Some States Are in a State, Some of Our Rights Aren’t Right

I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but this kind of news bounces around my head and sometimes wants to get out.

Tampons and Maxi Pads Banned From Texas Senate (But Guns Are Cool)

Women are being forced to throw out tampons and maxi pads to enter the Senate gallery, which has been confirmed by DPS. That’s right: menstruating women are being denied entry to the Senate gallery unless they throw out their supplies.

Additionally, diabetics are asked to throw out their sugar packets.

However, people with concealed handgun licenses are allowed to bypass long lines to enter the Capitol itself through the expedited CHL entrance, and per a DPS officer, if a person has a CHL, they can take their gun into the gallery.

Hate crime: Woman, girlfriend beaten in South Austin

A man they knew from the neighborhood started following them… the woman’s masculine dress prompted anti-gay slurs, she said. The woman’s girlfriend, 25, told the men to stop, in vain, the woman said… he kept shouting slurs and daring the woman to fight, she said. “Tell your b—- to stop looking at me,” the man told the woman’s girlfriend, whom he knew from high school.

The woman said she did her best to ignore him but he kept following. Her girlfriend tried to reason with the man, asking him to leave the couple alone, the woman said.

But then a second man came up, cursing both of the women, and the first man took a swing and punched the woman, she said. The couple said they fought back and other men quickly joined in, dragging the women apart.

The couple struggled to get back together, pressed against a car as the beating continued and no one came by to help, the woman said. “I didn’t think we were going to make it out,” she said.

Finally, one of the men said the police were coming. The attackers, laughing, fled in one direction and the women went the other way. Both women had lost their shoes in the scramble, and someone had ripped one of the victim’s shirt off. The men stole their phones and cash.

Governors of Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin have all signed bills limiting access to abortion

The Texas bill would ban abortions after 20 weeks, and restrict when women can take abortion pills. It would also only allow abortions in surgical facilities, and require doctors to have admitting privileges at area hospitals. These provisions would likely close 37 of the state’s 42 abortion clinics because the cost of compliance would be too high.

Last week, as a part of the state budget, Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich signed new abortion restrictions into law. Women in the state will now be required to undergo an ultrasound before an abortion, and an abortion clinic’s ability to transfer patients to public hospitals will be limited. It would also effectively defund Planned Parenthood and other family planning groups.

Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker also signed a bill last week that would restrict abortions in his state, requiring doctors to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 minutes of their clinic.

Ohio Republicans protect boats, but not uteruses, from intrusive searches

The new law “eliminates these intrusive searches,” said Republican State Rep. Damschroder, the bill’s sponsor.

Because if there’s anything Ohio’s Republicans hate it’s “intrusive searches” – unless, of course, those searches are focused on women’s reproductive systems.

Scott Walker Quietly Signs Bill Requiring Ultrasounds For Wisconsin Abortions

Gov. Scott Walker quietly signed a contentious Republican bill Friday that would require women seeking abortions to undergo an ultrasound and ban doctors who lack admitting privileges at nearby hospitals from performing the procedures.

Arizona Republicans Propose Bill That Would Not Allow Atheists To Graduate High School

A group of Arizona politicians… have proposed a law (House Bill 2467) requiring public high school students to recite the following oath in order to graduate:
I, _______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; So help me God.

(I dislike the title of this article. I’m not an atheist, and it would be a hypocrite to say this oath too. It also wouldn’t prevent atheists from graduating. Instead, what it would do is make anyone who actually does believe in the Constitution of the United States and understand the Bill of Rights say something against their will because of their government’s law. It’s just sad.)

Supreme Court rules Drug Companies exempt from Lawsuits

…the US Supreme Court also made a ruling on lawsuits against drug companies for fraud, mislabeling, side effects and accidental death. From now on, 80 percent of all drugs are exempt from legal liability.

In a 5-4 vote, the US Supreme Court struck down a lower court’s ruling and award for the victim of a pharmaceutical drug’s adverse reaction. According to the victim and the state courts, the drug caused a flesh-eating side effect that left the patient permanently disfigured over most of her body. The adverse reaction was hidden by the drug maker and later forced to be included on all warning labels. But the highest court in the land ruled that the victim had no legal grounds to sue the corporation because its drugs are exempt from lawsuits.

