Butch / Femme Bullshit

26 March, 2013

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with society’s gender expectations. It’s probably because my parents tried to raise me and my sister gender-neutral – at least, that’s what I was told. Despite the party line, my sister had Barbie dolls, and once when I was very young my sister and I swapped clothes – Dad came out into the yard and told me off: “You know what they call boys who wear dresses, don’t you?” Actually, I had no idea, and he didn’t clarify the issue for me.

But this isn’t going to turn into some story about transvestitism or sex change, or using trendy words like “ver” and “cis”. I’ve never had a problem with my gender or sex. Sex: I have XY chromosomes, so I’m male. Gender: I’m not masculine or feminine, I’m ME. I really don’t understand the issue everyone else seems to have with gender – “OMG I’m too/too little masculine/feminine.” It’s like worrying that you like or don’t like tomatoes – it doesn’t matter, and it has no moral implications.

But I’m the only one who thinks like that. Gay or straight, progressive or conservative, everyone seems to buy into the fundamental importance of gender. The only difference is that some people flip the usual sex/gender alignment. So what? It’s still the same old game: one is assertive, the other is receptive. This is assumed to be the only possible sexual model.

And yes, although having no interest in gender roles has been inconvenient for me (being bullied or dismissed for being “queer” because I don’t play the masculine game), the saddest implication of all this plays out in the bedroom. The mandatory masculine/feminine roles mean that sex always has to be about power. The truth which we are not permitted to deny: you can’t have sex without the ruler and the ruled, however liberal or queer the participants may claim to be. I play these games only grudgingly and never with real pleasure. My partners sense my disinterest in the game, and GTFO ASAP.

I have noticed some dominance games in my sexual imagination in recent years, which I think derive from porn. Porn is based very much on the gender game – male = predatory brute, female = exhibitionist victim. Feminists complain about the sexual victimisation of women and the feminine, but usually blame it on men, maleness, masculinity, patriarchy. They don’t take into account that these roles are enforced just as much by feminine-identified people as by masculine.

You are probably struggling to understand my point of view. It’s okay – I’m coming to accept that I am in a minority of one. Insisting on being myself without regard for the demands of gender roles (apart from fairly conventional dress, for defensive purposes) inevitably alienates me from society, plus means I don’t get laid. It’s lonely, of course, but I couldn’t live with the empty falsity of the alternative.

[This post was written because I tried to talk about these issues in a forum thread called “Delusions of gender” – I was banned for “narrow-minded bullshit”, because I mocked the whole butch/femme game that even “genderqueers” play (I did not criticise any individuals). Are people who take gender roles seriously an oppressed minority? Very fucking far from it. I guess I just touched a nerve.]

The healthy diet mantra of recent years has been to eat masses of green leafy vegetables, in order to replace excessive fat, carbs and sugar, increase antioxidants (to combat excess free radicals), and promote bowel health through fibre.

But now it seems that’s not the whole story, as this news item reveals:
‘Too many sprouts’: man in hospital

The excess vitamin K from eating extra Brussels sprouts for Christmas had the dangerous effect of countering his anticoagulant medication, which he was taking to prevent heart attack.

A hospital spokesperson said: “We think this is possibly the first-ever festive admission to hospital caused by the consumption of Brussels sprouts.” Actually, since sprouts are considered a traditional Christmas food in Britain, I think it’s possible that their consumption is an important factor in the annual heart attack season that coincides with the holiday period.

The irony here (if I need to point it out) is that vitamin K, chiefly found in green leafy vegetables, is necessary for cardiovascular health, but because it is an anticoagulant it can also be dangerous for those at risk of vascular blockage.

HOWEVER, it’s important to note that large doses of the vitamin will not cause increased blood clots in healthy people (according to the Wikipedia article on vitamin K linked above).
 

Interesting historical article in The New Republic (5 Oct, 2012), explaining how the GOP was captured by crazy hateful ranters, leaving decent small-c conservatives out in the cold:

How the GOP Destroyed its Moderates
 

The purpose of Twitter

13 November, 2012

http://whitepeoplemourningromney.tumblr.com

I find this site hilarious. C’mon, you know they’d do the exact same thing if they had won!

Anyway, the ridiculous message screencaps reminded me of a recent insight I experienced:

The purpose of Twitter is to transmit stupid thoughts to vulnerable minds.

I hope you are doing your part 😉

Don’t go to Bulgaria

13 November, 2012

Here’s the latest news on the Australian jailed for “murder with hooliganism” in Bulgaria.

I’ve followed this story since it started: basically, Jock Palfreeman was a naive young traveller who found himself targeted by gangs in Bulgaria, and took to carrying a knife in self defense. In a subsequent attack, a Bulgarian ended up dead. Palfreeman was railroaded – abused by the police, who crudely fudged the evidence, which was nonetheless accepted by the court in what I assume was a manner of habitual corruption. The reparation payment increasing at 15-20% per annum is another example of gross unfairness. Sadly, much of Eastern Europe is like this, though Bulgaria may be the worst: racist, corrupt, brutal, dishonest, a 3rd world country with 1st world tech. I wouldn’t go there without a humvee convoy for backup.

