Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Consent

[I started writing this months ago, before Harvard's settlement yesterday. It seems like now's a good time to post.]


In response to growing concern about campus sexual assault (and pressure from the government), many colleges and universities around the country have started to implement new sexual assault policies. Some of these policies focus primarily on consent. For instance, California state schools now follow the "yes means yes" standard for consent, meaning that consent must be affirmative for it to be consent.  This doesn't mean that consent requires a written statement or even a verbal yes, but it does mean that silence or impairment does not constitute consent. This is important, obviously, as alcohol consumption has continually been used as an excuse for sexual assault.  

But are regulations around affirmative consent enough? Probably not.  Harvard University's new Title IX policy (adopted by most Harvard schools, but not Harvard Law), for example, does not define consent. In fact, the creators of this policy believe the definition of affirmative consent is too narrow. In other words, it is not enough to just consider consent, as it is defined above, when investigating sexual assault cases. Silence or impairment does not constitute consent, nor does it constitute rape. A verbal yes does not constitute consent when you have been manipulated. Therefore, defining consent as a way to determine what constitutes rape is not sufficient. Alternatively, not defining consent gives victims of sexual assault more power. Some would say too much.

Harvard Law professors took issue with the university's new policy because it contradicted basic legal principles, in their opinion.  According to these professors:
“Harvard has adopted procedures for deciding cases of alleged sexual misconduct which lack the most basic elements of fairness and due process, are overwhelmingly stacked against the accused... [the rules are] starkly one-sided as between complainants and respondents, and entirely inadequate to address the complex issues involved in these unfortunate situations involving extreme use and abuse of alcohol and drugs by our students.” [Boston Globe]
Though a bit backwards, these professors do bring up a good point: sexual assault cases are complex. And for there to be real progress, we need to address these complexities. Now, I am in no way defending Harvard Law School. Judging by that quote alone, they seem to want to blame it on the alcohol. However, I do think that most of the policies institutions are now creating are weak. I commend colleges and universities for finally making strides to prevent sexual assault. (And I'd like to really emphasize finally here, since this has been an issue for decades and only now are we starting to address the problem.) But are they really trying to prevent sexual assault? Or are they just creating policies so that they can show they are investigating sexual assault, re-actively, and get the media off their backs?

Whatever those law professors believe, Harvard is moving in the right direction by getting away from focusing on consent when considering sexual assaults. Because the problem isn't consent, it's culture. The solution, then, is not to just define consent--it's to create an environment in which sexual assault is condemned, in which people are taught how to respect others and cultivate meaningful, safe relationships. It requires comprehensive sex education, including conversations about sexual entitlement, for both boys and girls. Most importantly, it requires a cultural shift well beyond college campuses. 

Monday, December 29, 2014

This is mostly about TV.

I'm one of those very lucky people who got 11 days off for holidays I don't care about. I have so much free time and I don't know what to do with it besides watch TV and think about cleaning my apartment. I continue to watch Scandal even though I hate it. Some observations I've made:

  • Olivia Pope's facial expressions are literally repulsive.
  • She also never stops crying. How do you have this kind of job if you're so emotionally unstable?
  • Typical woman.
  • Just kidding.
  • This show could use some better writers.
  • And actors.
  • I would like to have sex with the president.

I also finally started watching The Wire, which is amazing when I can actually understand what they are saying.

Other things I've watched this week:

  • Die Hard - Surprisingly entertaining. My favorite part was when Snape had a goatee. 
  • Love, Actually - Easy to not pay attention to. My favorite part was when Snape snubbed Professor Trelawney. 
  • Obvious Child - Sort of funny, sort of boring .  The message seemed to be something like, just get pregnant on a one-night-stand and you can find love in the 21st century!  Maybe that wasn't the intended message, but it was what I heard. I mean, it seems like you either do that or go on Tinder, and I honestly can't say which is worse. 

On that note, maybe Netflix should create some type of dating app for people like me (read: lazy). It would be like, "this hetereosexual male in your neighborhood is also watching 30 Rock right now." And then you two can text back and forth about watching 30 Rock together and ultimately decide neither of you wants to leave his/her apartment, but at least you tried! That's the kind of dating app I can get on board with.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Resolutions

It's that time of year again when people come up with lofty goals in an effort to improve themselves, most of which constitute eating sad food and taking up valuable space in the gym locker room for a couple weeks. Unlike these kinds of people, I have always tried to make my resolutions reachable because I like feeling successful, or because I'm lazy. Last year, however, I ambitiously came up with 12 resolutions. Now it's time to see how I did. 