Besides the larger implications of this, I keep thinking about the poor woman who… what? Now has to pay back the money she was awarded for winning the first lawsuit? Presumably it’s already put towards living and medical expenses?

Breastfeeding Viewed as Potential Terrorist Activity by New York Country Club

…Remans began to discreetly breastfeed her daughter Luka at the table.

Neijens, first secretary of the Belgium Mission to the UN, told the New York Post that a female employee of the club quickly interrupted Roseline’s perfectly legal and proper feeding of her baby with this sharp rebuke:

“Please leave immediately, you are disturbing the members!”

When Neijens protested and said it would only take a few minutes, the female staffer insisted that Remans finish in the restroom.

Understandably incredulous at the blatant ignorance on display at such a high end establishment, Mr. Neijens inquired why a baby would be asked to have lunch in the restroom when adults are not.

The Greenburgh Police Department arrived minutes later with Detective Scott Harding apparently yelling, “Close the doors!” with two other diners ordered to leave the terrace…

The officer warned the couple that they were trespassing despite the fact that country club staff had given them specific permission to dine. He also said that some fearful members thought Mr. Neijens’ black backpack indicated they were terrorists.

Hollie McNish, Poet Shamed By Breastfeeding In Public, Has The Last Word (VIDEO)

I thought it was OK.
I could understand the reasons.
They said: there might be a man or nervous child seeing this small piece of flesh that they weren’t quite expecting.
So I whispered and tiptoed with nervous discretion.
But after 6 months of her life sat sitting on lids,
Sipping on milk, nostrils sniffing on piss,
Trying not to bang her head on toilet roll dispensers,
I wonder if these public loo feeds offend her,
‘Cause I’m getting tired of discretion and being polite.
My baby’s first sips are drown-drenched in shite…

The Game

My biggest issue with my new love interest is that he insists on ‘just dating’ (rather than being in a relationship) even though we’re now going on three months.

I don’t take issue with much. I don’t sweat the small stuff. Snoring? I can deal with that. I wear earplugs.

I’m not the kind of woman that still believes that someday soon before I die some guy will come into my life that is perfect in every way including no snoring. Having flaws is part of being human. If it even were possibly to be that perfect, too perfect is ultimately unattractive since you can’t connect with someone you can’t relate to. How could you relate to an perfect person when you have your own baggage and regiment you follow for self-improvement?

So now that I’m entirely off topic, it’s not just that which makes me uncomfortable, hesitant, and slightly distant. The whole only seeing each other even though we spend a lot of time with each other and have become close is part of it. The other part is part of the why he insists on this.

Part of what makes up his self-improvement regiment is that he wants to learn to be good with women, and he’s got it in his head that he has to learn about women by dating a lot of women.

I didn’t know about this when we first started seeing each other, but he is part, or is learning to be a part of, a secret society of pickup artists. Really. I’m serious. Stop laughing. He goes to these meeting things every Tuesday night that I can only guess is where a bunch of guys sit in a circle and talk about how to figure out and get into womens’ panties and build their own self confidence to do so.

Life is so weird, I couldn’t make this stuff up.

He belongs to an online forum for them, they call them lairs (seriously, stop laughing). He has a bunch of books in his house on the subject of picking up women complete with workbooks and cheesiness. I raised my eyebrows at this the first time I was over his house and laughed:

“AD&D Players Handbook Third Edition… Oracle SQL Interactive Workbook… Visual Basic .Net Programmer’s Reference… The Art of Japanese Swordsmanship… Business Plans for Dummies… A Complete Hacker’s Handbook… Palmistry… How to Attract Anyone, Anytime, Anyplace…?”

…and there were worse sounding titles than that.

Until then, minus all of my art books, and a different flavor of programming books, the library reads similar to mine. I expect the nightstand to have porn, but all of the sex self help wasn’t as expected. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about self help. I’ve read interpretations of the Kama Sutra. I approve of that.

I picked up some and read chapters of some of the books he has, but I’ve been avoiding anything too sketchy looking. Anything with the implications that it’s one of those pick up artist (PUA) guides makes me a little leery.

