Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I was thisclose to Hillary today! Details and pics to come, but I have to admit I got a little choked up hearing all the talk about all she's done for advancing the cause of women. I know Hillary isn't perfect, but it's incredibly hard to stand up to the kind of beating she did, and it'll only be easier next time. It's also nice to have something positive in our daily feminist life--you can lose sight of that amid all the sexism.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Other Blog

So many blog posts, so little life. (I'm really going to regret the fact that I spent all night blogging and not, say, out buying cereal, in the morning.)

I finally have an official policy regarding my other blog, AAUW Dialog. That's right, I'm a some-time blogger, full-time editor for the organization (stalkers welcome).

I'd like to be able to link and cross post some of my work there here, because I'm doing all that work, and I may as well get max benefit. Plus that way I can blog on the clock! But this is my personal blog, and as such, my views are not representative of the organization as a whole, and in no way should they be construed as the opinions of AAUW. For example, I still wish we'd called it the BLAAUWG instead of Dialog...

I'm also going to try to cross post relevant stuff to the new Feministing Community, because I love them over there.

I Do Have a Wedding Problem

Get it? I do?

Little did I know, as I was posting my latest wedding screed, the Post had a big article up on the front page of the business section about the latest wedding trend--frugality! (Apparently, I subscribe to the Sunday Post for nothing, as I can't even manage to read it the day they validate me. I mean my views on weddings)

I know you know I hate weddings (my co-worker came into my office today to tell me my anti-wedding mania was getting a little out of hand) but I really wanted to highlight one quote from the article:
Experts say there are many ways to cut wedding costs. "This is the time to prioritize what you need and realize that there is always something in your budget" to economize, [Richard] Markel [director of the Associaion for Wedding Professionals] said.
That is my problem with weddings. Markel's statement has always been true about weddings, long before a crippling recession hit, but his industry has made a fortune preying off of ugly stereotypes, faux traditions, selfishness, and rampant greed and consumerism. The wedding industry has made billions of dollars convincing families that they need to spend outrageous amounts of money (whether they can afford it or not) for their special day.

And, as a commenter on my AAUW blog pointed out, it has also created a gross sense of entitlement on the part of the couple, but I would argue that extends to the guests. Don't you dare skimp on the alcohol or entertainment, or we're going to be talking about you later.

I love parties, I really do, but the wedding culture coupled with the recent economic boom was an ugly mix, and I'm not sorry to see it go. Consumerism and corporate greed turned weddings--occasions that should be joyous and loving--into something ugly and competitive and cripplingly expensive for most of the population.

So go ahead and get married. I know you're going to. (Though keep dissemination of pictures of yourself kissing your beloved to a minimum, please.) But keep in mind that cheaper weddings are so hot right now, and that every dollar you save can be spent on the quality of your life, not just the quality of one day.

Clothing Optional Fridays

I ride my bike to work, as I kind of previously mentioned. I don't want to sweat through my work clothes, so I wear bike shorts and a t-shirt. Every morning I pack up my work clothes for the day and change at the office. Summer is great, because I can usually just jam a lightweight, space-efficient dress into my bag and ride away. Curse you, winter and your bulky layers!

But sometimes, like today, I forget things. It's really only a matter of time until I completely forget a change of clothes. So far I've managed to avoid that, but I have forgotten, on separate occasions, underwear and a bra. I wore my sports bra on my bike, and when I got to work I just kept it on, even though the light blue material hardly matched the v-neck dress I was wearing. Oh well. I've actually forgotten underwear a few times now, so I finally gave up and started wearing a pair under my bike shorts. Better safe than sorry when it comes to undies, I always say.

Today I just forgot the belt that goes with a dress. It's look-changing, but hardly life-changing. I'll let you know how it goes the day I forget my pants.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weddings Kinda Make Me Barf

The first in a series of things that make me throw up in my mouth a little: weddings!

Not your wedding, of course, but weddings in general. (I don't think I hate marriage either, but I do hate the social fixation on partnering. Single people are people too, people!)

I blogged about the implicit cost of weddings on my other blog, but there are actually quite a few reasons I don't have much interest in getting married myself. I'll make a long story short: most of my reasons boil down to the fact that everything about weddings has become so hokey and un-unique in their quest for uniqueness that I can't stand it.

For example, yesterday SP got a save-the-date magnet from a friend. There are not one, not two, not three, but FOUR pictures of the happy couple smooching and/or embracing on the magnet. Gross. I don't know these two people, but even if I did, I wouldn't want a picture of them kissing, let alone FOUR pictures of them kissing, on my refrigerator. But guess what I have now. ("How else will we know they're in love?" SP asked in response to my questioning the poses.)

And their website, prominently displayed on the save the date (bad design), is even better. Actually, it's amazing.

There you can see all the "couples" pictures (her quotes, not mine) that they took two weeks before (????) they got engaged. That's another thing about weddings I don't understand: weird, soft-focus pictures. And I certainly don't understand getting them taken just for the hell of it. Under each picture in the slide show are some of the lyrics to the song Forever. It took me a while to place it, but I finally did.

Then there's the story of how they met and got engaged. Despite the fact that I've never met either member of the happy couple, I'm pretty sure that both of these stories have been whitewashed to some extent. (Though she did say her favorite casual-dining restaurant is Olive Garden, so maybe not.)

