don't do the kinds of things anymore that result in someone telling them off. If someone is telling you off, then you've done something that crossed the line. It's no longer about being "honest", it's about you being a jerk. You've hurt someone. And you need to know that you've hurt someone. And you need to feel bad about it.

Filed under "it's OK to be intolerant about intolerance".
joreth: (::headdesk::)
I'd started out writing an Online Skeezballs post, and it turned into a rant about bullies.  I had planned to keep updating it as the bully added more stuff, but it's really not written to accommodate additions well, so I'm starting a new post about it.  Here is the exchange:

I originally made a tweet complaining about poly people going to poly events, and then saying "I was hoping to meet someone, but everyone there was already partnered". I don't want to debate this tweet here, this is part of a larger issue that the 140 character limitation of Twitter necessarily truncates & requires incomplete, generalized, and/or soundbitey statements and is not the point of what happened next.

So I made that tweet and @isayshizzz responded "sounds like you've never heard of polyfi"

So I said "sounds like you've never heard of Twitter, where things have to be summarized in 140 characters"

So they said "I hear you're fat, old, ugly and hide behind the internet"

To which I said "wow, you're an ass"

And they said "not as much as you, claiming to be an ally for poly people but you do more harm#cunt"

At which point, I blocked them. But then others came to my defense (much more politely than even I was here), and here is what @isayshizzz to that: "are u all fucking the old hag or what? This is why she's a cunt, she gets others to be cunty for her. Eat my asshole"

Now, if you go to their twitter feed, every single response having to do with me has been deleted, which is why I'm actually missing a bunch of them, including insinuations that this person, whom I've never met, "knows" me and thinks my "behaviour" (but not my tweets) is "harmful" to the poly community. So I've started retweeting their tweets when I see them, now that I know they will conveniently delete them after they've had a chance to piss off whomever they're attacking.

Thurs, Sept. 20

There is a journalist on Twitter looking for poly people to interview. @Modernpoly recommends contacting me because of the Poly Media Association. @isayshizzz says: "Don't contact @Joreth, she'll only send you losers. Don't listen to @modernpoly she's bipolar"

Sun., Oct. 14

"Please explain to me why so many polyamorous people are fat and old? Never going to a meet up again #gross #traumatized" link

"@OpenXiminez @Joreth @Datan0de bet ur all fat and old #amirite" link

"The polyamory show on showtime is deceiving, there are no good looking young people in poly, aside from my lovers. Were they actors??? WTF" link

"@Datan0de @OpenXiminez @Joreth shallowness makes the world go round fattie" link
joreth: (anger)
Bullying is a largely invisible phenomenon.  Oh, sure, most people know it happens, but it's usually viewed as isolated cases, or just something that everyone has to go through, kind of like a rite of passage.  But it's not relegated to a few "you stink, give me your lunch money" on the playground.  It's a deep, cultural, systemic problem.  It affects every area of our culture and ignoring the "minor" stuff only gives the real, harmful bullies a place to bully with impunity.  It's the reason why feminism is still alive and necessary.  It's why women are still minorities in many professions in spite of the fact that they are just as capable in those professions (when given the proper experience & support) as men are.  It's why women are so absent* from the gaming & geek communities.  It's why we're in the 21st century and still even debating whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry.  It's why eating disorders are still distressingly common.  It's why religious thugs can get away with raping boys & girls in their care.  I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that we have these problems because we allowed them to exist.

The latest strategy of feminists is to get people to speak up about the abuse they see online & not let it go unpunished.  Women are asking men to speak up, not for their protection, but in their defense & support.  When the elevator debacle happened with Rebecca Watson, pretty much every single sex-positive, "equalist" (i.e. feminist, whether we knew it or not) guy I knew was just shocked by the torrential downpour of shit that Rebecca got just for daring to say "this kind of behaviour makes women uncomfortable.  Guys, don't do that".  Because, for the most part, "guys" don't see it.

I've had my Online Skeezballs tag forever.  I originally started posting the worst of the emails I receive online because people just didn't know.  If I complained about someone being an asshole, the response was unanimously "just block him", "just ignore him, he'll go away", and "stop worrying about it, this is some faceless stranger on the internet that you'll never meet. It isn't that big of a deal unless you let it get to you".

And yeah, an isolated incident may just be "not a big deal" and something I should not hold onto, just let go of, just ignore the bully and he'll go away.  But these aren't isolated incidents.  These are symptoms of a much larger problem - that we live in a society that excuses and ignores this kind of behaviour; in which women are afraid to wear the wrong thing or go to the wrong places or do the wrong things because if they do, then they will have brought their rape upon themselves; that gives bullies positions of power and refuses to take it away when they abuse it.

When I tell one of my horror stories, I often get "seriously? Someone did/said that?" and "you must be exaggerating/misunderstanding" and "well *I* never see anything like that".  So I post this shit so that you can see.  When people wonder why I'm "always so angry", I post why.  Imagine growing up your whole live and being bombarded with messages like that.  Imagine never having a place that is safe from these kinds of attacks.  Imagine being told from birth that you are in danger, that the danger is your own fault for being born and for making "wrong" choices, and that there is nothing anyone can do about it, you just have to suck it up and take it and eventually the bully will get bored and go away.

So I post so that people can see.  This is a PROBLEM, people.  And I encourage others to post.  And I encourage people to respond.  We need to make our society hostile towards bullies of all stripes, from the "eww, you stink!" grade school kids to the rapists and thugs who harm, maim, and kill and get away with it.

I'm not particularly strong, I'm not gifted with any sort of real fighting skills, I don't have any political leverage or friends in high places, and I don't have any money to contribute to campaigns.  So I do what I can.  I post.  I raise awareness.  And I argue and persuade.  

My call to action is to ask everyone to start posting their bullying experiences in whatever manner is safe to do so.  You don't have to engage if you don't feel safe, you can post under a pseudonym,  you can create an account just for that, separate from your regular profiles, whatever.  Post about the shit you get and let others know.  Post about it, talk about it, make sure that everyone knows that this happens all the time to a lot of different people.  Publicly shame people for poor behaviour.  

The next step is for those who have the luxury and safety to do so, confront those bullies and bullying behaviour when you can.  If you're a guy & you see or hear a guy making a sexist joke or making some girl uncomfortable, let him know that you don't approve, that he does not have the support of the guys around him (hint: condescention & derision works better than the white-knight "I am here to SAVE THE DAMSEL!" approach - tell the other guy that he's a loser rather than saying "the lady isn't interested", or better yet, say this stuff).  If you're online & you see someone getting verbally attacked, jump in and defend them.  Re-post the posts you see about this stuff so that the people around you can no longer hide their heads in the sand and say "it's no big deal" or "well *I've* never seen anything like that happen!"

Here's my latest online skeezball encounter.  I will continue to update the post as more tweets are made.  I originally made a tweet complaining about poly people going to poly events, and then saying "I was hoping to meet someone, but everyone there was already partnered".  I don't want to debate this tweet here, this is part of a larger issue that the 140 character limitation of Twitter necessarily truncates & requires incomplete, generalized, and/or soundbitey statements and is not the point of what happened next.

So I made that tweet and @isayshizzz responded "sounds like you've never heard of polyfi"

So I said "sounds like you've never heard of Twitter, where things have to be summarized in 140 characters"

So they said "I hear you're fat, old, ugly and hide behind the internet"

To which I said "wow, you're an ass"

And they said "not as much as you, claiming to be an ally for poly people but you do more harm"

At which point, I blocked them.  But then others came to my defense (much more politely than even I was here), and here is what @isayshizzz to that: "are u all fucking the old hag or what? This is why she's a cunt, she gets others to be cunty for her. Eat my asshole"

Now, if you go to their twitter feed, every single response having to do with me has been deleted, which is why I'm actually missing a bunch of them, including insinuations that this person, whom I've never met, "knows" me and thinks my "behaviour" (but not my tweets) is "harmful" to the poly community.  So I've started retweeting their tweets when I see them, now that I know they will conveniently delete them after they've had a chance to piss off whomever they're attacking.

This is what the crux of the Rebecca Watson problem was - someone makes a suggestion, maybe politely worded, maybe not, that people be a little nicer, a little more considerate, pay attention to other people, or pay attention to their own issues/actions/thoughts/whatever, and someone else responds with "OMG YOU FUCKING CUNT!"  

This is the problem.  The silencing of social justice, the implicit permission to respond to demands for social justice with violent hatred and anger, and the general acceptance of such from those around them.  If you're not doing anything at all, then you're part of the problem.  Ignoring it, pretending it doesn't exist, thinking or saying that it's not a big deal, all that is what gives these people the freedom to behave this way.  And that license for bullying is a fertile ground for creating & hiding abusers, rapists, people who commit hate crimes, racists who tie black men to their trucks & drag them on the ground until they die, homophobes & transphobes who kick the shit out of gays & trans people, and even those lone nutjobs who shoot up gyms and movie theaters.

Silence is the enabler.  Break the silence.

*When I say "absent from these communities", I don't mean they are literally not there.  I mean they are underrepresented, either because their active numbers are actually low or because they are overlooked or because, in the case of online communities, many are just hiding behind male or gender neutral pseudonyms in an effort to avoid the shit they get when the bullies find out that they're there.
joreth: (::headdesk::)
Apparently, it needs to be said -AGAIN-:  

1) "Joreth" is an online persona that is one facet of a whole person, and not the whole person.  I have several online personas, each explicitly focused on a single or related facets, and one cannot assume knowledge of the whole person based on interacting only with one persona.  She is not a character made out of whole cloth, she is *me*, but she is only one part of me.  Even the title says this is where I come to rant & blow off steam.  This is who I am when I'm fucking pissed off, but this is not who I am [period].

2) "Joreth" does not do interviews.  I conduct interviews under my real name or under pseudonyms, so that reporters do not use "Joreth" to represent the poly community.  People may find "Joreth" through those interviews, but "Joreth" is not the person being profiled in the news.

3) I have extensive experience with dealing with the media.  And I don't mean that I "shine lights on a stage".  I couldn't possibly give my entire background, but I have been working with the media, both in front of and behind the scenes, for almost my entire life.  I have been in the public spotlight for activism since the '80s.  I literally grew up surrounded by the media.  I have also been on the production side of broadcast journalism and in print news, so I know what the media is looking for, and how they get it.  There are plenty of people with more experience than me, and more polished than I.  But I know what I'm talking about, and I know what areas I don't know too.  I also utilize the resources of those more experienced and more polished than I to get even better than I currently am, since I know that I can always improve.

So what I don't need is someone telling me all about how to behave in front of the media.  And I certainly don't need someone with apparently no media training jumping into media relations and fucking up something I had just orchestrated to be positive media coverage with a MAJOR media outlet immediately after presuming to lecture ME on how to handle the media.

I had just gotten polyamory a positive portrayal on one of the nation's largest news outlets with a promise of future coverage, including expanding the story to cover some of our national poly conferences.  That's a pretty big coup and could result in some pretty big benefits to the community as a whole.  When some idiot who ONLY knows me through Twitter, decided to lecture me on proper media behaviour based only on my Twitter activity, and then brought the whole ugly exchange directly to the attention of said major news outlet.  

Yes, he actually lectured me on the perils of not representing the poly community well and then sent them a direct link to an ugly exchange that did not represent the poly community well (of course, the exchange wasn't intended to represent the community, but give it to the media & it will).

