STICKY

PERHAPS WE LEARNED SOMETHING.....
…Perhaps we were only mildly entertained. Regardless, please enjoy these Reviews, Responses, Works of Fiction, and Retellings brought to you by one who hopes to someday join the ranks of those who have written something worth reading.
(Kaylia Metcalfe)

Star Trek + Monty Python = Geeky Love

Because it is Monday.

And Because I love you all.


In Defense of Baby Dolls and Boobs

Wow… say something negative remotely connected with boobs and the masses revolt.

For the record: I am a fan of breastfeeding.
I am a fan of breasts.
I am a fan of kids being treated as kids and not mini adults.
I am a fan of age appropriate toys.


I am not a fan of breastfeeding dolls… I personally see them as yet another example of us pushing little girls into rigid gender stratification and the whole “mommy cult.” (seriously… let them be little girls for as long as possible… ever think that problems like teen age pregnancy and widespread STDs might be in some way connected with this whole idea of thirteen year old dressing like hoochi 20-somethings and trying to act adult and mature?)


And just to keep this post from being all me me me… here is some fun science.

A new study apparently finds that kids who were breastfed showed signs of being smarter.





Ok, let’s take a look at that science.

First, and you have heard me complain about this befoe: the sample size… in this case, pretty decent. No complaints there.

Next: the experiment itself…. “Half the mothers were exposed to an intervention that encouraged prolonged and exclusive breastfeeding.”

The other half, weren’t.

So… we don’t know for sure if they breastfed more or longer or anything… just that they were exposed to the idea that breastfeeding would be, what, better? Healthier? Did they tell the mommies that breastfeeding their kids would make them smarter? Anyone think that the parent’s idea of the smartness of their spawn might relate in some way to the actual smartness? (Meaning encouragement and opportunity.)

Hmmm, moving on.

"The children’s cognitive ability was assessed by IQ tests administered by the children’s pediatricians and by their teachers’ ratings of their academic performance in reading, writing, mathematics and other subjects. Both sets of measures were significantly higher in the group randomized to the breastfeeding promotion intervention."


That sounds great… I wonder how significant the difference was though… and I wonder if IQ is really that good of an indicator of, well, anything.

But it is promising, yes?

Am I out of the “Anti Boobies and Mommies” Doghouse yet?


Oh.. and one last thing,

Here is a Baby Doll I fully support… just not for little girls.


Babes Breastfeeding Babes

Ok.. gross.

Dolls that simulate breastfeeding. So your little girl can be a little mommy at the ripe old age of two.

Children are intended to wear a bra-like halter-top featuring flowers over the nipple area, and when the doll is lifted to the flowers, it makes a sucking motion and sound.

Am I the only one who finds this downright creepy?

Dolls themselves are a touchy subject for many feminists/humanists/skeptics/free thinks/average people… The plethora of all things pink will make even the most lazy feminist stand up and take notice.

I mean… have you been to a toy store recently?

Anyway, whether you are pro baby doll or anti baby doll… the fact is that in our culture there is already exorbitant pressure of little girls to be socially stratified into the “little girl” role and often times that is a role that focuses on playing house and being the docile feminine article… dolls are the epitome of this.

And dolls that breastfeed simple add fuel to the “all women want babies” “real women have babies” “grow up and be a mother” ideas.

Finally… who in their right mind thinks that this is age appropriate? Shouldn’t we be teaching our little girls to run and play and explore and learn? Not preprogramming them for early pregnancies and childcare?

Let me be clear, we need mothers, we need little girls to grow up and want to be mothers… but we also need girls to grow up knowing that they have a choice and that they have the freedom to make that choice.

And something tells me breastfeeding dolls are not on the path towards equality.



And because it wasn't clear, let me add this:

Breastfeeding itself isn’t gross… Not at all.

What is gross to me is the encouragement of little girls to take on the roles/trappings/attitudes/work/social norms of grown women when they are still little girls.

Girls are already in a hurry to grow up… I don’t think we need to be encouraging them.

Author Interview: Screw Cupid

It isn’t often that you get to interview the author of a book you wrote a book review for... at least, it isn’t often that I get to do such a thing.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous. After all, while I saw some definite good in the book (Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking up Hot Guys –Full review Here-) including the writing itself, the style, the ideas of parties and places to meet said Hot Guys, I definitely took exception to a few of her ideas and suggestions. Again, you can read my review if you wonder what I am alluding to.





So then, how to talk to the author of a book that I found disquieting? What to ask her besides the obvious “Really? What were you thinking? What planet do you live on?” sort of things. I managed to curtail myself and decided to ask her questions drawn out of discussions I had with people about the book during the reviewing process and questions that came to me from the review.

I sent her 25 questions and she was nice enough to write back.. I hope she doesn’t regret it.

First off, I don’t want to be overly nitpicky… but some of her answers made my head spin.

Like her use of the word “rad” as in… “Another rad idea…”, I mean. Wow. The idea was indeed “rad” but I think I don’t need to explain how things like this can be really offsetting.


Ok… so without further ado, here is my interview with Samantha Scolfield, author of Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys: (I edited them down to keep this short(er) but if you really want to read all 25 questions, let me know.)


1.Can you tell us why you wanted to write it… and what led you to feel qualified?

I’ve been told my whole life by my friends that I should write down my mishaps in dating but couldn’t really think of a good reason why people would want to hear them. Then, when I figured out the secret to how to easily meet and start conversations with the guys I wanted to talk to, my good reason was there. I wanted to help others to meet the guys they liked, without having to repeat my mistakes.


2.One of the best aspects of the book is your frankness in telling us your mistakes and awkward moments. What do you think you learned from these experiences?

Hmm.... humility and what it feels like to be insanely embarrassed! Mostly what I took away from all my mishaps is to not take it personally when you get rejected (because 99% of the time your rejection is way more about their issues than yours), and that if you like yourself, others will follow suit.

