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Can I call this “Hooray for Whores”?

April 5, 2011

Watched this great movie on Friday called “The People I’ve Slept With”.  Super quick synopsis: a chick and her gay best friend both love to shag a lot of guys.  She gets knocked up.  He falls in love, screws it up, and has to get his guy back.  She has to figure out who the father is – there are several choices.  Personal growth ensues, as well as more shagging.

Two absolutely awesome things about this movie:

First, the color of the cast.  While my grad student friends might look like the cast of friends, this movie takes place in SoCal, and lemme tell you, judging by my students, Friends ain’t got it.  The cast in this movie has a lot of Asians, a lot of Latin@s, and very few others – which is SoCal.  It was great to see that well done.
Second, they have a lot  of sex.  They have kinky sex.  They have drunk sex.  And it’s not shameful, and it’s done by everyone, and she even does it after she’s knocked up, and her friend is having lots of gay sex, and she’s even seen fooling around with women.  There’s even a straight-laced sister whose prudishness is portrayed as a bad thing.  How great is that?

Slightly less awesome things.  I know, it’s a movie about a pregnancy, so it’s going to center straight sex.  Still, another movie containing a gay best friend?  Also, I’d like to see a movie about an unwanted pregnancy that contains an abortion, not just discussion of one.  You know, showing that there’s more than one choice to make.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Juno, but one of these days the pregnant chick is gonna have an abortion.

Overall, though, great movie.  Funny, poignant, and an interesting story to tell.  I highly recommend it.


Daily Show

March 18, 2011

Dear John Stewart,

Using the word “pussy” to refer to people you dislike or think are weak does not mesh well with calling yourself “progressive”.  I know it’s hard to omit sexist language because we use so damn much of it.  I recommend replacing all words with “asshat” and “douchecanoe” while you work on relearning other alternatives, because those are just so damn fun to say.



Zoe Bartlett: daughter and girlfriend; also, WW hates science

March 13, 2011

So I just finished watching season six of “The West Wing”.  Btw, much better than season five, if you ignore the first four or so episodes.  Almost as good as season four.

Aaaanyway to the topic of the post.  The president’s youngest daughter Zoe is a recurring character in the show.  We meet her when she starts undergrad at Georgetown, which is basically the only thing Zoe does in the entire show.  We see her date Charlie, break up with Charlie, date Jean Paul, get kidnapped, come back, start dating Charlie again, and watch her evolving relationship with her parents.  During all that time, she gets her undergrad degree, and comes back to live with her parents in the white house.  They actually haven’t even bothered to mention what she’s doing throughout season six, except sleep with Charlie.  She has no job that we know of, which I guess is sort of the point: she’s not a character, she’s a way of characterizing the men around her.  Her dad is protective and serious, Charlie is caring, Jean Paul is an attention loving ass, her  mom is protective, Zoe is…in the same room as these people.  For all the screen time she gets throughout the show, she has very little development.  She’s just her relationships.

Another huge pet peeve of mine in the show are the scientists.  Periodically we meet with scientists, and they are nearly uniformly characters to be laughed at as awkward eccentrics.  The guy from the superconducting supercollider and one chick from NASA are seen as pretty neat, and the rest would fit right in on “Big Bang Theory”.  (FYI I hate to characterize the woman from NASA as a “chick”, but her non-nerdiness cred comes from being sexy enough to get Josh to think space is important.)  For all this show is supposed to be a liberal haven, it fails pretty badly on anti-intellectualism.

Anyway, season seven is in the mail, and I’m super excited to see how it ends.

Troublesome animal imagry

March 2, 2011

Wish I could find a link for this, but their website sorta sucks.  I’m a San Diego Zoo member, so I get their magazine in the mail every month.  This month, in the shopping section, was a set of outfits for kids that looked fun.  There were too options, both in bright fun colors with cartoon animal drawings on them.  One was in green and orange, and one was in blue and purple, so it was pretty clear there was a “girls” and a “boys” outfit there.  Thing is, the animal on the boys outfit is an owl, while girls outfit features a peacock.  This is the sort of thing where I’m sure no one meant to, but they just spread the message that boys are smart and girls are vain.

Legends of the Fall

February 24, 2011

(So I’m going to try to start writing here again. But to keep it small, in hopes that I’ll keep it up, I’m going to focus on providing reviews of movies/books/tv shows/etc that I watch and provide thoughts on them. Focusing on kyriarchy and all that jazz.)


So “Legends of the Fall” is a super old movie that I love for no discernible reason. It’s terribly depressing, which is why I shouldn’t like it. But it’s beautiful, absolutely beautiful, and it contains beautiful people, and it’s cathartic, so I watch it anyway. And love it.


Super quick synopsis. “Legends of the Fall” follows the lives of three brothers: Alfred, Tristan, and Samuel, and how they all fall in love with the same woman, Suzanna. Samuel meets her first, and brings her to the family home in Montana to marry her. Before they are wed, the first world war breaks out, and all three boys enlist led by Samuel’s rather naïve patriotism. Tristan spends the war attempting to keep Samuel safe, but fails and Samuel dies. The elder two boys return home, where Suzanna stays with the family through the winter because the tracks are snowed in. Over the course of the winter, Alfred falls in love with her, but she rebuffs him. In the spring, she and Tristan hook up, but he has PTSD-type issues. Eventually he runs away, for years, to travel the world. Upon returning, he finds Suzanna married to Alfred, childless and unhappy. Tristan falls for the child of the farm hand, a half white half Native American woman named Isabelle Two. They have two children, and take up bootlegging to make ends meet. Alfred, meanwhile, is a state senator or some such thing, and the two boys are by this point perennially pissed at each other. Suzanna kills herself. Shit happens related to the bootlegging, Isabelle Two is killed, and the boys make up after shooting the bad guys.


