seryn: flowers (Default)
*grr arg!*

I don't care if it's really fucking intolerant of me, I don't think characters on TV shows should get pregnant and keep their babies just because the actresses are pregnant. I think if a character is having a baby, it should be because it makes sense according to the characterization. And sure, even responsible people have irresponsible moments and accidents do happen, but abortion is still legal. There is no way we should be showing women who do not want children having them outside of any supportive context which will keep the children safe from a lifetime of neglect and abuse.

I'm really angry about this.

The only people who should have and keep children are the people who want them.

This is what I want to say to a pregnant woman who is uncertain:
If you do not honestly want the child, then you need to find another way. Abortion, adoption, suicide, easy-bake-ovening it in the car after "forgetting" it on the way to daycare, whatever it takes. It's immoral and loathsome to damn someone to a lifetime of knowing they're not wanted even if you don't actually abuse or neglect your child. How could you not resent the child for stifling your career and rearranging your entire life? And how can you do a good job of raising your child if you don't sacrifice anything? Something will have to give, and if you're going to make your child suffer for it, you should own up to it now.

The only plus side to this, I have about 30 more hours per year that will not be taken up by watching these programs.

It's not the soap.

Monday, 2 May 2011 12:43 pm
seryn: flower with text (eryngo 2)
I get so tired of ignorant people who mis-educate themselves via hearsay and the internets.

A LJ friend doesn't like to use Dial soap because "antibiotic resistant bacteria are the result of people using too much antibacterial soap".. This is someone who is taking antibiotics for something that can't be helped by them and she's worried about regular bar soap? The fuck.

IT IS NOT the SOAP! It's the rampant prescription of antibiotics for nonsensical reasons.

If you're having surgery, sure. If you have a puncture injury, sure. If you have a bacterial infection, sure. If your bacterial infection isn't treatable with antibiotics because it's a resistant strain, STOP ASKING FOR ANTIBIOTICS.

When you ask for antibiotics but do not have a bacterial infection or the serious risk of one, then YOU are the cause of antibiotic resistant bacteria. If your doctor offers them, ask if it's actually going to help and if it's being offered as a placebo to shut you up, do not take them.
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
I think it's very lame that telemarketers do not have to disclose their CallerId information but Wisconsin is trying to make it illegal to make prank phone calls. Which of these things hurts the most people? Yeah. Which do politicians think is important? Yeah. I hate it when politicians come right out and say, "Fuck the people, this is about me."

Of course, now I'm about to do the same thing.

Lately I've been really frustrated by television. I'm an avid viewer of tv. I don't go to the movies. I have TiVo. Between those things I'm often unaware of new popular releases and I struggle to find DVDs for my Netflix queue (we end up getting TV mystery series discs much of the time). I find it extremely difficult to find new shows as well, but once I find something that appears suitable, I'm having trouble liking it entirely.

When I was a teenager and a young adult (meaning 20s, not meaning YA like books which are actually starting pre-teen despite some of the books having actual sex in them), it seemed like the characters being acted were generally more polished socially than I was. It seemed like the stars of the shows were generally clueful and if something "humorous" happened, it happened to a side character or single-appearance character. (Not talking about sitcoms because I have never liked those, they run contrary to my sense of humor and my sense of justice and fair play. If you're the person who generally makes the errors that the butt of the series makes to get everyone to laugh, it's not very funny. Once you stop seeing the format as funny, you notice all the other times it's also not funny, even if it's not showing a personal resemblance. "Wait, that's not funny, that's bullying and abusive. What an asshat. Why did we like him again? Why is that character the star of the show when he should be up on charges?") TV was this medium that showed how once you learned to toe the line and shoe-horn yourself into a socially acceptable personality, then you'd automatically fit into place.

Lately TV has seemed to be promoting these people who side-stepped the required conformity and highlighting them. Which is fine, albeit too late to salve my ego. But now they seem to make fun of the side characters who are the normal ones. And when the main characters go do something hard and fumble, we're told through narrative that we should still sympathize with their awkwardness.

It's like society's standards have dropped to the point that I would have been suave as a teenager. I worked and worked and worked and worked to be able to appear normal. Only now that I'm moderately successful and can reliably pull that character on when I leave my door, society and its media representation have decided it is a good idea to pick on those people instead.

Why was it not okay for me to be a weird person 20 years ago but still not okay for me to be passing (for normal, not for dead) now? Why did we decide the current crop of newly adult people do not have to even try to fit in?