Okay, here’s where I willingly forfeit all credibility:

There’s nothing wrong with instant coffee. In fact, on average, it’s as good as “real” coffee.

I have had some mediocre-to-bad “real” coffees, including one memorable cup of gritty, oily swill which I refused to finish. Even drinkable “real” coffee is often somehow plasticy in taste to me. Is this what happens when coffee-snobs freeze their coffee to preserve its freshness? (My understanding is it actually ruins the coffee by changing the structure of the oils.)

There are some mediocre instants, of course. The worst I’ve had was Pablo, which was quite thin and sour. The “upmarket” instants are usually not as good as the generics. I think this is partly due to the granulated form which they impose to make the stuff look more authentic. In fact, instant coffee is coffee beans, cooked and ground to a dry powder. To granulate it may require a coagulant, which might alter the flavour.

Another thing to remember is that instant coffee should be made with water that is hot BUT NOT BOILING. Boiling overcooks the oils and changes the flavour. Otherwise, instant coffee is simply a brew made from roasted coffee beans – in other words, it’s coffee.

Perhaps you should take the above with a pinch of salt, though, as what inspired me to write on this topic was this: tonight I tried dry instant coffee powder for the first time. I’ve read about straight instant coffee being used in the military, and by students, and lately I’ve been annoyed by the extra minutes taken in the morning by the need to prepare and then drink my morning mug. So I stuck the teaspoon in the can, took out a medium size helping, and put it in my mouth.

I had wondered about how instant coffee could be swallowed, since it’s a dry powder – woud it stick to my mouth in an unshiftable film? Also, of course, I worried about the taste. Coffee is famously bitter – would pure coffee be “too much”?

Taste: I drink black coffee, with a little sweetener to take the edge off, and actually I found the powder no more bitter than the usual experience. More interestingly, the flavour had a bit more richness and complexity than the diluted form. It was not unpleasant; I didn’t go “Ick!” and instantly reach for the water. OTOH, I admit it’s not something I want stuck in my mouth for the rest of my life.

Dryness: It was not nearly as bad as I expected. The powder absorbed my saliva to become a paste not unpleasant in texture. A couple of swilled sips of water washed it down easily. There is a slightly deadened aftertaste in the centre of my tongue which I imagine would get a bit unpleasant if I did this frequently.

Caffeine: Well, I’m awake, aren’t I?

So, to sum up: The bad image of instant coffee is just that, an image. And taking the powder straight is doable, and indeed not unpleasant!

EDIT: I’m not sure if this is psychosomatic, but it does seem that eating coffee results in less efficient caffeine absorbtion. If I eat the same number of spoonfuls I would ordinarily put into a coffee drink, I do seem to end up with less of a buzz. Something to bear in mind.

I last took this test years ago, when it was on a different site, but my result hasn’t changed, right down to the equal bard-thief ranking. In the detailed stats, it’s nice to see I am not at all evil. 🙂

I Am A: True Neutral Gnome Thief Bard

Alignment:
True Neutral characters are very rare. They believe that balance is the most important thing, and will not side with any other force. They will do whatever is necessary to preserve that balance, even if it means switching allegiances suddenly.

Race:
Gnomes are also short, like dwarves, but much skinnier. They have no beards, and are very inclined towards technology, although they have been known to dabble in magic, too. They tend to be fun-loving and fond of jokes and humor. Some gnomes live underground, and some live in cities and villages. They are very tolerant of other races, and are generally well-liked, though occasionally considered frivolous.

Primary Class:
Thieves are the most roguish of the classes. They are sneaky and nimble-fingered, and have skills with traps and locks. While not all use these skills for burglary, that is a common occupation of this class.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Deity:
Callarduran Smoothhands is the True Neutral gnomish god of stone, the underground, and mining. He is also known as the Deep Brother and the Master of Stone. His followers enjoy mining – especially for rubies. Their favorite weapon is the battleaxe.

Find out What D&D Character Are You?, courtesy ofNeppyMan (e-mail)

Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good —– X (1)
Neutral Good —- XX (2)
Chaotic Good —- XXX (3)
Lawful Neutral — XXXX (4)
True Neutral —- XXXXXXX (7)
Chaotic Neutral – XX (2)
Lawful Evil —– (0)
Neutral Evil —- (0)
Chaotic Evil —- (0)

Race:
Human —- XX (2)
Half-Elf – X (1)
Elf —— XXX (3)
Halfling – (-2)
Dwarf —- (0)
Half-Orc – (-4)
Gnome —- XXXX (4)

Class:
Fighter – (-6)
Ranger — (-2)
Paladin – (-5)
Cleric — (-6)
Mage —- XXXX (4)
Druid — (-1)
Thief — XXXXXXXXX (9)
Bard —- XXXXXXXXX (9)
Monk —- XX (2)