jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
So I'm depressed. I'm not going to get into the why of it, for assorted good, personal, reasons. However, it does inform my mood as the evening approached.

It's Saturday, and I've been a reasonably good boy regarding Weight Watchers. I figured I'd splurge on calories. Looking up places to eat, I find out a new restaurant from the folks who made an earlier favourite of mine.

I get seated immediately, and that's when the waiting started. Five minutes. Ten minutes. My server comes by and finally takes my drink order. Three women come in and are seated at the table next to me. They order their drinks. My drink arrives. They order their food. Fifteen minutes. I silently resolve to leave if their food gets to their table before the server takes my food order. Twenty minutes. Twenty-five minutes. Server comes by and takes my order, walks it to the open kitchen, hands it in, grabs food and delivers it to the table with the three women. Now I'm more angry because I irrationally feel my opportunity to walk out in a snit has been stolen from me.

Did I mention I've been depressed? I get angry and snappy when I'm depressed. Also, I emit lime green energy and start referring to people as "insignificant fools" like a Disney villain.

Here's the thing with the server - It's not like they just vanished. No, they were giving really good service to everyone else in their section. It's like, if they saw that anyone else in their section needed anything at all, that would take priority over me.

I'm not sure why they decided that I was the necessary sacrifice to give everyone else good service. Maybe it was because I was a solo diner. Maybe it was because I was reading a book. Maybe it's because I'm a monster. I can't read their mind, so I don't know. All I do know is that I was singled out.

My food showed up in a reasonable amount of time, relative to my order. My meal was small, but good. Unfortunately, by this time I'm hangry. I wolf the sandwich down, and don't really get an opportunity to enjoy it to its fullest. Eating it does take the edge off my hunger. Under other circumstances, I'd have stuck around and burned a ton of points on carrot cake. Instead, I just wanted out of there.

Naturally, I paid my bill just as the owner showed up, removing the option of a quick getaway. I guess I could have lied to her, but I have a difficult time lying convincingly.
"How was the meal?"
"The food was delicious."
...
"and the service was awful."
Immediately concerned, she asked how. I give the quick version of the above. I get up from the table and grab my stuff to leave. I realize that, although I'm not raising my voice, I have the undivided attention of everyone nearby. And suddenly, I'm severely anxious.
"Let me make it up to you."
"Thanks, but I've already paid my bill." (I just want to go outside)
"I'm sure we can work something out"
"No thank you." (I don't want people watching me for another second. Nothing you can give me is worth that)
"It'll just be a moment for me to get a gift certificate"
"No, that won't be necessary." (I'm going to snap at you if I have to stay here another second with everyone staring, and you don't deserve that)
I break away and leave, seconds away from an anxiety attack.

Another reason for not wanting a gift certificate is that I want them to understand that I really am disappointed in the service, and I'm not just trying to scam a free meal.

Looking back, I was clearly angry about a lot more than this meal. Did my server really deserve the shit they no doubt got? Yeah, they did. I was prepared to have a quiet, pleasant meal, and then I got ignored in favour of everyone else. My observation skills weren't so impaired that I can't recognize a snubbing. Also, It's not like I started snapping at people before all this happened. I was quiet, polite, and I'm not a high-maintainence customer - I don't expect my servers to bend over backwards for me. My restaurant needs are small. None of that should translate to ok-with-being-ignored.

Will I go back? Yeah, I will. The food's too good to give up. But If I get that same server, I'm asking for someone else.

In the mean time, I have to work through my current depression flare-up.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
Bree nominated me to post three things I hate. I originally did it on Facebook, but decided that it really deserved to be here since it meets my LJ guidelines. i.e. One sentence: Twitter. One paragraph: Facebook. One essay: Livejournal.

I hate lots of stuff. As long as the stuff I love outnumbers it, I should be good though, right? Anyway, here's three things with a bonus:

1) Thoughtless, inconsiderate drivers. This can have many manifestations: dangerous driving, cutting people off, passing in the douchebag lane, etc. I think it's the simplest is simply not signalling. When you consider the physical effort required to use your signals, this tells you they're the sort of person who will literally not lift a finger to help others.

2) Irrational arguments on the internet. It's like chewing on tinfoil to me. Examples include "I left my gun on the porch all day and it didn't kill anyone" or "here's a picture of a pit bull with a toddler and they're both perfectly fine". Counter arguments are so ridiculously easy that it makes me weep that a person would post the original argument in the first place.