Resolutions for 2014:


1. Buy fresh foods. What does this mean really? I mean, everything was fresh at one point, right?
2. Cook said foods. Does boiling water count as cooking? But seriously, I make most of my meals now, especially if you consider chips and salsa a meal.
3. Make my own coffee. I can't even tell you how dramatically my life has improved since buying a french press. 
4. Eliminate fat talk from my vocabulary. Every day's a struggle (RIP Biggie). I haven't yet perfected this, but I will say it makes me want to stab myself in the ears whenever I hear anyone else fat talk, so that's an improvement.
5. Be less internety.  LOL.
6. "Advance professionally"  One time, I accidentally sent a job application to 900+ people including my boss and ended up getting a raise.
7. Perform at an open mic night. I'm sort of doing this on New Year's Eve, just in the nick of time! But I'm not telling you when or where because I'm terrified and my act might just be me drinking a bottle of wine on stage and crying.
8. Write a book. To be fair, I did start writing a book, but I hated everything I wrote. Also, how many more books about the horrors of dating do we really need? Let me sum it up for you: Dating is the pits. Someone save me from this hellish nightmare!!!!!
9.  Go to sleep at a reasonable hour/fall asleep/stay asleep/SLEEP. I got some drugs. They work.
10. Get up early enough to walk to work. No.
11. Learn how to paint my nails. Success! I got maybe one manicure in all of 2014.
12. Get on GirlCode. I don't have cable anymore and actually forgot about this show until now, but I'd still like to be on it. Someone call up MTV for me.

Possible resolutions for 2015:

1. Convince more people to come to my apartment so I never have to leave it.
2. Take the Game of Thrones tour in Iceland.
3. Watch all of these movies so I can fit in with society and also stop hearing people say, "OMG I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DIDN'T SEE [THIS MOVIE I LIKE]."

What are your resolutions?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Movies I've never seen that everyone gets mad about

  • E.T.
  • The Godfather
  • The Shawshank Redemption
  • Star Wars (any of them)
  • The Goonies
  • Schindler's List
  • Die Hard
  • Jurassic Park
  • The Sandlot
  • Speed

Movies I have seen several times:

  • Mean Girls
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Stomp the Yard


I'M SO SORRY, YOU GUYS.

Songs of the Year

Every year around this time, I post a list of my favorite albums, and no one really cares about it. This year, I'm switching it up and posting a list of my favorite songs that no one will really care about. Last year, I really fucked everything up by posting before Beyoncé surprised us with her self-titled album, so luckily, I can make up for it now because she released a couple singles in 2014.

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order, my favorite songs of the year:
  1. 0 to 100 - Drake
  2. Water Fountain - tUnE-yArDs
  3. Family - Fatima
  4. Flawless (remix) - Beyoncé ft. Nicki Minaj
  5. Coffee -Sylvan Esso
  6. Blank Space - Taylor Swift

     7. 1936 - PHOX
     8. Keep On Lying - Jessie Ware
     9. i - Kendrick Lamar
     10. Two Weeks - FKA twigs
     11. Goddess - Banks
     12. Springful - Adult Jazz

Honorable mention: "Often" by The Weeknd, but only because I shamefully listened to it so many times. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

7-11

On Friday, Beyonce released her video for 7-11, and since then I've watched it no less* than 2 million times.

I KNOW YOU CARE.

God, it's so amazing. I want to be her friend so badly. I want to dance in my underwear with her. I want to jump out of boxes next to Christmas trees. I want it all! IMAGINE IF YOU CELEBRATED CHRISTMAS WITH BEYONCE?!?!?!?


The point is, watch 7-11 on repeat until I tell you to stop.

Fresher than you.

Speaking of 7-11... when "Drunk In Love" first came out, I was convinced she said: "Park it in my lot, 7-11." But she does not. She says something in French, or something. Does anyone know what I'm talking about?

[Verse 2: Beyoncé]

We be all night, and everything alright 
No complaints for my body, so fluorescent under these lights 
Boy, I'm drinking, walking in my l'assemblage

I'm rubbing on it, rub-rubbing
If you scared, call that reverend


What the fuck is l'assemblage? (Don't tell me to google this.)

I've been overtly wrong about lyrics many times. For example, for at least 20 years, I thought Alanis Morissette said, "Cross-eyed bear", not "Cross I bear", in "You Oughta Know". I totally envisioned her bitterly giving Uncle Joey an unfortunate looking teddy bear to get back at him for breaking up with her.   (Again, does anyone know what I'm talking about? Ever?) It was only this year that I learned the truth. So much of my life was a lie, you guys!

Apparently, I was not alone.

More recently, I fully believed Drake said, "I could $*%@ you so good then I hit you with the 9am McDonalds how you like". You can't even imagine how disappointed I was to find out he says "9 am to Dallas", not McDonalds. Fantasy destroyed.




Lastly, in the beginning of the Nintendo video game, Mario Party, there is a screen that just says "Nintendo" in bold letters, and in the background Mario yells the word, "Nintendo". (I'm just going to say "Nintendo" one more time for good measure.)  But the thing is, I thought Mario was yelling "Wingando" - just a nonsensical sound, I guess. And so every time I played the game with my friend, Chris, I would yell "WINGANDO" at the TV, until I was finally corrected. But, like, it said "Nintendo" on the screen, though.

Listening comprehension: not my strong suit.

*fewer?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

How I feel about Crossfit

[Since I've probably already lost a bunch of readers on account of my previous post, what's a few more?]