3.Were you involved with the cover art and artistic feel of the book? Why did you go the route of bright pink and cartoon feel?

Yep, I was involved, and am very pleased with what the designer and the publisher came up with. They did a fantastic job. Bright pink happened because it’s bright, and also it’s a girl book and we wanted it to be immediately identifiable as such. The cartoon feel was the favorite out of many, many, MANY different cover ideas.
*(Just a side note here… one of the things that a lot of my readers disliked about th book was it’s obvious pinkness=femininity thing… could just be a case of the audience I tend to attract/interact with, but just thought I would point that out.)

4.Can you talk a bit about what sort of success you had with your techniques?

Well, I met my current boyfriend using my techniques, and he’s awesome, so that’s a check in my success column.
*(Another side note… she met her boyfriend online… so, yes, using the technique of “starting a conversation out of thin air” but if you are on an online dating site, it is hard, nigh, impossible to incorporate the whole Don’t Let Him Know You Are Interested part of Screw Cupid’s advice. Just saying’)

5.You say that you took three years of research to write this… as you get older, do you feel the techniques are ideas are still relevant?

Nothing has changed. Because Screw Cupid is based on a basic tenet of human nature (i.e. we want what we don’t know we have), I expect this will still work for as long as humans date each other.


6.Do you feel the techniques are usable for any geographic location?

Most definitely. As long as there are people to talk to, the techniques will work.
*(Several of my readers took exception to this idea… and the fact that the author resides in California’s LA does tend to make a difference.)

7.There seems to be a focus on bar/club settings. Do you think the ideas of the book can work outside of a meat market sort of place?

I mention bars and clubs only because they’re the first place most people think of when they go “out to meet guys”. I’m actually much more of a fan of outdoor venues where everyone is there to have a good time and hang out - outdoor concerts, food or drink festivals, hiking groups - these are great places to meet people because no one is walking around with a pre-conceived notion that they are there to find someone to date. They’re just there to enjoy life.
*(I really wish she had incorporated this more in the book… )

8. What would be your main piece of advice to single women who are looking for love?

Break out of your comfort zone and try new things - take classes, join new groups, sign up for something you’ve never signed up for before (a marathon, for example). If what you’re currently doing isn’t working, it’s time to change it up a bit.

*(This is perfect! It is advice like this, common sense to be sure but actually useful, that saved the book… if she had focused more on this and less on some of the other stuff, I think the book would have been much more useful.)


9. Many women might not want to play the role of the helpless, confused, in need of assistance or advice female when first meeting a hot guy… any advice for them?

Screw Cupid’s conversation starters can be a question about anything - they don’t have to be of the damsel-in-distress variety. You could say to the Hot Guy in question that you just got off the phone with your girlfriend and you guys have been arguing about health care reform and you’d like a second opinion.

*(I’m not sure if she is joking about this… let’s leave it and hope so.)


10. You advise to not be overly flirty because then your intentions will be clear and this is a turn off for men, but most of your openers lean toward the flirty side of things… asking about grunting etc. When do you think it is it OK to flirt and when do you think women shouldn’t?

Well, you’re talking about two different kinds of flirting here. Flirting by winking and blowing kisses prior to asking a question (that, using Screw Cupid’s techniques, should indicate that you could care less if you’re talking to him or to some other guy) won’t work. He’ll know in that situation in very certain terms that you’re very interested in talking to him. If, however, you ignore him and then go ask your question, he’s not going to know whether or not you like him - which is attractive. Humans want what they don’t know they have. Asking a guy in a teasing manner why the male persuasion grunts in the gym (which could be construed as flirting) is still a neutral question.

*(No, no it’s not… especially if you are at a social place and if he is a stranger. Also, do people actually wink and blows kisses at strangers/ Am I just too old to have ever found that an acceptable way of making contact?)


11. A lot of women are self conscious about talking to random guys… any advice for a woman who simply can’t just start a conversation with a guy?

Warm up to it, but don’t give up and remember, practice, practice, practice! The fear behind approaching guys is 100% about rejection. Screw Cupid’s techniques are designed to set up a situation where you can talk to a guy without him knowing you’re interested. How can he reject you if he doesn’t know you’re interested?

*(By seeing through the clever ruse and then not talking to you…?)


12. Using your pick up line techniques… what do you hope women will be able to accomplish?

I want to level the playing field in dating. I want women to be able to talk to the guys that they like, without having to wait for the guy to initiate the conversation.

*(Again… this is a noble goal… I personally disagree with how she is setting up the go-about-it-process… but the goal is damn important.)


13. Your approaches seem to count on quantity rather than quality… if a girl isn’t out to collect dozens of telephone numbers but wants to make a good solid connection, do you think your advice is still usable?

I focus on quantity only so that you can quickly weed through the not-so-desireables to find your quality guy. You’ve got to keep meeting new people so that you can fine-tune what exactly you’re looking for and find that perfect guy for you.


14. Do you think attitudes about the double standard of women hitting on and pursuing men are changing in our society? Do you think they are different in regards to age… as in guys in their 20s might be threatened by an assertive women but guys in their 40s might not be?

As far as I can tell, 95% of the male population (20 to 80) would LOVE IT if women took the initiative in dating, so yes - it seems like societal standards are definitely changing. What’s not going to change is an aversion to awkwardness (or what happens when you make your sexual interest in your targeted Hot Guy known).

*(So guys love it when women take the initiave… as long as they don’t know the girl is actually interested… Am I the only one left scratching my head?)


15. Do you watch any of the reality romantic set-em-ups on TV/ (Like the Bachelor, Cupid, etc)

I graduated from high school with one of the guys on the most recent season of The Bachelorette, so I watched a couple episodes of that, but other than that I don’t watch them. I much prefer real life to TV!