Did I mention that the interview hadn't been published yet, so he didn't even know how I had represented the poly community at all when he jumped in to complain about my behaviour with the media?  Did I mention that he doesn't know me outside of Twitter or PolyWeekly?  Did I mention that I was specifically asked to be snarky & opinionated on PW because Minx doesn't feel that she has the freedom to say certain things, so we play sort of a good cop - bad cop routine so that she can keep all her listeners but still have certain things said & still appease those listeners who like snark?  Did I mention that he was totally unaware that I had even done any prior interviews, let alone read or seen any of them?  Did I mention that I managed to get a tabloid magazine who had a prior record of screwing over a poly family in a previous article to write a decent article about polyamory when they dealt with me?

We all have been involved in some kind of tiff with others of the poly community at one time or another, and we all have seen others get into flamewars online. That can't be helped. But I would like to offer a bit of advice about dealing with these things in front of the media, especially since we're getting so much media attention right now.


In other words, even if the argument happens "in public" on the internet, where anyone can see it if they know where to look, don't draw the media's attention to it. While we can, and should, publicly admit that there are all kinds of different people who are polyamorous, and that when we speak, we are speaking for ourselves and not necessarily for others, what we should NOT do is help the media out by actually pointing them towards community dissonance.

Giving them transcripts of a forum flame war and sending contact information / user names / real names to major news outlets is not the way to do damage control if someone happens to get on the news whom you think doesn't represent you. That just gives the media fodder to turn an otherwise human interest story into a sensationalized "rift in the community" mud-slinging scandal (which, let's face it, is much more tempting to print than a boring "all is well with us!" poly story).

So if you happen to see a news report or read an article where the respondent does not represent polyamory as you would like to be represented, please try to respond with your own personal perspective, and do not invite the media into drama regardless of your personal interactions with the subject of their stories. If you're worried about looking bad to the media, bringing to their attention your personal drama with someone is a pretty sure-fire way to look bad to the media.

Think of it as being a community organizer & publicly badmouthing your exes - generally speaking, no matter how "bad" your exes might have been, bashing them in public* (with real names & private details) makes YOU look bad and leaves a negative impression to those around you of the community as a whole as being drama-filled and conflict-ridden.

Oh, and also, wait until the story is actually published or broadcast before complaining about the person they're profiling. 1) You don't know how it's going to turn out - it may turn out in your favor and 2) that just gives them the opportunity to switch gears and highlight the community drama instead of whatever other angle they were originally going for.

I recommend sending this advice to all activists & community leaders. In order to protect the community and win battles, we need to present a unified front. That doesn't mean we should all be in lockstep, or even that we should never fight amongst ourselves, that means thinking 5 steps ahead and realizing what the media could do with a public disagreement. I also recommend that people don't contact the media themselves without the benefit of *some* kind of media training, where they might have learned tips like this one.

One of the ways that you can tell someone has no media training is when they talk about things they don't want the media to focus on.  One of the tips you will learn at PMA is to keep your shit separate.  When you do an article on polyamory, don't fucking talk about BDSM, or the SCA, or paganism, or people you don't like in the community.  If a person really is a bad representative of the poly community, YOU DON'T TELL THE MEDIA ABOUT THEM.  You don't give the media ammunition to publicize the wacky crazy shit you're trying to keep out of the media.  If the media brings something up that you don't want to talk about, you learn, through media training, how to minimize, de-emphasize, and redirect the interview to get off the subject.

But you absolutely, under no circumstances, point the media at someone or some exchange or some situation that you don't want highlighted in the media.  That's just dumb.

And if you do something like that, you have no grounds on which to be schooling ME on how to handle the media.

*Many times, anecdotes of relationships gone wrong can be very valuable for others to hear, especially within the poly community where newbies have no social role models and tend to reinvent the broken wheel every time.  An anecdote can be told to illustrate a point without mentioning the ex by name, without asking people to take sides, and without making the entire community look like nothing good ever happens there or scaring the newbies into thinking that if they make a mistake, they will forever be villified and publicly shunned.  "Bashing", as I use it, means to take private, personal details of the relationship and use them as a weapon to turn your ex into "the bad guy" in the community in a personal vendetta against him because you feel hurt.

There is room for exception here - if you are or know the victim of an assault or know of someone who is deliberately harming his partners (and by "deliberate", I mean, he either knows he's being harmful, or he doesn't realize he is, but has been told he is and dismisses it), I believe it's fair to warn others, such as what is currently happening in the BDSM community.  This is the type of situation that must be tread lightly, as sometimes people are just angry and they rewrite history from "we had a fight" to "he abused me".  There is no blanket rule for this.  Suffice to say that it's a situational circumstance that I am acknowledging exists even while I say, as a general guideline, bashing your exes publicly has social ramifications so it's probably better not to do it.

joreth: (boxed in)

No one told me that I needed a pertussis booster as an adult every 10 years. No one told me that pertussis was whooping cough. No one told me that adults could get it at all. And no one told me that this virus that I read about in old Victorian novels was still around.

When I was 19, I caught whooping cough. It's aptly named. It'd a deep, goose-honking cough that comes in fits that lasts for several minutes, at the end of which you are gasping for breath, holding your stomach in pain, and vomiting.

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I'm not being hyperbolic.

The coughing fits go on for so long, and the coughs come so rapidly, that it's very like an asthma attack where the cougher can't breathe. In fact, that's what kills people, including those 9 or so babies in California last year. They just suffocated to death. It's a horrible, ugly way to die. And I had these coughing fits about 7 or 8 times a day for about 6 months. Because I was a young adult, in the prime of my life, with adequate nutrition and sanitation, I survived. I didn't realize at the time just how fortunate I was.

The body also tries to expel the mucus through other means than coughing. This means that I had to throw up after every coughing fit. So while I was coughing and gasping for breath, I also had to run around whatever building I was in searching for a bathroom or a door that led outside so I could empty the contents of my stomach. I caught whooping cough when I was a tour guide for the Winchester Mystery House. Let me tell you, it was no easy feat to make it outdoors every time I had a coughing fit.

I went for several years after that initial pertussis infection before starting to cough again. But once I did, it was about once every other year for a couple of years, and now it seems to be once every year. Unfortunately, when I go to the clinic to get treated, they treat me as if I have chronic bronchitis. But no one ever does any tests. I may, in fact, have chronic bronchitis. There are a few mentions in the medical literature that pertussis can lead to chronic bronchitis and that smoking & second-hand smoke is the leading cause of chronic bronchitis (and my housemate smokes - she keeps to her room, but the smoke seeps out through the cracks in the door and through the air vents into my room too), but the symptoms for bronchitis don't match what I have. Or, rather, only the symptoms for chronic bronchitis that are ALSO on the symptom list for pertussis match what I have.

This lasts for months. It's supposed to last only for 6 weeks. It never does.

Doctors routinely prescribe antibiotics for any cough that lasts more than two weeks. You'd think this was a good thing. Except that it means that I have to wait a minimum of two weeks, coughing like my body wants to expel my intestines, before I can get treated. And, for pertussis, antibiotics have to be administered early for there to be any effect, so if it IS pertussis again and not bronchitis, the antibiotics do diddly squat. On the other hand, if it's bronchitis, antibiotics don't do shit either because bronchitis is a virus, not a bacteria. Plus, the specific antibiotic treatment for pertussis is not the same antibiotic that they use to treat chronic bronchitis, so they could be treating me for the wrong disease. whether it's an annual re-infection of pertussis or an annual flare-up of chronic bronchitis, it fucking sucks.

Complications from pertussis include:
Seizure disorder (permanent)
Nose bleeds
Ear infections
Brain damage from lack of oxygen
Bleeding in the brain (cerebral hemorrhage)
Mental retardation
Slowed or stopped breathing (apnea)
Subconjunctival hemorrhages
Rib fractures
Urinary incontinence
Post-cough fainting
Vertebral artery dissection

The reason for this post is to notify and remind everyone to get their vaccinations on time. Whooping cough is especially deadly for babies because they have to be old enough before they can get their vaccination, so any adult might be a carrier and could kill some child. Dragon*Con just happens to offer the pertussis vaccine for free. This is actually a pretty expensive vaccine, so I strongly recommend getting vaccinated at D*C if you go. It's actually the TDaP, Tetnus, Diptheria, & Pertussis. Get it! No excuses! The first year they offered the vaccine clinic was so successful that they used up their entire allotment of vaccines and an HIV testing group set up next to the the following year.

And for fuck's sake, start demanding better healthcare! If vaccines had better PR, I might have known I was supposed to get a booster shot. If I didn't make too much money for government medical aid, I might be able to afford something other than the free clinic, which is only open one day a week and I usually have to try for several weeks before I get selected to be seen. If the economy hadn't crashed, I might have made enough money for private health insurance where I could go to a regular doctor whenever I needed to. If our stupid politicians didn't think that anyone who wanted insurance could pay for it (ergo if you don't have insurance, it's because you don't want it) or that poor people didn't deserve free medical care, it wouldn't matter if I was out of work or working a lot or too far back in line at the free clinic - I could get decent medical care and go back to being a productive, tax-paying citizen instead of hacking up my spleen and wondering how many more of these attacks I have left before it kills me.

Sit through this, if you can:

joreth: (polyamory)
What do you get when you take two people who don't like each other, who want totally different things out of a relationship, who are pigheaded and argumentative, and throw them together in a movie with odd music cues that stop abruptly whenever there is dialog, and random addressing of the audience?

It's a trick question because you already know that you get this movie.

What an odd, odd film. Maybe it was the era, or maybe it was the culture, but I totally didn't get this movie.

Made in 1961 in France, the summary says Striptease artist Angela is desperate to have a child, but her boyfriend, Emile, isn't as anxious. Although he cares for Angela and wants to keep their relationship going, he's not ready for that kind of responsibility. Instead, he suggests that she get together with his buddy Alfred -- a proposal Angela ultimately accepts, to Emile's shock and dismay.

It was the "shock and dismay" that gave me such low expectations of this movie. It's hard to be confused and feeling like I've just wasted 2 hours when I went into the movie expecting it to suck. But it managed to exceed my expectations quite spectacularly ... in the worst way.

We meet Angela strolling through France. She runs into a couple of different guys, at least one of whom professes his undying sexual attraction to her. The other, we learn later, is her live-in lover. She is running late. We finally see that she is on her way to a skeezy little dive of a strip club, where she's about to perform. And, by "perform", I mean "sing a song about how georgous she is while taking off her sailor dress that involves the music coming to an abrupt halt whenever she has to sing, but starting up again when the verse ends". And it's not just this song, the whole first 20 minutes of the movie are like this, with music that is not an internal part of the scene, but that the audience can hear stopping abruptly every time someone has a line. It was so jarring, it was as if the movie was made by a film student who was unable to mix music and vocals together so he just cut the track. Except that later, he does, so this must have been a deliberate choice.

So she does her little strip tease (if that's what passes for "art" in France, I'm afraid the country is deserving of all the cheap shots the English & Americans take at it), and then gets dressed backstage and goes home, where she putters around the kitchen as if to prepare dinner. But, the way it's done seems to be as if she had a secret life as a stripper and was coming home to a husband who didn't know anything about it. Her neighbor even made the roast they're having for dinner (her neighbor, the hooker, who owns the only phone in the building).

But it's not a secret life. I'm not sure what kind of life it is, but it's not secret. So now we learn that Angela wants a baby, and when her partner, Emile, comes home, they have the most non-sequitor conversation I've ever heard that eventually results in Angela requesting a baby *tonight* and Emile refusing.  I've heard more sensible conversations between Alice and various insects and flowers than what I heard in this movie.