I find myself scooting ahead through shows when they talk about their relationships. They don't have relationships. They have casual sex with a repeating partner. When I was a child, there was that, but no one thought those people were going to be together during the daylight when the world could actually see them. There's a line in an otherwise forgettable HP fanfic, where Dumbledore tells Snape, "There's a way a man indicates to a woman that he wants to have a serious long-term commitment. He buys her a ring and proposes." I'm not sure I believe that because so many people treat being married as a non-permanent state that it's functionally equivalent to living together, but I definitely think there's a lack of bonding in the current media display of the standard "relationship".

Many women, and especially authors, talk about how they page past sex scenes in romance books because eh, whatever, all sex is the same and it's not about that, it's about seeing their relationship unfold. I find that if a sex scene is really incompatible with how I see the relationship, I dislike the author. I stopped reading those Kitty Does Everywhere series of books because the author graphically describes everything in Kitty's life, from her grocery shopping to grooming habits. It describes her personal issues including flashbacks to Kitty being raped repeatedly... but the author never shows us Kitty having consenting sex. The author closes the door to the bedroom and shows us Kitty having coffee with the fuckee the next morning. I find that so jarring... the contrast between hearing Kitty's ever thought to "Ack! Sex! Run away!" even though Kitty has zero self-control and will fuck men the same day she meets them, as long as they're "Brazilian". I think the whole series is laughable.

So it's not that I dislike the constant barrage of sexual innuendo and implications on TV, I'm just tired of hearing about people who wouldn't talk if you had them sharing a taxi calling their sexual encounters a "relationship" and making me sit through some sort of angsty melodrama about it.

I find myself deleting shows half watched or returning books half read when it's about people who just can't get along with their parents because their parents are complete and total assholes but "family" is all important--- that entire Janet Evanovich series is like that--- because you were expected to make your own way in the world and if you chose to keep contact with your family, it was only via remote phone call. Back when long distance calls were insanely expensive, you might only talk to a parent for a short time every few weeks.

It's really like everything I struggled with while growing up has been deprecated. I had a conversation with a foreign-speaking fanfic author who said she had to really think about when to use "whom" and they had harped on it when she was in school learning English. I said, "No one uses whom anymore. It's the semi-colon of pronouns and you look pretentious if you try."

How did we get to the point that being a grown up and shouldering your responsibilities and not manufacturing drama where none exists has become the "whom" of interpersonal contact?
seryn: water drop  (green drop)
You know what I really dislike? The perpetuation of the stereotype that all murderers are "loners".

Magically, as soon as someone does something horrific, they retroactively become anti-social and friendless. People who were captains of football teams or head cheerleaders or debate club presidents or PTA volunteers or scout leaders or lay clergy or just social bimbos of either gender.... as soon as they kill someone, the news says, "The police have arrested ____, a [negative adjective] loner."

I'm not saying that loners and introverts do not ever snap under the demands of society to homogenize and be just like everyone else. However, I am really tired of the assumption that extroverted social people aren't ever tempted into nefarious acts; therefore someone who commits a nefarious act must have been a loner.

The Social Contract

Wednesday, 27 October 2010 01:40 pm
seryn: flowers (Default)
There was a poll today asking how many bibles I own. Anyone who wants to guess can go ahead.

Weirdly, when I was writing my answer, which I ended up not actually submitting, I tied my answer to other things in modern culture that I also do not get het up about. I called them pseudo-religions.

So I believe as an American it's important that I have some basis for understanding the tenets of the dominant religion in our culture. Even though most of the people who claim to be Christian clearly have not read their source material. Even though most people who claim to be Christian do not act like it. Even though the actual practice of Christianity in America bears very little resemblance to what one might expect from it after reading the supposedly originating doctrine. (There was an article that came out recently claiming that atheists and agnostics were better educated about Christianity than most Christians. That seemed obvious to me since most people are Christian here and in order to take a divergent and often more difficult path, one must know what one is excluding.)

I also believe that if you haven't skimmed the latest sitcoms, don't know anything about sports, can't give directions in your own town (at least to a "I need a grocery store, gas station, restaurant, where would you suggest?"), have no idea what's on the bestseller list or at the movies; then you're not really going to fit in with people.

