Thursday, February 12, 2015

50 Shades of Nope

So I was asked if I’d actually read “50 Shades of Grey” after I’d posted that I wouldn’t be seeing the movie (for various reasons.)

No.  I haven’t read any of the books.

I was going to.  When the first one hit the shelves I was intrigued- sexy book?  Best seller?  MY JAM.  I do loves me some smutty, excuse me- EROTIC fiction.

Then I began to see things about the series-
“It was originally a Twilight fanfiction!”  Ok.  No worries.  I read COPIOUS amounts of fanfiction.  I’ve even WRITTEN some fanfiction.  There is NOTHING wrong with fanfiction, even if the inspiration piece is questionable.

“It deals with *gasp* BDSM! D/s!”  Again- no worries.  I teach Human Sexuality, and I’ve *ahem* been interested in the topic for a long time.  I understand that a true BDSM or D/s relationship is based on mutual trust, and is every bit as valid as more traditional “vanilla” relationships.

So those things didn’t immediately turn me off from reading the books.  But then I began to see more, and it turned my stomach.

Let’s start with the basics- What’s one thing we teach all our kids about sex?  No means no.  In a healthy BDSM relationship, there are pre-determined safewords to convey NO, and when safewords are used, everything stops.  No.  Means.  NO.

Does that happen in 50 Shades?  Sort of.  Here’s what I found:

    “I want you to follow the Rules—all the time. Then I know you’ll be safe, and I’ll be able to have you anytime I wish.”
    “And if I break one of the Rules?
    “Then I’ll punish you.”
    “But won’t you need my permission?
    “Yes, I will.”
    “And if I say no?”
    He gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.
    “If you say no, you’ll say no. I’ll have to find a way to persuade you.”

So, in this story, “no” means what now?  And safewords?  “Lovers don’t need safewords.”  I disagree.

OK.  That’s one reason I don’t want to read the books or watch the movie.  No doesn’t mean no, no means “convince me” or “I’ll do it anyway” and that’s not healthy.

What next?

Say you’ve decided to BE in a BDSM relationship.  You and your partner have decided to incorporate pain play into your fun time.  Excellent.  Whatever floats your boat as long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual.

Here’s an excerpt from 50 Shades, after one “session” between Christian and Ana:
    “How did you feel while I was hitting you and after?”
    “I didn’t like it. I’d rather you didn’t do it again.”
    “You weren’t meant to like it.”

Uhhh… correct me if I’m wrong, but if one partner does something another partner dislikes, and asks for it to NOT HAPPEN AGAIN, then, in a healthy relationship, it doesn’t happen again.  That’s consent- I consent to you doing this to me, you consent to doing it.  Spoiler alert- he does it again.  That’s abuse, and is not safe, sane, or consensual.
On to controlling, stalker, possessive behavior.  One of the things that really irked me about Twilight (which I did read, every book) was how everyone was OK with Edward’s stalkery behavior toward Bella.  Sitting uninvited in a girl’s bedroom, watching her while she sleeps is NOT romantic.  That’s stalkery, and should have been reported to the authorities.  But in both Twilight and 50 Shades, stalkery, possessive behavior, as evidenced by Christian’s going to Ana’s work, becoming angry when she talks to other men, and the big one- controlling whom she sees and with whom she interacts, is all seen as romantic, sexy.

In reality though, those are three giant red flags of an abusive relationship.
 This list includes:
    -Try to isolate you and control whom you see or where you go
    -Accuse you of flirting or “coming on” to others or accuse you of cheating on them

This website: adds stalking:
    -Follows you around or frequently calls during the day

I would say that Christian ticks all those boxes, and more.  He is an abuser; Ana is his victim, not his love.
Need more convincing?  Here:  A giant list compiled of reasons this set of books should not be held up as the romantic ideal, and is instead- potentially harmful.

It comes down to this- would I want to be in a BDSM D/s relationship?  Maybe.  Would it bother me if either of my kids was in a BDSM D/S relationship with someone? No- as long as it was safe, sane, and consensual.  However- would I want to be in a “relationship” as described in 50 Shades?  Would I want my KIDS to be in a relationship like that?  HELL NO.  I’d be on the phone to the cops.

So, TL;DR.  BDSM = fine, if done right.  50 Shades = romanticizes an abusive relationship.