So Emile instead offers to have his friend, Alfred, father Angela's baby, which is why this movie got put on a poly movie list in the first place. Angela doesn't believe he's serious, so she takes him up on the offer, but Emile's pride won't let him back down, so even though he doesn't want Alfred to father her baby, he yells out the window to Alfred and invites him upstairs anyway.

Alfred comes upstairs to an obviously upset Angela and Emile, and after some arguing, he is finally told why he was called upstairs. So he agrees, and he and Angela go into the bathroom, since there is no separate bedroom.

While in there, Emile rides his bicycle around the dining room table and glares at the door, while Angela and Alfred make halting and awkward conversation in the bathroom. Eventually Alfred leaves without getting any, and he and Emile go out for drinks & to pick up chicks while Angela sits at home and broods.

The two men find a couple of women who seem extremely pissed off to be there, and the guys drag the girls to the strip club where Angela works, only to find Angela already there and hitting on a guy who seems totally uninterested in her. As far as I can tell, Angela and Emile live across the street from the strip club, the bar, the TV store, the newspaper stand, the bookstore, the restaurant, and Alfred, judging by how often they run out to the various locations and how quickly they get from place to place.  Also, there's a couple who have been stapled together at the mouth and pinned to the wall outside Emile's and Angela's apartment building, presumably as a warning from a fascist government with overzealous police against public kissing.  At least, I assume that's what happened, since they don't move throughout the entire 2 days of the movie, not even to change clothing.

Anyway, Angela randomly gets up in the middle of one of the girl's "dances", shouts "you disgust me" and runs out of the skeezy strip club, while Emile sits at the table with his unwilling date, smokes, and glares at Angela exiting from across the room.

I thought the non-sequitor argument earlier was strange, but I didn't know strange! Next is Angela and Emile going back and forth between calling each other darling and bastard. The two climb into their tiny mattress on the floor to go to bed, each one having to say "no, we're not talking" last. Then Angela gets back up, turns on the light, carries it with her to the living room, grabs a book, brings it back to bed, and holds it up accusingly at Emile. She covers the title so that the only word visible is "monster".

So Emile grabs the lamp, drags it into the other room, selects a book, brings it back to bed, and writes on it "go to hell". Then they both jump up, grab an armful of books, and proceed to cover up titles and show books to each other calling each other names and basically telling each other to fuck off.

The next day, Angela is still begging for a baby and Emile is still insulting her. He goes off to work, and Alfred calls Angela and asks her to meet him at a bar. So she does, and she flirts, and Alfred tells her that he loves her, but she doesn't believe him. Then we spend 3 minutes watching Angela smoke and give puppy-dog eyes at a photo of Emile on a date with the woman from the night before, while the most horrendous song plays on the jukebox.  I know it's horrendous, because the director made a point of featuring this song with absolutely no dialogue to interrupt the lyrics, which included things like "you've let yourself go" and "I don't know what I ever saw in you" and "you disgust me" and "your curlers are ugly, you need to exercise".  

Eventually, Angela tries to leave, and tells Alfred to wait on the street outside of their building and watch the window blinds. If she lowers the blinds within 5 minutes, it means she's coming back down to sleep with Alfred, but if she leaves the blinds up, it means that they've made up and Angela is not coming back to Alfred.

He waits. And waits. And waits. Another strange thing about France is that it is apparently custom for men to approach a stranger on the street who is smoking, hold out their own cigarettes, and expect the stranger to light their cigarettes for them using his own cigarette.  Because that's what Alfred does for approximately 2,493 passerbys.  Or maybe it's just 6.  Either way, it was weird.

Angela and Emile have another one of their non-sequitor arguments on the stairs outside of their apartment where they call each other names, then kiss, then pout, then kiss, then name-call again. Eventually Alfred gives up, and Emile storms out. So Angela goes to Alfred's house with the intention of sleeping with him. Emile comes back home, finds Angela gone, and calls Alfred's house to find her.

He passes along a message to Angela that she understands to mean that Emile is leaving her. So she gets up, gets dressed, and leaves Alfred. Angela comes home, walks around the house, turning on her heel whenever Emile steps in her path, and eventually backs herself into a corner. She finally confesses to sleeping with Alfred, which pisses off Emile (remember, it was his suggestion in the first place). So now, angry at each other and just after Angela's confession, they get undressed and climb into bed together!

The lights go out, and then come back on, and the two go back to the bookshelves. Only this time, Angela holds up a book that says "Even if you don't still love me, I still love you". So Emile thinks about things for a while, then suggests that, if he hurries and fucks her, maybe the baby will be his instead of Alfred's. Angela agrees. They have sex, and when the lights come on again, Emile says "close call!" and laughs.

Angela asks why he's laughing, and he says "Because you are shameless". She replies "Am I not a woman? I am a woman". And that's the end.

What. The. Fuck.

Not poly. Yet another totally dysfunctional unhappy couple who dislike each other, whose pride backs them into a corner, and where infidelity and a baby fixes everything. Bizarre dialogue, strange audio cuts, random addressing the camera for no apparent reason, and even an odd cameo that has nothing at all to do with the plot (but is from another movie on the various other "poly movie" lists online). Maybe people who are into artistic indie and foreign films will get this movie. I didn't.

~Reviews by Joreth - I watch the crap so you don't have to.
joreth: (Purple Mobius)
Is it possible for someone with an American accent to say "menage a trois" and not sound pretentious? I have yet to hear it.

While adding Poly movies to my queue, Netflix recommends "similar" movies to watch. Most of the ones recommended on the basis of poly movies sound pretty awful, but if there's a chance it's a hidden poly movie, I add it to the queue too. Troi sounded like one of the awful ones, and I wasn't disappointed.

The summary says "Seeking to put excitement into his humdrum sex life, young Atlanta attorney Jermain Davis pressures his reluctant wife, Jasmine, to engage in a menage a trois with curvaceous bisexual stripper Jade Owens. But the choices made by each of them soon expose deep wounds and come back to haunt them in this steamy indie thriller.

Let me tell you just how bad this movie was. It was so bad, that the movie isn't even over yet and I've already started writing this review.

This was not a poly movie. This was a cautionary tale against non-monogamy and against kink. This was a third-rate Fatal Attraction. In addition to it being completely sex-negative, it was also poorly written.

The entire plot, including the ending - the movie isn't worth watching IMO so you could read this and skip the movie, or you could skip even the spoilers and save yourself entirely )

Oh my god - this movie is part of a trilogy!  There are two more of these movies out there!  I will not be reviewing them for ya'll - I think it's safe to assume the rest of them are just more of the same.  I wonder if they thought it was clever making a movie called Trois into a trilogy?

So the moral of the story is, if a man says he wants a threesome to "expand and explore his marriage", he's lying - he really just wants permission to fuck another woman; if a woman likes having a threesome, she might be gay or freaky and that's bad; and "you can put yourself out there, but you never know what you're gonna get - people be crazy yo", so don't fuck up your marriage by having a threesome.

I think I ought to start signing my reviews "Movie Reviews by Joreth - I watch the crap so you don't have to".
joreth: (::headdesk::)
Oh for fuck's sake, now AMC is swearing that they are not going to show that PSA, that whoever is saying they are is lying. Fuck this. I will wait until Black Friday, when the PSA is supposed to air, then find out exactly which theaters have actually played that damn PSA, and boycott THEM ... or just avoid the movie theaters entirely until this whole mess is over. Not like I go to the movies much anymore anyway. I still sent off my angry letters, including to the ad distributor company, so that everyone will be flooded (hopefully) with warnings about the inadvisability of playing such a dangerous and fraudulent "PSA".

The whole story, including links
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)

Oh for fuck's sake, now AMC is swearing that they are not going to show that PSA, that whoever is saying they are is lying.  Fuck this.  I will wait until Black Friday, when the PSA is supposed to air, then find out exactly which theaters have actually played that damn PSA, and boycott THEM ... or just avoid the movie theaters entirely until this whole mess is over.  Not like I go to the movies much anymore anyway.  I still sent off my angry letters, including to the ad distributor company, so that everyone will be flooded (hopefully) with warnings about the inadvisability of playing such a dangerous and fraudulent "PSA".


OK so AMC lied and they will be showing the PSA.  Not only are they showing this dangerous PSA, but they outright lied too.  It's not just AMC, it's Regal and Cinemark.  It's going to be a movie-free holiday season for me :-(  I'm pissed, I really wanted to see Harry Potter on the big screen, and I even had plans to do so today.  So much for that.


So it was not AMC after all, but Regal Cinemas.  Boycott is back on, for Regal instead of AMC


AMC Theaters has promised not to show this PSA, so no boycott is necessary. Thank goodness at least *some* businesses have managers with a conscience!

To Whom It May Concern,

I just heard about your decision to show a PSA from the anti-vaccine group Safe Minds during the Harry Potter/holiday season. This decision is HIGHLY irresponsible. This so-called PSA contains misinformation and lies, advocates that people do not get vaccinated, & specifically targets high-risk populations like pregnant mothers.

I realize that, as a private business, you have the legal right to accept a paying client and play their commercial on your screens. I also recognize that you can get out of any culpability or accountability by posting a disclaimer somewhere that says the messages in those commercials do not reflect the views held by the theater. But playing this particular PSA is a public health danger. You will be personally contributing to the increased deaths of children this holiday season by allowing this message to reach your audience.

I find this reprehensible & will avoid all Regal, AMC, and Cinemark theaters until this PSA is removed. Expect to hear more angry and concerned complaints. A movie boycott during the holiday season is nothing to overlook.

For more info:

Angry Movie Watcher

to send your own complaint, visit their feedback form and/or sign the Dissatisfaction Form at I also highly recommend sending a letter directly to the National Cinemedia company who are the distributors for the ad. I sent this letter today.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
 This shouldn't take too long.  Someone I know who is way into the woo contracted HPV-caused genital warts a few years ago.  I haven't asked about the details of his infection, such as frequency or duration.  I just know he actually got the warts, most presumably from a partner who also had warts about a year before his first wart showed up.

Anyway, because he's way into the woo, he didn't get them frozen off or burned off, which is the typical method of treatment (which, btw, only removes the wart, not the virus - this can cause relief from the itchy/burning symptoms, and it is currently believed that the virus is less-transmissible when there are no physical symptoms - but it can still be transmitted).  No, he sought out a "natural remedy".  It's called D-lenolate, which sounds all medicine-like, but don't let the name fool you.  

As Dara O'Brian says, "Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years!  Indeed it has, and then we tested it all, and the stuff that worked became 'medicine'!  And the rest of it is just a nice bowl of soup and some potpourri."

So anyway, he took this stuff and his warts went away.  Therefore, this extract of olive leaf must have cured his HPV.  It couldn't be because warts come and go on their own whims or anything.  Nothing like some confirmation bias, eh?

I found it hard to believe that I wouldn't have heard of this particular remedy if it had been real, so I looked it up.  Turns out, I was right.

Every link that shows up in Google goes to a "natural wellness" store selling this crap, and one link goes to a 2006 cease and desist letter from the FDA saying this one company can't claim this shit cures anything or else it has to be classified as a drug.  And if it's a drug, then it needs to go through proper channels of FDA approval before it makes its claims.  Since it didn't go through proper channels, it can't make the claims.  Basically, it claims to be a "natural antibiotic" (psst! antibiotics kill bacteria, not viruses, and antibiotics are not recommended for treatment of viruses except in very specific cases where opportunistic bacterial colonization is a threat) that "boosts the immune system".

