Thursday, October 26, 2006

Weekend link-fest

I'm going on Fall Break this weekend, so this will have to hold you over until I get back. (Like I've got a regular schedule to begin with . . . )

Remember back in February when Muslims rioted over those Muhammed cartoons? Remember before that when they set Paris on fire for like a solid week? And I didn't blog about it, but there were also several gang-rapes in Australia by, you guessed it, roving gangs of Muslim immigrants. Well, a high-ranking Australian cleric had something to say about it. The basic gist? If you get raped, it's your own darn fault. Some choice quotes:

"When it comes to adultery, it’s 90 percent the woman’s responsibility. Why? Because a woman owns the weapon of seduction. It’s she who takes off her clothes, shortens them, flirts, puts on make-up and powder and takes to the streets, God protect us, dallying. It’s she who shortens, raises and lowers. Then, it’s a look, a smile, a conversation, a greeting, a talk, a date, a meeting, a crime, then Long Bay jail. Then you get a judge, who has no mercy, and he gives you 65 years."
'Cause, you know, it takes two to tango and all that. Or at least it would, if that kind of dancing wasn't a sin.
"But when it comes to this disaster, who started it? In his literature, writer al-Rafee says, if I came across a rape crime, I would discipline the man and order that the woman be jailed for life. Why would you do this, Rafee? He said because if she had not left the meat uncovered, the cat wouldn’t have snatched it."
There, see? The man's working from faulty sources. It's not his fault he's a TOTAL FRAPPING MYSOGINIST.
If you take uncovered meat and put it on the street, on the pavement, in a garden, in a park, or in the backyard, without a cover and the cats eat it, then whose fault will it be, the cats, or the uncovered meat’s? The uncovered meat is the disaster. If the meat was covered the cats wouldn’t roam around it. If the meat is inside the fridge, they won’t get it."
And if banks didn't have money, they wouldn't get robbed.
"If the woman is in her boudoir, in her house and if she’s wearing the veil and if she shows modesty, disasters don’t happen."
Since when does "modesty" mean "hiding inside all day like an oyster?"
"…The woman was behind Satan playing a role when she disobeyed God and went out all dolled up and unveiled and made of herself palatable food that rakes and perverts would race for. She was the reason behind this sin taking place."

Now see, where I come from (and maybe we're all just ca-razy there, who knows), it's the man who's responsible for keeping himself in check. I don't care if a Playboy bunny is running down the street naked - you can't just go out and randomly have sex with her. Especially if she doesn't want to. Guys are expected to handle it like men and keep their pants on.

You know, this actually explains a lot about Islam: maybe they're so worked up all the time because they don't have the self-control to handle the sight of a woman who isn't wrapped in Hefty bags - and they know it.

In other news: France is still on fire, and this time they're burning buses (they hijack them and make the passengers get off first, thank God). Also, a Danish court rejected a lawsuit against the newspaper that first published the Muhammed cartoons. Apparently there's no law against accidentally offending people.

Who'da thunk it.

[All links via Little Green Footballs]

Monday, October 23, 2006

To vote or not to vote . . .

. . . as if there was any question. There's the old "If you didn't vote, you can't complain" adage, but I believe in voting for a slightly deeper reason.

Where I'm registered to vote, they won't let you mark "Independent" on your information - you have to pick a party. Democrat, Republican, Green, it doesn't matter: You have to pick something. I picked Republican, in large part because my family is Republican but also because they're the ones I agree with the most. There's less pussy-footing around on the right side of the aisle, less hand-holding and a lot less hostility toward the military (also a big factor in my family). Also, the Republican side of things tends to have more in the way of plain ol' guts. I like guts. They seem to have a slightly better grasp of what's at stake if we lose this war.

But what it really boils down to is this: Sunday, David Beamer came and gave a short speech at my church. David Beamer is the father of Todd Beamer, the guy who said "Let's roll" on United Flight 93.

