Tags: rant


Choice delimited

I'm not quite sure how to frame this. I guess it starts this way - I used to work in a book store. Back in the day, way before now, before the internet exploded into being, I sold books for a living. If you're surprised, you shouldn't be. I live in my head, I work hard but people aren't my strong suit. Books, pages, online, email, those are easy for me. I loved the hell out of that job. Reading new books and telling people about them was right up there with world peace.

Anyway, my point. I still love books. I love indie presses, I love little authors, I love people with interesting things to say. (I love the big guys too, but my version of big guy is Neil Gaiman and Anne McCaffrey. Hello, not very timely with the pop culture.) Subterranean Press is on my favorites list for new work, there's just so much awesome there. My problem tonight is that it seems that PayPal is actively trying to kill them.

I'll admit it, I've picked up a SmashWords habit somewhere along the way. And I use PayPal to support my favorite artists through SubPress and Etsy as well. Any way to get my money to the people who have created the work is brilliant. But acting like this? 95% of the crap bodice-rippers put out in book form by Harlequin would be banned.

Don't get me wrong, I have a serious problem with people who act on non-consensual fantasies. Really, you probably don't want to ask me about it. But giving folks an outlet for that in a book? Where nobody gets hurt? And people can skip the parts they're not ok with? How is that wrong? There is a huge difference between the written word and action.

The other thing I see happening here is the opportunity presenting itself for a third party to constrain the way that people spend money on legal items. That's a separate rant I'll save for another day though. Right now, just think about PayPal and how much of the online sales they control. How many people will go out of business when PayPal gets away with yet another bullying tactic?

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.


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Now that I've calmed down a bit, I can explain what's going on with the heat pump. Last night there was much teeth-gnashing as we realized there was no possible way that we'd have heat before the middle of next week. It's just not humanly possible to do all of the things that need to happen between now and that milestone.

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I made the mistake yesterday of reading The Nations Recession Stories. There was all of one story in there that made me sympathetic to the writers plight. I can't tell if this makes me a cold-hearted corporate drone, or just someone that's lived more than 25 years.

Seriously, there's just no way that I'm going to feel sorry for someone who didn't get a job in the field that they studied. No one I know has a job anything related to their degree. If there's one thing I learned in college, it's that a degree is just an indicator of a willingness to learn and work, nothing more.

My recession story? It takes place in 1998. And then again in 2001. And now. For the first 2, I was unemployed. Now I'm lucky enough to have a job, in large part because I sucked it up during the last 2 and went where the work was. Marketable skills are good to have, and the boom times are the times to take advantage of the training offered by employers.

I understand where these young people were coming from. They honestly thought that things would be easy when they got out of college. I get that, I was in the same boat. What makes me crazy is that they're not willing to bend, to be flexible enough to get through this and then move on when things get better. I guess they just don't teach survival skills in school.

We can make a bomb out of that!

You know, this latest furor over liquids and assembling bombs on planes makes me sick. Did it not occur to the "security" folks that this was possible? Have these people never seen a movie? Do they not remember Oklahoma City? Have they never known teenage boys?

What the heck are Homeland Security and the TSA doing with the money they get? They obviously aren't thinking ahead. They're only responding (late) to whatever threat gets uncovered. Why on earth don't they have one or two teenage boys sitting around coming up with ways that they could blow shit up? Isn't that what teenage boys do? Or they could order a copy of the Anarchists Cookbook. Then they could have a couple of adults determine whether it's reasonable or feasible and take precautions.

But at that point, I strongly suspect that they'd discover that reasonable precautions are to xray stuff and maybe have a bomb sniffing dog and that's it. And that would render them obsolete. And we certainly can't have that.

Last names

Yesterday my husband and I received a wedding invitation in the mail to Mr and Mrs Us. Since we don't have the same last name, I was a little annoyed. OK, so I'm never really a little annoyed - I was downright cranky about it. In this day and age, I wondered aloud, how can a woman not bother to find out who she's addressing things to? (I know it was the bride who sent these out because I know the groom and he's probably avoiding this stuff like the plague.)

My husband took issue with my annoyance. His intrepretation of my annoyance was that I don't want to be identified with his last name. It's really not that at all, and thankfully after my explanation, he understands why I get upset at the assumption that because we're married I must have his last name.

Basically, my position is that changing a womans last name on marriage is a vestige of a strongly patriarchal system. I have no problem with people who do change their names either way, my problem is with the assumption. Making the assumption that a woman has changed her name upon marriage allows the patriarchy to continue to exist, where asking allows that there are other options that are also acceptable. I strongly believe that by letting the little assumptions slide, it's harder to tackle the big ones. It's only by questioning the small everyday assumptions that allow change and equality to come in. Social revolution is hard and takes changing the way people think. This can only be done by not letting those assumptions slide. Some day gender won't be an issue in life choices. Educating people in last name choice is a small contribution I can make every day.

This rant brought to you by silly friends who should know better, fear by gender and naming conventions.