***


So, I hope you have learned a little bit more about Samantha Scolfield and her book Screw Cupid: The Sassy girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys.

Let me leave you with this gem:

You know all those “great guy friends” that every woman has? Most of them don’t talk to girls they don’t know anymore because they’ve been burned by fake phone numbers and bitchy reactions to their pick-up attempts. These guys aren’t losers - they just don’t know how to initiate conversation. Why not take the initiative and start the conversation yourself? By the way, I’m currently working on the sequel to Screw Cupid - teaching these Nice Guys how to meet girls.


(Full interview available upon request.)

Read full review here.



Author Interview: Screw Cupid

It isn’t often that you get to interview the author of a book you wrote a book review for... at least, it isn’t often that I get to do such a thing.

I must admit, I was a bit nervous. After all, while I saw some definite good in the book (Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking up Hot Guys –Full review Here-) including the writing itself, the style, the ideas of parties and places to meet said Hot Guys, I definitely took exception to a few of her ideas and suggestions. Again, you can read my review if you wonder what I am alluding to.





So then, how to talk to the author of a book that I found disquieting? What to ask her besides the obvious “Really? What were you thinking? What planet do you live on?” sort of things. I managed to curtail myself and decided to ask her questions drawn out of discussions I had with people about the book during the reviewing process and questions that came to me from the review.

I sent her 25 questions and she was nice enough to write back.. I hope she doesn’t regret it.

First off, I don’t want to be overly nitpicky… but some of her answers made my head spin.

Like her use of the word “rad” as in… “Another rad idea…”, I mean. Wow. The idea was indeed “rad” but I think I don’t need to explain how things like this can be really offsetting.


Ok… so without further ado, here is my interview with Samantha Scolfield, author of Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys: (I edited them down to keep this short(er) but if you really want to read all 25 questions, let me know.)


1.Can you tell us why you wanted to write it… and what led you to feel qualified?

I’ve been told my whole life by my friends that I should write down my mishaps in dating but couldn’t really think of a good reason why people would want to hear them. Then, when I figured out the secret to how to easily meet and start conversations with the guys I wanted to talk to, my good reason was there. I wanted to help others to meet the guys they liked, without having to repeat my mistakes.


2.One of the best aspects of the book is your frankness in telling us your mistakes and awkward moments. What do you think you learned from these experiences?

Hmm.... humility and what it feels like to be insanely embarrassed! Mostly what I took away from all my mishaps is to not take it personally when you get rejected (because 99% of the time your rejection is way more about their issues than yours), and that if you like yourself, others will follow suit.

3.Were you involved with the cover art and artistic feel of the book? Why did you go the route of bright pink and cartoon feel?

Yep, I was involved, and am very pleased with what the designer and the publisher came up with. They did a fantastic job. Bright pink happened because it’s bright, and also it’s a girl book and we wanted it to be immediately identifiable as such. The cartoon feel was the favorite out of many, many, MANY different cover ideas.
*(Just a side note here… one of the things that a lot of my readers disliked about th book was it’s obvious pinkness=femininity thing… could just be a case of the audience I tend to attract/interact with, but just thought I would point that out.)

4.Can you talk a bit about what sort of success you had with your techniques?

Well, I met my current boyfriend using my techniques, and he’s awesome, so that’s a check in my success column.
*(Another side note… she met her boyfriend online… so, yes, using the technique of “starting a conversation out of thin air” but if you are on an online dating site, it is hard, nigh, impossible to incorporate the whole Don’t Let Him Know You Are Interested part of Screw Cupid’s advice. Just saying’)

5.You say that you took three years of research to write this… as you get older, do you feel the techniques are ideas are still relevant?

Nothing has changed. Because Screw Cupid is based on a basic tenet of human nature (i.e. we want what we don’t know we have), I expect this will still work for as long as humans date each other.


6.Do you feel the techniques are usable for any geographic location?

Most definitely. As long as there are people to talk to, the techniques will work.
*(Several of my readers took exception to this idea… and the fact that the author resides in California’s LA does tend to make a difference.)

7.There seems to be a focus on bar/club settings. Do you think the ideas of the book can work outside of a meat market sort of place?

I mention bars and clubs only because they’re the first place most people think of when they go “out to meet guys”. I’m actually much more of a fan of outdoor venues where everyone is there to have a good time and hang out - outdoor concerts, food or drink festivals, hiking groups - these are great places to meet people because no one is walking around with a pre-conceived notion that they are there to find someone to date. They’re just there to enjoy life.
*(I really wish she had incorporated this more in the book… )

8. What would be your main piece of advice to single women who are looking for love?

Break out of your comfort zone and try new things - take classes, join new groups, sign up for something you’ve never signed up for before (a marathon, for example). If what you’re currently doing isn’t working, it’s time to change it up a bit.

*(This is perfect! It is advice like this, common sense to be sure but actually useful, that saved the book… if she had focused more on this and less on some of the other stuff, I think the book would have been much more useful.)


9. Many women might not want to play the role of the helpless, confused, in need of assistance or advice female when first meeting a hot guy… any advice for them?

Screw Cupid’s conversation starters can be a question about anything - they don’t have to be of the damsel-in-distress variety. You could say to the Hot Guy in question that you just got off the phone with your girlfriend and you guys have been arguing about health care reform and you’d like a second opinion.

*(I’m not sure if she is joking about this… let’s leave it and hope so.)


10. You advise to not be overly flirty because then your intentions will be clear and this is a turn off for men, but most of your openers lean toward the flirty side of things… asking about grunting etc. When do you think it is it OK to flirt and when do you think women shouldn’t?