It is, however, a pretty huge on the representation of women. While it passes condition #1 of the Bechdel test, because it contains at least two named women, and condition #2, they talk, and it might even sort of pass #3, depending on how you define it, it pretty well breaks the spirit of the whole test.


The main female, Suzanna, begins promisingly. She’s introduced as educated, motivated, and passionate. It’s even implied that she’s the motivating factor behind her and Samuel’s discussions of pre-marital sex. That’s…pretty much it. Well she manages to not fall for all THREE brothers, which I guess is something. But she’s incredibly passive for the rest of the movie. The men move around her, deciding things and doing things, and she looks beautiful and emotional and stands there while it happens. To make it even better, she never has children, and is obviously compared to Isabelle Two who is portrayed as very fertile, and thus womanly. The contrast makes Suzanna out to be a failure as a woman, which is apparently a big factor in her suicide. That and the whole being in love with Tristan but married to Alfred.


Isabelle Two also pretty well fails, despite having less screen time to be useless. We meet her as a girl, maybe twelve, who announces that she’s going to grow up and marry Tristan. Which she does. And then she has his kids. And then she dies. And that’s nearly all she does. The other bit she gets: she’s half Native American, and the nice white people give her an education in things like European history.


Which brings us to the racial aspects. Tristan is consistently characterized as wild and “Native” like. When Samuel dies, which he witnesses, he goes bonkers, kills a bunch of Germans and scalps them. Because he’s native like that. There’s the cliché old Native man who dances and sings and gives Tristan good “Native” advice. All of his wild moments are accompanied that type of imagery.


To finish off, there’s a little scene I can’t decide what to do with. While Tristan is off wandering the world, there’s a really short scene where it appears he’s being raped by two men, the two men who he spends years on a boat with afterward. The voice over is a letter from him to Suzanna: “Everything we had is dead/ as am I/ Marry another”. So it sounds to me like same sex rape will make you dead inside. I don’t know if it’s precisely homophobic, but I’m bothered by it. I don’t understand why the PTSD wasn’t enough, why they had to insert a rape scene also.


The movie gets a cookie though: the boy’s father has a stroke, and he doesn’t become a pitiable character. He remains the same hard willed son of a bitch he’s always been, just nearly impossible to understand.


The Future of Our Union

February 8, 2011

A Message from the Social and Economic Justice Caucus, UAW Local 2865

We, the undersigned, are members of UAW Local 2865 and of the Social and Economic Justice Caucus within our local. We are all currently scheduled to run in contested elections for open union offices. Opposing us are candidates who campaigned against the recent contract ratification. We have many differences with them, but we share a common interest in strengthening our local union. As committed members, we are thrilled to see so much interest in building this grassroots union, and encourage all members to get more involved, to take a leadership role, and to fight against the attacks on higher education and working people.

This year, too much energy has already been spent on infighting. Every hour spent campaigning between well-intentioned union activists is an hour not spent getting more people involved, turning out for the March 2nd day of action, filing grievances to enforce our contract or talking with members one-on-one to keep our union membership strong.

Therefore, in the interest of inclusiveness, diversity, and putting aside our differences to focus on the larger goal of defending public education and fighting for social justice, we hereby announce that we will all be withdrawing from the upcoming election, thereby allowing our opposition to assume office immediately.

We understand that there are many points of view on the best way to fight back against the budget cuts and fee increases. We believe very strongly that the vision shared by our slate of candidates is both the most progressive and the most powerful of all those put forward by the existing candidates. However, we also believe that our union is more powerful as a united force, joined in the goals that we all share: fighting for the rights and benefits of our members, the broader campus community and for advancing social justice for working people everywhere.

Nobody needs to have a formal leadership position to participate in the important work we have ahead of us. We all pledge to do just as much and to fight just as hard as we would have had we been elected to the positions for which we accepted nomination. We hope that our decision encourages all elected leaders, as well as all members, to work together on the many things we agree on, so that we will become an even stronger force in pushing back against attacks on higher education and continuing to advance the cause of social justice at UC and beyond.


Isabelle Placentia, UCR

Joshua Hollowell, UCR

Camille C. Peters, UCB

Marquell Craddock, UCB

Coral Wheeler, UCI

Marie van Staveren, UCI

Adam Kaiserman , UCI

Rees Garmann, UCLA

Graham Raulerson, UCLA

Albert Lowe, UCLA

Jacob Burstein-Stern, UCLA

Pedro Mojica, UCLA

Marcus Desmond Harmon, UCLA

self pep talk

July 25, 2010

I’m great at remembering the things I did wrong. I think it’s part of what helps me succeed – I always know where there’s room for improvement, and fear of the never ending guilt of failure means that I’m pretty driven to do well. But yeah not always the most helpful thing in the world. I can always give you a list of ways in which I’ve fucked up, but I often forget the things I do well. I’ve been really busy at work lately, which means that not everything is getting done as well as I’d like it to, so today I’m gonna take a minute to remind myself of the things I’ve done right.

In the last week I have: cleaned the pig’s cage, figured out how a Wigner transform works, coded a Wigner and tested it against published results, used my Wigner program to start understanding the system I’m working on, led two days of COSMOS labs including helping them plan their independent studies, gotten help from Ned on how to put NO2 into a sample sell for the COSMOS kids, adapted a bit of code to model the transient grating signal of iodine, spent several hours with Ara attempting to understand the data that generated, cleaned the tub, cleaned the bathroom sink, and put in a work order on the bathroom sink.

It was a productive week, despite my not getting everything done. Thanks y’all for putting up with my public self-therapy. I promise some day I’ll start actually posting content again.