2.5) Of a similar nature, chain posts like "repost this if you love mom and apple pie; if you don't repost you must hate motherhood" poke that same but that's illogical button in me. I do occasionally participate if it's something I'm particularly passionate about (anti-bullying campaigns for example), but I make it clear that I don't expect anyone else to participate.

3) The teachers I had in elementary school. The kids were just cruel in that kid way, but the grown-ups who stood by and watched as my self-esteem got systematically destroyed and I begged for their help... yeah. My only consolation is they're probably dead now. Good riddance.

I'm not too fussed about nominating people to participate. Do it if you'd like.
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
here is part two of the saga (part one is here). If you were paying attention to Facebook yesterday, you'll already know the short version.

I was pretty paranoid yesterday after confronting Haley about the thefts, so I drove to work and used the presence of my car to check up at the house every couple hours of so. I was pretty steamed and I had some dim thought that I'd catch her in the act of walking out of the house carrying the television set or something. No such luck.

Around three in the afternoon it occurred to me to go buy a camera for the house. I was still entertaining the thought that she'd pay me back and stick out the remaining 30 days to the end of the month. But having her stay for a month, and trusting her for a month are two different things.

I drove up to Costco and ended up buying a camera that I can use wirelessly (not really a hidden camera per se as it lights up like a Christmas tree when it's on). I had intended to just buy that one thing at Costco, but ended up buying ALL THE THINGS instead. Sigh, that's the way it goes with Costco.

Returning home I tossed my new swag onto the bed and stopped for a moment. A horrible idea had occurred to me - half my coin collection is next to the jar of change on my dresser. I turned to check and sure enough, it was gone too.

My coin collection is simple - I collect one coin, the 1973 RCMP commemorative 25-cent piece. Why that coin? No reason other than it's quasi-rare but still turns up randomly in circulation. I have over 300 of them. Or rather, I had over 300 of them. Now I have exactly 160 of them (four rolls, that were separate from the ones sitting in the tube on my dresser). And that's when I got really mad.

Seriously, those coins probably weren't much more than face value (mint ones are about $1.50 each, but I doubt I could get that for them if I took them to a dealer), but I'd be surprised if the person who took them even paid attention to what they were other than "stack of quarters". All told they were probably "worth" forty bucks. And I'd been collecting them for over twenty years. What the fuck is wrong with some people?

Now my mood had changed from "give me all my stuff back and you can stay until the end of October" to "give me all my stuff back and I might let you stay the night".

And then I thought "fuck it, I'm calling the cops".

Eventually the cops came and [livejournal.com profile] nosarious and I made our statements. The cops took notes. Odds of me getting back my jar of change or my coin collection? Basically nil. Chance of Ger getting back his two iPads? Slim, but not nil. He told them the serial numbers and apparently all the local pawn shops check these during the mandatory thirty day hold on such things. If someone tries to pawn his iPads in this city, he'll likely get them back, but that's a lot of assumptions about what someone might do with two iPads.

The cop agreed to talk to Haley and anyone she names as being with her the day the stuff got stolen, but unless someone says "hells yes, I'm guilty as sin", nothing much will happen. Still, I had to try.

As an aside, we were discussing Haley's age/appearance.
"How old do you think she is?", asked Constable N.
"I'd say late-thirties, maybe forty."
Ger looks at me like I'm nuts. "I'd say she was about 22."
Now Constable N is looking at both of us with a raised eyebrow.
"I guess I suck at judging ages", I say.
Maybe she is that young. If so, she's had a rough 22 years. Also, don't smoke kids.

The stress of the day and having to make a report to the cops, I took a walk to calm down. I returned and went to bed. During the night every little noise from upstairs woke me up (it was the other upstairs roommate, not Haley).

This morning I got Always Affordable Locksmiths to change the locks. They were quick and efficient and it only cost about $100. Thanks guys.

And then I pounded on Haley's door - on the off chance she was there - to kick her out. She wasn't. So I proceeded to stuff all of her crap into a heavy duty garbage bag. Pretty much, unless I knew it was mine (the ton of dirty dishes that had been moldering for god knows how long. Some of my DVDs) it got stuffed into the bag. Clothing mostly, but also her pillows and all of the garbage. I have no idea if she wanted to keep that half-full and month-old cup of Starbucks - she can make that decision herself when she opens the bag. I kept the recycling and the 65 cents in change I found. The greasy rabbit vibrator went on top, surrounded by a giant ball of hair.

I washed the hell out of my hands.