Well, you’re talking about two different kinds of flirting here. Flirting by winking and blowing kisses prior to asking a question (that, using Screw Cupid’s techniques, should indicate that you could care less if you’re talking to him or to some other guy) won’t work. He’ll know in that situation in very certain terms that you’re very interested in talking to him. If, however, you ignore him and then go ask your question, he’s not going to know whether or not you like him - which is attractive. Humans want what they don’t know they have. Asking a guy in a teasing manner why the male persuasion grunts in the gym (which could be construed as flirting) is still a neutral question.

*(No, no it’s not… especially if you are at a social place and if he is a stranger. Also, do people actually wink and blows kisses at strangers/ Am I just too old to have ever found that an acceptable way of making contact?)


11. A lot of women are self conscious about talking to random guys… any advice for a woman who simply can’t just start a conversation with a guy?

Warm up to it, but don’t give up and remember, practice, practice, practice! The fear behind approaching guys is 100% about rejection. Screw Cupid’s techniques are designed to set up a situation where you can talk to a guy without him knowing you’re interested. How can he reject you if he doesn’t know you’re interested?

*(By seeing through the clever ruse and then not talking to you…?)


12. Using your pick up line techniques… what do you hope women will be able to accomplish?

I want to level the playing field in dating. I want women to be able to talk to the guys that they like, without having to wait for the guy to initiate the conversation.

*(Again… this is a noble goal… I personally disagree with how she is setting up the go-about-it-process… but the goal is damn important.)


13. Your approaches seem to count on quantity rather than quality… if a girl isn’t out to collect dozens of telephone numbers but wants to make a good solid connection, do you think your advice is still usable?

I focus on quantity only so that you can quickly weed through the not-so-desireables to find your quality guy. You’ve got to keep meeting new people so that you can fine-tune what exactly you’re looking for and find that perfect guy for you.


14. Do you think attitudes about the double standard of women hitting on and pursuing men are changing in our society? Do you think they are different in regards to age… as in guys in their 20s might be threatened by an assertive women but guys in their 40s might not be?

As far as I can tell, 95% of the male population (20 to 80) would LOVE IT if women took the initiative in dating, so yes - it seems like societal standards are definitely changing. What’s not going to change is an aversion to awkwardness (or what happens when you make your sexual interest in your targeted Hot Guy known).

*(So guys love it when women take the initiave… as long as they don’t know the girl is actually interested… Am I the only one left scratching my head?)


15. Do you watch any of the reality romantic set-em-ups on TV/ (Like the Bachelor, Cupid, etc)

I graduated from high school with one of the guys on the most recent season of The Bachelorette, so I watched a couple episodes of that, but other than that I don’t watch them. I much prefer real life to TV!

***


So, I hope you have learned a little bit more about Samantha Scolfield and her book Screw Cupid: The Sassy girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys.

Let me leave you with this gem:

You know all those “great guy friends” that every woman has? Most of them don’t talk to girls they don’t know anymore because they’ve been burned by fake phone numbers and bitchy reactions to their pick-up attempts. These guys aren’t losers - they just don’t know how to initiate conversation. Why not take the initiative and start the conversation yourself? By the way, I’m currently working on the sequel to Screw Cupid - teaching these Nice Guys how to meet girls.


(Full interview available upon request.)

Read full review here.



Women's Equality Day and Screw Cupid

August 26 (Today!) is designated in the United States as Women's Equality Day. Instituted by Rep. Bella Abzug and first established in 1971, the date commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, the Woman Suffrage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which gave U.S. women full voting rights in 1920.



Women won the vote in the United States through a constitutional amendment, finally ratified in 1920. But along the road to winning the vote, states and localities gave the right to vote to women within their jurisdictions. This list documents many of those milestones in winning the vote for American women.



1776: New Jersey gives the vote to women owning more than $250. Later the state reconsidered and women were no longer allowed to vote.

1861: Kansas enters the Union; the new state gives its women the right to vote in local school elections.

1869: Wyoming territory constitution grants women the right to vote and to hold public office.

1870: Utah territory gives full suffrage to women.

1893: The male electorate in Colorado votes "yes" on woman suffrage.

1895: Utah amends its constitution to grant women suffrage.

1896: Idaho adopts a constitutional amendment granting suffrage to women.

1910: Washington state votes for woman suffrage.

1911: California gives women the vote.

1912: Male electorates in Michigan, Kansas, Oregon and Arizona approve state constitutional amendments for woman suffrage. Wisconsin defeats a proposed suffrage amendment.

1920: On August 26, a constitutional amendment is adopted when Tennessee ratifies it, granting full woman suffrage in all states of the United States.


But there is more to women’s rights than voting… a few things to keep in mind:

·Women only make $.78 to a man's dollar.

·The U.S. has no guaranteed medical leave for childbirth; we're trailing 168 countries in the company of only Lesotho, Liberia, Papua New Guinea and Swaziland.

·The U.S. is near the bottom of the list -- again -- in our public support for quality childcare for children of working parents.

·Women only make up 16% of our representatives in Congress.




So, we still have work to do… but today let’s celebrate that women can and do vote in this country.



And… as a fun tie in… I just wrote for a book review for a dating guide women called Screw Cupid.



The book was a disapointment... and like the rest of this blog post, it reminded me that women have made strides... we just have a bit further to go.

Screw Cupid

Book Review for Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl’s Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys written by Samantha Scolfield





Where to start? Maybe with the word “Sassy” which seems out of place, maybe with “Picking Up” which is 1999-speak for today’s “Hook Up”, and maybe with “Hot Guys” which actually sets the tone a bit for the book… in that it plays upon shallow stereotypes, oversimplification, and an almost detrimental view of gender role relations.

We could also start with the fact that the book is bright pink.

Here’s the thing… the idea behind the book is worthwhile…. It is the methods that are nauseating. So, for real, let’s start with what actually works.

Samantha Scolfield has written what amounts to a quick and easy guide on how to start conversations out of thin air. This is a valuable skill… the skill of small talk, of extroverted communication, of finding a way to talk to strangers in ways that will usually inspire them to talk back to you.