Just as an easy-to-remember rule of thumb, if something claims to 'boost the immune system", that's usually a good sign that these people have no idea how the immune system works and are cashing in on our ignorance with fancy, sciencey-sounding words.  You should automatically be suspicious when you see that red flag.  Legitimate, tested medicine does not claim to 'boost the immune system" because that's not how the immune system works (from the ever-snarky Mark Crislip, infectious disease specialist).

So then I looked it up on PubMed, which is the number one resource to see what tests have been done and filed with legitimate science-based organizations and are up for (or have been) peer reviewed.  Guess what?  Not a single mention of this stuff anywhere.  Not even a failed study.


This doesn't mean that it does NOT do anything helpful.  It means that there is no evidence to suggest that it DOES do something helpful, and also no tests to make sure it's safe for human consumption.

If you have, or have been exposed to, HPV-Genital Warts, do yourself a favor and don't take the advice of "some guy".  Even if that "guy" is wearing a white lab coat.  Ask your doctor about the 3 or 4 freezing and burning methods.  They're uncomfortable, but warts are warts, and those are the only way to get rid of them.

Also, they might come back - it's a virus after all.  But don't take untested, unproven "remedies" - you don't know what that shit'll do.  If you're lucky, it won't do anything at all.
joreth: (arrogance)
I finally created a facebook page. Some friends ONLY use facebook for communication, so apparently I was missing out on party invitations because they were being sent through FB and not being sent out through email, Evite, or even phone and SMS. So I created one for the sole purpose of receiving communications from friends who won't use any other method (I did the same for myspace when it got popular).

Also, this year was the 15th anniversary of my high school graduation, and a couple of old friends had come out of the woodwork, making me nostalgic. So I created another FB account with my real name for family & schoolmates to find me who wouldn't know to search for "Joreth" if they wanted to find me. I've spent my entire online life not using my real name (because in the beginning, it was "dangerous" for a young woman to put too much personal info on the web where "anyone", i.e. rapists & serial killers, could see), so anyone from before the internet would have no clue who "Joreth" is.

In my real-friends account, I am also connected to some co-workers, since some of them *are* real friends, but through them, ALL my coworkers found me. That's not too much of a problem, since I don't intend to do anything with that account other than receive invitations and a big part of my job is networking, but my facebook *does* have a link to my website, LJ and Twitter feeds. I also have caught myself casually mentioning tweeting while at work, and some coworkers have asked for my Twitter name.

Those of you who don't follow me on Twitter - I use it in much the same manner as I use LJ, only 140 characters make my comments sound even more brutal, since I have to pack all that condescension and sarcasm into single sentence soundbites. Even when I'm not picking on someone, a text-only medium tends to make plain and to-the-point speech patterns "sound" angry, arrogant, or cranky. And, of course, I do get into flame wars, which ARE angry, and sometimes arrogant.

I have tweeted a couple of things, one of them very recently, only to realize afterwards that the people I was tweeting about either do or might read my Twitter feed. The things I have said were snarky or condescending, basically making fun of people who might be reading what I'm tweeting.

But, I need some kind of outlet for the things I am faced with that are silly, stupid, or frustrating. And that's what the internet is for. In an industry like mine, we are often friends, friendly, or social, with our coworkers, and networking is a HUGE part of my business, as I mentioned. So the internet makes it more difficult to play the politics game (which I sucked at to begin with). I am unwilling to give up the freedom and the luxury I have enjoyed with my personal online spaces, like LJ and Twitter, which give me places I need to let off steam.

I fully believe that people should be judged by their employers on actual skills & co-worker compatibility, and what people do in their off-time should have no bearing on their status and position at work (unless, of course, they are plotting to undermine the company in their off-time). And I will not censor myself in person or online when I am breaking no laws and not naming clients for the sake of appeasing a close-minded or conservative employer or co-worker. So I decided to write a disclaimer for any coworkers who have recently started following me online. The following is adapted from my Disclaimer on Twitter:

Some of my coworkers may be following me on Twitter. I will occasionally say things that might offend you. This is Fair Warning.

I will say it directly to you if you want, but usually I make my overall position known & leave it at that that to keep peace on jobsite.

I make no secrets about being atheist & my position on supernatural beliefs & alt. med (or anything else, for that matter), but LiveJournal & Twitter is where I go to vent & make fun.

This is why I said on FB that people really shouldn't follow me on Twitter or LJ.

If my opinions here insult or offend you, you're better off not following me. I will not say anything here I wouldn't say to you directly, but unless you are actually getting in my face about something, I tend to keep those kinds of comments to myself while at work & laugh about them to my friends and partners later.

We have to work together, and we will end up working together again in the future, so keeping the peace is important. I will never lie or pretend to like someone I don't, but I will be polite and civil & try to avoid an argument if you are also not trying to start an argument (however, yelling or insulting me is never taken passively, even from coworkers or employers).

I will state, plainly, my position on the subject once, maybe twice, and then let it go. If you continue to talk about something I find silly, but you aren't being insulting, I will mostly just smile and nod.

However, if I compliment you or say something nice, it will always be sincere & I am not being two-faced. I can like & even admire someone while thinking certain beliefs are silly.  No one agrees 100% with anyone, and disagreeing with you (or thinking something you just said is ridiculous) does not mean I don't like you or wish you well.

If you're content to agree to disagree at work, then so am I. I won't get in your face unless you insult me at work first :-)

Topics I'm likely to rant about or make fun of here:
religion, alt. medicine, ghosts, aliens, conspiracy theories, gender differences, homophobia, anti-gay, racism, sexism (in either direction), monogamous drama in r'ships, narrow views on sex & relationships, undeserved arrogance, mistakes at work due to negligence, laziness, or stupidity, anti-intellectualism, pulling attitude or "rank", refusal to do a certain task because it's "beneath" you, reliance on education w/no real-world experience, one-up-manship, and thinking you know better than the veterans in the industry just because you have a degree (so do us veterans, btw).

I will call you out for racist or sexist remarks and just plain incorrect facts while in person, and how you receive that correction will determine if I push the issue or let it go.  But for everything else, once I've indicated I do not share your belief, I won't keep picking on you, but I will laugh about it here, on Twitter, and with my friends who share my views.  If you don't like to see your beliefs mocked, particularly by someone who is friendly towards you in person, I suggest that you do not follow me on Twitter or LiveJournal.

Feel free to make fun of me in your own online spaces (I know plenty of people do, especially for the polyamory & kink stuff), just be civil at work & don't sabotage anyone's career just for personality conflicts, because we are talking about personality quirks or personal beliefs, not actual skill or ability on the job. Actual issues of safety or skill should be taken up with supervisors in a professional manner within the proper chain of command.
joreth: (Super Tech)
So you've probably all already heard, but for those who haven't, there have been big news in women's healthcare this week.

Both the Pap Smear guidelines and mammogram guidelines have been adjusted. In both cases, they are now recommending that we don't get screened as often as we used to.

For the pap smear, they are now recommending that you don't need to start getting one until 21, and to get them every other year, not annually. The reasoning is that research suggests that younger women, even if they do get HPV, are pretty able to take care of it themselves. Even if it starts to progress to cervical dysplasia, younger women, apparently, are able to treat themselves without the need for biopsies or surgical procedures. And, women who have had surgical procedures for dysplasia have a higher incidence of premature births later on.

But, doctors and research scientists are very careful to point out that this is not a MANDATORY screening schedule. They recommend discussing with your individual doctor your individual health needs and adjusting your screening schedule accordingly. They also stress that a reduction in pap smears does not mean we should reduce how often we get tested for STDs. I, for instance, as a sexually active adult with multiple partners, who in turn have multiple partners, will continue to get screened annually and/or 3 months after the introduction of any new partners.

Now the mammogram guidelines say that we don't have to get screened until age 50 (it was previously age 40) and we can get it done every 3 years. That's a scary thought, that someone who had cancer at age 40 will now not be getting screened for it. But, once again, the experts have very clearly stated that each individual woman should discuss her own needs with her doctor and plan an INDIVIDUAL screening schedule based on risk factors. Plus, if you're doing a self breast exam, like we're all still supposed to be doing, if you find anything unusual, a doctor won't refuse to screen you just because you're under 50.

I have to admit that my knee-jerk reaction to hearing this news was negative, to put it mildly. I have had it drilled into me from before puberty that I have to be rigorous in my health standards, I have to get tested often, and I have to knock a few medical heads to get it done because the bureaucratic machine doesn't care about us and will try to whisk us through as quickly as possible, even at the expense of adequate medical care.

I'm still not sure how I feel about this. My emotions continue to rage at the idea that doctors are telling me not to worry my pretty little head about something I don't understand. But I really don't think that's what they're doing. Between social awareness of women's health issues, and the recommendation that each woman develop a personalized screening schedule based on her risk factors, I think they are legitimately trying to calm down hysteria and panic.

People are getting all up in arms over the phrase "causes anxiety" as if that was the only reason to stop screening regularly. I know that I was certainly pissed when I had doctors tell me that I didn't need to get screened for HPV or herpes because I probably already had it, so why worry about it until it actually does something? Let ME decide what I'll worry about or not and just give me my damn test, thank you very much. Even receiving a positive result is less worrisome than an unknown!

But it's not just anxiety. It's unnecessary medical procedures that go along with false positives and positives for things that the body will deal with on its own that are the problem here. Not only is it more expensive for no real gain, but it's also invasive and sometimes harmful for the body.

But we need to strike a balance between avoiding unnecessary medical procedures and catching stuff while the survival rate is still high. And as long as the guidelines continue to say, EXPLICITLY, that it does not PROHIBIT more frequent screenings, and that individual risk levels should be considered when developing a screening schedule, I can see the value of avoiding cutting into my body when my body might take care of it on its own.

Bottom line here is that I have mixed feelings about it. I'll probably write more as it plays out in real life and we see how it actually affects women's health.

Bad Form!

Sep. 19th, 2009 02:28 pm
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
Brute Force had a unique item stolen from DragonCon this year.

Please take a look at

There's only one in existence, so if you see it, report it!

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
So, right on the heels of my rant about disclosing STD status, I see an article about a website taking "disclosure" way too far.

The website, which I won't link to because I don't want to give them any traffic, allows people to list *other people's STD status* on a public website.

Now, first I want to say that if people were honest about their STD status, then people wouldn't feel so violated as to act out in revenge by listing personal information publicly.

But understandable feelings of violation aside, this just isn't right.  

First of all, it's a violation of privacy, and the First Amendment does not cover public disclosure of private medical records.  

Second of all, there's no proof necessary.  Anyone can list anyone else.  The burden of proof is totally on the person who gets accused.  Which, of course, requires revealing private medical information.

There is a whole section just on complaints levied against this website, filled with stuff like "that was listed by my ex-girlfriend, I don't have an STD!" and "my husband doesn't have an STD, that complaint was made by an angry co-worker".

I often post the usernames and correspondences of people who are arschfickers and who seek me out to harass me.  But I do *not* post their real names, home addresses, or private medical records.  I have maintained the confidences of former partners even after bad breakups because it's the right thing to do.  

Clearly, my heart goes out to anyone who has ever been suckered, especially when it involves things like illnesses.  It's a terrible, terrible thing to have been infected without making the choice to be exposed.  But posting someone's medical information on a public website is not the answer.  And accusing someone of an STD when they don't have one out of some other sense of revenge is truly reprehensible.

And don't forget, court documents are a matter of public record.  If your sense of violation really requires vengence, go for a lawsuit instead.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
If you experience "funny feelings" on May 24th, don't worry, you're just being healed from a distance! You may feel tingling, vibration, or pressure. You may feel hot or cold. You may feel emotional. You may feel energetic or tired. You may have to use the bathroom. You might have vivid dreams.  You might feel pain.  All these feelings are normal, it just means you're being healed!  You should be in a quiet, restful place, but if you can't, that's OK, this will work even if you're at work or on an airplane!