I loathe sports, but I know all the teams that play locally and which go with which sport and what the end-season contests are called. If there's a big enough story, I'll even remember the player or coach who is involved. I got a Jeopardy clue last week, for remembering who the two people competing for most home runs 12 years ago were.

Among regular adults, you are expected to have an opinion between Seinfeld and Friends (I do. They both suck and are unrepresentative of the rest of the country because they focus far too heavily on NYC. Both shows imply that NYC is a microcosm of the rest of the country and it is almost completely alien to me.) sometimes you can get people who say, "Cheers is better than either of those." There are some new sitcoms, I have skimmed most of them well enough to have a clue what they're about.

I'm not sure I could name a book on the bestseller list right now, but I've generally heard of most of the popular books out so I can nod appropriately. I've read a number of books lately too, so I can stay on the general topic even if I haven't read a particular book.

I do have trouble giving directions sometimes, especially when someone has somewhere specific they're going (last week it was "I'm looking for Dr. [Someone]'s office, I don't have an address, but it's somewhere on [this 4-mile long street].") or want to know where exactly the bus goes. (Why would I know? I get off here and I only go the other way. The schedule says it goes toward the big Safeway, but I don't know the exact route.) But I can recommend a restaurant for almost any kind of cuisine, explain how to get a parking space at the indy theater, and get someone back on the freeway going the right way (it's not a cloverleaf here).

I don't want to fit in with people. Not really. But society has expectations and ignoring them makes it very difficult to get along smoothly in life. We have a collective social contract with all people and as long as it's not about spreading hatred I do believe anyone who lives here is obliged to make some sort of attempt to get along.

But I wish our common culture didn't have so much of the non-doctrine-based Christianity in it. Because those are the people who seem to think Jesus wants them to hate people who are different from themselves. I find it incomprehensible that those are the ones who think they're better people than I am. Bible owning or no.
seryn: dew drop on leaf (each step)
They really need to have basic dance classes. And those classes shouldn't presume anything.

Today's class said, "this is the ribcage slide, move using your obliques". I don't know which muscles are the obliques I happen to know they're somewhere on the sides and are exercised with catty-corner situps but fuck-me if I know exactly which things those are, nor how to use them by themselves to move fucking half my body without moving anything else. But I don't think most of the other people there knew what obliques were at all, not even in terms of "side tummy".

This was the introductory class. I guess the normal class is full of people who can do anatomical surgery? Certainly you must have been taking the advanced classes for several years before you'd be able to keep up with anything harder than this.

You know what they really need? Someone needs to stop and explain how the fuck you can hold your arms up for a bleeding hour and not be screaming from tortured muscles.

Actually I needed that when I took band in middle school.

After 6 months of going to the gym, and weekly tai chi classes, I can actually "hang my arms like they're weightless" but there was a lot of instruction on how that should feel, how to arrange it so the skeleton takes the load instead of requiring muscle action. Plus I have spent a lot of time in the weight room building shoulder muscle, building arm and back muscle, conditioning tendons and re-orienting my posture. But if it's going to take 6 months of pre-requisites before people can even stand correctly, they need to have a class for moronic idiots.

There really is nothing in the world for people who fall between "sudden-amputee who gets great physical therapy to learn how to move" and "is already dexterous, fit, and coordinated enough to dance competitively". You have to take yourself from couch potato to "doesn't need classes or a gym" on your own before you can keep up.

There must be something we can do collectively as a society to bridge that gap.

But so far, the best belly dancing lessons have been the free video on Netflix streaming. I keep thinking taking classes from a live teacher is going to help teach me what I'm doing, so the things that look similar but are called different things can be explained how one implements them. But no one teaches any of that shit, it's all "follow along as best you can." If that's all I'm doing, I'll stick with the video.
seryn: water drops (footprints)
I saw another news snippet saying people are arguing against mosques everywhere, not just "ground zero".

First, let me argue against NYC glomming onto the phrase "ground zero" as if they're the sole victims of a bombing, ever, when they weren't bombed at all that day. I know New Yorkers think they're the center of the universe, but that's ridiculous. Hiroshima can say "ground zero". Nagasaki can say "ground zero". No one who hasn't been hit with a bomb can say "ground zero". And preferably the term would be reserved for an area with lingering contaminates.

Second, why do people think mosques are the problem?

There are a slew of fundamentalist Christians in this country. They far far far far far exceed the number of Muslims in the USA at all. No one denies even the most radical of Christian churches permission to build a new facility (when they can pay for construction and permits). Even groups which are politically active and which foment violence are "protected" by the Constitution (despite laws saying that politically active groups are not protected religious organizations.)