Her voice as a writer is delightful, funny, and honest. Her recounting of bad dates and embarrassing moments are cringe worthy and can be widely appreciated and sympathized with. She even gives a pretty decent list of places to meet people (even if she sticks to examples featuring the gym and the bar), and her party theme ideas had me taking notes.

It’s just the rest of it.

She starts off with the premise that Hot Guys (described as any guy you personally find hot) won’t ever be attracted to girls who are assertive and honest about what they want. Therefore, it is the job of the Sassy Girl to start a conversation with her intended Hot Guy… but, and here’s the kicker, not let him know she is interested.

It’s a whole new way of playing hard to get. A way, she assures us, will work because the guy will suddenly become so engrossed in making sure the girl wants him, that he will forget any idea of not wanting her.

Before we even discuss the problems of her actual advice, we must first consider the premise. Are Hot Guys turned off by women who make their intentions clear? I would wager that the percentage probably mirrors girls who are turned off by guys who are a bit too on the nose. But, let’s be clear. There is a big difference between “Nice boots, wanna F—k.” and “”Hey, my name is….” To distil all men’s attraction or non attraction to women who actually show interest is taking the cheap way out of the question.

This, sadly, isn’t the only time or place where Scolfield decides to forgo actual thought and rely on antiquated perceptions of how guys think. According to her, most guys like golf, most guys don’t want to be hit on, most guys can’t see through her “clever” ruse.

Yes, those quotes were intentional… there is nothing clever about her conversation/not flirting/secret ruse of picking up on the hot guy.

Here are a few examples of how you too could start a conversation with a guy so that he won’t know you are interested:

Ask him why guys grunt at the gym.
Ask him what’s up with guys hogging the TV remote.
Ask him if he thinks Angelina Jolie is pretty.
Ask him to interoperate “guy speak” that some other guy told a some other friend.

If Scolfield finds anything wrong with starting off the conversation by having the female throw herself into the bimbo helpless victim role, she doesn’t show it.

You know what’s coming right? I have to say it… books like this perpetuate the double standard and the objectification of women. Scolfield is telling us that is it okay for women to make the first move… just as long as no one can recognize it as a move.

And what’s worse… any guy not drunk off his ass or with two brain cells to rub together will see through this and know that she is interested, throwing the original premise out the window.

Let’s face it… girls don’t randomly start conversations with guys unless they are interested in something. It isn’t always sex… sometimes we need to know what time it is… but if you are male and in a bar and a girl starts to chat you up about practically anything (especially things like grunting and Angelina Jolie’s prettiness) she probably has a watch.

That brings us to location. Most of the scenarios that are discussed are bar/club sort of interactions. Couple that with the term “picking up” and what you get is a lesson in Quantity, not Quality. In fact, SC extols the virtues of thinking of dating as a numbers game. One of her key pieces of advice is to not talk too long to any one guy… get a date on the schedule (or his number) and then move onto the rest of the guys at the bar.

Because nothing says I’m not at all a flakey bar fly like schmoozing your way through ten different guys in one night.

I would like to point out, Samantha Scolfield lives in LA. Methinks there might be a location driven aspect to this book. Maybe these superficial techniques for winning the numbers game works in what is easily one of the shallowest cities in the world… do you honestly think it would work anywhere else?

The ironic thing is that that it doesn’t really matter what the girls say to the guys at the bars or clubs (or vice versa). With the amount of noise inherent and the over all meat market mentality prevalent in 98% of them… connections are going to be made based on mutual attraction no matter what she says to start the conversation. This is where the book could really have worked… if the idea had been “it doesn’t matter what you say, get out there and start talking” we would have a very different, and much less offensive, guide. Instead the focus is, again, on quantity and getting connections.

But what sort of connections? Again, Scolfield does a great job of listing p[possible ways to start a random conversation… and her ideas of how to mentally psych yourself up to do that if you happen to be shy are worthwhile, but her goal here is to get you as many numbers and dates as possible… which might be just what some people are looking for, but I guarantee that a lot of people out there want actual connections. Quality over Quantity.

Ironically, Scolfield says that she did “research” for this book for three years… which means that she went on a whole slew of first dates but didn’t actually manage to turn any of those into relationships… until yes, apparently she now has a boyfriend who she met using her methods.

She met him online.

Ironic? Maybe.. but also totally understandable. What this book really does is list possible conversation starters and prove that it is hard to meet people at bars.

Like most things in life, we can take what works and leave the rest. And that, is where we have to end it.






PS: I had a chance to interview Scolfield, Read it Here!

Creepy Red and Some Green Ds.

Lots of stuff to write about this week… Hot Roller Derby Girls, The Continueing Weight Loss Challenge, Why Dating Advice Sucks (no matter who gives it), Mad Men, the 4400, Adventures on a Train, News Regarding My New Roommate, and much much more….

But first, it is Tuesday, that means somewhere Dawn is in trouble*, err, I mean, It’s Meme Day!

For the WWC,



the words this week were “D’ and “Green”

So… to start off… Jessica giving us the “D” in sign language.



And then, tools of my trade… “D” file labels… and look, they’re “Green” too!



Want more “Green”? Go “Green” by riding VTA.




Just make sure you are on the train… not like the bozo today who decided to walk alng the tracks and thus got hit by the train.




I don’t have a photo of that.

I do, however, have a few shots for Ruby Tuesday!

First off, a bit of almost gone red paint on the sidewalk. With the parking situation here in Santa Cruz, I wonder if someone decided to unmake this a no parking zone.



And then these… this was where I ended up on Saturday morning.




I had been looking for a kickboxing class and found the website for this place online. I took the bus, (a bit out in the boonies) followed the google map directions, and ended up here. No one else was here, by the way… just me. No signs of life at all. It was creepy and quiet and weird.