You don't even have to do anything! Don't email, don't call, don't tell anyone! Just close your eyes and think really hard that you want to be included in this magical healing, and you will be!  In fact, your friends and family don't even have to do anything!  Just write their names on a piece of paper with the words "Energy Healing" and leave the paper out in the open, on a table or desk.  You can even heal your pets!  Just make sure you get everyone's permission before you include them in the healing.
Think I'm kidding or exaggerating? Nope, this is exactly what this email that I received today from my great-aunt says! )
joreth: (Kitty Eyes)

I receive updates from the FDA about all the warnings and recalls that go through their system.  I get several of these per day, but mostly they're for minor concerns and for a very specific product made on a specific date and found only in a specific location, so I mostly ignore them unless it's a product that I know someone uses.  The FDA is constantly evaluating products for safety and doing its best to ensure the health of the citizens as well as it is able, given the immense population and the enormity of the food and drug industries.

So when I started receiving notices about a possible salmonella contamination in a certain type of peanut butter that was shipped to a certain, limited area, I noticed it, but filed the information away.  As the days went on, my inbox started to flood with more and more products that are being recalled.

Now please, nobody panic.  This is a fairly large-scale recall, but it is NOT a serious recall.  I have heard no word of deaths, but there has been an illness outbreak.  It's just that peanut butter and peanut paste is found in so many products that, once they started tracing back to the original source of the contamination, they found a whole bunch of products that MAY have used that contaminated source of peanut butter, like cookies and ice cream, and even a brand of dog treats that have peanut butter centers, however, peanut butter in a jar has not been affected.  The majority of the companies who have made products with the POSSIBLY contaminated peanut butter are all doing a VOLUNTARY recall of those products, just in case.  I think this shows just how very responsible our food industries and the FDA can be, even though it is still likely that the occasional contamination will slip through the cracks.

So, if you have any concerns at all, visit the FDA's website and they have a link for more information about the salmonella contamination right there on their home page.

joreth: (Xmas Kitties)

This is just a little update on the Gift Card issue, since there was some bit of minor controversy over it in my last post.

I receive a regular newsletter from the Florida Consumer division of the Florida Department of Agriculture And Consumer Services, since I once had to file a complaint against a business and now I'm on their mailing list.

According to Charles Bronson, the Commissioner of the State of Florida, in the department that is actually in the business of protecting consumers, buying gift cards is not the smartest idea.  They reiterate the "breakage" problem, which is the term used to describe the loss of monetary value in a gift card due to expiration, loss of card, bankruptcy, or just plain not using it. 

As I mentioned in my last post, unredeemed gift cards totals over $8 billion a year.  That's $8 billion of pure profit that businesses count on by expecting 10% of the recipients to never use the card.  According to the Commissioner in his newsletter, that's double the amount of money lost from debit and credit card fraud ($3.5 billion)!

The commissioner also cautions against gift cards because of the uncertain economy, which has been termed "the longest recessions since World War II".  He says: "With a staggering number of retail bankruptcies and liquidations transpiring nationwide, savvy consumers are being forced to consider how a card’s value might be affected in the event a company should fail or seek protection from creditors."

He then goes on to say:

It is extremely important for consumers to realize that there is a risk that they might not obtain the full value of their gift cards if a retailer files for bankruptcy or goes out of business. Small operations, such as your local tanning salon or restaurants that are not a part of a chain, are most vulnerable to economic downturns and pose the biggest risk to consumers. When a large retailer or national chain files for bankruptcy protection, millions of dollars may be lost on unused gift cards. Bankrupt retailers may not even have a choice when it comes to honoring the cards. Sometimes they simply can’t afford it and other times the bankruptcy court may not allow them to do so. Bankruptcy Courts look at gift cards as unsecured debt, which means the consumer is not necessarily going to get paid.

Although it's the non-chain businesses that are in the most danger of being unable to honor the gift card, large chains are suceptible too, especially in this economy.  CompUSA was a big chain too, but it still closed.  And a business does not have to close to file for bankruptcy, so just because the business is still around, it doesn't guarantee that your gift card will be honored.  If you buy a real, tangible gift, then even if the store closes or files for bankruptcy after you purchase it, you still have your gift to give and the recipient can still use it.

Although some people have said that they actually enjoy receiving a gift card (and I used to be one of them), I maintain my position that it is a financially dubious choice to make at best, and a financially worthless choice to make at worst ... and the real kicker is that you won't know which choice you've made until after you've already spent your money. 

Mr. Bronson's advice is:  "Advice?!?!?  Do some research before purchasing a gift card from your favorite retailer or local financial institution. Check the company’s website, including its shareholder pages and press releases. Do a Google search of the issuer’s name with such words as “financial trouble” or “bankruptcy.”   If you have any doubt about which gifts card to buy, remember that cash is universally accepted and will make your gift recipient equally as happy."

I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want to go through the trouble of researching every company I might want to buy a card from, down to the shareholder pages and press releases.  If you just do not know the recipient well enough to pick out something personal, send cash and get over the "impersonal" obligatory guilt.  If you insist on doing something "personal", going to the trouble of picking out something the recipient would want is actually a personal gift, whereas a gift-card is a very thin veil to hide the impersonal-ness of the action.  If someone just simply likes gift cards, well, at least know that the giver is taking a risk that the gift might turn out to be completely worthless.  And just what kind of sentiment do you think a worthless or never-used card sends?
joreth: (Xmas Kitties)

[ profile] zen_shooter  has been ranting about these for a while now.  They were merely an annoyance to me.  Frankly, if someone can't/won't/doesn't have the time to pick out something unique and individual for me, I'd rather have cold, hard cash.  Especially since I provide a very complete wishlist to anyone who wants to buy me something.  There are 2 reasons I don't care for gift cards:

1) Some people who buy them do so because they don't know me or don't know what I want, but for some reason feel obligated to get me a gift and don't want to *appear* as though they didn't put any thought into it, as cash supposedly signifies.  It's all for appearances and obligation.  And I hate that.  I'd rather not get the gift at all if you think you owe me one or you are trying to pretend like you put some thought into it.

2) I always end up spending my own money because the denominations seem to be carefully designed to be just under whatever really cool thing it is I want.  In the past, especially when I was even more poor than I am today, I rationalized the use of gift cards as more of a discount coupon.  If I think of the card like a coupon, then I don't feel so put-out when I have to spend my own money on a gift for myself.  But then I have to ignore the fact that someone else paid their own money for nothing more than a "coupon".  If someone wanted to contribute financially to a purchase, at least the cash wouldn't have locked me into making that purchase at a particular store.  What if I don't find anything I like under or near that denomination?  I can't take the card somewhere else!

But over the last couple of years, I've come to regard them as scams, and I feel personally offended that the stores are trying to scam me and my friends and family.  Stores and restaurants count on gift cards not ever being redeemed.  The money spent on those cards is pure profit with no exchange of product.  What I didn't know was that a full 10% of cards never get redeemed!  That's 8 billion dollars ... billion - with a "B".

And then the stores count on those who do redeem the cards to spend more than the denomination of the cards, as I was saying that I did.  People spend 15-40% over the value of the card!  So, when I would have walked into Walmart one day and bought myself a $5 DVD, with a gift card, Walmart gets $25 from the gift giver and another $5-$15 from me!  That's 6 times the profit!

And, on top of that, here's something I didn't know before.  The government is taking a chunk out of all these gift card sales too!  The state government uses something called "escheat laws" to collect a portion of the profits of unredeemed cards. 

So please, do your family and friends a favor and do not buy gift cards.  If you absolutely must give a gift but you don't know the recipient well enough to pick something out, give cash.  So what if it's "tacky" ... in this economy, who DOESN'T want a fistful of cash?  You could also try asking other people who know the recipient better what the recipient might want.

And, to help all those who are agonizing over what to buy *you* as gifts, do them a favor and make your wishes known.  In polyamory and healthy forms of other relationships, [ profile] tacit  likes to say that you can't reasonably expect to get what you want if you don't ask for it.  I'd argue that this is relevant for all relationships, not just romantic ones. 

No, I'm not suggesting you go around telling all your relatives that they are expected to buy you gifts now.  I'm just saying don't be a pain in the ass when someone indicates that they want to buy you something and you respond with "oh, I dunno, you don't have to buy me anything!"  Of course we don't.  But someone may want to. 

So go easy on them and create a wishlist.  Have an online wishlist at Amazon, Best Buy, Blockbuster, whatever, or consolidate all your wishlists into one online service, like The Things I Want.  At the very least, keep a few items in your head that are reasonably priced and/or free that you can blurt out even when taken by surprise.  You can even do what [ profile] datan0de  did, which is to pick a favorite charity and request donations directly to them instead of buying you something that maybe you don't need.  Ask for hugs, or footrubs, or babysitting duties, or sending out positive vibrations to the Universe - these things don't have to have a monetary value.

Honest communication is what makes relationships work.  Gift exchange shouldn't be an exception.  It's these sorts of things that make gift-giving so stressful and contribute to the sense of obligation; the sneaking around to surriptitiously discover what the recipient wants without them knowing you're searching, pretending not to want anything to avoid seeming greedy, refusing to allow someone else the pleasure of doing something special for you, etc. ... if you want to know something, then ask.  If someone asks, then answer.  It's a very simple equation.
joreth: (::headdesk::)

First of all, read [ profile] zen_shooter's latest post about the outright lies being told by the McCain campaign.  Go on, I'll wait.

Next up is something I received in my inbox late last night by a family member.

A guy named Philip Berg has filed a lawsuit, A FREAKIN' LAWSUIT, challenging Obama's claim that he is a natural-born citizen.  The claim is that Obama had 30 days to produce the documents Berg demanded and that Obama did not produce those documents and is hence, defaulted on a lawsuit, making him ineligible to be President.

To be fair, not very many average citizens understand the very complex legal processes, so without this background, one might not have the tools to discimenate the claim.

The problem is that legal proceedings are not this simple.  But the bottom line is that Obama has NOT been found guilty of "defaulting" on a lawsuit at this time.  Besides the fact that Obama HAS produced the necessary documents to prove his birth to the satisfaction of the committee that decides these things.

And my response to this obviously bullshit lawsuit )

If you receive any notice about this lawsuit, please help to stem the tide and point people in the direction of Truth. is a great resource because it takes each and every claim made and evaluates it based on available evidence and nothing else.  Unfortunately, it's can be a little bulky and tough to grasp, as taking apart claims and evaluating for the truth so often is.  As someone once said, a lie will make it halfway around the world before the truth has even had time to get its shoes on.

I know a lot of us prefer to simply ignore our relatives when they send out emails that we disagree with (and for some of you out there, your family is so far gone that I totally understand your decision and the following doesn't apply to you), but this election is too important and the race is too close to let ignorance go unchallenged.  Even by family members we wish to remain civil with and ignoring them is less trouble than pointing out the flaws in their arguments.

Oh, and something I forgot to put in the email, but Berg has also filed lawsuits against Bush and Cheney, alleging that they plotted 9/11 and demanding that they be arrested and tried for treason and war crimes.  This guy is a loon.
joreth: (Purple Mobius)
I picked up this movie because Netflix said:

In this romantic comedy featuring Shirley MacLaine as a wacky grandma, Southern girl Carolina (Julia Stiles) envisions an entirely different existence for herself, far from the maddening mix that is her family. So, she leaves home for California, where she hopes she'll find some tranquility. But her efforts are soon wasted when she finds herself torn between two men. Who will win her heart?