It’s maybe like getting to know someone and getting real close and then finding out they belong to a cult. I’m trying not to judge, but anything that calls itself a secret society registers as cultish anyways. Anything that is dedicated to getting women in bed makes my feminist sensibilities hurt. The fact that I’ve gotten this close to someone who belongs to any kind of secret society makes me nervous. The fact I’ve gotten this close to someone who I guess is some kind of player in training is just… I don’t even know.

Like I’ve said, I’ve been meeting some of the friends. One of them I’ve been over his house a few times on my own to hang out, make cookies, and watch X-men. It occurred to me before I met him that it could be a fellow PUA. As I was meeting him, it didn’t take me long, I was sure. I didn’t see the tell-tale books about his house, but I did spy a magazine on his coffee table that told all. When I picked on him for it, he told me he read it for the cool gadgets they show every issue. I’m sure he also get’s porn for the articles too, right? I told him to stop acting ashamed about it- if you’re going to be something be it. I may not understand the scene at all, know much about it, or even approve once I get to know more, but if you’re choosing to be something, you better be okay enough with it to be able to say, “Yeah, so, and? Fuck you if you don’t approve.”

He asked me how much the boy had told me about PUA. I told him truthfully that I’ve been told nothing directly, but I did find his blog which talks a about it complete with thick jargon without a glossary.

What I didn’t go on about was that I’m smart, though. I read books. I surf the internet. I’ve read between the lines on things he’s talked about with self-improvement and groups things that have helped him. I even read between the lines when he tries something out on me. I know that some things are his own creation, and some things are from things he’s learned that he wants to try out (and some things a combination of the two).

Really, though, I don’t know enough about PUA and the more secretive people act, the closer I get to the boy, the more I want to know.

This friend of the boy’s was asking how much I was told as if he would then turn around and give the boy a talking to. It seemed like he disapproved that the boy leaves stuff around. Maybe he was just disgusted at the lack of style, or maybe he was worried he would reveal their secrets or something.

And yet, he was the one who gave me the idea where to start researching.

A book has come up a bunch, and the friend has it listed as his favorite book. I’m not going to read every book, system, and watch every DVD and video clip at the boy’s house. I’d rather read and study the SQL books, but I probably won’t do that either. Still, I want a better understanding of the thing that makes me uncomfortable about a person I am getting closer to as time goes on. He won’t talk about it, so this book seems like a good place to start.

Don’t get me wrong. Dating and meeting his friends and having him meet my friends and taking trips, it’s taking up a lot of my time. I don’t want to spend all of my time researching this and trying to understand him. I still need to focus on me and my goals. I know my blog has been hijacked by him in this indirect fashion lately, but it’s an outlet to keep it him from distracting me the rest of the time. If it doesn’t go into words on here or on paper, it stays in my head playing a bad game of Breakout. Boing, boing. Get the picture?

The title of the book is The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists. Okay, now you’re laughing again.

I just started reading it, and am doing so slowly and hesitantly. It’s like the time I tried reading the Bible (Old to New Testament). I didn’t get far. I did it with the idea that doing so would give me a better understanding and respect for people who chose to follow it. At some point while reading, it started to do the opposite. Then I realized most people who call themselves religious or followers of the Bible have read snippets at best, so reading it wasn’t going to help me understand them anyways.

I hope this doesn’t do the same, but if it does, then I at least will be able to have a rational issues with it. Right now it’s more that I’m wary of it because I don’t get it, and I shouldn’t be afraid of it for those reasons. I don’t understand why when things are going so well between us, when he has no time for much else, when he has other more important seeming goals that he feels like he needs to spend time seeing other women or study being a PUA. Who knows if he actually does even see other women. If he does I don’t know when he has time to. It’s not something I want to ask about because it’s not something I think I’d really want to know the specifics of.

Maybe it has something to do with building self confidence and stroking ego. Maybe it has to do with exploring masculinity and breaking away from societies conventions and definitions of what being man means, though one could argue PUA is just following yet another ‘supposed to’ for men. Right now, though, I don’t have much of a basis for my ideas, so I begin to read.

My first impression of the book left me both impressed and disgusted:

If you are reading this, I want you to know I wasn’t running game on you. I was being sincere. Really. You were different.