I finally found a little flyer for the studio place with a phone number on it… I called and the answering service for some random guy picked up.

I got my rear end back on the bus and joined a regular ‘real” gym.


But what lovely red accents on such ugly buildings, yes?


There you have it… two photo memes, one blog post… and just in case you are wondering I have even gone to the new gym (once) and enjoyed it. Wish me luck in going often and seeing results!

Happy Tuesday!

*If you “got it” give yourself a cookie and know that I think you are cool, even if other people don’t.

Friday Brings Out The Crazy.

Happy Friday! What are your plans? This weekend I get to go experience Roller Derby for the first time with Jeff AKA Iconoclast Anonymous. (who really needs to start blogging again, hint hint)

Crazy Fans + Hard Core Women on Skates = Much Fun!

The rest of the weekend I plan on catching up on reviewing projects and watching the final season of The 4400… a show that sadly isn’t on Hulu… but happily is available via Netflix.

Speaking of Hulu… some Hulu news….

If you are so inclined, you can watch the behind the scenes footage of the first few months of the Octomom and her kids. (Talk about crazy....)



Or, also on www.Hulu.com you could watch episodes of Firefly! One of these shows will rot your brain and make you hate yourself as well as your fellow human beings. The other stars Nathan Fillion.



No contest.

One of the best parts about the Firefly show was the mix of new and “not new” technology… and with that segway I bring you some nifty new stuff.

New technology puts the Theremin to shame.



Theremins make music using the movement of the player’s body but without physical contact (You have head the theremin sound in 1050 alien abduction movies… it is that high pitched “Whooo---OOOO---ooo” sound that makes your teeth clench.)

This new technology lets your body become the synthesizer.


More interesting tech/music news: Robotic hands that help your muscles learn how to play the piano…



And then Some Canadian Skeptic (Hi Steve!) breaks down why this is beyond silly.


Moving on….


You all think I am nuts for being afraid of birds… despite my run in with the Bird Lady and being attacked while minding my own business… well I finally have proof!


That’s right… crows can recognize you and have been known to stalk people for years while holding a grudge!


/shudder.

I need something happy after that….

Ok, not happy.. but definitely odd: and an example of how your day could be worse.

A passenger on a Southwest flight exposed himself to a woman who naturally screamed. He punched her, fought crew members but was placated and sat back down. Next thing you know… he had taken off all his clothes… and then threw up.

The plane returned to Oakland and he was arrested. The woman was hospitalized.

There are just too many crazy people out there… and I’m not even going to bring up the loons at the town hall meetings.


Not at all.


Ok, ok… one little thing; Barney Frank is now a personal hero.


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Barney Frank's Town Hall Snaps
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests



And on that note… have a great weekend!

Logical Fallacies + Email Forwards = Misinformation

A while ago I wrote about an email forward I had received that gave an “example of socialism in action: in a classroom”. I disagreed with several aspects of the email and responded to my family members accordingly.

This has sparked a rather long winded debate ranging from the mundane to the overly repetitive. However, I am pleased to say that everyone has kept a civil tongue (fingers?) even if the conversation seems to have degenerated into the realm of heels being dug in and non-acceptance.

That being said, I thought I would share a bit of my last email regarding the subject because we are now talking about logical fallacies in general and I think that more people ought to be aware of some of the more common ones.

Namely the Strawman and the Point of Ignorance. (Not point of stupidity… it is actually called point of ignorance, I am not being rude.)


Original Email: Used a “classroom real life example” to show the drawbacks of socialism.

I have two problems with this. First, the “classroom real life example” didn’t happen. It is a classic bit of netlore, it would be an unethical use of a teachers power, and according to Snopes there is no record of this happening. And because we can’t prove it happened, we don’t have to buy that it did. In fact, the evidence seems to stack up against any such “experiment” happening. True, we don’t know that it didn’t… just like we don’t know that a teapot isn’t currently orbiting Jupiter. But we can be pretty sure. (This insistence of belief bassed on the fact that we don’t know for sure if it didn’t happen is arguing from a point of ignorance.)

Why this matters: It is hard to look at the example given when it seems to come from a place of sensationalism and find merit.

But, even if we agree (for the sake of argument) that such a classroom experiment did happen.. we get to problem 2.

The whole story is a Strawman argument. What the writer of the email has done is make a very sloppy (oversimplified and downright invalid) picture of what socialism is and what it means. Making such a caricature of a concept to easily knock it down (and thus never really dealing with the actual concept) is classic Strawman logical fallacy.

(Another really popular one would be “If evolution were real, there wouldn’t be monkeys since we evolved from monkeys… since there are monkeys, evolution isn’t real.” This is a Strawman because it starts with a bad definition of what evolution is and what it means in terms of monkey populations.)

OK, but getting past all that… if we look at the actual themes of the example we can see that they are flawed as well.

First off, it seems like all human behavior is being distilled down to personal gain. Now, personal gain is an intrinsic part of capitalism and socialism as well… the difference is that socialistic ideas (that encompasses teamwork) put the needs of the many above the needs of the individual. This is a social trend that can be found in teams but also in certain societies and cultures around the world… such as hunter gatherer societies. Basically we are looking at socialism (or socialistic attitudes) in a cultural setting which affects the economic setting.

This leads us to a point I think we agree on; theories are great… but the addition of people can mess it up.

(A statement that is true for all economic or cultural modes… not just the nice idealized version of socialism.)

If the students had had a different cultural attitude regarding the grades… if they had worked together, if they had pooled their resources with the goal of increasing the class’s average, they would have been working out the ideas of socialism found in teamwork. They didn’t… either because it didn’t occur to them, they didn’t want the hassle, or they felt it was unfair. This is the problem with any change of system… the hold outs can potentially (and sometimes will) “ruin” it for those who might want to try something new.

But I digress.