Finally I went to the local pizza joint where she said she worked. It turns out that she hasn't worked there in two months. I have no idea where she is, aside from not in my home. Her bag of crap will sit in the garage until November. If she gets in contact with me, she can have it back. There's nothing in the bag worth the $1500 + lost property to me. If she doesn't come back for it, I'll triage the bag and send anything valuable to Goodwill. Goodwill doesn't need to deal with her moldy Starbucks cups, I'm sure they get enough nameless horrors as it is. The latter is, I think, much more likely.

I wrote a nasty note to put into the bag for her to read. I decided to crumple it up after writing it. Apparently I just needed to write it out, not actually "send" it.

Ms. I-call-you-creepy-every-chance-I-get and Mr. Entire-room-is-shin-deep-in-garbage were bad tenants. Haley White was worse. Aaaaaand I'm done, unless I hear from her, in which case I'll let you know the further adventures of Deadbeat Girl.

Petty Theft

Oct. 2nd, 2013 10:20 am
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
For several months now I've had a problem tenant. Their rent cheque for August bounced and then they didn't even make an attempt at the September rent. I'm pretty easy going (and the tenant had a story about how her ex cleaned out their chequing account, hence the missing rent) and a soft touch, so I let it slide. After two months, my heart has hardened somewhat. On October 1st I left a note on her door indicating that she needs to pay all of the rent owing or I'm evicting her.

I'm at home playing on the computer and [livejournal.com profile] nosarious walks in.
"Have you seen my iPad?"
"Nope."
"I haven't seen it and it's not in any of the usual locations."
Aside from looking around a bit and seeing all the same spots he's already looked in, I've got nothing to add.
"It might be at my office in the University. I hope not - people tend to leave the office door propped open and you can see my desk right there."
"Do you usually leave your expensive gear on your desk?"
"Not usually. I'm going to drive there now and double check."
"You're that worried?"
"Here's the thing - the charger is gone too, and I leave that plugged into an outlet in my room."
Curious.

While [livejournal.com profile] nosarious is gone, problem tenant walks in.
"I'm really sorry about the missing rent - I'll have the money for you tomorrow."
"OK."
"Also, I'm getting a new place so I'm moving out at the end of the month."
"End of October?"
"Yes."
"OK."
Awesome, I think, I'm going to get a windfall tomorrow. And I've got a waiting list of people who want to move in who aren't sketchy anti-nerds. Win-win!

Later that night, as I'm heading off to bed, I notice something odd. The charger for my netbook is on the floor. Normally it's either plugged into outlet on the bedside stand, or it's sitting on top of the netbook itself (I don't leave it plugged in because the light bothers me at night). Maybe I just knocked it off the stand when I unplugged it? Possible, but I've never done that before. Anyway, I've been missing sleep because I've been playing on the netbook after going to bed, so I opted to put it away instead. No time like the present to reset a bad habit - the bed should be for sleeping, not farting around on Facebook. Besides, better sleep habits are another piece of breaking my current depressive incident.

Still, it's like someone was in my room. It just doesn't feel right. Now I'm getting a little paranoid - has one of the other tenants, or one of their guests been swiping things? No proof of that - just a niggling feeling in the back of my head combined with an iPad that might simply be misplaced.

This morning [livejournal.com profile] nosarious is still looking for his iPad, and he's more convinced that it's been taken - to the point where he's taking precautions with the rest of his stuff. I don't think he's over-reacting.

I go into the bathroom for my morning shower. The soap isn't in the soap dish (it's now in the shower) and some of the towels have been swapped out. Someone has been down using the shower and normally I'm the only one (everyone else uses the bigger bathtub upstairs). Fine, it's not a private shower or anything, but it adds to the someone's been messing with my stuff vibe.

I'm getting dressed in my room and something twings in the back of my mind. I have a large blue vase that I keep on my dresser where I dump my change every night. Last time I checked it was half full (so roughly two litres of change). I pick it up to find that it's empty.

Well now I have proof - someone has been in my room and they have been stealing stuff. Time to confront problem roommate. I go upstairs and knock on her door.
"Yes?"
"See this vase? It was half-full of change last time I checked, and now it's empty."
"..."
"Did you have people over yesterday?"
"Yeah..."
"Someone took my change. And someone took [livejournal.com profile] nosarious' iPad, and god knows what else. It needs to all be back here tonight."
Interestingly, there was no denial on her part. She simply said "OK, I'll handle it."

And now I'm at work, wondering if I should have left her there alone. I do know that unless I get the back rent and all the stuff returned, her stuff is going to be on the lawn in short order and I'm going to have the locks changed. Whether that's tonight, tomorrow or October 31st depends on how much gets done.

