Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Gift of Giving

I finally launched my Artfire store - Celadon Soap & Craft Co. is open for business! Please check it out here.

I was talking to Rachel and she mentioned that she (as a quite good knitter) liked being present when people received things she had made because she liked to see their faces. I totally agree. The expression of excitement or gratitude that someone gets when you give them a gift is always really pleasing, and that pleasure is increased tenfold when they are excited or grateful for something that you created especially for them. I suppose it's a bit selfish, but at the same time it's like feeling happy that you made someone else happy, and there's nothing wrong with that.

On the other hand, there are also times when the face a gift recipient makes is not quite what you had expected, and just as a positive reaction to a handmade gift is way more satisfying, a less-than-positive reaction can make a crafter feel pretty terrible. In the short while that I've been good enough at my crafts to give them as gifts, I've already got "Present Face" more than a couple times.

The first crochet project I ever completed was this truly hideous scarf in a mix of fluffy black mohair and squeaky acrylic maroon worsted weight. It curled. It was uneven. It buckled and had holes from skipped stitches. It was ugly. I didn't even bother to weave in the ends and I presented it to Kyle and told him I made it for him. He ohh'd and ahh'd and said "Cool! Thank you! I'll have to wait for a really cold day to wear it!", to which I responded, "Please don't wear that outside. I was kidding". He was quite relieved. And since I had actually never intended for him to treat it as a special gift, this instance of Present Face was amusing.

But I guess getting an unenthusiastic response to an item is just one of the woes of being a crafter, one of the perils of sharing one's hobby with another. The appreciative reactions are totally worth are worth the risk. That's the gift of giving.

ETA: Also, Rachel sent me this totally awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Twilight mash-up, in which Buffy kicks that lame-o Edward's ass. From the video info:
It's an example of transformative storytelling serving as a pro-feminist visual critique of Edward's character and generally creepy behavior. Seen through Buffy's eyes some of the more patriarchal gender roles and sexist Hollywood tropes embedded in the Twilight saga are exposed in hilarious ways.

I don't know about all of that, but I do agree that (what I hear of) Edward's personality is pretty gross. Also, the video is just funny.

As huge BtVS fans, Rachel and I found this quite entertaining and I think we both need to own this shirt:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Troll Bingo

Often, in the comments on blogs or on forums and such, there are people that come along and leave ridiculous, offensive, or ignorant comments. These people are called "trolls". Trolls are not people who are genuinely interested in discourse, who politely disagree and seek to exchange ideas with people whose opinions differ from their own. Trolls are the type of people that go to feminist websites and leave comments demanding that the writers of the website get back in the kitchen and make them a sandwich. They are the people that read LGBT blogs and feel it necessary to point out that they personally find homosexuality yucky and heavens forfend they should just NOT read that particular blog. They have to make sure the people for whom the blog is written know that there are people who disapprove of their lives, just in case they weren't quite sure.

The website Feministe occasionally has a "Next Top Troll" contest in which readers (the real ones) vote on the best (worst?) troll comments. It's sort of a way to make light of the cruel and unenlightened things that people go out of their way to say. A "laugh to keep from crying" exercise. I was talking about a few of these to Kyle and I mentioned the Bingo cards that some of the sites I read have created for troll comments. He was interested so I compiled a list of Troll Bingos from around the blogs and since it took me several minutes, I decided I should post it here, too. Can't let all that hard work go to waste! So, next time you're reading the comments at a blog and some a-hole comes along to screw up the dialogue (or you're reading an email from a Token Conservative Friend/Family Member), just whip out your Bingo cards and have a ball!

Intelligent Design


Evolutionary Psychology

White Privilege Deniers

Trans Issues


Anti Fat Acceptance, Part One

Anti Fat Acceptance, Part Two

Anti-Feminism, Part One

Anti-Feminism, Part Two

Anti-Feminism, Part Three

Anti-Feminism, Part Four

Anti-Feminism, Part FIVE


Sexual Assault Deniers


Mommy Wars

General Jerk-waddery

Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Thoughts

1) I hate flossing. Apparently, I'm the only person in the world for whom flossing is not some sort of zen-like experience, or I'm the only one that will admit it, but I really hate flossing. The reason I bring it up is because when I was flossing this morning (hey, just because I hate it doesn't mean I don't DO it) I got caught up in a spot where my teeth are a little crowded and it feels like I nearly yanked out a molar. Yes, ten hours later, my mouth still hurts from flossing. Stupid flossing.

2) Why are people kind of assholes to kids? Birthday spanks, "a pinch to grow an inch", noogies; people are generally kind of nasty to children. I mean, I know WHY people act like that. It's because people have issues accepting the autonomy of children. People consider children more like property or pets and hey, the dog and the coffee maker never mind when you lay on hands without asking. If you don't see a child as a human being unto herself, why would you behave as though she were? This is also why people have such a hard time teaching their kids about healthy sexuality. Kids aren't people! People have needs and desires! Kids don't have needs and desires! That's just icky!

3) However, I will never, under any circumstance, understand people talking to children in third person. Why do we assume that children understand the third person perspective but not first person? And it's weird that when a child is born, people take on special names for that child to relate to them by (mom, dad, grandpa, etc.) and then talk about themselves using those special names as separate from themselves ("Mom, whatcha doin?" "Mommy is making spaghetti for dinner") and then act surprised when children think the world revolves around them [the children] and don't consider the parents as separate people. WTF? YOUR CHILD IS CONFUSED ENOUGH ABOUT THE WORLD! WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT WORSE?