Me: Whenever I see pictures of people doing heavy squats at Crossfit, all I can think of is their asshole literally falling out of their body. Do you know what I mean?
Friend: Yes, I know what you mean. But also, I think Crossfit is a cult.
Me: Probably because once everyone's asshole falls out, no one else will be friends with them.

Gone Girl (Warning: Contains only spoilers)

When Gone Girl came out in theaters, multiple people reached out to me to see if I had seen or read it because they thought that, as a feminist I'd hate it, or as a feminist I'd love it. I had not seen nor read it, but this conflict in opinions intrigued me and I love reading things that could lead to a hearty feminist rant. Luckily for you, Gone Girl did just that.


SPOILER ALERT: Everything I'm about to say is a spoiler. 

Gone Girl capitalizes on the age old tale of girl accuses boy of rape (and/or murder) because he hurt her and women are irrational and vindictive. I'm sure that this has happened before, but certainly not as often as rape culture would have you believe. What I hated most about this book was that it exploited this myth about sexual assault. This is a story about a mentally unstable individual. The problem is that this story has been projected onto too many victims of sexual assault, minimizing their experiences and disregarding their claims.


We're living in an age where every asshole on the internet thinks it's their responsibility to write critical analysis of every piece of entertainment (present!). They (we) can find a problem with everything. They (we) focus only on these negative aspects until everyone is exhausted and annoyed and no one wants to listen to them (us) anymore. So, is it just dramatic of me to criticize Gone Girl like this? Maybe. But you know why I am?  Because a woman sitting next to me on the plane looked over at me, noticed I was reading Gone Girl, and immediately said, "Everyone should read that book before they get married. Women are crazy." 

Blanket statement: Women are crazy. Now I don't know this person. She could be dumb idiot. But I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a large portion of people had the same reaction when they read this book because "women are crazy" is a cultural message we receive all the time. It's a message that perpetuates rape culture - it makes victims afraid to speak up and it allows perpetrators to get away with sexual assault. It makes people believe that 13 women would only accuse Bill Cosby of rape because they want to get something out of him. Because no one that nice would do such a thing to 13 different people. Because women are crazy.

Let me be clear, Gone Girl is not about women being crazy. It's about one specific woman with mental illness. But that's not the message we get. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Things I learned this weekend

  • Who run the world? Knowles'.


  • You might be so busy while you're at a conference about student loans that you forget to pay your student loans.
  • My colleague reminded me that he follows me on snapchat, which makes me wonder if he's enjoying all the videos of my singing to my cat.
  • I give really helpful clues during Heads Up such as, "Daenerys has these, but they're real!" (Answer: dragonflies), and "I want to be one in my next life!" (Answer: seagull).
  • While I think all birds are despicably heinous, I also think it would be pretty cool to fly and eat fresh shellfish and french fries all day.
  • Sometimes I get so into games, I accidentally throw a glass against the floor.


  • I think I would do well in Japan on account of its cuisine and also its affinity for cats.
  • Did you know that in Japan there are pictures of cats on everything, even construction signs?
  • Cats are very important to the Japanese.
  • Japanese girls can get away with wearing cat accessories while I am explicitly SHUNNED if I do so.
  • This weekend I not only purchased a cat hat but also a little skirt with hearts all over it because fuck the man, am I right?


  • You can get a haircut at The Hair Cuttery for less than $20.
  • You can also listen to the hair dresser talk about her boyfriend who has never told her his real name or occupation and who may or may not be sleeping with her coworker because he messaged her on tinder.
  • He has hundreds of Gucci bags under his bed, you guys. HUNDREDS.
  • The hair dresser is dating a drug-dealer. 
  • I really, really love my friends. They are the best, and I am so lucky to have them. It's important to me to tell the world that every so often.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Things I learned this weekend

1. If the woman sitting next to you on the plane won't get up so you can go to the bathroom, you'll have to climb over her, but at least she'll USE HER HANDS TO GUIDE YOU.
2. I've never heard more Michael Bolton in my life than during my three day stay at a Sandals resort.



3. When you go to a couples resort alone, every single male employee will hit on you.
4. Everyone else will say, "You're here alone? Just asking because this is a couples resort."
5. The ocean is really cool. Way cooler than space. There, I said it.
6. Sometimes you drink as much as everyone else and they are totally drunk, but you are totally fine, so you're like WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
7. I spent the majority of my sister's wedding reception hiding behind a table while everyone fed this huge ass M-F peacock. But, like, why would you do that, though?

TERROR. 

8. Gone Girl is dumb. Stay tuned for more of my thoughts (and spoilers) on this topic.
9. Some people who get English Teaching degrees become professors and work at schools that send them to conferences in Jamaica.
10. I am going to a conference in Lowell this week, so.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Beauty Tips

Hahaha, I'm laughing out loud at the idea of my writing this, since you know:


But, apparently, readers like to know where bloggers get their clothes and make-up and how they do their hair. I'm assuming this really only applies to bloggers who care about what they look like and also post pictures of themselves standing in front of a mirror in their office's bathroom with the caption #OOTD, but I need something to write about, too, you guys! So let me tell you about what I use to accomplish that look above.