Thankfully the next tenant is someone I know.
jamesq: (Rage)
I failed to get up on time for my morning jog. Rather than skip it, I took my gym strip to work with the intent of running the long way back home (The long way involves Bowmont park and Dalhousie Station and is 7-8K, whereas the short way is only 3.5). Today I remembered why I jog early. People.

The run was mostly good, but I stopped running at 5k because one of my shielding bandaids sweated off. It was damned hot for this ginger.

Anyway, I'm walking across the bridge at Dalhousie station and there are lots of young ladies walking towards me dressed nicely - no doubt they're going Stampeding and want to look their best. Unfortunately there was this skeevy guy just ahead of me who decided to harass one of them. He simply veered directly into the path of one lone young women so that she had to squeeze/brush past him to get on her way. And this wasn't something one could mistake for anything other than harassment - there were only a handful of people on the bridge, and you can normally walk four abreast without touching. This guy had no excuse.

I was stunned, and didn't really know what to say or do. And then he sees I'm watching him so he addresses me, like I'm on his side.
"Heh, they don't like it when you do that."
"Do what?", I ask, wondering how he's going to justify it.
"When you point at them."
Leaving aside the fact that this guy did not just point at her, he came so close to groping her as to be a pedantic distinction rather than a real one.
"I. Guess. You. Shouldn't. Do. That. Then.", I enunciate.
"I don't care.", he says as he veers off
Dumbass creep. If you don't care, why are you looking for validation from me? Sadly, I didn't think to say that since I was still stunned. I also didn't say "Maybe you should grow up then", but sadly, perfect retorts only come minutes later.

Still, I'd rather have not needed to confront this guy. I might have been bigger than him, but I'm no fighter. I can't imagine what that poor woman must have felt. I hope it didn't ruin her night out.

Honestly, I don't know how women put up with that crap like that day after day after day. And to all the women I've ever creeped on - I'm sorry, I'll do better in the future.

Later, while walking up the hill to my house some woman parks her car, opens the passenger door to let her two dogs out. The tiny one is on a leash and the medium sized one immediately runs to jump me, barking furiously. I swing my groceries in between us but the dog keeps hoping around, looking for an opening.

Meanwhile, the owner is yelling at her dog to sit/heel/get back/whatever. The dog is ignoring her.
"Jesus Christ lady, fucking grab your dog already!"
She doesn't, but it finally backs away from me to her.
"Sit", she says.
It doesn't sit.
"Yeah, that's doing a lot of good. If you can't fucking control your dog, put it on a fucking leash."
"Sorry."
I don't point out that sorry won't help me if I'm getting stitches. Instead, I just move around her car and continue home.

I walk in the door to my home.
Gerry says, "Hello."
"You know what I hate?", I ask.
"What?"
"People."
jamesq: (An actual picture of me.)
I was walking to the Commercial/Broadway Skytrain today and didn't make it past the gauntlet. The gauntlet being the assorted panhandlers, hucksters and pollsters that inhabit the bridge over the Grandview Cut, where the station is built. A young woman is there with a clipboard and she managed to get my attention. Like an idiot, I let her.
There's a behavior that annoys me that I'm seeing more and more. Salespeople use it all the time now, especially if they work at mall kiosks that have a lot of foot traffic that goes by. It depends on there being a base level of social expectation in society. The young woman was using this method good and hard. I didn't follow the script though.

She started by asking my name. I didn't give it, instead saying she needed to make her pitch first. So she goes on to tell me about a charity. She asked lots of leading questions - questions designed to get me involved in a positive conversation about the charity. She described successful stories of the charity. She guesses (correctly) that I'm in favour of gender equality, education and democracy, and appeals to that sense of justice. She got into my personal space, looked me in the eye and smiled a lot. If her hands weren't occupied, I'm sure she'd have been repeatedly touching my arm.

It's simple really, it's feigned friendliness to draw you in so they have a greater chance of succeeding with their sales pitch. It depends on people responding properly, politely. I think it's ultimately going to hurt us all. We're engaged in a sort of behavior one-upmanship where salespeople are more and more aggressive and their marks become more and more callous to calls for help from strangers under the belief that those people are trying to trick them. It drives us all to be more rude and isolated from each other.

Now I don't deny that it works - if it didn't work, it wouldn't be used. And that doesn't mean that it has to work with everyone - it only has to work over a population, not the individuals in the population.