If we're looking to eliminate radical groups, banning Christianity entirely would make as much sense as banning Islam entirely-- probably more because we have a lot more American Christians and they're used to being catered to legislatively.

Not to mention that when you deny people the right to peaceably practice their religions, that's when regular people start being reactionary. By denying Muslims mosques in America, we are encouraging the radical Islamic factions which say there are no good Americans anywhere. It doesn't hurt us for people to peaceably practice their religion. Islam is not about fomenting violence.

Also anyone who relies upon the Second Amendment to protect their gun ownership should appreciate that the First Amendment came first and all religions are protected. But a shocking number of people seem to think that rights are things they want and privileges are what people who look different from them want.

If I have to put up with radical Christians saying that contraceptives should be anathema and the government cannot cover them for anyone who uses public assistance.... that's a fundamental right for women, contraception is what allows women to be equal... then I don't see why those people can have a country where other non-violent religions are not tolerated. If they want America to be a Christian country, then we need to divide it fairly so everyone (including me) has a home. But if they want to continue the share the country, then they need to be a damned sight more tolerant of people different from them since they're the ones who are completely backwards from what a civilized people would want.

You don't have to be an Arabic man to be a Muslim. Admittedly, if you're a white American woman and convert to Islam, I'm not going to think a lot of your intellectual reasoning abilities because the way Islam is practiced in many places denigrates women. But Christianity isn't much better--- it's just more common. There are Christian women who voluntarily started covering their hair, no one even has to denigrate them first. The way Christianity is practiced in a lot of rural American areas is as bad as Sharia law.

It is my belief that all religions exist to oppress women. That is the sole point. There aren't even any Pagan religions that have room for childfree women, and some of those are cobbled together using the cafeteria plan from every mythology in existence. You'd think the people picking and choosing could come up with a role for women that doesn't involve pregnancy as the basis for their social placement.

If they want to ban mosques, that's really fine with me. But I think the government needs to Eminent Domain every single bloody church and strip all Christianity of its tax-exempt status while they're at it. You can't say everyone has to tolerate me and mine but no one should be allowed to tolerate you and yours if you want to be a tax-exempt organization. Plus Christians allow Fred Phelps to claim membership, so they're obviously hateful beyond what having a new mosque in New York City would mean.

Your Song Lies.

Thursday, 29 July 2010 06:18 pm
seryn: water drop (world)
I heard an old song on the radio when I was out at lunch yesterday. One of the Karate Kid themesongs. "I am the man who will fight for your honor. I'll be the hero you've been dreamin' of."

What struck me about this is how much it reminds me of that poem
"Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred Lord Tennyson and especially, "Dulce Et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen.

What I mean by that is there were all these poems and songs glorifying honor and battle and being a real man who can fight for your country. Then there started to be poems and popular media of the times talking about how horrible wars are and how gruesome battles are. That it's about people never coming home again. War is about your friends and enemies alike choking to death on poison gas and not knowing if you're lucky because you're going to be killed later anyway. There was a lot of effort put into taking the illusiory shine off the spin that made boys want to take up low-level soldiering before they were old enough to understand what it really meant.

But the songs in the popular media seem to all imply that everyone will find their perfect love. Even 30 years ago the songs were about waiting around for the prince to come save the girl, but phrased so any girl listening wishes she's the girl.

It's not true. None of it's true. I mean, sure, finding someone suitable that you love and whose life is compatible with yours is wonderful. And it's such an accomplishment, but it's like signing your name on the enlistment forms. It's not even basic training, let alone being in the trenches while gas grenades hurtle overhead.

I'm not being bitter. I'm not saying I'm having problems at home or with my heart-felt relationships. I'm saying no one is the princess of this story and the songs all lie when they promise that real love feels like you're on top of the world.
seryn: flowers (Default)
That group of Kansan religious assholes is going to be in San Diego picketing ComicCon.


for my favorite comment, " "My god has a hammer." "


for the closing paragraph by the author: "You know what San Diego? As a committed Christian deeply offended by these morons…" Lo! Harken unto the one Christian I've seen publicly decrying Phelps.

Normally, in my experience, Christians tell me it's "not their place" to tell other Christians how to believe or behave. It left me with the impression that only non-Christians had any sense of human decency. So this really was a surprise.