Soap: I recently made the switch from body wash to bar soap and I am not turning back. I know you're judging me a little bit. Who uses bar soap other than your grandparents and inmates, right? But listen, it's great. I used body wash for the greater part of my life because that is what women do, but I also always felt a little disgusted by loofahs, as everyone should. Think about it -they just sit in your damp, warm shower all day growing fungus and then you pour some scented chemicals on it and rub that shit all over your body. That's fucking gross, you guys. Admit it. Now, I actually feel clean when I get out the shower. This is a feeling I actually never really knew before because I was washing myself with fungus for so long.

Lotion: I'm obsessed with lotioning. One of the best things about living alone is that I can casually walk around my apartment naked after applying lotion and just let it really sink in. Lotioning is very important, ladies. Lotion daily. Lotion always. And this is where you can make up for not using body wash because lotion smells good and makes your skin soft but you're still actually clean underneath.

Make-up: I buy all of my make up at CVS because I am middle-class and reasonable. What are you guys doing spending all that money on MAC? No one can fucking tell what you're wearing.  My eye liner costs literally $3. I'll probably get some kind of eye disease later in life from using it, but it's $3!  Worth it. I do splurge on lip-stick, however, mostly because I like to get it from stores that let you try it on first, which you absolutely cannot do at CVS - trust me on that one, I've been reprimanded by CVS employees more than once.

Nails: The other day, multiple people commented on how great my nails looked, and I was like "$1.99, son". Or something along those lines. I started doing my own nails in January when I finally recognized what a M-F waste of money it is to get manicures (which I used to get, nearly weekly, for many many years).  I confess that I have to paint my nails 2-3 times a week in order to keep them looking good, but I have a lot of time on my hands these days. There is a pun in there somewhere.

Hair: The secret to my hair is not giving a fuck. I wash it and condition it and sometimes maybe I'll even brush it, too. Sometimes. I operate under the belief that not brushing my hair makes it look better, but perhaps it's just that laziness prevails over all. I will say the downside of this method is that I'll probably never experience the romance of someone running his fingers through my hair since they would just get trapped in there.

Clothing: Almost every day, I wear some combination of a t-shirt and blazer look. That t-shirt could be an actual t-shirt, or it could be a dress, but whatever it is it probably cost less than $15. Here's my fashion tip: everything I've purchased from "nicer" stores like Banana Republic, for example, has fallen apart in less than a year, so why not just buy something cheaper that will also fall apart in less than a year? Pure economics.

Business cat-ual.

Accessories: None of my ensembles are complete without cat fur (or a cat hat).  But seriously, that shit is relentless. All the money I save on make-up goes toward lint rollers and, still, I'm covered in fur. Consider it endearing.

The bottom line here is that I'm cheap. But also:



Monday, October 27, 2014

Things I learned this weekend

1. I appreciate my job a lot more when it involves wine and pizza and 3:30 p.m.
2. The texts from your ex instagram account is addicting.

3. I think "I hope you explode" might be the best comeback of all time.
4. You might think a talk about sexuality in young adult literature would be interesting, but it's not.
5. Tupelo in Inman Square has some bomb ass fried chicken.



6. I do not know how to pronounce Tupelo.
7. Or spell clothespins.
8. I swear I'm really very intelligent most of the time.
9. There are some wise slam poets from Berklee who say things like, "Judgment is pointless when we have the ability to ask and understand."
10. Beyonce is coming out with a new line of active wear. I can't wait to look so fierce on the elliptical.
11. Diwali might now be my favorite holiday.


12. Whatever those donuts-covered-in-honey things are -- I need them in my mouth at all times, basically.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Day in the Life

This is a thing bloggers do, so I'm doing it. Here is a day in the life of Katie Que, specifically, Thursday, October 23, 2014:


  • Wake up circa 7 am, put on music, sing in the shower. Wonder if my neighbors hear me and consequently hate me for it. 
  • Actually I don't care at all. No one is friendly here and I'm still harboring resentment against the entire building because of that one person who STOLE my book.
  • Song choice:
  • Man at the bus-stop tries to talk to me. I wish I wasn't such an asshole, but seriously, stop, thanks.
  • Get to work and eat breakfast. I finally figured out a way to peel a hard-boiled egg that doesn't take 15 minutes. I consider this a victory.
  • Sit in my office for a while and do work-related things but definitely also spend a lot of time on Twitter.
  • One of my programs isn't working but I don't understand why. I try to explain this to my IT person but he's never even heard of this program because literally no one here knows what I do.
  • Become visibly overwhelmed because I don't like talking about computers with IT people because I don't know how they work. I swear I am only 28.
  • IT man reassures me, "Don't worry. You are a really smart person."
  • The program is magically fixed. I go back on Twitter.
  • Take a quick break and go to the gym. All the towels are "in the dryer". All the towels are always in the dryer.
  • There is no hot water in the locker room, yet again. I huddle in the corner of the shower and stick one body part into the water at a time.
  • The appeal of my free gym is fading rapidly.
  • My colleague and I decide to take our afternoon meeting out of the office to a cafe. I decide that all meetings should be held at cafes from here on out. 
  • The fire alarm goes off and we are required to evacuate. I decide that all meetings should abruptly end like this as well.
  • It's 5 pm! I more or less run out of my office.
  • There is a man on my bus who looks like a husky version of Jon Snow. I begin hyperventilating.
  • WHO ARE YOU ? I LOVE YOU. CALL ME.
  • He gets off the bus. I am already over it.
  • I did a terrible job grocery shopping this week and have nothing at home to make for dinner. I go to CVS and buy overpriced tortilla chips, guacamole, and kit-kats. Only god can judge me.
  • I also really want wine, but it's like Noah's Ark outside right now, so I can't bring myself to go to the liquor store TWO blocks from my apartment. 
  • There is one lone beer in my fridge. This will do.
  • My nightly 1-3 hours of snacking period commences. 
  • I break shortly to take selfies with my cat.
  • Fuck! I missed Jeopardy! because of Thursday Night Football. Thursday Night Football is dumb. It's bad for everyone. It's bad for the world.
  • Start reading Gone Girl. Amy describes what it is like to be 32 and single. I think to myself, FML.
  • That's it. Time for bed. ✌️