I think I saw it on a list of poly movies too, but I'm not certain about that.

This was NOT a poly movie.  It was your standard romance story of:  girl has fucked up love-life and fucked-up family, girl has close male friend, girl meets dashing man, girl sleeps with man on first date, close male friend reveals his love for girl, girl breaks his heart then gets her own heart broken by dashing man, girl proclaims love for best friend too late, as he now has a girlfriend, followed by happy ending as best friend surprises her by showing up somewhere emotionally meaningful and sweeping her off her feet.

Blah, blah, predictable, boring, not poly.

Carolina never really even finds herself "torn between two men".  She is close friends with her neighbor, Albert, whom both insist is "just a friend" several times throughout the movie.  Albert insists she try to loosen up a bit, so Carolina starts dating Heath.  We know he's not the right guy for her because she has sex with him on the first date.  Remember, in movieland, the "right guy" is the one who never tries to fuck the girl and the "wrong guy" is the one the girl is immediately attracted to.  Standard Hollywood Formula #1.  So, they have sex, then Carolina immediately tries to insert him into her life in a serious and meaningful way, namely by inviting him to Christmas dinner with her extremely eccentric (i.e. white-trash) family headed by her overbearing grandmother.

Heath, a proper Brittish gentleman, is totally out of place, whereas Albert fits right in like one of the family and has for years.  Meanwhile, Albert announces his love for Carolina, who rejects him because she thinks of him as a friend and she is involved with Heath.  Albert then goes out and gets a girlfriend, whom we meet when Carolina bumps into her in a very awkward manner, obviously intended to imply to the audience that she reciprocates the attraction and is now jealous and trying to ignore it.

After Heath's rather uncomfortable introduction to Carolina's family, he just disappears for 5 months with no word.  Carolina spends the rest of the film watching sadly as Albert continues to date his girlfriend, meet her family, and generally withdraw form Carolina's life, while her own family life gets more and more complicated and her family gets more and more eccentric.

Finally, Heath shows back up to apologize, but when Carolina doesn't immediately fall at his feet, he makes his one gesture and gives up, leaving Carolina looking after him with an exrpession that says "WTF?"

After a while, Carolina figures out that she loves Albert and tells him so, obviously expecting him to fall into her arms.  He, predictably, gets angry at her presumption that he was just sitting around waiting for her to deign to notice him and leaves.  So Carolina goes back to work in California and tries to forget her brief foray into dating.

Then, a tragedy befalls her family and she ends up back in her hometown, slowly assuming her grandmother's matriarchal position in the family - a position she resented until her grandmother's death revealed how much Carolina really loved her grandmother and how much her family depended upon her.  While leading a family holiday dinner (much contested by Carolina over the years and, consequently, a source of major emotional meaning for her now), Albert shows up to announce his undying love for Carolina, who falls into his arms and they live happily ever after with her teenage unwed-mother sister, her crazy psychic sister, her madam aunt, her drunk father, and her grandmother's married boyfriend.

*A point* - the married boyfriend is the one possibly poly moment in the whole film, and the "poly" portion is debatable.  Grandma is going out on a date for New Year's Eve with her boyfriend - the first time we've heard any mention of him in the whole movie.  Carolina's youngest sister asks "isn't he married?"  Grandma explains that, yes, he is married, but they have an "arrangement", and in this day and age, that's all anyone can ask for.  Throughout the movie, she has portrayed herself as a woman who does what she wants because she wants to and to hell with propriety, and the only way to be happy is to live for what you want, not for what others want.

She doesn't give any details, but the family all knows who he is, and he comes in and says hi to all of them.  If this were a secret, surely the teenage and early 20-something granddaughters wouldn't have had the chance to meet him, especially in a small southern town like theirs.  Grandma has a habit of being accepting of otherwise socially-unacceptable people.  Her daughter, for instance (Carolina's aunt) used to be a prostitute and now runs a successful whorehouse.  This is talked about openly and some of the aunt's "girls" are even invited to family events.  They joke about it over a bridge game.

Basically, the movie was not poly, it was romantic drivel.  The grandmother character was supposed to be the wise old, eccentric matriarch who flew in the face of convention with her common-sense wisdom and steely pride.  Carolina was supposed to be the strong, independent woman who manages to leave her humble beginnings, make a name and an income for herself, only to learn the value of family at the end.  What it turned out to be was an overbearing, thoroughly detestable, meddling, cranky old woman whose parental skills resulted in a drunk and a prostitute and perpetuated the total fuckups in the following generations, and a young woman who had pretty nearly no redeeming social skills.  She was either the hard-as-nails, no-nonsense businesswoman or the naive and inexperienced little girl playing at romance.

Don't waste your time.
joreth: (Bad Computer!)
As [info]zen_shooter says, they ought to put a label on "poly" movies to warn us that "this movie contains idiots".

We start out with James and Heather. The spark seems to have gone out of their relationship. Heather comes from a rather progressive family, her parents have an open marriage and firmly believe that jealousy and possession have no place in romantic relationships. Heather and James tried to open their relationship once in the past, but when Heather went on her first date (that did not include sexual activity), James called up his old girlfriend for a one-night stand to help him ignore his intense jealousy about Heather on a date. Since that didn't seem to work, they closed up their relationship again, but are now looking for something else to "fix" things. Heather recommends attending a seminar given by a relationship counselor.

Next we meet Ellis and Renee. They are also bored with their relationship and seem to snip at each other rather easily, flying off the handle every time one says something. They take every statement the other makes in the worst possible interpretation and spend the entire movie being accusatory and suspicious of each other. They also attend the seminar.

The counselor advocates group sex as a method to "fix" a flagging relationship. She signs up our two couples for therapy and each couple goes to their respective sessions where the counselor can't seem to see that group sex for each of these couples is probably the worst possible thing they each can do. Everyone say it with me ... Relationship Broken, Add More People!

Next, we see James and Heather in a very typical situation - Heather's old boyfriend comes to town for a visit and James is jealous. James is so insecure that he cannot even be civil towards Sixpack (the boyfriend's nickname) on the car ride home from the airport. Of course, Sixpack is an arrogant prick, but James is not mad about that, James is instead seething with jealousy and suspicion regarding what he imagines will be happening later that night after he drops Heather and her old boyfriend off at Heather's apartment and James has to go home alone. Of course Heather starts to bristle at the constant jabs from James at what a dumbass Sixpack is. Here's a hint guys (and gals), even your partner agrees that a past partner is a dumbass, you can say so once, but harping on the fact only makes your partner feel defensive for having once chosen to date/marry that past partner. Don't pick on your partner for past mistakes - especially if he or she already agrees it was a mistake. So James provokes Sixpack into an argument even though Sixpack was mostly pretty friendly towards James (albeit a little dumb).

After some vicious insults in the car, Heather and Sixpack leave James to his jealousy, who then panicks and thinks this fight might just have pushed Heather into the arms of her old boyfriend afterall. So, his method of damage control involves breaking into her secured apartment building and sneaking into her apartment, where Sixpack, the former football star and current military man, tackles James, thinking him to be an intruder. Heather comes out of her bedroom (where she was sleeping alone) to see what the fuss is all about and rescues James.

Could James have been any more idiotic? Hmm, I've pissed off my girlfriend with my unreasonable and unfounded jealousy and now I'm going to stalk her when she explicitly told me to leave her alone, and break into her apartment with the intention of having a heartfelt, intimate discussion while her old boyfriend is sleeping on the couch in the next room. This doesn't sound like the most disasterous plan known to man?

So now James has to sleep over because he has a concussion and Heather doesn't want him driving. But she's plenty pissed off.

Meanwhile, Ellis and Renee have been having issues of their own. Ellis also has a serious case of jealousy, only his is topped off with a massive load of machismo. Renee has to constantly placate him, reassuring him that she loves his penis and that she loves having sex with him. Seriously. In one discussion, they talk about the upcoming group sex therapy the counselor has suggested for them and the subject of fantasies comes up. Ellis admits to being turned on at the thought of watching Renee have sex with someone else. So Renee admits to being attracted to other women. Ellis immediately turns on her and accuses her of being "sick" and "perverted" because of her "homosexual" desires. While having this argument at a restaurant, the waitress appears to be quite friendly with Renee, who then seems to encourage her friendly overtures while then getting offended at Ellis' assumption that "friendly" implied "flirting".

Somehow or another, Renee ends up with the waitress' phone number and schedules a get-together. When Ellis finds out, he insists on coming along. They show up, the waitress offers marijuana, and while stoned out of their minds, Ellis interprets their totally platonic agreeableness as flirting and shouts at the waitress to keep her hands to herself because Ellis has the supercock and he won't let her get between them. I'm not paraphrasing, he actually says "I have the supercock and I won't let you get between us!" He uses the word "supercock" more than once.

Naturally, the waitress throws them both out.

Somewhere in there (I forget when exactly, their fights all seem to blend together), Renee and Ellis are fighting in the elevator and Renee shouts "I love your penis!", to which Ellis says "prove it!" and Renee responds by fervently kissing him, beginning a rather passionate bout of angry-sex. Because when you're pissed off at your partner, the thing you want to do most is fuck him, right? Sorry, but I do not have pity sex. I will not fuck someone just to reassure him. I will have sex because I want to have sex and have hopefully found a partner who also wants to have sex with me, but a pity-fuck is never a good idea for the long-term stability or reassurance of someone's ego. Then he's likely to wonder how much of the sex was a pity-fuck and if you really are attracted to him or just feel sorry for him.

Anyway, the morning of the scheduled group sex (keep in mind, neither couple knows who the other couple they're scheduled to fuck is), Renee and Ellis are taking a shower together and Renee seems to think his previous night's stoned proclamation about Renee being the woman he wants to marry and no one coming between them is now romantic and offers to cancel the group sex session. Unfortunately, Ellis now seems to be looking forward to it, so Renee agrees rather reluctantly for his sake.

Now we have probably the most awkward sex scene since Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

All 4 people arrive at the same time and wait for the same elevator. They all try to surriptiously scope each other out. Then, an old couple shows up and waits for the same elevator. Everyone has a moment of panic as they consider that it might be the old couple.

While in the elevator, everyone tries very hard not to look at anyone else. The old couple start bickering about whether the wife remembered to bring the rubbers and why the husband thought he didn't need to shower for the appointment. Less contained panic in the eyes of the two young couples. As everyone exits the elevator on the same floor, the old couple finally let it slip that they're there for a dental visit with a dentist on the same floor, the "rubbers" being a brand of gloves the old man prefers.

So now the two couples enter the counselor's waiting room. In a very awkward silence, they sit and wait. Finally, Heather breaks the silence by asking if Ellis and Renee are the other couple and expressing relief that they look so clean. Everyone looks around uncomfortably.

Finally, the counselor walks in, asks if they've introduced themselves, then leads them down the hall to another room. She opens the door and lets them in, closing the door behind them and leaving the two couples totally to their own devices, without a word of encouragement or instruction.

In silence, they four stare at each other, not sure what to do. Finally, Heather starts taking off her shoes. Then she kisses James. So Ellis and Renee look at each other as if to say "you wanna? I guess so" and begin kissing each other too. Eventually Renee turns around to start kissing Heather, but Heather pushes her towards James after only a brief kiss. So the couples swap partners.

Next we see a series of shots where each of the now-swapped couples is having silent and uncomfortable-looking sex across the room from the other. We never see a true group encounter, just two couples who happen to be having sex in the same room, all the time with James and Renee rolling their eyes towards Ellis and Heather, more interested in what their regular partner is doing than in what they are doing themselves.