As an aside, when I was the social outcast as a child, this sort of behavior was used on me to make the bullying worse. Someone socially popular would "befriend" me, usually to get some kind of information out of me (that would be used against me) or to place me in a situation where I could be isolated or attacked. I fell for it a lot. I fell for it when I knew better, such is the desperate desire to be part of the group.

What that means is I'm hyper-alert to the tactic, and when I twig to it, I react very negatively to it. That's not to say that other people don't have a negative reaction to it, or that they're not alert to it when it happens, just that I, personally, have good reasons for reacting the way I do. I'm positive that plenty of the people reading this will agree with me about it without having to be a traumatic lesson from childhood.

Getting back to the young woman, she finally twigged to the fact that my not following the script was deliberate rather than me being obtuse.

"Now what could you buy me for $1.20?"

I don't respond. I am thinking that I'd rather not buy her anything at all.

"Um. pardon?", she asks when she interprets my failure to respond as her not hearing what I said. "So what could you buy me for $1.20?"

I dig my heels in, look her straight in the eye and don't say anything.

"Could you buy a... doughnut for $1.20?"

Another awkward moment passes.

"Um. I'm getting the feeling you're not interested in this charity."
Finally, I respond. "Quite the contrary, the charity seems reasonable. It's your approach that I don't like."

She's taken aback. "May I ask why?"

"Because this whole time you've been talking like you want to get to know me better, but what you really want is my money. That's dishonest. You've done it by feigning friendliness to get close to me and that's creepy. and it's all unnecessary - the charity speaks for itself and doesn't need you to trick me into supporting it. But now I'm in the awkward position of liking the cause, but not wanting to reward your methods."

Let's say the situation was somewhat reversed. Let's say I encountered this woman in a nightclub and I used all of the same tactics on her in an attempt to pick her up. I'd be rightly judged as a creepy PUA type who depended on the fact that people are socialized not to be confrontational to succeed.

I compromised by asking for how I could look it up later rather than sign my name to a form that would obligate me to donating over and over again.

It's hours later now and it still bothers me. First, I has overly critical to a front-line worker who was just doing her job. She didn't know she was stepping into my drama. It also bothers me that I care about that - that I'm worried about the feelings of someone who was trying to emotionally manipulate me. It makes me simultaneously guilty and angry. Finally, it depresses me to recognize that building this sort of emotional armour comes with a terrible cost - I'm bitter and paranoid. In this case, reasonably so, but how many people have I turned away because I've assumed the worst from them?

Boston

Apr. 15th, 2013 04:46 pm
jamesq: (Rage)
As I write this, the Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack is still an ongoing thing. Nobody really knows anything other than a couple bombs went off near the finish line and there have been a few deaths and more injuries.

Once again some asshole has decided on their own volition that we can't have nice things. Not just in the immediate sense that it's affected the victims in Boston. No, now everyone is going to have low-level paranoia revolving around every little footrace. I hate that - and not just because I routinely participate in foot races. It would be equally bad if it were at a dog show or a fantasy-football convention (I was going to say "movie premiere", but of course, that's already happened).

[speculation on who's responsible redacted, because wild-ass guesses don't help]

Hopefully law enforcement solves this crime right away and the criminals are swiftly apprehended.

As for avoiding races, please don't. I heard an interesting statistic a few years ago - don't know if it's true: The number of people who die over the course of a big race due to heart attacks is smaller than that of the same amount of people who don't run. That is to say, the per-capita rate of heart attacks over the five hours of a marathon is greater for the population at large than it is for race participants. Or more to the point, participating in the race is safer.

A few caveats about that. With regards to Boston specifically, they probably get less heart attacks than normal for other races. You need to qualify for the Boston marathon. You don't need to qualify for the Calgary marathon, so it's going to get more people who aren't prepared to do it.

What does any of that have to do with the attack? Just that one should remember that what makes something newsworthy doesn't make it likely. A terrorist attack is so unlikely that my odds of dying during a run via lightning strike is higher, which in turn is less likely than me keeling over from a heart attack. And I don't let heart attacks or dark clouds stop me from running.

Don't let terrorists get under your skin. The perpetrators are criminals, not the boogie-man. Keep calm and carry on as they say - it's a lot better than freaking out.
jamesq: (Lyle's Constant)
There's been a lot of discussion on the net about the Susan G. Koman Foundation's decision to cut ties with Planned Parenthood. Short version: SGKF executive Karen Handel doesn't like PP so implemented a rule that SGKF would not fund any group under (US) Federal investigation. Given that it's ridiculously easy for majority Congressman to start an investigation, this means PP will be under investigation whenever the Republicans control one of the houses. Doesn't mean that PP is actually doing anything wrong (PP actually maintains multiple funding streams for the specific purpose of keeping the abortion money from touching anything else. They have to do this, it's already US federal law.