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Essential Feminism

In her book, Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay writes:
"Essential feminism suggests anger, humorlessness, militancy, unwavering principles, and a prescribed set of rules for how to be a proper feminist woman, or at least a proper white, heterosexual feminist woman -- hate pornography, unilaterally decry the objectification of women, don't cater to the male gaze, hate men, hate sex, focus on career, don't shave. I kid, mostly, with that last one. This is nowhere near an accurate description of feminism, but the movement has been warped by misperception for so long that even people who should know better have bought into this essential image of feminism."
For the most part, I think that the term feminist is becoming more widely accepted, more palatable (thanks, Beyonce!), but it no doubt still carries this stigma.  Just a few months ago, I was showing some of my straight male friends my dating profile (since deactivated), and one of them said, "Are you sure you want the first thing guys to know about you is that you're a feminist?" And I said, yes. Yes of course I want the men I go out with to understand that I'm a feminist. If that is something that bothers them, then I don't want to go out with them.

Remember when I casually mentioned that I went on the worst date ever not too long ago? Well, it was the worst date ever because this person clearly didn't understand (or respect) who I am.

It's important to note that I met this person at a work-related event, so when he asked me to get a drink to discuss work-related matters, I assumed we would be getting a drink to discuss work-related matters. Foolish of me, I suppose, to think this man would have considered me a professional equal.  Shortly after we sat down, he asked me, "So, what are you looking for in a guy?" To which I responded, "I'm actually not looking for anything. I'm not interested in dating right now." And then he said,
"Let me tell you what I think you're looking for."
He proceeded to explain to me that I was looking for a gentleman. And I said, "I don't think that's what it is, actually." And he asked, "Really? Why?" And I said, "I think there is a fine line between a gentleman and a chauvinist." And he said, "I totally know what you mean."

Shortly thereafter, he asked me what I was going to get, and I told him that I was in between two things, so "I'm going to make a game-time decision." Seconds later, when the waitress came around, he ordered for me.

What I found most interesting about this date-that-wasn't-supposed-to-be-a-date was that this man told me he was attracted to me because I was "so outspoken and smart". And yet, for the entirety of the date, he told me how I felt, what I wanted, and generally didn't listen to a word I said. What's more, he had such a great time that he couldn't wait to hang out again, when I obviously did not feel the same. But despite how appalled I was by his behavior, I know that he is not a bad person, really. In fact, he genuinely believed he was being chivalrous. (After all, his dad taught him "how to treat women".) But that's what sucks about patriarchy: Condescension is mistaken for chivalry, and chivalry is mistaken for respect, and women are angry feminists if they point out the problem with that.

It's never enjoyable, for anyone, to be told what you want or how to feel. For me, feminism is having the freedom to define those things for yourself as an individual. So yes, it's very important for people to know right away that I'm a feminist.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Just Stay Home.

TV has taken over my life, guys. When I lived with roommates and had cable, I rarely watched TV. Now that I live alone and have Netflix, I rarely leave my couch (futon). Most recently, I've become addicted to New Girl.  I can't even decide if I actually like it, but I do know, for sure, that I have fallen madly in love with Jake Johnson.

CALL ME.

This is a thing I do - fall in love with actors and/or characters from the comfort of my living room (that is also my bedroom that is also my entire apartment). This, coupled with my general disinterest in going out, should be troubling, but I'm embracing it for now.



What's more concerning is that I haven't read a book in weeks. Maybe months? It's been a while, is what I'm saying. So, I just picked up a copy of Gone Girl, which I plan on reading tonight with the TV off. It should come as no surprise, considering my newfound love for shows that came out 5 years ago, that I'm only jumping on the Gone Girl bandwagon now. I usually show up late to pop culture trends. I've heard a lot of mixed reviews, so I'm curious to find out if I'll actually like the book. Some people have told me that, as a feminist, I'll love it, or that, as a feminist, I'll hate it. So expect a strong, probably dramatic reaction either way. Expect the usual, basically.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I can't believe I'm still writing about birth control.