I laughed and threw up a little in my mouth.

But then he quotes The Feminine Mystique:

Men weren’t really the enemy- They were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.

Food for thought, yes, I do believe sexism is not just an issue that women face. Men have their own stereotypes and issues to overcome that I will never fully know or understand having faced my own journey being a woman. I’m not sure what this has to do with the game exactly, yet, but the use of the quote does intrigue me. Is it a rationalization for behavior, or a statement that the Game is learning to breaking from it?

You might be wondering why I don’t discuss this with the boy, as communication is the way as I’ve said over and over on the blog. The answer is that it’s a secret society. I can’t even get him to say what really goes on Tuesday nights. The only reason I know he meets with a group was vague answers, and then once I’d assumed he was doing worse things, he clarified.

I have tried to push this with direct questions as well as jibes and joking and so far I haven’t been able to draw him into conversation on the subject, so I will continue my outside research.

Maybe you think I should leave this alone, but I’m not one for ignorance. If I’m going to be with someone who plays this game, I want to know what it is.

Blue is for Boys

…and a man asked, “Why are girl geeks so rare?”

…and all the women in IT and other geek fields raised their heads just far enough to roll their eyes, give the ‘for real?’ look, blink, sigh, giggle, give the evil eye, laugh, rant about feminism, turn it into a ‘your mom’ joke (“…because we were all too busy with your mom for her to have a daughter after giving birth to you”), etc.

A similar question could be asked about a LOT of things if you just missed the fact that all kinds of sexism is still out there.

Some of the hottest topics in the U.S. right now are womens’ rights over their own bodies and whether people who don’t want to have and guy-girl marriage have a right to do so. Some of the hottest topics in the world are whether or not women have the right to even make their own decisions and live if they try to.

It is always surprising, yet not surprising, that people miss what gender identities other than strait male, go through. They want to know why they don’t see it, and my easiest answer is that it isn’t happening to you or you’re so conditioned to accept it, that it is no longer an issue.

Women accept that they are no good with technology, or cars, or sports, or other ‘guy things’ from a young age. And then there are people like me that you wonder if we’re into it just because it was implied that we weren’t supposed to be.

Not all sexism really bothers me. It’s not worth my life, my energy, being negative to get worked up about even little thing. Some people do that, and in doing so miss the real stuff. They are too busy concentrating on the small symptoms rather than the real disease. I’m not talking about a ‘your mom’ joke or ‘that’s what she said’, though those sorts of things exist instead of ‘your dad’ or ‘that’s what he said’ and one wonders why even if just a little.

Just like homosexuals are more concerned with having equal rights, getting and keeping jobs, and feeling safe than whether or not they say ‘gay’ in a certain way at, I am not going to care if you hold the door for me or not.

I’m talking about the sorts of things that allow the initial question to be asked. How does it happen that women have an extreme less of a chance to have certain careers, that are well within their abilities, in their future?

I could fill this post with stories of my own experiences. Explain I’ve seen sexism and sexism be enabled by guys and gals alike. Yes, many women help sexism along plenty. But I think really what I am trying to say is…

Really? You don’t know that sexism is alive and well?

If that’s the case, open your eyes a bit wider, read a little, listen a little harder. Even if it is not happening to you, you should be able to see it and empathize and even help stop it in some small way.

Since you’ve asked the question, I guess you’ve decided for some reason to care. Asking this question has likely lead you to see it (or marked your really seeing it for the first time). You don’t need to look far to get some whys.

However, there is no real satisfactory answer to why are world is filled with prejudice. Why don’t people don’t treat people as just people? I don’t know.

Why do we have to arbitrarily label, categorize, and judge each other as being inferior?

I don’t know. I wish we’d stop, or at least try. I think that’s where I get mad and pick my battles is when people don’t even care enough to give a sincere effort to be more sensitive to what fills someones shoes. Take a moment to think about what it takes to walk their mile, especially since we have the power to make that easier for everyone with so little effort.

And with that, I will vacate my soapbox for the time being.