Anyway, numerous insiders have reported that the rule was tailored specifically to de-fund Planned Parenthood. Given that they're still funding Penn State (under Federal investigation) we can see what the point is.

And then it blew up in their faces. In three days, Planned Parenthood has taken in more funding then they lost from SGKF. SGKF had to "reverse" their policy and apologize. As StudentActivism.net points out, it's not really a policy decision, it's a PR ass covering, more "We're sorry we got caught" than "You're right, this was a bad policy decision that ultimately hurt more women than it helped". Go ahead and read it - it's a great example of weasel words.

My guess is that they'll quietly retreat to lick their wounds and then simply not fund PP for some other reason.

One thing I haven't read yet in the assorted stories about this mess is the long-range goals of Karen Handel, the Komen Senior VP most likely responsible for this (but the rest of the Board is not blameless, for reasons I'll get into below). Short term, we know she's anti-abortion and she ran for Governor of Georgia (She lost a squeaker in the Republican primary). She took the job at Komen after losing.

On the face of it, this just looks like another right wing loon just trying to screw everyone else. Certainly it is that, but it's more than that too. I think she's going to try again to run for public office, and she wants to use the de-funding of Planned Parenthood as proof of her right-wing ideological purity. She lost the Republican primary by less than 2500 votes. What are the odds that she can pick up that many votes next time in a vote of Republicans in Georgia? In short, I think Karen Handel shit on women's health so she can win an election. That she could screw PP doing it was the icing rather than the cake. Certainly nothing in her past points to any sort of concern towards women's health when it's not self-serving.

Of course, you don't get to be a VP at Komen unless you're right-wing. The founder, Nancy Brinker was a member of the Bush administration. The rest of the board went along with this and did so knowing what they were really attacking. I'm guessing those insiders were opposing members on the board who, regardless of their opinion on abortion, knew this was going to cause a lot of women to die of breast cancer who wouldn't have otherwise. And that is sort of the whole point of the group really.

I don't think Komen as a whole is made up of right-wing ideologues. I suspect that there are more pro-choice people involved with them than anti-abortion people, simply because by-and-large anti-abortion people don't care about women's health and pro-choice people do. The rank-and-file probably hate this decision because they recognize that Planned Parenthood does a lot of good, especially when it comes to breast cancer screening (roughly 16% of their budget, compared to 3% for abortion). I'd love to see a mass exodus of non-executives abandoning Komen (and focusing the awesome level of volunteerism to some other organization that provides similar services).

What really irks me is the dishonesty of the anti-abortion side. If you really cared about preventing abortions, you'd want Planned Parenthood to get more funding. They really are one of the few organizations around that reduce the abortion rate, and they do it through the only ways that have ever worked: Education and birth control.

If the anti-abortions ever got their way and managed to kill Planned Parenthood entirely, the abortion rate would go up, simply because there would be a lot more women out there who knew less about how to prevent pregnancy or had no access to the tools that requires. 3% of PP funding might go to abortions, and 16% might go to cancer screening, but 35% of its funding goes towards contraceptives.

But they're not in it to stop abortions. The point is to punish women for having sex. More to the point, to reestablish traditional gender roles. Women who don't have options are women who take less risks. In this scenario, losing an organization that provides contraceptives and STD treatment in addition to abortion is a feature not a bug. More risk and less options are the point.

If you're interested in charities related to breast cancer (or health in general, regardless of gender), I encourage you to give or volunteer directly to those groups, rather than Komen. Planned Parenthood is a pretty good organization I hear.

Addendum: While researching this post, I looked up the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's relationship to Komen. Their not the same organization, thought they do partner up with each other.
"Paul Cantin, director of communications at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's central office, says there are no policy links between it and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Regardless, CBCF doesn't provide any funding to Planned Parenthood in Canada, he said."
Source.

Whether they don't fund PP in Canada because of ideology, or something simpler, like focusing on research rather than screening, I don't know. I will be keeping an eye out.
jamesq: (Default)
Spanky's tags were not removed. The city pound simply hadn't gotten around to contacting [livejournal.com profile] nosarious yet and the picture on the pound's website wasn't clear enough to show them. We (meaning Ger and I) jumped to a conclusion there folks.