You can bet your sweet bippy I'm voting.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Riddly riddly ree! Kick 'em in the knee! Riddly riddly rass! Kick 'em in the other knee!

It's twenty 'til midnight. This is the part where I start banging my head on my desk with boredom, wondering how long it will take to develop a blunt-force injury. I'm at work on a Friday (we normally never publish on Saturday) because this particular Saturday is Homecoming and we're doing a special double issue all about how great we are and how this is our eightieth Homecoming and yay for us, go team, I'm about ready to stab myself with my pen just so I can go home. A normal night runs between six and ten pages. Tonight I have to look at no fewer than 20. So far I've seen . . . 12.

Yeah, I know, I know: Boo hoo, poor me, at least I have a job, at least I have eyes to look at the pages with, at least I can sit here and write about it, blah blah blah. The fact remains I'm good-naturedly grouchy about it, and I'm enjoying it. Said emotional state has its benefits, namely the production of wordy, whiny blog posts that no one will even see until Monday because my mom and her coworkers are the only people who read this.

The 'double' part of the double feature is actually pretty cool: It devotes a page to each of the last eight decades and covers major events, trends and college history. Nifty stuff, with lots of old photos and tidbits and stuff. Mr. Lileks would probably approve. I did get a bonus column in the "regular stuff" half of the double feature, where I argue that campus does so too have school spirit. You just can't see it. The way the counter-point column comes off, we're a bunch of godless apathoids because the entire student body doesn't go screaming through the Quad when the football schedule comes out. My claim: that's maybe 10 percent of the population, tops. The rest of us just have other stuff going on in our lives. Also, we're a (relatively) big campus, but for Pete's sake, we're not Texas A&M. They at least have a winning football team.

Snark, snark.

I like my school. I do. We've got more than our share of freaks and weirdos, but we've also got a decent mascot and a guy who dresses in a cape and helmet and rides around yelling "Woohoo, it's Friday" (and once that Monday had been cancelled and we should all go home). I'm going to go to the game tomorrow, and I'm going to enjoy myself. My church is handing out mixed-meat tube steak to students during the tailgaiting time, so I'm going to help with that, and then I'm going to hang out with my friends and cheer on the team.

Nyah.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Updates on life and whatever.

So, God willing, I'm finally going to be in the paper. Probably Friday. Probably.

I'll let you know how that one turns out.

Also, I have to work (wah wah, everybody has to work) at the paper Friday night because we're putting out a special 20-page Homecoming edition on Saturday. I'm going to miss part of the women's retreat because of this. I'm sad.

I'm also able to eat more and my sleep is getting back to normal. I got over myself.

That's it for my life. It's quarter to one and I'm exhausted and fuzzy from lack of sleep and low caloric intake, so I'm going to check out now.

P.S. I made my first Flash animations today. That's got to count for something.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Countdown: T-13 days

I signed up for NaNoWriMo - that's the National Novel Writing Month - this year. For those of you (probably all of you) who haven't heard of NaNoWriMo, this premise is simple.

Try to write a novel in a month.

Okay, so it's a little more defined than that. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days, starting at midnight on November 1st. Participants are allowed to have all the outlines and notes they want, but they can't do any actual writing until the clock starts. It's not as completely impossible as it sounds: the average daily word count needs to be somewhere in the range of 1600-1700 words a day. I've done that before . . . once . . . and it was really hard. But I was worried about quality then, and I don't have to worry about that here. The point is the numbers, not the words. Ironic, innit?

But the main thing for me is to finish something. I've finished a few short stories, but never anything this big. I've never even seriously considered a project this big, aside from my novel that I've been writing off and on for eight years. I think I'm a good writer. I think I could get published. I think this project could get published (with a lot of work after the contest is over). I also think I can't do it and that I don't deserve to get published because I'm a horrible person with a horrible track record who's a failure and a disappointment to everybody and can't do anything worth paying attention to.

I'm working on that.