This website is inspiring. It almost makes me want to get married, just so I can post my version of how we met. It'll go something like this:

SP got wasted and told my roommate that I was cute. Once I remembered exactly who SP was, I was flattered. After a few weeks of hanging out, I dressed up like a hooker and he put on a fat suit, and we both got wasted, and I told him that no one needs a hooker like a fat guy, and then we made out in his living room in front of everyone I know, including my younger sister. The next day, in the harsh light of morning, we went to Lost Dog Cafe, one of our favorite casual-dining restaurants.

My parents are so proud. And yes, I did whitewash that. It was a Halloween party, and some dude tried to pick me up in my Capitol Hill neighborhood as I walked to my car in my hooker garb. And SP and I danced to Rock Your Body a few times before I finally made my move. And I made cupcakes. Fat guys love cupcakes.

So, as you can see, I really have no need to get married. I'm enough of an asshole already.

(And seriously, none of this is personal. All my married friends are absolutely lovely. It's the wedding-industrial complex I hate.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Share the Road

The other day I almost pulled a Bob Novak--except I was on my bike, not in my performance Chevrolet sports car.

Except whereas good ol' Bob took a right turn into an 86-year-old homeless man, who had the right of way, I almost collided with a young yuppie chatting on his cell phone, who stood on the sidewalk until I had the light, then stepped out directly in front of me.

He gave me a nasty look as I stopped abruptly and fell off my pedals, then he continued to cross against the light. I turned around to see him jog to the island in the middle of the road as two lanes of rush hour traffic blocked his path.

Have I mentioned that DC has probably the easiest-to-read, most-pedestrian-friendly crossing signals in the country? To walk out in front of oncoming traffic, this guy waited as the signal ticked down from about 14 to the solid red hand and 00--then kept waiting for the few seconds both lights were red, and then! he started walking.

He's lucky I'm not as quick on the pedal trigger as the guy in the lime green mustang who almost hit me last week. And that I was riding the wrong way down a one-way street, giving him time to get to that island unscathed.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Convenient Gender Roles

Yesterday my partner, SP, spent the better half of the day installing our new medicine cabinet. I spent that same time lounging on the couch, alternately reading, sleeping, and half-heartedly asking SP if he needed any help.

Now, am I capable of hanging a medicine cabinet? I'm going to say probably yes. I love building things, and I'm really good at following directions. But did I want to hang the medicine cabinet? Hell no. So I let my man go about his man's work. He called me when he needed me to hold something and my fingernails to peel the double-sided tape.

As I dozed, I thought about the fact that I was letting my laziness get the better of my ideology. So I think I deserved the slap in the face wake up call that the Washington Post published yesterday. One in a series about the global food crisis (which I'll be blogging about on my other blog which shall not be named--that's still not an official policy, I just like calling it that), the article talks about how, as food becomes less and less affordable, women give up their share so their husbands and children can eat. The woman in the article gets up before dawn to sweep the streets and makes $10 a month to do so. Then she and a co-wife, who also sweeps streets, use their earnings to feed their husband, another wife who has gone blind, and their many children.

It's a pretty stark reminder of how lucky we in the United States are (though don't think there aren't people experiencing abject poverty here), and it's a pretty good example of how, when you improve the lives of women, you improve the lives of everyone.

Now, considering the fact that SP makes up anywhere from 50 to 100 percent of my readership, I think I owe him an apology for my laziness yesterday and a thank you for the fact that, overall, we have a pretty fair, equitable relationship. I just made dinner, but he's emptying the dishwasher as I type.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Civic Duty: LaVena Johnson Letter

Dear Sens. Warner and Web and Rep. Moran,

I'm writing to add my voice to the growing support to open a congressional investigation into the death of Private LaVena Johnson. My understanding of the situation indicates that there are many unresolved questions about her supposed suicide, and her family deserves to have those questions answered.

We have a duty to protect our enlisted women. The fact that numerous women have been assaulted or killed at the hands of their fellow servicemen is horrifying and obviously cause for great concern. What kind of "liberators" are we if we're allowed to treat our women like that and get away with it?

For obvious reasons, we need all the soldiers we can get. And we need to keep all of those soldiers as safe as possible, and that includes realizing that "the enemy" may not be the only person who poses a threat to our enlisted women (and men, for that matter).

Please take this first small step toward preventing more harm to female soldiers. Please open an investigation into LaVena Johnson's death.

Thank you,

Alexandria, VA

Please take a minute to e-mail your members of Congress and let them know that you support an investigation into Johnson's death. You can copy and paste my letter, but they really only listen when you take the time to add some of your own words.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Future Is Here!

The distant future. I came ridiculously late to the gmail game--so late that I was unable to get a useable address. My name is apparently so common that I'm now stuck with a scramble of my nickname and middle initial--something I'd never use in real life--or a handle identical to that of the hotmail address I've been using since I was 16.

So I come equally late to the blogosphere and find myself with a hyphenated URL. It could be much worse, and at least the original Lizard Writes is still active. Anyway, I got tired of holding my tongue on my work blog (I'm still debating whether or not to link to that) and decided I wanted a place for my ideas.

That's all for now. Oh, that and Batman was terrifying.