On the bright side, Ger obtained a copy of the contract you need to sign to be able to trap animals in the city, so now we know exactly what the legal ramifications are.
jamesq: (Rage)
Somebody needs a punch in the cock.

Spanky ([livejournal.com profile] nosarious' cat) went missing two nights ago. He found him on the City Pound's website. Today he gets to go down and pay whatever fines are required to get Spanky back.

The pound is supposed to let us know when this happens, assuming they can figure out who we are. Funny thing about that - between the last time we saw Spanky and when he was turned in, his collar and tags went missing (edit: apparently not - they just couldn't be seen in the picture on the website, and they hadn't gotten around to collecting the data to contact [livejournal.com profile] nosarious). Spanky is quite used to his collar and has never gotten out of it to my knowledge.

I doubt the city is going to let us know who turned him in. I have my suspicions though.

It takes a special kind of asshole to get off on trapping innocent animals.
jamesq: (Default)
Motorcyclists have a bad time in this world. They rocket around head first with a large engine between their legs. They're not surrounded by metal armour with crumble zones the way those of us in automobiles do. There's generally two kinds of car drivers in the world for them: The ones who are completely unaware of their presence, and the ones that are actively out to murder them.

Which is why it's odd to run into (heh) one that is not just a bad driver, but is so recklessly incompetent as to verge on suicidal. Like the jackass who was tailgating me last night on a residential road. He was so close to my ass I couldn't see his headlights - I'd guess he was less then 2 meters from my back bumper.

I signaled to turn right, slowed down to make the turn and he passed me on the right, using the shoulder of the road. Short of driving the wrong way on a one way street, I'm not sure how much more fail you could insert into driving a motorcycle. Maybe if he wore a clown suit instead of leathers and a helmet.
jamesq: (Default)
Remember Constance McMillen, the lesbian senior who wanted to take her girlfriend to the prom and ended up showing the world what a bunch of backwards hillbillies the Itawamba County School Board is?

Turns out the prom was a few days ago and seven kids showed up, plus Ms. McMillen and her date. The rest of the kids were at the double-secret-no-homos-allowed prom put on by the ever-tolerant parents of Fulton Mississippi.
You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.
Anyway, the Itawamba County School District has won and excluded Ms. McMillen. They get to continue to be an insular little backwater and no one's going to make them abide by new fangled ideas like equal rights, common decency or just not being an asshat.

Ms. McMillen will just have to accept that she's lost and will have to leave town to spend her 30k scholarship to a post-secondary institute in a more enlightened area. She'll have to suffer with the knowledge that she stood up against bigotry, fought the good fight and has the opportunity for a fulfilling life in the greater world outside hickville. What a nightmare.

Oh wait, it sounds like the Itawamba County School District actually only won the battle but Ms. McMillen won the war.

Anyway, looks like Fulton is going to go down as Chickenshit Capital of the United States. Plus the ACLU will be giving them a well-deserved public spanking.
jamesq: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] nosarious and I went to fetch Spanky this morning. It was trapped by my neighbor across the street (the trap is still visible on his front porch). According to the City's Cat Complaint page, the first option should be to talk to the neighbor. The next is to trap the cat and inform the city of who's cat it is (if you know this information, and my neighbor does, in fact, know this). The cat will then be taken to the pound and the owners will be notified.

We got no notification, the only reason we knew the cat was taken to the pound and not simply dead from being hit by a car or a cougar was because another neighbor saw the Animal Control truck come by. The asshat never told animal control who's cat it was. If we'd been later then 4 days retrieving Spanky, he'd have been adopted out to someone else.

Yeah, it's partially our fault, Spanky managed to lose his collar, so while he's licensed, his tags aren't attached to him at all. Also, we let him outside. I've always considered roaming cats to be a roughly equivalent to smoking outside. There's places where it's technically illegal, but unless you're in someone's face about it, nobody really cares. Still, the guy could have handled this in a ton of ways that didn't have to include scaring the shit out of a poor cat overnight. Poor thing was meowing all the way home, it was so scared.

Did I bitch about him shoveling his snow into the street last winter (incidentally trapping [livejournal.com profile] thebrucie's car one day, which took us about a half an hour to dig out? Probably wouldn't have happened if he'd done it properly and shoveled onto his lawn. Did I call him an ignorant fucktard for having a Separatist Party of Alberta bumber sticker on his truck? Nope.

He's been trapping other cats in the neighborhood, as evidenced by the continued presence of the trap on his deck.