It's hard to believe that Americans aren't tired of talking about birth control yet. Aren't you all so fucking bored? Like, why are we still arguing about this? So much time is spent debating the morality of birth control and abortion; meanwhile, people all over the world are dying from disease, war, poverty, etc. etc. But whatever. What's most important is that we spend our time deciding what women can do with their own bodies.

I feel like most of my friends/readers are smart enough to understand why birth control needs to be safely accessible, so I'm not going to explain that to you. Unfortunately, though, women everywhere need to constantly justify their use of contraception to politicians, radio hosts, TV anchors - lots of white men, for the most part.




It's interesting to me that birth control is a "women's issue" when it very much benefits men. Perhaps more so. Birth control exists so that women can have sex with men. We don't need it to pleasure ourselves, fellas. Yet, discussions around birth control almost always exclude men. Discussions of its purpose at least. Discussions of its legislation are generally dominated by men, so that makes perfect sense.

My question is: why can't we just accept it for what it is and move the fuck on? Literally.

We are now dealing with a bizarre new morality where a woman cannot simply say, in one way or another, "I'm on the pill because I like dick." - Roxane Gay

Of course, it's not only about sex. It's about controlling birth. It's about delaying children for the sake of your career, or financial preparedness, or general happiness.  It's about having the time to decide, as a couple, that you want a family. Isn't that a good thing for everyone? For women and men? For employers, for the economy, for people against welfare, for individualism? Honestly, I can't think of anything more patriotic than avoiding pregnancy.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Things I learned this weekend

1. OkCupid is awful and terrible, but this is great:


2. I cannot wait to deactivate my account again.
3. You should probably check the weather report before you go hiking.
4. And maybe wear shoes that aren't made of mesh.

This would be their last day.

5. It's probably not the smartest idea to stand in a tower at the summit during a thunderstorm.


6. Speaking of thunderstorms, I thought I was over my fear of them until this weekend. On that note, I apologize to my fellow hikers / the many families with children who likely heard me yell, "Are we going to die?!" several times.
7. We did not die.
8. Of course, the sun came back out as soon as we got back to our car. 

So many filters, though.

9. Barcelona Wine Bar has the best tapas in Boston. 

Manchego 4-L, please.

10. Boo really wanted to be friends with my sister's dog but my sister's dog was terrified of Boo. He's really a gentle giant, you guys. Also perfectly healthy, weight-wise.
11. I spent Sunday afternoon reading HBR's case study on Beyonce's release of her self-titled, visual album while listening to her self-titled, visual album. Here are my favorite quotes from the case:
"And what it takes for her to do these shows... most fans have no idea. It's like running a marathon every night. The stamina it takes to sing, dance, remember all of that, do it all in a cohesive fashion—and make it look effortless—is the gift of a truly talented and well-rehearsed performer.” 
"Make no mistake—she really is the boss,” remarked Sabey. Callahan-Longo agreed: “It is disheartening that there are still stories written where people assume that just because she is a woman, there is a person other than herself running her business.”
"We work for a woman who has no fear."
On Beyonce's brand: "It's about allowing women to be who they are and to feel empowered by who they are. That's the true core. You can be different and powerful. You can be sexual and non-compromising. You can be feminine and strong. All those juxtaposed values can co-exist in one person, in one woman." 
 “I really, really wanted to surprise people and for them to really just hear the art and for it not to be about the hype and the promotion.” 
12. The case ends with the question, "Would her big gamble pay off?" After thorough analysis, my answer can be summed up in one word: Duh. 
13. There is a woman on Beyonce's staff whose last name is Beyince.
14. After watching "Blow" for the 3,785th time, it's confirmed that I need to have some kind of party at a roller skating rink immediately.



15. Today is my parents' 41st wedding anniversary. I'm pretty lucky to come from two amazing people who have never been afraid to be themselves (or let their hair down):


Thursday, October 16, 2014

Never Cooking Again

I read this blog post the other day entitled "An Argument for Never Cooking Again" and it very much resonated with me. Essentially, the author, Sarah Miller, argues that people only really like to cook for other people and they only really like to cook for other people so that they can feel loved and appreciated for doing so. This seems pretty accurate. I "love" baking, but I only "love" baking when I'm doing it for other people because they'll like it (and like me). I almost never bake for myself.  For one thing, I'm mostly lazy. And two, I would never not feel guilty about eating a pan of brownies by myself (that doesn't mean I haven't done that, though).


Cooking for one especially sucks. First of all, as that post suggests, despite my inflated ego, I don't feel motivated to spend that much time making food only for myself. Second of all, I am pretty much ALWAYS starving by the time I get home from work, so I want to eat something that takes less than 20 minutes to make. Third of all, and most unfortunately, it's not always cheaper to cook for yourself, despite popular belief. Don't get me wrong, I make most of my meals, but they almost always consist of beans and salsa and other things that cost less than a dollar and only need to be heated up. Whenever I want to eat something other than grains and legumes, it actually makes more sense to go out, which seems backwards, but it's not.

