Monday, August 22, 2011


There is a pretty consistent rhetoric that is inexorably present in mass media coverage of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment cases, which is that the "incident" itself is but a moment in time, therefore short-lived and easily brushed aside; meanwhile, the accusation itself of committing such an atrocity follows the unfortunate soul throughout the rest of his/her life, branding them for all of society to scorn and dismiss them at will.

This argument makes no sense.

In order for the latter to be true, that is, that being accused of such a crime carries with it the implication that the person may have done something unforgivable, the former must not be true. In other words, if being raped, or sexually assaulted, or sexually harassed is not a big deal, then being accused of rape, or sexual assault, or sexual harassment should also be not a big deal, because the crime itself is not a big deal.

This is rape culture.

This is the type of cognitive dissonance that we absorb and dispense when we treat victims of these crimes as if they are the true criminals for having the gall to accuse someone of harming them.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Mainstream niche

Full disclosure: the following post is probably going to be at least a little bit hipstery and douchey.

I'm not the first person on the internet to write about this, but it is something that I find a little bit amusing. There is this phenomenon where there are certain things that are pretty damn popular and mainstream, that people for some reason treat like they are eccentric or unique tastes. A popular example that comes to mind is Star Wars. I hear people all the time say things like, "Oh, I'm such a geek -- I love Star Wars!" It always makes me think, "Dude, EVERYONE likes Star Wars. It's not exactly offbeat and geeky if EVERYONE likes it." Which isn't to say that people shouldn't like it, because obviously Star Wars is awesome. It's just that I don't necessarily think liking it earns you geek cred. And I also think it's kind of weird in general that people are clamoring all over themselves to earn geek cred. Didn't it used to be that being a geek was kind of a weird thing? Does real geekery even exist anymore if geek = mainstream? Does it even matter? People have been fighting against "labels" for so long, mostly by reclaiming tarnished labels, that maybe in the end the thing that makes the most sense is for people to be mainstream and geeky, popular and nerdy, weird and cool, all at the same time.

Another one is Daft Punk. A performance group used a Daft Punk track from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack on So You Think You Can Dance last week, and I read a few responses online implying how unexpected and awesome it was that a Daft Punk tune appeared on the show. My reaction was like, "First things first -- Daft Punk is an insanely popular group. Pretty much every oxygen-breathing organism on this planet has heard of them. Secondly, you're talking about a song from a very well-known, heavily marketed, rather successful Disney movie as if no one will have any idea what it is." Foolishness, I tell you! And given what I wrote up there, I guess it really doesn't matter whether they're "popular" and "mainstream" or not. I just can't help but laugh a little to myself when people treat these very popular entities as if they have some kind of subcultural cache.

Anyway, so this will be one of those posts that really doesn't have much of a point to it, other than being my less-funny version of a standup routine where they make all of these humorous observations about life and people's little oddities.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beer blog problem - fixed!

Well, in a way. The way I "fixed" it was just to port everything over here, to blogger.

So if you're actually interested in reading my beer musings (including the incredibly hilarious aspect of me trying to pick apart scents and flavors,) feel free to head on over and comment too, if you wish!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You suck at puns

Okay, here's something really quick, given my propensity to be ranting about something at any given time:

I see this a lot and it makes me squirm. I know that young progressives hate Fox News, but when you're trying to capture the intellectual upper ground, PLEASE don't go for the low-hanging fruit and call it "Faux News." For one thing, it's so old hat. For another thing, you guys do know how to pronounce "faux," right? It's just not a successful play on words if it requires you to willfully mispronounce the word to get the joke.


Oh my god, can you believe I last published in April? I knew it had been awhile, but I had no idea it was that long ago that I last sat down and gave myself the pleasure of hearing my own e-voice at length.

So, what's new around here?

I finally made it to Europe with Casper, a trip I was looking forward to for years. I enjoyed meeting his grandparents, who were genuinely wonderful people, with a FANTASTIC foliage-filled backyard. I hope someday to cultivate a green thumb like his grandfather's.

I'm still chugging away at school with no publications in sight. It was at this time a year ago that I was in the thick of my first big project, which unfortunately turned up no meaningful results in early 2011, forcing me to approach my data at another angle. That "other angle" is also turning out to be a royal pain. One of my assays is hopelessly unreliable and I've just been testing conditions to get it to work for the last two months. I'm not even actually using my sample set yet, just testing small batches! It's quite frustrating, but I'm closer than ever to having good working conditions, so hopefully in the next few weeks I'll actually be able to begin the real work and start seeing usable results.

I took the written portion of my qualifying exam in the beginning of June, which explains some of my radio silence on here -- I spent a good portion of May studying for this thing, and though I didn't divorce myself from the Internet entirely, I was too drained to devote a lot of brain energy to blogging. Thankfully, I found out a few weeks ago that I passed! So that part is done and over with, but I still have to complete the oral portion at some time in September. This part basically requires that I do a grant-style proposal for my thesis project to my committee of advisors. So that should be interesting. I obviously know my project very well, but I do tend to panic and freeze when I am put on the spot. Public speaking training much?

I'm also finding myself potentially having to move AGAIN. My current roommate has decided to take the plunge and move in with her boyfriend, so while I'm hoping to find someone to move in here and take her spot, I'm not getting a lot of interest yet and may unfortunately have to clear out of here and find myself an affordable one bedroom or studio. GOOD LUCK! And too bad, because I really am quite settled here. I don't want to move too far away from where I am now. I really like my location and have grown very attached to some of my neighborhood spots (Eagle Rock Brewery, I'm looking at you!)

That seems to be as good of a summary as possible of my little life since April. I can't promise anything, but maybe I'll get back into some more interesting commentary when I'm done with qualifying exams round 2.