To change gears into something more silly while maybe getting a glimpse of walking even a tiny bit in a woman’s shoes, check out this Smartest Man in the World podcast. It’s one of my favorites. That Rory is one funny guy. :)

Bodies – Chapter 2: Relating & Unrelated

This is the second installment of a novel I’m writing called Bodies. You can read chapter one here. Feel free to comment. This is a work in progress and any insights could be helpful.

– – – – –

Silvie had begun to read and stopped twice now. The first time her voice faded off as she stared at the girl and wondered. The second time she just lost interest and desire to recite the written words she was not sure the girl could hear.

“You love torturing yourself, don’t you?” Silvie jumped and spun around. Phil was leaning in the doorway, arms crossed around a clipboard.

“No,” Silvie snapped, “I’m just curious.”

Phil put the clipboard down on an end table and sat in the chair next to Silvie’s as if her anger was an invitation, “Do you expect her to wake up and give you answers? She’ll likely never come out of it, and even if she did, she’s likely moderately to severely brain damaged. Who knows if she’ll be able communicate or remember anything.”

“Still,” Silvie held her ground, “I’m allowed to visit her and wonder.”

“Yeah, of course, I never said you weren’t!”

“Really?” sarcasm crept into Silvie’s voice, “I talked to Bonnie.”

“I was just trying to protect you, Silvie,” Phil’s smile was as soft as his voice, “I’ve come to care about you quite a bit.”

“Well, next time you care about me so much that you want to control me, save yourself the effort,” Silvie blurted bitterly. She grabbed her book and shoved it into messenger bag, getting up to leave.

“Hey!” Phil grabbed her arm, and Silvie pulled her arm away forcefully, “What the hell’s gotten into you?”

Silvie rolled her eyes, and any guilt she felt about snapping was rushed away by righteous anger, “Feminism,” she explained as she stormed out the door.

Silvie supposed Phil would get over his ‘caring’ and stop speaking to her, which made her anger drop down into sadness as the elevator made its way to the ground floor.

“Good job, Silvie. You managed to loose a friend to defend your relationship with a girl in a coma.”

“He’s an asshole,” she explained to no one in particular as the elevator jerked and came to a halt, “Macho. Definatly not my type.”

Her actions properly rationalized, she made her way into the crisp late afternoon and down the steps wondering if Andorra’s was open.

* * *

“Man, I just don’t get women,” Phil was off work and sitting in a local pub called Bernies with his friend Matt. Phil knew the man would have nothing more sage than that to say, but it felt good telling someone his frustrations regardless.

“How can you say that?” Phil cracked open a peanut, “You’re married.”

“I thought that was the first clue that I don’t have any good advice,” Matt chuckled and leaned back in his barstool, precariously balancing with his foot on the bar.

“Don’t worry, my man, you’re off the hook. I don’t need advice, just to blow off some steam.”

“We could always go to the strip joint,” grinned Matt devilishly. Phil snorted, “Yeah, well, I wasn’t being serious anyways. Jenny would divorce me for less.”

“How would she even know?” Phil’s mouth was full of peanuts. He washed them down with his beer.

“That is one of the mysteries of the universe, Phil. She just would.”

“Huh,” Phil’s eyes wandered to the flat screen TV across the room.

“Look,” said Matt rubbing his eyes, “If you like her, just keep at it. Women are moody. Maybe she’s on the rag.”

“How philosophical of you,” Phil’s eyes never left the screen. It was a commercial for something that made people dance and he was trying to guess what it was before the commercial was over.

“Har-dee-har. No, we leave the tough thinking to you, Phil. That’s why your mom named you that. Phil the philosophical,” Matt laughed at his own joke.

“Yeah? Well, you know what your mom calls me?”

“Phht. I gotta take a leak,” Matt pulled himself out of his leaning bar-stool position by grabbing the bar and slammed down the rest of his beer before heading to the men’s room.

Phil in truth felt a bit better, but he also didn’t want to think about it anymore. Everything he did or said to Silvie was always wrong. He tried to be sensitive and caring and it somehow came off as manipulative.

Maybe I’m trying to hard with the touchy-feely approach. Maybe I should just try the classics: flowers, chocolate, dinner… If Silvie wants to make herself miserable, let her do it and get over it herself.

It’s not my problem.