And that’s why I didn’t read the books, and that’s why I won’t be seeing the movie.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Elephant In My Chest.

Oh Angelina.  I love you so, but right now I kind of hate you.  Your recent revelation that you had a double mastectomy to avoid the near-inevitable bout of breast cancer is amazing.  YOU are amazing. 

I am now facing the reality that I'm most likely going to get breast cancer, unless I do the same thing you did. 

Ironic though.  Just Tuesday I took a look at "the girls" and said "Wow!  My boobs look GREAT today!"  I don't want to lose them.  There.  I said it.  Vanity.

Both my maternal grandmother and my mother had breast cancer.  My mom is still recovering from a "lumpectomy" and chemo.  She says she's fine, but I can see.  She's smaller than she's ever been, bald like a baby bird.  During my parents' most recent visit, Mom gave me a bunch of her clothes that don't fit her any more, and an heirloom ring that's too big for her.

It's the ring that affects me more than anything.  I can remember my mother wearing it for decades- she'd gotten it from my father's mother when my parents got engaged.  I'm guessing it may have been HER mother's?  I don't know.  But it's delicate, fancy, old-fashioned, and now- mine.  I wear it on my right hand, and it sits there uncomfortably.  I'm getting used to it, but it's just so incongruous- white gold, diamonds and sapphires on the same hand that sports an inexpensive dolphin ring on the thumb.  If I reach over to scratch my left arm, I see the ring next to a tattoo I got just days before my parents' visit. 

Pierced, tattooed, eternally juvenile- I'm not supposed to be the one wearing this. 

Like the ring, breast cancer is something I don't feel prepared to get.  But like all heirlooms, I'll probably have to deal with it someday.

(sorry it's blurry.  iPod doesn't do it justice)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Toniiiiiight.... I'm Not Younnnnnng!

I work with college students.  Well, I guess technically college students work FOR me, but we do a lot together during the week, I couldn't do it without them, they couldn't do it the same way without me.

Anyway- one of the things I hear over and over is that working with students "will keep you young!"

I call BS.

What it does is make me FEEL young, until it is obvious that I'm not.  Once again- I beg your indulgence to stay with me.

I have some fairly hard partying employees, who aren't afraid to discuss their adventures with and around me.  God help me- it sounds fun.  "Let's do a Pedal Hopper!"  "Let's go to martini night!"  "Let's go out on a Wednesday night!"  I want to go out on a Wednesday, without worrying about getting up at 5:45am on Thursday.  I want to go to martini night without worrying about where Kate is while I'm at the Eldridge.

Heck yeah! Raise your glass! 
But I can't.  At least, I can't go out with my students.  That would be frowned upon by the University, and it would probably skeeve people out.

So I sit at home and feel old.  9:00 on a Friday?  BEDTIME.  Crazy times on a Wednesday?  Doing laundry. Never be never be anything but loud?  Where are my earplugs??

Toniiiight... We're Not Younnnnng!

No.  I refuse.  I don't want to be old, I don't want to be stodgy.  I want to be Magnus

Magnus is one of my favorite people, always at home in my heart, even though I haven't seen him in a decade.  10 years ago, Magnus was 53 (10 years older than I am now), and he sailed around the world with ASSA ABLOY.  Four years ago, he sailed around the world with a crew so green they were practically fluorescent, and finished 4th overall, even after a disastrous run to Singapore. 

After I got laid off (for the 5th time) in 2010, I was afraid.  I've reached "an age" where one more layoff will effectively kill any career I've pursued.  So I sold myself short, tried to get the "stable" job, the job that wouldn't challenge me, but wouldn't can me either.  I got lucky with my gig, I am CONTINUALLY challenged.  (Did I mention I work with college students??) and to be honest, I don't think I'm very good at it, but it is stable.  I'm able to keep my feet under me, and look ahead.

Looking ahead now gives me hope.  I may not be young, but contrary to popular opinion among my young coworkers, I'm far from old.  I'm going places in my life.

But for now- anybody wanna go on a Pedal Hopper?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Zombie. Ants. WHAT THE HELL.