The next morning, both couples wind up at the same restaurant, unbeknownst to each other. They discuss the previous night. Heather thinks the experience was great, she learned that she could actually orgasm and it wasn't a physical disability that has prevented her from having orgasms with James all this time. Unfortunately, James thinks that means that Heather doesn't really love him and he breaks up with her. It couldn't be that Heather does love him but James actually just sucks in bed - and sex isn't like a learned skill or anything that James could improve at with a little instruction. As if I didn't think James was the stupidist character ever, he goes and does this. Heather has been unable to orgasm, but her experience has not told her that James is a bad partner, it only tells her that it's possible and now she can start experimenting to figure out how to get an orgasm *with* James. But James decided long ago that love is exclusive and Heather's interest in other people means that she doesn't really love him, and her orgasm with Ellis the night before only solidifies his belief.

Renee and Ellis don't seem all that happy about the group sex and when Ellis goes to the bathroom, the waitress talks to Renee and expresses her wish to continue being friends (and maybe more) as long as Renee doesn't bring Ellis with her. Renee seems receptive. In the bathroom, Ellis runs into James and they have a fairly pleasant chat. James returns with Ellis to say hi to
Renee and for some reason, this makes Renee decide to throw away the waitress' phone number.

James goes back out to his patio table to discover that Heather ditched him.

I took two morals away from this movie. 1) If you're James and Heather, alternative relationships and sex outside of the primary are BAD. 2) If you're Ellis and Renee, sex with strangers will fix a relationship that is basically comprised of two people who don't like each other much.

The counselor should have her license revoked. Her character was the absolute worst example of a counselor possible. After only one session, she decided to match up these two couples when anyone could tell in the first five minutes of the session that neither couple was in the right frame of mind to successfully enjoy open relationships. Both men were being dragged into it kicking and screaming and both women think the way to fix their own relationships is to fuck a totally random stranger - that somehow this one night of meaningless, anonymous sex will fix their lack of communication, lack of chemistry, lack of common interests, the boys' insecurities, and their own emotional issues all at once.

Heather is the one character I truly felt for. I believe that she is that poor case of isolated poly. She is poly and doesn't know anyone else to help her, guide her, or even date her. Instead, she hooks up with this schmuck who is so deeply co-dependent that she can't even spend the evening with a male friend without him suspecting her of infidelity or fucking his ex-girlfriend in retaliation.

Ellis is equally as insecure as James, but his is exhibited in his retreat to machismo, where he has to prove he's King of the Castle, He of the Supercock. Apparently, it's his ability to penetrate his girlfriend that makes up his entire identity and the source of his entire self-esteem.

And Renee! An attractive, assertive, reasonably intelligent, sex-positive woman who, for some bizarre reason, feels the need to remain in a relationship with a man she has to placate on an hourly basis. She constantly panders to him, reassuring him of his manliness, refraining from exploring her own desires in deference to his bruised ego.

Jesus, I hated this movie and all the characters in it. Well, I didn't hate Heather, I felt sorry for her and I sorely wanted to jump in the movie, put my arm around her and tell her that she's not a freak and there's nothing wrong with her just because she wants to experience love without jealousy and posession.

And the sex scenes weren't even sexy! They were awkward and uncomfortable.

Don't watch this movie, it sucked, and not just from a poly standpoint. The characters were detestable and the writing was deplorable. I'm not sure if the acting was any good because the script they had to work with sucked big fat donkey balls.
joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
I'm not even going to touch on the absolute horror of Sarah Paulin's beliefs - the fact that she is a member of a church that supports the militant group that is basically the Christian al-Queda, she's against a woman's right to choose (not just abortion, but birth control too), she's abstinence-only, she's a fucking ID proponent, and she tried to pass off her daughter's teenage illigitimate birth as her own (and poorly, I might add).  Here's an article from someone who actually once believed that McCain was a good choice as Republican candidate and why choosing Sarah Paulin is the worst thing McCain could have done WITHOUT even getting into the obvious "crazier than a shithouse rat" beliefs (all underlining emphasis mine):

An article by a MCCAIN SUPPORTER:

"Selecting Sarah Palin as its choice for a vice presidential candidate is perhaps the worst such choice in American History. To be fair, maybe there are worse choices, but I don't know how bad William O. Butler was when he ran with Lewis Cass against Zachary Taylor.

But it's far worse than Dan Quayle, who was a sitting senator. Worse even than Geraldine Ferraro, who at least served in Congress for three-terms. And far worse than William Miller, a choice so obscure when selected by Barry Goldwater that he (honestly) later did an American Express commercial asking, "Do you know me?" And that ad was after the election. But even Miller had been a Congressman for 12 years. And been a prosecutor during the Nuremberg War trials against Nazis. Sarah Palin lists her credits as a hockey mom.
And so I felt that John McCain, for all his weaknesses, was the lesser of all evils and was glad he got the nomination. Throw that out the window. McCain-Palin is an unthinkable disaster. ... It's always said that the most important decision a presidential candidate makes is their pick for vice president. It shows their thinking and judgment. John McCain, in his first decision, has just told the world that he believes Sarah Palin is the most qualified person to be a heartbeat from the presidency. ... it's near-impossible to look at the list and suggest to the American public that Sarah Palin is the best choice of Republican women to be vice president. And again, this is ignoring the men he who could have been chosen.
It's not that Sarah Palin is inexperienced. It's that this is gross political misconduct. ... on a grassroots political level, her nomination takes away the Republicans' ONLY weapon in the campaign - calling Barack Obama inexperienced. .. She has so little experience that she makes Sen. Obama look like FDR, Winston Churchill and Julius Caesar combined. ... All they have is "Dear Democratic women: please pretend our VP candidate is Hillary Clinton. Just forget that she's pro-life. And against most things Democrats stand for."
What this does in the most profound and grandiose way possible is give lie to John McCain's pompous posturing that he Always Puts America First. And that undercuts the most prominent campaign issue of his entire career, that everything he does is for reasons of honor. There is nothing honorable about making Sarah Palin your vice presidential nominee. Nothing. Unless you define honor as "blatantly pandering."
when people around the nation were waiting to hear about Sarah Palin's qualifications and gravitas to be Vice President of the United States, the first five minutes of her speech were spent talking about her husband being a champion snowmobiler. ... In the end, the only case she herself made for being on the ticket was praising Hillary Clinton! That's it, period. Now, it might be enough to attract some women -- but it doesn't make a case for the ticket. Why? Hint: some women did vote for Hillary Clinton solely because she was a woman. But most women voted for Hillary Clinton because she was a Democrat, as well as a woman, who stood for important Democratic values they seriously believed in. ... And, in the end, it all focuses back on Barack Obama, with his indictment of eight years of the Bush Administration and of John McCain's flawed judgment - and John McCain's defense of all that. "

What the religious fundies don't seem to understand is that Argument From Authority is a logical fallacy.  They do this same stuff when trying to discredit science.  They campaign to find any quote at all that can be attributed to a "scientist" that will seem to imply that the scientist believes in god.  That we all embraced his scientific notions because he's a "scientist", so therefore we should embrace his "religious" notions because he's an authority figure.  That's not how it works.  It's the CLAIM, not the person.

The same thing goes with gender issues.  Feminists and egalitarians want a woman in positions of political authority, sure.  But we don't want them in positions of authority because we think the shape of their genitals is important.  We want them in positions of authority because the shape of their genitals is IRRELEVANT.  Which means, we do not want a woman in office because she's a woman, we want a QUALIFIED PERSON in office and we do not want QUALIFIED WOMEN to be overlooked.

Sarah Palin is just flat out not qualified.  From her lack of experience to her values and beliefs that threaten to undermine the very system our nation was founded on, she is not qualified to be second in command to the leader of our country.

And she's a disgrace to both women and men everywhere.

*Edit: [info]leora has done quite a bit of early research on just who Palin is and what she stands for, plus some rather insightful musings on her interpretations of the early data.  Check out her journal for more information.  This was mainly a rant and to point out that even the Republicans don't like her.

joreth: (Kitty Eyes)

I've always hated incense and I put it on the same annoyance level as cigarette smoke, but I never considered it might be just as harmful (if not more) than second-hand cigarette smoke.  I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon here of banning incense the way I want to ban smoking in public areas because I didn't fully research this study, but since I don't like how incense smells, I'm going to post this article anyway.

And, for the record, I do not want to make cigarettes illegal - that would only create more non-violent criminals the way drug use does (I'm for the legalization and taxation of drugs too, even though I think drugs are really, really stupid), but I very firmly believe your right to swing your fist ends at my nose and smoking in public areas does not stop you from the ability to choose to smoke, it only prevents you from forcing me to smoke against my own choice.

The researchers found that incense use was associated with a statistically significant higher risk of cancers of the upper respiratory tract, with the exception of nasopharyngeal cancer. However, they observed no overall effect on lung cancer risk.

Those who used incense heavily also had higher rates of a type of cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, which refers to tumors that arise in the cells lining the internal and external surfaces of the body. The risk was seen in smokers and nonsmokers.

Study participants who used incense in their homes all day or throughout the day and night were 80 percent more likely than non-users to develop squamous cell carcinoma of the entire respiratory tract.

The link between incense use and increased cancer risk held when the researchers weighed other factors, including cigarette smoking, diet and drinking habits.

"This association is consistent with a large number of studies identifying carcinogens in incense smoke," Friborg's team writes, "and given the widespread and sometimes involuntary exposure to smoke from burning incense, these findings carry significant public health implications."

They say further studies are needed to see whether different types of incense are associated with different degrees of cancer risk. In Singapore, the researchers note, most people burn long sticks or coils of incense that burn slowly over an extended period.

SOURCE: Cancer, October 1, 2008.

joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)
OK people, let me say this one time, very slowly.

Just.  Because.  People.  Fuck.  Several.  People.  Doesn't.  Mean.  This.  Is.  A.  Poly.  Movie.

So I watched another recommended movie from a "poly movie list".  It's called "The Last Picture Show".  Perhaps you've heard of it.  I guess it's quite famous for all the nudity.  The story takes place in 1952 and stars people like a very young Cybil Shepard, Jeff Bridges and Clores Leachman.  It's all about a very small town in Texas.  There's the mute "dumb" kid, there's the town slut who happens to be married to the rich oil baron, there's the slut's daughter who seems to be taking after her, there's the football star and his buddy, the lonely housewife, and the pool hall/picture show that is the town's main entertainment.  People flirt, people fuck, people fight.  It's all about Small Town America In The '50s.

It's not poly.

There's no long-time deep love shared between two high school buddies and the town sweetheart, like in Leaving Cheyenne.  There's no quirky artist commune like in Carrington.  There's no triad hidden among the pines like in Summer People.  It's just horny teenagers and cheatin' wives.

I'm not sayin' this was a bad movie, I'm sayin' don't watch it for any poly content.

There is none.  The absolute closest we get is the two best friends who make up after one kicks the shit out of the other for screwin' around with his girl (the make-up happens after that girl goes off to college and leaves both of them).  Maybe the husbands who look the other way when their wives have affairs because it's sort of general knowledge that 80% of marriages aren't happy (so says the wise old rancher) are the reason someone thought this was a poly flick?

It's not poly.  Don't bother.
joreth: (Spank)
We urgently need concerned Floridians to take action today to help protect religious liberty in our state. It only takes a minute to make your voice heard.


Here is the situation: a proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution would repeal a 140-year old prohibition on using tax dollars to fund religious activities in Florida. If the amendment passes, the Florida state government will be able to earmark your tax dollars to sponsor government-funded religion.