Anyway, we dealt with that drama this morning. Spanky is back, [livejournal.com profile] nosarious is poorer, and my low opinion of the asshat neighbor is even lower.

I drove around running other errands today. For the most part, every person I dealt with outside of the car was kind, considerate and willing to help me with my tasks. Conversely, every single driver had a retard sandwich for lunch. Seriously, I got cut off so often I was wondering if silver is the new invisible. And I saw lots of other people getting cut off too. Nobody singled, people were doing right lane passes if it looked like their drive was going to be delayed by even a second. It was brutal. And it's weird that I only ever see this shit on the weekends. It's like commuters are docile during the weekdays and then go nuts on the weekends.

The urge to be just as asshole-ish was strong, but I willed myself to be a courteous driver. I'd leave room for merges, let people in when traffic was a stand-still, etc. I got a handful of thank you waves, which made it all worth it. Not everyone was an asshat (or sandwich-of-dubious-fixings eater) it seems.

Dirty Pool

Jan. 26th, 2009 10:43 pm
jamesq: (Default)
I was reading the local SCA lists when somebody decided to post, and respond to, a private email. To their credit they didn't "out" the person - and for the record I have no idea who that person is. The moderator called him on it and gave him a warning and nobody seems to be rising to the troll-bait. This is a good thing.

This isn't to respond to that person, or the discussion that prompted it, this is more about the tactic itself. Full discloser: It's a hot button issue for me.

A friend of mine did this to me some years back and it pretty much clobbered our friendship for years (I still enjoy his company and think he's a mostly decent guy, but it was still a betrayal of sorts and I'll never be able to trust him completely now). His argument was that any email he received became his property and he could do anything he wanted with it. Needless to say I disagreed rather vehemently on it. I suspect that the law will back me up on this - I have a right to my own works and silence on my part does not constitute a de facto waiving of those rights. IANAL, so take that with a grain of salt.

Anyway, he argued that he was legally in the right. I don't buy it, but lets suppose he was correct. You can be legally in the right and still be an asshole.

Argument one: Publishing someone's private email to you makes you an asshole. Ok, that's not the most rigorous argument I've ever made, being a bald assertion, but it's good enough for this venue.

Some people recover from being an asshole and sometimes it's a one off. For example, had I an infinite amount of resources, I might have pursued the issue in the courts. Suing the person basically. I suspect I'd have won and gotten a judgement in the area of $1. I'd have proved I was right, and also proved that I was an asshole for wasting the court's time. I routinely hope that I'm less of an asshole now. But I digress.

Argument two: It's an ambush. The person involved has no idea that their going to be exposed. They're not expecting it and they're likely to be shocked to see their words in public.

Argument three: it's an attempt at shaming. If what they said is not for general consumption it's likely to be embarrassing. For example, a few years ago I emailed several friends a review of Con-Version, the local SF convention. I used some rough language that I wouldn't have used in a public forum. It got forwarded to the convention chairman, who forwarded it on to the entire convention board of directors. Not the audience I'd intended.

When the tone of an email is accusatorial, and you post it publicly without a name, you're basically daring the person to out themselves and put them on an immediate defensive.

Argument four: You've removed their statements from the original context. It might have been part of a longer email discussion that no one else read. You might have conveniently removed a cornerstone of the argument. You might have flat out edited it to say something else. You might not have changed one word and included everything - but how can we know that? We can't. We have the poster's word that their intentions are pure, despite the fact that publishing private email is a priori evidence that they're not.

What it all boils down to is that it's a passive-aggressive tactic. The point is to piss off the other person while appearing to be a completely reasonable attempt to show your side of things. I think the key to understanding the whole affair is simple: If you wanted to clear the air, you'd respond privately. If you're looking for attention, you'll respond publicly.

Are there times when it's justified? Sure, when someone has confessed something dangerous or illegal. If they're contemplating suicide or murder, I'd certainly consider sending private email to the appropriate authorities. I can't think of a specific example where a public airing would be appropriate, but I acknowledge that it could be.

Postscript: There's always a danger that describing a passive-aggressive tactic, is itself, passive-aggressive. I'm a little too hot-headed on this issue for my judgement to be 100% objective, so I'll simply accept that I might be guilty of what I'm pointing out. C'est la vie.
jamesq: (Default)
  • A dressing-down is not a discussion.
  • Micro-managing is not freedom.
  • A fresh steaming turd is not an ice cream sundae.
You can put whipped cream and a cherry on top, but don't expect me to put a heaping spoonful in my mouth.

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