"A parasite that fights the zombie-ant fungus has yielded some of its secrets to an international research team led by Penn State's David Hughes. The research reveals, for the first time, how an entire ant colony is able to survive infestations by the zombie-ant fungus, which invades an ant's brain and causes it to march to its death at a mass grave near the ant colony, where the fungus spores erupt out of the ant's head. "In a case where biology is stranger than fiction, the parasite of the zombie-ant fungus is itself a fungus -- a hyperparasitic fungus that specializes in attacking the parasite that turns the ants into zombies," Hughes said. The research will be published in the journal PLoS ONE."

I have a thing about ants.  One ant is fine.  MANY ANTS are not fine.  Like one bee.  One bee is fine, a swarming hive of LACK OF PERSONAL SPACE gives me the heebie jeebies.  Same with snakes.

Oh Indiana Jones.  You always know what skeeves me out the most.

But ZOMBIE ANTS?  OH HELL NO.  Not with the dying, the marching and the erupting.

I will now commence never sleeping again.  Thanks.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Pacific Vortex, more than Clive Cussler ever imagined.


This is why I want to get a degree in Environmental Studies, and this is why I want to apply it to the Volvo Ocean Race.

The "Great Pacific Gyre"  or "Plastic Island" or "Trash Island."

I've facilitated the gathering, sorting, baling and reselling of over a million pounds of recyclable material in my time here at KU Recycling.  That's about 702 tons of bottles, cans, paper, cardboard, plastic...  stuff.  The Great Pacific Gyre contains about 58 tons of stuff, but consider this:  Most of the garbage patch is not visible to the naked eye because it contains particles almost too small to see.

Ponder that.  58 tons of stuff so small it can barely be seen.

Now- you might think "Big whoop.  If the stuff is so tiny, what's the problem?"  Well, think about what a whale eats.  Think about what seabirds eat.  Think about what would happen to you if you ingested tiny bits of plastic every time you ate.  Plastic you can't digest, plastic that may still be outgassing.  You'd eventually be killed by it, right?  Well, so are the whales, so are the birds, so are the fish, so are the plants...  This island is a killer.

So I guess what I'm really trying to do is stop a killer. 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

When I grow up

My future looks like a ball of yarn, post-kitten.  Tangled and confusing, with the way through not always obvious from the outside.

But I think (I think) I might just maybe have found the actual string to follow.

Stay with me here.

My background is in administrative assisting.  Basically, according to one boss, I'm "the duct tape and the super glue."  I move, I groove, I shake, and hopefully when I'm done, the task at hand is complete to everyone's satisfaction.  So there's one aspect.

My passion is the Volvo Ocean Race.  (  If you know me at all, you know about that, so I'm not going to go into it right now.  If you have questions- please ask.

My current situation is recycling.  I run the recycling chunk of the Environmental Stewardship Program at the University of Kansas.  (  I plan on using the tuition assistance program at KU to get a degree, and they offer Environmental Studies as a major.  (


So I have three things:
  1. A background in making things work, administratively.
  2. A passion for the VOR.
  3. An opportunity to use my current position to advance my education, AND in a growing and exciting field.
What do y'all think of a "Sustainability Ambassador" or "Green" position within a VOR syndicate?  The race is all about wind and water, there already is an emphasis on cleaning the oceans and saving the wildlife therein, I think it's a fit.

Now.  How do I make it happen?

Friday, April 27, 2012

I got lost

Been a while since I posted anything.  I couldn't even remember the name of the blog, I searched for "half the man" and "two times the man" instead of just logging into Blogger and tadah! 

Sometimes I'm slower than other times.

A brief overview of my last year and a half.  Overall it sucked.  I lost my job, it took a while to find another one, the one I got made me sad, the state of Kansas says I owe them a s**tload of $ so they're garnishing my paycheck so I'm always broke.

Could be worse.  I'm not even going to tempt fate and say how, but it could.

The good news is I finally got down below 200lbs.  I have my job to thank for that, it involves a lot of loading and toting, shoving, sweating and getting dirty.  Not as much recently as it used to, but still a significant amount.  Today, for example, a student and I had to go wrangle a dumpster that had blown across a parking lot.

I've also joined the gym at KU.  I have ridden the bike to nowhere a few times, and haven't hated it.  I see the bike as my ally, not my nemesis.  I'm not in competition with anyone but myself, and that includes the hardbody 20-somethings that are charging up the stairmasters while I toodle along on my recumbent bike.

So yeah.  That's it.  I'll try and keep things more consistent on the blog front from now on.