I have had Christians tell me that if I picket Phelps's funeral then I am more of a monster than he is because, "[I] should know better." So they do know how to speak against people, just their common beliefs prevent them from decrying Phelps.

ETA on July 16, 2010 3:30pm : ps. No one has commented, but [ profile] 28bytes read this and put up a poll on LJ (even though there is [personal profile] 28bytes).

Apparently the experience I have had with Christians defending Phelps over their own friends is rare enough to be shocking to other people.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Recently I came across someone who claims to do a lot of programming and who was listing his favorite monospace fonts.

The first one listed is Courier. Pretty much this is the default monospace font everyone uses. It's okay. It has serifs. It's readily available.

All 9 other fonts listed were sans-serif. I loathe sans-serif. There is very little reason for its common existence since it decreases the differentiability of many letters.

In the 1970s, portable typewriters only had the numbers 2 through 9, because you were supposed to use the 'l' for 1 and the 'O' for 0. Now, today, in Courier (which is what the DW composition window defaults to using), those all look different to me. I can easily see the difference between a and o. (a, o) There is never the dreaded rn=m business that is the hallmark of Arial. Obviously monospace fonts have no kerning issues, which minimizes the run-together issue, but why not take advantage of the serifs which distinguish things more clearly?

I still have very little respect for someone who claims to be a coder who honestly believes a sans-serif font is a viable choice for coding, ever. When you are looking through 300,000 lines of code written by a decade's worth of crack-driven Russian and Chinese code-monkeys looking for the idiotic mistake that is making your employer lose millions every hour, there is no reason to use a font where "1" and "l" and "|" look the same. ( 1, l, | )
seryn: flowers (Default)
I really dislike the Fourth of July as it's celebrated in current times.
because you've all heard this before )
seryn: flowers (Default)
There were several blog posts today about controlling spending. I guess I'm lucky I don't have that problem. I'm definitely not an over-spender.

I don't like going out shopping with other people most of the time. There's a tremendous social pressure to buy stuff. And other people actually try to talk me out of purchases thinking that would be helpful instead of counter-productive.

I'd like to go places with people who don't see any problem with my 7 year old jeans that now fit again. I'd like to have friends who don't think it was stupid that I kept them for 5 years in which they didn't fit.

I think of shopping with other people as being equivalent to an anorexic person going to a buffet with Mrs. Claus where Mrs. Claus keeps saying, "Dearie, are you sure you should have that boiled potato? Carbs, you know." Mrs. Claus shouldn't be at the buffet at all.

Over the weekend I commented on a discussion where I said it irritates me that people take their personal preferences and present them as inherently better. And even moreso it bothers me when that information is used to inflict a choice on everyone else regardless of individual preferences. Extroverted people do this all the time when they diss text-based communications as inferior to face-to-face things. If you don't pay attention to body language or subtext, the text can actually be easier. But a lot of people say "in person is better" and then they make everyone do that.

That's my problem with metafandom discussions intruding into fandom. It doesn't matter what your opinion of something is, you shouldn't be inflicting it on my entertainment. I can make my own judgments about what entertainment I wish to consume. If you want there to be fic that supports your viewpoint, get typing and write it yourself. That's what I did. My fic is hugely unpopular, of course, because my meta viewpoints aren't socially acceptable. [This was private-locked until just now, when I got a comment on a 5 year old fic. Not everyone hates it.]

Whenever the metafandom point intrudes into the fic arenas but isn't made via creative works, I kind of assume there must be something wrong with the viewpoint. Especially when the counter-viewpoint was made via fiction writing or art.
seryn: flowers (Eryngo)
I found this very interesting as a political commentary:
seryn: fountain pen nib (screed pen)
The first 4-5 episodes had interwoven storylines and spent time showing why what they did worked. There were some crime-oriented cases, but not everything was about violence. By the time we get to the 12th (of 13) episode, when the FBI puts The Lightman Group on retainer, the show had squarely centered on the most violent and egregious of crimes while actively choosing to be more graphic. That is quite unfortunate.

(It's a similar pattern to what NUMB3RS did, where they allowed the FBI angle to take priority over the mathematics despite the theory that the math was the important part--- in that case it was clearly because neither the actors nor the writers could do enough math to calculate a standard tip when the tax rate is half the usual tip percentage.)