I made tacos the other night with meat -- a small step up from my typical beans and salsa -- and all things considered, the ingredients were at least $15. For tacos! Yes, I had leftovers, but that also means I had to eat the same thing many times in a row and that gets old quickly. I once made this delicious polenta casserole, but by the 3rd day of eating it, I wanted to kill myself. I am not being dramatic.

On the other hand, there is a restaurant near my office that has a pretty good beer selection and a half-priced menu from 4-6 every day. That means it's actually cheaper for me to go out and get a craft beer and an entire plate of nachos than it is to go to the grocery store and buy ingredients for a meal. Maybe not the healthiest choice, but YOLO, you guys.



And, since I live amidst Section 8 housing and broke college kids, there are countless options for very cheap food in my neighborhood. For instance, I can get a slice of pizza for $2 that is actually the size of 3 slices of pizza, so it literally feels like you won the lottery when you eat it. Literally.

When I'm not trying to get diabetes, I go to the Russian BAZAAR down the street from my apartment that has almost everything you'd ever need at half the price of a regular grocery store. Also, a whole fucking aisle of pickled items. A WHOLE AISLE. There are few things I dislike more than grocery shopping (humidity is high on the list) because almost everyone is an asshole at the grocery store. I worked at Shaws for 7 years of my life and every time I go into that store I have a mini panic attack and want to punch everyone around me. (Last time I was there, I yelled at a woman to "Get some awareness!" That is who I've become.) However, at the Bazaar, no one speaks English and/or has any interest in talking to another human being and it's wonderful. The only drawback is that almost every label is in Russian, so I don't necessarily know what I'm buying/eating, but that just keeps the adventure alive. I generally leave with a bag of fermented vegetables and cheese and go home and eat snacks for dinner. Someday I aspire to make an actual meal, but only if someone wants to help me do it. And/or just do it for me. What I mean is that someday I aspire to come home to dinner on the table.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Things I learned this weekend

1. Vermont is so fucking pretty. I screamed about it all weekend.

2. Johnny Appleseed was a real person.
3. Johnny Appleseed was born in Leominster, MA.
4. Johnny Appleseed is praised for being a good samaritan because he introduced apple trees to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. But I would like to point out that he ABANDONED his hometown, so.
5. I just think you should know everything about a person before you give them a sign on the highway.

How do we know he was real when all we have is cartoon pictures of him??

6.  Leaves turn colors because of photosynthesis, or something.
7. The woman who runs the White Rocks Inn in Wallington, VT is the CRAZIEST BITCH I'VE EVER MET.
8. She stole my pumpkin magic cookie bars and I will hold it against her til the day I die.


9. If you move your hand at precisely the wrong moment, you will accidentally punch a little girl in the face on the dance floor.
10.  Meredith and I aren't very good at taking selfies.


11. I have sniper vision when it comes to spotting fast food off the highway.
12. When given the option of watching your friends get their hair and make-up done or going to the bar with 12 men to watch football, I choose the latter.
13. My fantasy football team, Meow or Never (obviously), is CRUMBLING! I won the first 4 weeks and now I can't even break 100 points. :''''''''''''''(
14. This dragonfly is positively terrifying.


15. I only have one more wedding left and it's in Jamaica. Not mad.




What did you learn this weekend?


Friday, October 10, 2014

Studio Life

I made a video. In my pajamas. Without makeup on. From the most unflattering angle.

Fuck it.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Is this a mommy blog?

You guys, I know I'm going to sound like a soccer mom in a second, but I'm wicked excited about my new tupperware and I need to tell you about it. I've been bringing my lunch to work nearly every day since January when I made it one of my 12 resolutions. And, due to my aforementioned poverty, it's been pretty necessary for me to do so. I often make a big pot of quinoa or lentils or something equally peasant-like on Sunday and portion it out for the week ahead. (If you for some reason care about what I eat, follow me on instagram, duh.)  However, one of my favorite lunches ever is salad (like, for serious), but I rarely bring it because I never had tupperware big enough or anything to carry my dressing in that wouldn't leak. That is, until now. Behold, the Fit & Fresh salad container:


I'm so obsessed with this thing*. It's the perfect size, the perfect shape, and it has a DRESSING DISPENSER. It's awesome. Related: my life is really boring these days.

Work has been totally overwhelming lately, which is partly why my blog has been abandoned and malnourished the past few months. But I'm attempting to make it a priority again, since it is something I actually enjoy (whereas work - not so much). On that note, you know what makes me really sad? When people who don't know how to construct a sentence get paid to write. For instance, people in marketing who are so careless and frivolous that they can't even spell-check their emails but have made a career out of writing them. People who are hired because others value their content, content which the writers don't even care enough about to proofread. It's not only sad, it's infuriating. But that fury generally comes from my enormous feeling of jealousy that these people write for a living, which I probably could have done, but didn't. So here I am rage-blogging instead.


*Editor's note: I did NOT get paid for this endorsement. But I probably should have. (Hint, hint fit-fresh.com).