The whole thing boils down to a cautionary tale against socialism that is misleading, full of logical fallacies, and fails to take into account some of the good socialistic sort of things we currently enjoy (the military, the police, the libraries, the public highways, Medicare, even to a lesser extent the post office.) Capitalism is a theory that works… and works very well for higher levels of the society. But capitalism is flawed as well… which is why we have things like anti-trust laws and labor unions.

My main quibble is that the email did a rather poor job of explaining how socialism could be bad… it relied on people not looking too closely and being distracted with fear and misleading information.

To sum it up… again, socialism and capitalism are theories that have both positive and negative qualities.

The original email forward, however, seems to have only negative.

The Girl Who Might Be Boy

My next blog post was going to be about Socialism… but….

It’s all over the net right now… Caster Semenya a sprinter who has won races, set records, and battled some personal health issues in the past is being asked to prove her gender.



Obviously (?) it wouldn’t be fair if she won races if she was a he… she(he) would need to compete with men not women.

Well, ok. But why is there any doubt as to her gender?

From what I can read, she suddenly “burst on the scene” and started kicking the snot out of her previous times. She also is highly muscled. One (Just one) report listed her as having been seen with facial hair.

Enough to raise doubts? Enough to start rumors? Sure.

Enough to keep her from competing? Thankfully no. She was (is… hard to tell with the time differences) allowed to compete… but she is also being asked to undergo physical, psychological, and genetic testing to prove her gender. No word yet about if her medals would be striped if she was found to be a he.

Here’s the thing… no one is crying fraud. No one wants to take her medals away or keep her out of the races… so why is it even an issue? Have we become so quick to accuse people of wrong doing, of cheating, that we can’t simple appreciate her for who she is?

I just think it is highly offensive to tell a highly muscled athlete who might have some facial hair that she doesn’t appear to be female. She isn’t the only woman out there with facial hair… not by a long shot. She isn’t the only woman with a highly developed muscled body. Is she the only one who has increased her abilities quickly?

No one is talking drugs or other enhancements… no. Instead they are attacking her gender… and apparently, the tests will take weeks to finish.



So, we along with Caster, must wait.


Source

Because Some Things Just Need To Be Linked

Enjoy!

Weight, Weight, Don't Tell Me.

Ok, goal time.

I want to lose weight.



Hmm, not specific enough is it?

I want to drop 10 pounds.



Ahhh but see, I don’t want to give myself too much time… 10 pounds in say a year isn’t really going to help me out.

I want to drop 10 pounds…. by September 21st (The Autumnal Equinox).

Goal set. Now for a plan.

I could count carbs, or calories… I could buy a gym membership, eat like a bird, or take pills.



But I think I will do the following;

I will do aerobics/dance/stretching five times a week (heart rate goes up, it is about a 30 min. workout.)
I will do the cardio kickboxing class on Saturdays.
I will avoid all candy (except mints)
I will cut out beef and pork products.
I will increase my intake of veggies.
I will drink more water.
I will give up my Once-A-Week-Small-Decalf-White-Mocha


I think I can live with that.

Wish me luck!

West of the Red Fave Story

It’s Tuesday… must be Meme Day!

For starters I have my Ruby Tuesday! entry for you….

The brick arches of the neighborhood family owned burrito place...



that has now been taken over by….these guys.




Which is slightly sad except that there are a lot of Mexican restaurants in downtown SJ… and a really excellent burrito place two blocks away. This photo also gets to carry double weight as part of my Weekly Word Challenge or WWC post for reminding me of the word West.

As in Double Western Bacon Cheeseburgers!! Yum!

And for a more “on the nose” sort of West, I have this compass that The Maifan-San gave me.



The other WWC word for the week was Favorite Story… and so here is a shot of my favorite book series when I was a kid. The Prydain Chronicles. By Lloyd Alexander.



Awesome reading for adults and kids... check 'em out!



There you go… Happy Meme Tuesday!

Brad Pitt, Dr. Who, DOMA, Hello Kitty,… and Free Music!

Happy Monday.

AT&T is still on my “severe dislike” list…



.. but the internet seems to be holding steady for now. Which is good because there are so many things to share with you today!

First off, I caught a bit of this interview over the weekend via the hotel room’s HBO and had to share it with you. Brad Pitt is pro gay marriage, pro legalization of pot… and not a big fan of religion.



The article is here or you can watch it below:




In today’s news of “Well, duh!” we have the following: A report from Pear Research finds 40 percent of tweets on the popular social networking site Twitter fall into the category of "Pointless Babble."


Well, sure… maybe a lot of people put random stuff on their feed… MY feed, on the other hand, is chalk full of vital information! Like… umm… well… ok, point taken.



.../fighting the urge to tweet this article though.../


Another “duh” article: Chewing tobacco is not any safer for you than smoking it.

A study has found that taking one pinch of smokeless tobacco delivers the same amount of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) as smoking five cigarettes.

PAHs are common environmental contaminants that are formed as a result of incomplete burning of wood, coal, fatty meat or organic matter, according to information in a news release from the American Chemical Society. For instance, PAHs form during the grilling of meats. Some are known carcinogens



Right, ok. Moving on.

Obama has explicitly stated his support for the abolishment of DOMA.



Read more about DOMA


From politics to Hello Kitty! Thanks to Stacy, the Hello Kitty House!




Here is something very very cool from The Maifan-San.

Cylinder recordings, the first commercially produced sound recordings, are a snapshot of musical and popular culture in the decades around the turn of the 20th century. They have long held the fascination of collectors and have presented challenges for playback and preservation by archives and collectors alike.



And now you can listen to them! Because… what’s a better way to start your day than by listening to music that is almost 100 years old? You can download MP3s or tune into the streaming radio station. Pretty nifty eh?


And lastly, Dr. Who cakes! (to see more, click the link)





Hope you had a great Monday!

Sunday Photos!