My favorite character from the first show was Eli Loker. I love his radical honesty policy. The instances where he lies were not well played up and that radical honesty was treated like a joke when it was referred to at all in later episodes. It's really unfortunate that there isn't more of it and that the show doesn't focus on why that works for him. That would have been a hell of a lot more interesting than the yet-another-gore-fest it turned into.

However, what makes me less than whelmed is the lousy writing. In the last 4 episodes I was able to spot the villain as if it was an episode of the original Scooby Doo. It's pretty bad when you have a room full of experts on facial expressions and lying who are more clueless than me sitting on my couch. I watched this show after the first episode because it was a show about smart people doing good work that other people cannot do. Work that seems like magic to mundane people who lack those skills. I like shows about superheroes and the way Lightman can get the truth out of people who aren't saying anything is really like that. It is the superpower I would most like to have! So it seemed like my kind of show. Only in fewer than a handful of episodes, it's been dumbed down, turned into a clone of every other crime drama, and the writing relies on cliches and caricature instead of intricacy.

The final episode irritated me because of Foster's costuming:
I'm bothered by women in dresses, especially sleeveless dresses, when the men are wearing suits, that the women expect to be treated and respected equally.

There's been a sort of counter-feminism "take back the dress" movement lately, from the women of the generation after mine who have not lived through the social expectations that girls wear skirts or dresses and it's wrong for them to wear trousers in public. These younger women are angry that women tend not to wear dresses unless they're what I call god-ridden; they want to wear dresses and feel pretty. They feel that feminism has stripped away choices from women. To me it's not a choice if it only applies to women. Men cannot, in a socially acceptable way, wear dresses in public. So for women to choose to wear a dress is choosing to be treated differently. Separate but equal is a myth. If you want to be treated differently, then you're not looking for equality, you're looking for either special treatment or you're expecting to tolerate oppression.

funny but true

Saturday, 5 June 2010 09:10 pm
seryn: my own favorite hat (hat)
Web comic correlating Prisoner's Dilemma with religious morality.
cut because this is huge, but you probably want to see it once, just not for every reading page reload all day. )
ps. one is allowed to repost these, there is a linking tool provided by the author.

75 really funny t-shirt ideas.

pps. when I said no one was around on weekends, all ya'll were not supposed to keep quiet just to prove me right!

bargains at the bizarre

Wednesday, 14 April 2010 08:04 pm
seryn: tea (virgin tea)
Slightly strange day.

I started out my morning reading [personal profile] pj's thing about the lameness from the Vatican and Richard Dawkin's response to that. The phrasing reminded me of my belief in counter-extremism...

Read more... )

I took this bargaining attitude with me when I went to sign up for a gym membership. They won't tell you what it costs until you're there in person. So I got the sales tour and then waited to see if there was going to be an extra special today-only deal to get me to sign on the line right then. I don't bargain especially well. I know this. So I went in there with the idea that I was wanting to pay about $30/month for my membership and willing to go up to 40. When their first pricepoint was $40, I was willing to take the tour and see if I was interested or going to be appalled. Then when I got offered the $30 price, I said, "I'll take that." It's not great bargaining, but I got the price I wanted without any signup fees. It wasn't even hard. I wanted what they were selling and I knew to wait for a deal.

What was especially strange about today was that my doctor asked me what else I was going to do today... while he was vampiring my arm. (*shudder* I'm not sure why the correct answer isn't, "Can't talk, bleeding.") I said I was going to get a gym membership. And the guy, who is my father's age, proceeded to tell me how not to get screwed over by salesmen offering special "right now, today only" deals.

You know I'm almost 40. People ask me for advice. It's been ages since someone tried to go parental on me. I know I often seem socially retarded, but if I couldn't deal with this kind of thing after researching it for several months, I'm hardly going to be functional.

I don't mind offering advice when I'm asked for it. And often unasked if it's something I've thought about. (I'm sure that's irritating.) It was just weird that someone was teaching me to be cynical.

Obviously, considering my belief in counter-extremism bargaining for societal stagnation, I think I've already got the cynicism...

I do struggle to deal with extroverted salesmen types.
seryn: flowers (Default)
There is a group on Ravelry, called Remnants, which is this catchall thing. Everyone is automatically subscribed to it and you can't get rid of it though you can shuffle it to another page.