Autumn In Boston

A few of my blog friends have been taking this October Blogging Challenge to blog every single day in October. I'm never going to do that, obviously, but today's writing prompt is "What does autumn look like in your city?" and since Boston is pretty pretty during the fall, I thought I'd at least post some pictures.

But first, who says 'autumn', though? Here in Boston, where English is brutalized daily, we say fall, motherfuckers.

Autumn Fall in Boston

I don't know whose photo this is, but it isn't mine.


Bridgewater

Foxboro

Cambridge

Salem

Southie!

Arlington

Somerville

Almost none of these are pictures of Boston. Bye.


Making Melissa

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Old Gym vs. New Gym

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As you may or may not remember, after moving to le ghetto, I decided to quit my fancy gym and go to the one at my work for literal pennies instead. For the most part, the transition has been easy, especially since I'm saving a ridiculous amount of money, but there are some key differences between the two:

Clothing
Old gym: Clothing brands ranged from Target to Lululemon, but people were always in workout clothes. 
New gym: Anything goes. You got a few minutes in between class to work out but you're wearing a dress? That's fine! Aint no thang. The other day I watched a woman run on the treadmill in jeans and a polo shirt.




Locker room
Old gym:  They served you fucking CUCUMBER-INFUSED WATER right outside the SPA area. Old women would literally blow dry their bushes CASUALLY next to you. 
New gym: You will never not take a cold shower. Never not. There is no time to loiter naked because it's so M-F cold.

Cleanliness
Old gym: There were stations of disposable wipes all around the gym. Everyone used them.
New gym: There are stations with paper towels and disinfectant that I've never seen anyone even look at. I think I'm the only person who has ever wiped down his/her machine there. Ringworm feels inevitable at this point.

Music
Old gym: The same classical CD over and over and over again. They often played Swan Lake which just gave me terrifying day-mares about Natalie Portman. (Okay, maybe they were more like fantasies.)
New gym: They play the dopest shit because it's run by actual 18-year-olds. I recently went up to the front desk to ask about the playlist and the ~kids~ got all nervous because they thought I was going to reprimand them for playing hip-hop. Never, little ones, and also, thank you.

Clientele
Old gym: All women, mostly privileged, with little to no self-awareness.
New gym: All ages and sexes. This makes working out  more enjoyable because I can gawk at men with beards who also happen to attend one of the most elite universities in the world. GET AT ME, BRO. But seriously, do that. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

What I've been up to.

Nothing, really. I'm super poor at the moment (and by moment I mean the past 2 months) on account of the fact that I drastically underestimated how much weddings would cost. (I hope you're all enjoying those new champagne glasses while I eat an 89 cent can of beans for dinner! JK LOL. I love you guys.)


That said, I've been spending most of my free time watching Netflix and drinking Charles Shaw because it's literally all I can afford right now. But let me tell you something: I'm loving it. I never really appreciated TV before. Sure, I had a few shows (Game of Thrones, Jeopardy!) but, in general, I always preferred to do pretty much anything other than watch TV. Now I finally get all the hype. TV is awesome. Sitting on your couch is awesome. Being lazy is fucking awesome.

I watched both seasons of House of Cards in approximately 2 weeks. I've also finished all 6 (available) seasons of Parks & Rec. God, that show is perfect. I need more Craig in my life. GIVE ME CRAIG.


As for dating, I'm not doing it, obviously. It's pretty hard to meet people when you're sitting around in polka dot pajamas in your living room that is also your bedroom that is also your entire apartment. I have decided, though, that if I go back to online dating, my profile will say:

Looking for someone to watch TV and get fat with. It's the American dream. 

I mean it is the dream, right? Sitting and eating? I think this means I'm finally ready for a relationship. You know, one that requires no work. 

So, what else?

Well, I met the fabulous Jessica Merchant of How Sweet It Is last week. She is the reason I'm even writing this at all. I asked her if her blog ever stresses her out (hint: mine does; hint: everything does), and she said no because she loves her blog and also doesn't care if what she writes matters. I care that what I write matters, which is weird since I mostly write about total bullshit. But I spend a lot of time worrying about what to write. Jessica, on the other hand,  just sits down each evening and writes a post about whatever the fuck she wants and that's that*. So that's what I'm going to attempt to do from here on out. Just write some shit and post it. A shit storm is on its way, you guys.


Speaking of a shit storm, I unintentionally saw Elliphant on Saturday night. Have any of you heard of her? She is a white, female, Swedish rapper. Like... what? I basically had an identity crisis during her performance. It made me feel racist, maybe? Sexist? I don't know because I'm not entirely sure what she's going for, but I mostly kept thinking, "You're a 28-year-old white girl. You're not allowed to rap to dubstep." I know that's wrong. But that's what I felt.

Since then, though, I can't stop watching this video:


I literally have no idea what's happening or why it's happening, but it's addicting. Is this art? What is art? Where is that guy who goes around Boston tagging "NOT ART" when you need him? Someone tell me how I'm supposed to feel. 


*She also cooks and bakes and takes GORGEOUS pictures of all the things she cooks and bakes, so everything she writes matters.