Silly rawcat mailing list

Some nice person emailed the rawcat mailing list I'm on about how to transition her cat to raw food (ground including supplements). Instead of offering useful advice, the list members jumped all over her for using ground instead of parts of whole animals. This is pretty typical of this list - they're evangelists of what they see as the right way instead of offering support to those still learning and trying to find the right way for themselves. It's almost religious in its fervor.

This is one of the major reasons that I don't participate. There's really no point in arguing with them. It would just start a war because they can't comprehend that maybe kitties need vitamins just like people do. Intolerance makes me crazy.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that my cats have started eating the rabbit and seem to like it. All this in spite of their initial concern that I was cleverly disguising poison as food.

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My Mac is dead. I can't even express how angry this makes me. I love that computer! It's been perfect for what I use it for and my husband doesn't get to touch it. But for some reason it won't power on, so I have to take it in for "service." Dammit, I would do the servicing myself, but there's really no access to the machine or parts so I can't. What kind of crappy plan is that? But then, I'm the idiot that bought an eMac instead of a normal machine with accessible pieces. I was seduced by the cute factor. Never again.

The funny part is that my husband offered to "fiddle" with it to see if he could make it work. I told him to keep his hands off, as I'd already done all the troubleshooting I could find online and even called Apple Care. "Fiddle" with it. Sheesh.

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I cannot believe that Sony is trying to get away with installing root kits that can cripple their computers if they try to remove it.

The entire experience was frustrating and irritating. Not only had Sony put software on my system that uses techniques commonly used by malware to mask its presence, the software is poorly written and provides no means for uninstall. Worse, most users that stumble across the cloaked files with a RKR scan will cripple their computer if they attempt the obvious step of deleting the cloaked files.

I cannot believe that Sony is doing this with music and game CDs. It's going to be a long time before I buy anything from them.

Women and power

I'm trying to come to terms with this article pointed out by kitiara on the "problem with moderm women." I can't believe this pandering crap actually made it to print. My favorite quote: "women get penalized by insecure men for being too independent." You mean insecure men have problems with strong women? Wow, I'm shocked. I would never have guessed that on my own. Especially since insecure men don't have problems with strong men or anything like that. Sooo whiny and self-fulfilling.

Basing any relationship on a lie is a bad idea. Pretending to be weak and hard to get while "catching" a man (I love that imagery. Don't they realize they're using barbless hooks to go fishing?) just leads to having to pretend for the rest of your life. I guess actresses might not mind, but that's way too much work for me. I much prefer to associate with men and women who aren't afraid that who they are will piss someone off. Acting and putting up a mask is *certainly* going to piss me off, why not go for the possibility of acceptance?

Practically speaking, I'm not really surprised at the swinging of the pendulum back toward more conservative/patriarchial positions. Any change is like that, swinging the pendulum back and forth until the new middle ground is reached. We've seen it with every other societal change, so why should feminism be any different? It's going to take a while, and a lot of effort, so that the ability of women to determine what they want to do with thier lives free of socially imposed roles is the norm and not the exception.

I used to feel secure in the progress of women in general toward acceptance for whatever choice they made with their lives until recently. The backswing on the pendulum seems to be speeding up, not really in my personal life but rather in the political arena. I think that folks raised with women who were strong and independant (my mother, her female line back to my great grandmother and my paternal grandmother are shining examples) are less likely to be proponents of the game playing and manipulation, men and women included. Frankly, I think it's going to be a while before most of the society is ready for strong women, partially because several generations will have to die off for it to happen. This form of bigotry is like any other - it takes education and time to weed it out.

My niece is growing up with strong women, men that are comfortable with that fact and supportive family. I'm fairly sure that she won't have to resort to the manipulation and game playing that Dowd seems to be pushing. But then, I'm also hoping that someday she'll enlighten those around her with her acceptance of educated high powered women with families as the norm. And until the day comes when people stop talking about it as an exception, I'll be a feminist.

Hydrogen as fuel

This morning I was talking with my husband about something or other and we drifted to the subject of hydrogen as an automobile fuel. He was telling me about the new technology they've got where they use ammonia and a catalyst to store the hydrogen in a concentrated and non-flammable format. He was vague on the details, but it sounded interesting enough. So I started grilling him. What's the byproduct of this reaction? How do they get the ammonia in the first place? What are the raw materials?

He didn't have an answer and I have a lot of spare time, so I poked around a bit. So far, I'm not impressed. The hydrogen is either produced by burning fossil fuels or from ammonia-borane reactions. Of course, fossil fuel burning is what we're trying to move away from right? And creating ammonia is bad news too:

Ammonia is the fifth most abundantly produced chemical in the U.S. and ranks number two on the list of chemicals requiring the most energy to produce.

From what I can tell, ammonia is produced by steam reforming of hydrocarbons. So we're back to fossil fuels.

In fact, I don't even know what the by-product of the use of ammonia-borane is. The chemical composition is NHBH + H2. But what the heck is that? From what I can tell it's benzene... but I wouldn't be surprised if I were wrong.

In investigating this, I'm more confused than ever. It looks like hydrogen as a fuel is just as bad, if not worse, than using gas. Someone please tell me I'm wrong.