One of the posts there (which you have to be a member of Ravelry to see, but it is free and there's probably a bugmenot for it) is from a store manager who describes her staff as "young puppies". One non-busy evening customers came in. The staff found out the customers were going to the Olympics. One of the staff members asked if you have to get tickets for individual events. The customer said he wasn't paying so he didn't know. The staff member was supposedly crushed by the customer's "harsh tone".

The store manager, the original poster, was not there when this happened and it was only related to her after the fact. She then conveyed this to the store owner with the statement that she would like a cash register button that allows her to "add a fee for this kind of behavior". The store owner created the fee button. Now customers they don't like get charged more. [It does not say where they live, where the store is, nor does it give the real life names of these people.]

One of my friends posted about this in her LJ. That is where I found it because I am not so idiotic as to torture myself by reading the Remnants group on Ravelry.

The other commenters all thought this was a really amazingly good idea. Some said they wished more stores would have signs saying that prices change based upon customer attitude. I disagree strongly. I left this comment which I am editing for clarity now:
I find most of these [odd expectations for personal behavior] strange and I'm just eccentric. I'm from here. Imagine what tourists from other countries feel? Imagine how people who look different or who have other cultural expectations feel. It's discriminatory and intolerant to presume rudeness. I wasn't there. Maybe the guy was actually condescending and snippy, but it didn't sound like it to me from what I read.

I guess I can see the attitude problem if the tone was really there, but the OP didn't actually hear it (said she wasn't there or she'd have sent that clerk out to get cookies.) I think the OP is really intolerant. If you're not paying for an event like the Olympics, you probably don't know if there are individual fees per thing or how cumbersome the logistics are. It was an annoying and off-topic question that was answered, textually at least, politely and possibly to the best of the customer's knowledge.

Personally I hate it that stores have these bizarre and unreasonable social expectations that no one explains. I understand that the staff shouldn't have to be mistreated or put up with rudeness, but for the customers to be denigrated for [politely] answering unrelated questions asked by yappy-puppy clerks*? I'm not shopping there and I hope they go out of business.

*the OP described them as puppy-like.

Knowing they have a penalty button on the cash register? "Hello Amazon! Thanks for taking my money with no hassle and delivering my purchases to my door for free." If this is what personalized customer service means, why on Earth would I want it? Small store owners are constantly whining about how people go to big box stores and order online and how there won't be any small stores anymore if no one supports them. Well guess what? We've just seen an example why. I'm pretty sure when I go to Target I'm going to get treated just like everyone else there. I order my yarn online because the local yarn stores are staffed by bitches who don't think fat women should be allowed to buy nice yarn and say so in front of me without ever turning away from their phones where they are speaking loudly to a remote person.

If there is ever a store with a sign saying that people are treated differently for nebulous and undefined reasons, I'm not going in there.
seryn: flowers (Default)
I've been thinking about the health care bill going through congress.

From a humane perspective, I think we're being idiotic about it. There are really good reasons from a public health standpoint to have basic care available to all people. From a fiscal responsibility standpoint, it makes sense to have basic care available to all people because we have unemployment and welfare and disability and social security... we want to set someone's broken leg so they can keep working. That costs maybe a few thousand. But having them be unemployed or permanently disabled is extremely expensive.

By the way, I do think we need to address our illegal alien problem, but I don't think the way to do so is to deny illegal aliens access to the basic healthcare system. A shocking number of illegals from Mexico have TB and AIDS and hepatitis and other ghastly illnesses that we cannot effectively treat but which are hugely contagious. And now with the severe dearth of jobs (12% unemployment in California!) I'm wondering why we're still hiring illegals to be field workers. If there are no jobs, there would not be illegals and the problem would be solved... Also because there are periodic amnesties allowing illegals to stay, we'd better not have fucked them over entirely.

From a mildly successful adult's perspective, I'm really incensed that now they're coming up with health care options. It should have been addressed at least 40 years ago so I never had to struggle. I've paid my dues and took my own financial risks, why should we fix it for other people at my expense?

But mostly I don't see any of the things as being actual reform. Insurance companies will still dick people around without any recourse for the individual or family affected. There will still be pre-existing condition exclusions. There will still be the problem that if you need your individually purchased insurance they can drop you for needing it. And on top of this, we're talking about mandating that people who have shitty jobs or no jobs pay for this lousy coverage themselves. There's a lot of numbers being mentioned when I read the news about this, but it's almost all going to overhead and administration. Very little of it is actually going to help people.

I don't want my taxes to go up when I don't get anything for it and when what it buys won't actually help anyone else either.