Right now I'm struggling to cement the decision that schoolwork comes first. I hate the idea of starting something and not being able to finish, and I think that if I wrote a lot on weekends I could get it done, but if it turns out I can't do the novel and keep up my grades at the same time, well, the novel will have to wait. After all, I've got class, work and internship applying to do. I can't let that slide because I want to write a novel. That's what Christmas break is for. I've got to prioritize. I've been slammed upside the head with my need for discipline the last few weeks, and I'm working to learn that lesson. I have to force myself to do it.

Ironic, innit?

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Thank you, Lord.

A new post over at The Scenic Route.

And for what it's worth, not too long after I wrote it I figured out how to make the software work. It's going to take all night, but I'm going to get it done.

God is good.

UPDATE: And in a searing piece of twisted irony, it turns out the project isn't even due until at least later in the week. Ooh, it burns.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Explanation

Okay, okay, so no Friday postage, but this week has not been fun for me. Nothing bad happened, per se, I was just at the point of collapse from exhaustion and other factors at least two times before this morning. I decided to take the week off from writing a big post. I'll see about putting something up over the weekend.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Your Honor, exhibit A

If you ever needed evidence that Muhammed missed the boat on basic human rights, then here you go. Via The Big Pharaoh, here's a quote from a talking head on al Jazeera:

The Muslims who fight the Zionists in the West Bank and Gaza - in Palestine - have begun to use young women as [human] bombs in self-sacrifice operations, in which a person blows himself up in a Zionist crowd of soldiers or policemen, and so on. One [sheik] ruled that this is forbidden. Why? He said: "Because Allah created women for pregnancy and childbirth, so if you send her to explode, or convince her to blow herself up, you prevent the will of Allah from being fulfilled, because this woman will never marry, get pregnant, or give birth." Well, what if she dies in a car crash or a plane crash? What if she dies a natural death? What if she never gets married? What is this nonsense? What is more important: The right of countries to be liberated from the colonialists, or the right of a woman to get married and give birth? If this can be called a right at all, because it may or may not happen… This fatwa had a negative effect in Palestine, I'm sad to say, because many mothers - good, dear mothers – began to fear that if their daughters did this, they would be committing a sin, so they told them that this sheik forbade it. A long debate ensued, but, Allah be praised, eventually people ignored this fatwa.
Suicide bombings aside, I have a real problem with a religion that regards women not as human beings, but as baby mills. Do I want to have children and raise them? Absolutely. But I'd like to do that with the knowledge that my god regards me as His child, unique and individual, and not just as a walking incubator. No wonder the Arab world is so messed up. If this is how they regard women, there's no telling what kind of psychological damage they go through as kids. "Bond with your mother, son, even though she's your inferior in every way and serves only as a walking uterus to further the glory of Islam. And stop teaching your sister to read. It's a sin." Did Christendom make these same mistakes? Some of them, yes. Several hundred years ago.

And we fixed them.

And . . . swish.

I have good news: I've been on the bubble, writing-wise, for a couple weeks here at the paper. I finally worked up the guts to ask for a column and was told that I might be able to get in on Fridays if there was room.

That has now been cemented into something more final. One of the other columnists dropped out, and I got his/her (I don't know which) slot. I'm going to try and write a weekly column on my other blog, but I'm busy and tired so I may only put up what I write for the paper. In any case, I'm now officially going to be published on a regular basis. Hooray!