Of course, what the hell do I know, because I don't have a baby.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What I Learned Today

They say you learn something new every day. I think that's probably true if you're going by averages, but not true in the literal sense. I know there are days when I'm bumming around watching Golden Girls and making crocheted flowers and I don't learn anything. On any day that I listen to Republican talk radio I'm pretty sure the opposite of learning is happening.

However, today I did learn things. I learned that deconstructing tee shirts is not as easy as one might assume. I also learned a few interesting tidbits about Johnny Appleseed and the history of apples in America:

But there’s a little detail the Disney movie and all the kids’ books about Johnny Appleseed got wrong. His apples weren’t for eating. They were for liquor. Apples don’t grow “true” from seeds–that is, if you plant a Granny Smith apple seed, the tree that grows will not produce Granny Smith apples (the vast majority of the time, anyway). The only way to be sure what kind of apples a tree will produce is to graft limbs onto it from another apple tree that has the kind of apples you want. Most trees that grow from seeds produce smallish apples that are bitter and very much unlike the glowing waxed fruit we’ve come to associate with health and a good diet. People would not want to eat those apples. But what they could do with them is turn them into apple cider, as the Junior Ecology Club mentions, but not the kind you buy at the grocery store around Thanksgiving. It was alcoholic apple cider.

For much of American history, alcoholic beverages were widely consumed by both adults and children. Before clean water was necessarily available, it was safer to drink alcohol, particularly in cities.

(from Sociological Images)

Monday, June 1, 2009

Who're YOU Calling Mac & Cheese?

Ok, ok, I know I've talked about The Da Vinci Code being kind of ridiculous before but I just watched the movie and was wondering if Dan Brown had ever recanted on his insistence that the Priory of Sion was real instead of being a scam created in the 50's by that Plantard guy. So, I moseyed on over to the Wikipedia page about The Da Vinci Code and I was reading some of the criticisms of Dan Brown and found this gem:

In his 2005 University of Maine Commencement Address, best-selling author Stephen King put Dan Brown's work and "Jokes for the John" on the same level, calling such literature the "intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese."

Hey, Stephen King, way to be the pot calling the kettle a bad writer!

ETA: I just wanted to add that Stephen King is totally right and I am in no way defending Dan Brown. That guy can suck it!

On Dr. Tiller

Things are getting out of control. You know what needs to end now? The abortion debate. I'm over it, I'm sick of hearing about it, I'm sick of churches posting huge banners on public streets about boo-hoo the children, I'm sick of my boyfriend's sister sticking her fat baby albatross in my face and telling me that abortion is equivalent to SIX MILLION ACTUAL LIVING PEOPLE being maimed, mutilated, and murdered during the Holocaust. I'm desperately tired of people having to die over it. Seriously, anti-choicers, it's time to let it go.

I don't really have anything to say about the murder of Dr. George Tiller. I do want to share a few things others have said though.

From Alas, A Blog:
He was a doctor, one who helped women through a difficult procedure. He sacrificed his life today because he was unwilling to step aside, to let women’s rights die at the threat of violence. May all of us who believe in a woman’s right to choose honor Dr. Tiller with the same steadfast resolve; terrorism works only when we surrender to fear. And the terrorist who committed this act (and the anti-choice cheerleaders who encouraged and endore it) must not be allowed victory.

From Shapely Prose:
Most pro-life organizations, including Operation Rescue, have tried to distance themselves from the assassination, and of course the vast majority of pro-life people would and do condemn murder. Nevertheless, the reality is, words have consequences. Publishing the home address and church of someone you call “America’s doctor of death” has consequences.

From Huffington Post:
Battered women are at greatest danger of being killed by their abusers when they are most strong -- that is, when they muster the courage to leave. The same phenomenon may be true in the abusive political abortion debate. The pro-choice movement, specifically our abortion providers, are in the greatest danger of violence when we take power. When the anti-abortion movement loses power, their most extreme elements appear to move to the fore and take control. The murder of Dr. Tiller suggests that violence against abortion providers may be far more linked to the power, or lack thereof, anti-abortion groups have politically than to laws designed to increase penalties against such acts.

History has another disturbing lesson for us. The escalation of anti-abortion rhetoric plays a direct role in instigating violence. When anti-abortion groups ratchet up the rhetoric, they know exactly what they're doing and the results it will have. Even if they maintain deniability, as Operation Rescue recently did saying, in effect, we wanted Tiller gone, but didn't want him murdered, they have inflamed the rhetoric. And suddenly people Like Dr. Tiller's murderer become inspired.

From Pandagon:
He didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to put his life and his family’s life on the line every day to tend to women going through a little-understood trauma. He didn’t have to go through a sea of protesters who hate women so much they actually think that women are lying about their problems so they “get” to have later term abortions. He didn’t have to suffer through relentless legal abuse at the hands of fundamentalist misogynists who obtain political power by exploiting voter ignorance about abortion. He didn’t have to make himself the target for this murder to help women, but for whatever reason, he rose to this challenge, and that makes him a real hero.