Last week I showed you some pretty classic photos for the Sunday’s In my town photo meme hosted by the wonderful Unknown Mami

This week I think I’ll show you some less traditional views of Santa Cruz.


The lesson? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Happy Sunday!






Standing By

I have been having a rough few days.


AT&T decided it was going to be a stinking bunch of malevolent pieces of fecal matter. In other words, I don’t have internet acces for some radon reason that no one can seem to understand.
My boss took being “bossy” to a whole new level.
A much anticipated vacation was canceled.
Angry words were exchanged with someone dear to me.
Little Kitty Haley Cat died.
The mouse / cursor for my laptop is having epileptic seizures which make getting anything done a real trial.
And I realized just how much weight I have gained in the last three months.

But.

Then I see things like this and after the goose bumps subside, I remember that I am blessed.




I hope you all are having a good Thursday.

Peace,

The Maifan-San: Origin Story

About once a week I get an email asking me about The Maifan-San. Regular readers of my blog sometimes have a vague glimmer of who this is, while others are downright confused.

So I thought I would write a quick post explaining him and his unusual nickname. Partly because he is fun to talk about and partly so that I have a good “go to” place to send any future inquiries.


The Maifan-San:





When I first started this blog (and back then it was a fiction only blog, -my how times have changed in 300 + posts and a year and a half, hmm?-) I was a bit shy about writing names. I saw on other blogs that the significant others and children of the bloggers tended to have nicknames.

This was a good thing, see at the time I was dating a nice young man, had been dating him for a while but the label of “boyfriend” wasn’t being used. I didn’t want to refer to him as “the guy I’m dating/sleeping with/hanging out with/ slowly falling in love with”…. What was a girl to do?



I could have called him Anthroslug. That is, after all his blog name. But… and don’t hate me, but I really don’t like the word. I get it… I know it is a combo of anthropology (his major in college) and the illustrious banana slug that is his alma mater’s mascot… but… it isn’t the sort of pet name one would chose to call her partner/lover/dating buddy/regular weekend dinner companion.

So I started calling him The Man.

Which worked. I got to make jokes about “Cooking for The Man” “Cleaning for The Man” and even occasionally “Being held down –in a nice way- by The Man.”

I also got to say “Damn The Man, Save the Empire!” and then chortle to myself because it seems only like ten of us ever saw that movie….



Anyway, this worked for a while but then he actually became my boyfriend and I started to wonder if I should maybe call him something else.

In our more private moments I would occasionally call him my Stud-Muffin because first off it embarrassed him slightly and secondly he really is a Stud-Muffin of epic proportions. He is sexy, smart, good looking, funny, kind… he has an interesting job, cool hobbies, nice friends… oh and did I already say smart and progressive and fun… best part: he likes (now loves) me! What more could a girl ask for in a Stud-Muffin?



One of the most Stud-Muffin things he has done (as of now) is take me to Tokyo. I know right? How much more Stud-Muffin can you get? One morning a few weeks prior to our trip I was thumbing through my English Japanese dictionary and I decided to look up “muffin” thinking I could memorize it and then call him that while on our trip. Because, my sense of humor works like that.


Muffin (English) = Maffin (Japanese)

San = what you stick at the end of a name to denote Mr. Mrs. Or a sign of respect.

A few things: the dictionary was tiny, the font was even tinnier, and I was reading it while shoveling delicious fish and chips into my mouth. So, I read “Maffin” as “Maifin” and then decided to make the word my own by changing it to “Maifan”

The Maifan-San was born!

He doesn’t mind his nickname and a lot of my online friends (and even some real world friends) tend to call him that. So, it stuck, it works, and it is my own little way of calling him Mr. Muffin.



…and that is probably as much sweet as you can handle today and most likely more than you ever wanted to know about The Maifan-San.

Oh well, tomorrow (and over the next few days) we will be back to politics, what makes a drug a drug, interesting facts about Netflix, and oh so much more!

Julie & Julia (movie)

My book review for Julie & Julia is here.


Movie review for
Julie & Julia



This movie was a delight. The movie is told in parallel structure which can be dangerous, but in this case works beautifully. First we have the story of Julie Powell, (played is sweet perfection by Amy Adams) who is a government drone bored post 9/11 New York resident turned food blogger as she cooks all 524 recipes from “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” in the span of a year.



The counterpart story is that of Julia Child (Meryl Streep is perfection) as she changes from bored housewife to a mistress of French cooking and and then works on writing a cookbook about it.



The two paths never really meet… there is clear intention to keep the story lines distinct which gives both women and both stories the ability to flourish. The movie done exceedingly well; we care about both Julie and Julia and never feel that they are competing with one another. Both could have carried an entire movie but by having the two interwoven we never get sick of the Julia Child voice and we are treated to their lives in steady small delightful doses, sort of like courses in a fancy French dinner.

Both actresses do wonderful jobs and let’s give a shout out to the supporting men (Stanley Tucci for Julia’s Paul and Chris Messina as Julie’s husband ) More than just second tier characters, the love story woven between the couples is genuine and romance at its best.



“You are the butter to my bread, and the breath to my life.” Paul (and then Julie) says and the entire audience swoons.



One of the best parts of the movie is that it really is exactly what the title promises… two stories that have overlapping themes but are still their own.

I find it interesting that this movie was released on the same weekend as the tripe “The Ugly Truth” and the overblown “I Joe” Despite the fact that Julie & Julia is a sweet even tempered romantic story about cooking and loving, it managed good numbers on opening weekend, (In fact it came in as the number 2 movie behind GI Joe. This is good news, it means that we can keep encouraging nice wholesome fun movie to continue being made; the kind of movies that I could take my grandmother or my lover to see.

Again, wonderful movie, well done. I highly recommend it… and ladies, drag your boyfriends/husbands… like good cooking, this movie is meant to be shared with those we love... even if you hate hate cooking!