This ill-advised constitutional amendment would allow the Florida government to fund religious proselytizing activities, and to show preference for one religion over another. And, it would permit government-funded charitable organizations run by religious groups to discriminate in who they serve.

The Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission is scheduled to vote on this tomorrow (Wednesday), and they need to hear from you. Here's what you can do, right now, to submit your comment AGAINST amending the Florida Constitution to allow government funding of religious activities:

1. Go to:

2. Copy and paste the following text into the comments section (feel free to edit these comments as you see fit or write your own).

Dear Members of the Florida Taxation and Budget Reform Commission:


As a concerned Florida citizen, I am writing today to strongly urge you to VOTE NO on CP0020, a proposal that will allow the State to use my tax dollars to bankroll government-funded religion.

Government-funded religion only ensures religious discrimination, strife and controversy. Voting for this proposal will remove the prohibition in the Florida Constitution that, for 140 years, has prevented government from favoring one religious group over another by funding it This will chip away at my and all Floridians’ basic constitutional rights to practice religion and be free from government-sponsored and funded proselytizing.

We deserve “government-free” religion. This is a dangerous proposal with far-reaching implications for many Floridians. Government funded religion squelches religious liberty, a core American value. I urge you not to allow religious discrimination to be enshrined in Florida’s Constitution.

Thank you for taking action to protect the separation of church and state.


Howard Simon
Executive Director
ACLU of Florida


Help the Defense of Civil Liberties!

joreth: (Polydragon)
The Wikipedia entry for "New Relationship Energy" is currently being considered for deletion.  The deletion policy overview says:

"All text created in the Wikipedia main namespace is subject to several important rules, including three cardinal content policies (Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, Wikipedia:Verifiability, and Wikipedia:No original research) and the copyright policy (Wikipedia:Copyrights). Together, these policies govern the admissibility of text in the main body of the encyclopedia, and only text conforming to all four policies is allowed in the main namespace."

I'm trying to figure out which of these has been violated. It appears to me to have a neutral POV, there is clearly original research, i.e. links to various references, both Wiki pages and others. I don't imagine that the copyright policy has been violated. Maybe it's the verifiability issue? 

I feel this article has value.  One of the more minor reasons I consider myself a "poly activist" is because, IMO, the relationship tools that poly relationships demand for succes are tools that I believe ALL relationships need for success.  I feel that polyamory is no different from other relationships in the sense that it is a form of relating to another human being outside of a vacuum, with pressures and stresses from other sources.  I believe the poly community serves our society as a whole a very important positive function in that it examines the way we relate to other people and seeks to improve relationships, where the definition of "improve" includes "makes people happier".  The terminology is a tool used to communicate complex ideas, and it provides terms for concepts that have been neglected in monogamous society, but which exist in their society anyway. 

Please chime in to save the entry if you feel it is an important addition to Wikipedia: 
joreth: (Nude Drawing)

Posted by: "Anita Wagner" 

I know many, many bisexual and/or poly people who care very much about and support the rights of our young people to fact-based sex education. Today we have a very valuable opportunity to express our support for significant funding cuts now under consideration in the US House and Senate for this irresponsible, ill-conceived program.

The less abstinence-only sex ed there is, the fewer young people there are who will be misled and continue to be at risk for lack of adequate information about how to protect their sexual health and prevent pregnancy - and $28 million taxpayer dollars will be saved and not squandered on this decade-old program that has been repeatedly proven not to work.

In just a couple of minutes you can send an e-mail to your senator and representative expressing your support for these funding cuts by going to

More details from Advocates for Youth at

Feel free to cross post as appropriate, and thanks for considering!

joreth: (Dobert Demons of Stupidity)

I just signed a petition to Senator Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi about a bill they allowed to pass last week.

Democratic “leaders” crossed the line and betrayed the will of the majority who put them in power in 2006. A timid Congress caved in to President Bush and his demand for more out-of-control authority to spy on Americans.

The FISA gutting legislation voted on last weekend allows for massive, untargeted collection of Americans’ international communications without court order. The law allows for no meaningful oversight by either Congress or the courts and leaves decisions about the collection, mining and use of American information up to the Bush Administration’s Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales.

Please take a few minutes to sign the petition and tell Congress you believe in the Constitution and demand that it fix this legislation.


"The man who trades his freedom for security deserves neither"

You people make a mockery of our nation with your continued acceptance of the loss of our civil liberties in favor of this sham you call "national security", which is really a false sense of security.  Your laws are like the electronic gates on apartment complexes.  The price of the apartment is raised because it offers a sense of "security" with the electronic gate, but really anyone can get through simply by following in the car ahead of them or by walking through the pedestrian door in the fence.  The gate means nothing.  It looks dark and forboding and comes with a steep price, but in the end, we have done nothing that will stop those who wish to harm us.

joreth: (Bad Computer!)
I was just sent this email.  It appears to be an ebay customer sending me an email asking a question about an auction.  Problem is, I don't have anything up for auction right now.  It looks all official, just like a real Ebay form, and it has links to a page that looks just like an Ebay sign-in page.  THIS PAGE IS FAKE!!!  This is a very clever attempt to obtain my username and password for my ebay account.  And since most people use the same usernames and passwords for everything, this guy could potentially have enough information to steal my identity and take over any online account. 
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not fall for this kind of scam.  If you ever receive an email that you don't know anything about, that appears to send you to a legitimate website where you have an account, DO NOT sign in.  Check the address bar at the top of your browser for the url.  It should say (where "realwesbsitename" is the name of the company you're supposed to be visiting) with no other numbers or words in the url.  If you ever receive an email like this and you're not sure if it's a scam or not, do not follow the link in the email.  Instead, open a new browser window, type in the url for the homepage of that company yourself (in this case, I would type in, then check your inbox or whatever mail services that company offers to see if the original email appears in the legitimate inbox.  I recommend finding the Contact Us or Help sections and sending the email to their tech support services asking them to verify the validity of the correspondence.  Then they can check it out for you, and if it's a Phishing Scam, you have just reported them.
Forward this on to everyone you know, but PLEASE remove all headers and PLEASE put everyone in the BCC field (that's Blind Carbon Copy).  If you have to put *something* in the To: field, feel free to use for that purpose.

joreth: (Misty Sleeping)
The pet food problem has spread to corn gluten.

You can go to the FDA website and sign up to get announcements when brands are added to the list.  Here's a link to the site.

Here's a list that you can just visit regularly:

Please repost this in all your journals and forward this on to everyone you know, even if they don't have pets themselves they probably know people who do. **I shouldn't have to remind everyone to BCC all the email addresses and erase previous headers before forwarding on email, but I will.**

Thanks to [profile] fatesgirlfor passing on the info.

For once I'm glad that I feed my cats the (relatively) cheap, dry, Purina cat food.  That brand has yet to be on the suspect list and the cats are not exhibiting any suspicious behaviour.
joreth: (Default)
Chocolate is an indulgence that everyone can afford, and it provides comfort, pleasure and happiness. It truly is one of the worlds most unique and special foods.

However, if some members of the U.S. Chocolate Industry have their way, it will negatively change the quality of chocolate you love. Their plan is to change the basic formula of chocolate in order to use vegetable fat substitutes in place of cocoa butter, and to use milk substitutes in the place of nutritionally superior milk. These changes will have adverse effects on the eating, physical and nutritional quality of chocolate (including introducing bad trans fats in place of the more healthy fat in cocoa butter and it will change all recipes that use chocolate as an ingredient), and beg the question: What consumer benefit is associated with implementing these changes? The answer is none.

A number of traditional chocolatiers are very concerned that if a recent “Citizens Petition” submitted to the US Food and Drug Administration by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (on behalf of a number of trade associations, including the US Chocolate Manufacturers Association) is approved, the chocolate that consumers know and love will disappear from the American market place. Instead of purchasing chocolate made only with 100 percent cocoa butter, consumers will be faced with an ever-increasing selection of lower quality “chocolate” products made with hydrogenated and chemically-modified vegetable fats -- many containing artery-clogging trans fats, manufactured solely for the purpose of cutting production costs.

It should be noted that in many countries around the world, the chocolate standards of identity permit the substitution of vegetable fats for cocoa butter…but only up to a level of 5 percent. However, the “Citizens Petition” submitted by the Grocery Manufacturers Association would permit manufacturers to use these substitute vegetable fats (some of which are chemically modified) up to 100 percent in their replacement of cocoa butter. This request goes far beyond any other standards used in the world and would further degrade the quality of US chocolate that we all have come to love and enjoy.

To date, the FDA has only heard from the chocolate industry. But, the FDA absolutely must hear from those consumers who love the current gold standard of chocolate so that the FDA can have a more balanced viewpoint. If the Chocolate Manufacturer's Association succeeds with their agenda, the consumer will inherit what is most lucrative for them to produce rather than the high quality product we all currently enjoy and desire.

Please communicate your dissatisfaction regarding the cheapening the quality of real chocolate to the FDA by going to "How to Help" ( Your opinion is important and needs to be heard along with the collective outrage from other consumers. We hope this effort will have a favorable impact on the FDAs decision-making process and will cause it to reject the industrys proposal.

Repost this and forward it on to everyone you know!

*cross posted in
joreth: (Default)

Hopefully you’ve all heard about this already but in case you haven’t, there’s a pretty extensive pet food recall.

The link below is an article about the issue…

And these links contain information about which brands/foods are contaminated:

Cat Food:

Dog Food:

If you or someone else you know has a dog or cat, please take a moment to check out these links or forward on the information.  A growing number of pets out there are experiencing kidney failure and are being put to sleep because of this tainted food.

Thanks to a friend for notifying me, apparantly they have found the source:

joreth: (Bad Computer!)

Please forward this on to everyone you know who might need help with spammers, but PLEASE do not list anyone else's email address when you forward it!  Send this email as a Blind Carbon Copy (BCC).  If you have to put something in the To: field, I have created a fake email account just for this purpose.  You can put in the To: field to protect all legitimate email addresses from being seen.  Add this email address to your address books and use it anytime because no one will be reading any email sent to this address.  And make sure to DELETE all email address headers from the previous person before sending this on to someone else.  When you forward any email, it should look as though you've written it yourself, with no "original message" information at the top, no annoying > at the line breaks, and definately NO ONE ELSE'S EMAIL ADDRESS visible.

joreth: (Bad Computer!)

So, apparently Viacom, in a totally irresponsible and extremely arrogant move, did a very crude search of YouTube content for ANY term related to ANY of their shows and then SPAMMED YOUTUBE WITH DMCA-TAKEDOWN NOTICES ... 100,000 to be specific.  According to the DMCA, youtube is obligated to take down any content reported as copyright infringement immediately.  They are supposed to actually investigate them, but with as huge as youtube is, they don't really have the time or resources.  Consequently, THOUSANDS of youtube users had their totally copyright-infringement-free content removed from youtube's servers and these users are now on a list of potential copyright infringers.  

How I came about this information was when I discovered that one of my favorite videos, "re: Your Brains" by Spiffworld - music by Jonathan Coulton, has been taken down with a notice about copyright infringement.  Since Mr. Coulton says right on his website that all his songs are under the Creative Commons license (which means anyone can use his songs in any way, as is or altered), this video was clearly not copyright-infringed.  Jonathon Coulton is now notified and is keeping up with developments on his website and he has included a couple of links to outside news sources who have caught wind of this fiasco.  I plan to show my support by visiting the and downloading the video where Spiff has also posted it, and re-uploading it to youtube as soon as I have some time.


April 2019



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