I think if we're going to tax people to provide health insurance, we should go all out and tax everyone in order to provide health care. The difference between a Scandanavian tax rate and what one of the proposed tax increases would be, to me, is actually relatively negligible. It's less than what it costs my SO's employer to cover both of us.

I think a citizen of a first world country should be able to get urgent care. (There should be triage centers so people don't end up in the emergency room when that could be handled without the full-fledged equipment of a hospital.) I think obvious things should be covered by the government. Vaccinations, broken bones, various things that if treated when it costs a bandaid will save tens of thousands later on.... There is a level of basic care that everyone should receive for being human.

But whenever I think about health insurance and providing health care... I remember friends of my SO whose first baby was born with only half a brain and the remaining half was so cancer-riddled that there was no hope. Emails from those friends say that their insurance refused to cover anything after the first two million dollars. WTF. It didn't live a month and we wasted two million dollars on trying to save something that was born with half a brain? I know no one wants to hear that their baby is worthless but honestly, are there any objective people who thought that was a good use of money?

We need to balance things better. Anyone should be able to walk into a clinic and get a free flu vaccination and have their blood pressure taken. That should be covered by the government. Children should get all their immunizations for free (and the number of exemptions should be dramatically reduced). Right now vaccinations are so expensive that if you don't have insurance, you cannot afford them. But people who have insurance can spend two million saving an already dead baby.

There's a lot to this issue, and I definitely believe we need to do something because the situation is truly intolerable unless you're employable and your employer provides group coverage. But I'm not convinced that a bill which does nothing to regulate the industry, which does nothing to make health care a public priority, which does nothing to change the situation from one where insurance companies profit margins depend upon them not doing what they've contracted to do---- I don't think this is worth spending time or money on.

And if congress cannot pass any real laws about reform, then we should all find someone else to represent us.
seryn: sad face sheep (sadmiro)
Something on the news about a city not going with tasers. I agree with this, by the way. Simple reason being that people die when being tasered anyway, and at a much much higher proportion than predicted.

There are a number of fanfics which mention that McGonagall was never the same after being hit with four stunners at once....

There is lots of documentation about people being strange after being struck by lightning.

But the biggest reason I don't like tasers is because the police are frequently noted as using them as if they were not actually weapons. Jonathan Turley regularly posts links to news stories about police officers tazing old people for being slow about complying with orders (while the old man is saying that he's deaf and lame the cop is shouting that if he doesn't hurry....) There are also stories linked about the tazing of children under 10. Many of these tazings are for spurious reasons.

The training seems to indicate that being tazed does not harm someone. It hurts, but there is no lasting damage. And because of that, it can and should be used to herd recalcitrant people who are otherwise not engaged in criminal activity. Tasering is using a weapon. It is less lethal than shooting someone, but not something that should be considered "safe".

We, as a society, and certainly law enforcement officers, need a way to non-lethally subdue people engaged in criminal activity and people who are acting crazy (often due to drug use which negates the effectiveness of the taser) before they harm themselves or others. I can see why tasers are in widespread usage because it is a better option for many situations.

However, considering the number of lawsuits filed by people who have been tased and who were permanently injured or died from it, and the way people who are hopped up on drugs ignore the tasing; I'm actually thinking it would be better if the police just shot the criminals with deadly force. Certainly I think that law enforcement should refer to it as "shooting" [a stunner/ stun gun/ whatever] and start considering it a weapon. Because it is a weapon.
seryn: flowers (Default)
Some positive news. The asshole who killed that doctor in his own church in Kansas? Convicted of the full charge. Minimum sentence of 25 years before parole.

I haven't heard much about the case on the news, but I am astonished that he was tried and convicted in under 6 months.

I'm pretty astonished that he was convicted in Kansas too since they have a reputation for being backward and anti-woman. Maybe it helped that the deader was killed in church?

My early reactions to the incident were complete outrage followed by incendiary anger. Mostly because one of my friends, a female Christian, defended the killer instead of the doctor.

I cannot possibly see how anyone who provides abortions to 10 year old molested girls is anything but a hero, especially in the current religio-political environment. But apparently Christianity means damning raped children to being mothers and killing anyone who helps them end their nightmares.

The fact that people known to me endorsed the killer makes me extremely upset and I am glad those people do not speak for everyone or everyone in Kansas or even everyone on the jury.


seryn: flowers (Default)


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