In other news, I realllllly can't function on less than six hours' sleep. It's either a sign that I'm maturing or that my wild nights of writing and extended chocolate benders are finally catching up to me. Oh, for the halcyon life of the young! *runs away to blow bubbles*

Monday, October 09, 2006

The Third Option (preview)

Via RightWingNews:

There's an extended post up at a left-leaning blog that purports to answer abortion critics. While I strongly condemn the hate mail she's received, I think her reaction to it is the most telling thing. I quote (edited for language):

"I resent this fetus. I resent the f*ck out of the fact that something which is 1/16 of an inch long and which looks amazingly like a reptile trumps the life of a woman and her three children. I resent that this glob of cells which is smaller than a wad of snot is clearly valued more than the life of a 34 year old woman who is trying like hell to support her existing kids."
I could go on for pages about the disturbing ignorance of potential expressed in this paragraph. I could rant for hours about the blog's tagline ("Gnawing away at sexism and misogyny, one patriarchal asshole at a time!"). I could write a 10,000 word response to this woman's post, and I'd just be getting started. I'm going to save that for my Friday column, though, and instead I'll close this post with a simple message to this poor woman. Consider this a preview of the longer work:

There's a third option that seems to have been ignored in all of this, a way that lets the fetus live and still gets it off your hands. The baby comes to term and the mother gets away scot free. I understand that you're a single mother. I understand that you're struggling to make ends meet. I understand that another baby is the last thing you need right now. I'm not going to comment on your life choices or on your philosophy.

All I'm going to say is no one said once you had it, you had to keep it.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Internet counts as publishing, right?

I've got my new piece up at The Scenic Route, and I'm rather proud of it. It was supposed to be published in the campus paper today, but it got bumped because somebody already did a column on sort of the subject earlier in the week. I'm a little ticked because I think mine's a lot better (and we all know how objective I am), but that's the way it goes. No sense getting mad about it. Anyway, I'm putting the column up on teh Intarwebs because I want the readership, and I'm hoping I can use it as a portfolio piece at some point. So, go ye. Read. Etc. And feel free to drop me a comment if you want.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Ah, science . . .

Now here's an award I can get behind.

You see, the Nobel prize, while quite an accomplishment, is hard for the average - or even above-average - person to relate to. The prize-winning work for the mathematics award, for example, is usually mind-bogglingly complex and hard to immediately connect to everyday life. But an alarm clock that makes you chase it around the room to turn it off? Now that's good science. And yes, it's covered in shag carpet.

Awesome.

But my favorite part about the Ig Nobel prize is that it reminds people not to take themselves too seriously. An excerpt from the article:

. . . this year's crop of Ig Nobel winners will be called before an audience of real Nobel winners and Harvard University students, a good many of them in Groucho glasses.
The audience will throw paper airplanes, and tease the winners mercilessly. And, hard as it is to believe, winners come from all over the world to collect their trophies — each one handcrafted and "made of exceedingly cheap material designed to fall apart within four weeks."
See, if that doesn't inject a little humility into the hallowed halls of science, I don't know what will. Why humility? Because this is genuine humor in action, and it's well-nigh impossible to have the one without the other. Laugh and the world laughs with you, the saying goes - especially if you're laughing at yourself. All those mad scientists who rant "They laughed at me . . . I'll show them . . . I'll show them all!" could probably have benefited from a good dose of nitrous oxide and a few self-deprecating wisecracks. After all, Clocky started out as a student project.

It's science, I say!

SCIENCE!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Blegh.

Last week was not kind to me, mental well-being-wise. Hence, the drop in bloggage.

This week isn't shaping up too great, either.

Don't get me wrong: My head's screwed on straight again. But I got caught in a cold rain on Thursday and I think I've got bronchitis and a low-grade fever. I'm going to the health center tomorrow to see about some antibiotics, but in the meantime my head feels loose and my joints are fuzzy - or maybe it's the other way around. I can't tell. I'm too busy trying to keep my lungs in my chest to worry about semantics. And I think I have a fever because I feel warm, but the air feels chilly, and my eyes are hot. I run warm anyway (my normal temperature is closer to 99 than 98.6), but this is unusual. I just feel sick.

At the very least, there will be a nice long Scenic Route post later in the week (probably Friday) that will (hopefully) also be published in the campus paper. I'll try and put up what I can here for the next few days, but I probably won't be paying too much attention to the news.

I just hope work lets out early tonight.