Stop, Drop, and Cover

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As you know, I’m from Los Angeles, where earthquakes are a pretty common thing. The only time I ever had an earthquake kit was when I was going to a private school that required we bring one with us on the first day of class. So since 8th grade, I have been earthquake kit free and here’s why:

I have never ever heard of an earthquake kit saving anybody ever. In the event that your house collapses around you, you are either dead, too injured to move, or able to walk out of the blast radius to safety and services. Northridge, CA, famous for the 1994 Northridge earthquake is 25 miles from Altadena, CA where I grew up, and I remember the quake fairly well. They closed my school due to structural damage.

57 people officially died in the quake. 33 died immediately, or from fatal injuries they sustained in the quake, and the rest are heart attack deaths attributed to the quake. Nobody died of dehydration. Or exposure.

So, putting bottled water and shiny silver blankets into the farthest recesses of closets that might not even be there in the event of a disaster rings more than a little bit futile to me. I think government and healthcare officials like to tell us to make earthquake kits because it has a calming effect: I won’t be crushed to death by my own chimney, I have a plastic bag full of nothing in a place I can’t reach!

The only real thing we can do to prepare is is to read and remember what to do during and directly after an earthquake. Here’s a very concise video out of New Zealand, where earthquakes are a little more at the forefront of their mind after the 2011 Christchurch quake:

The uncomfortable reality of living in an earthquake zone is that when it happens, there’s not a lot you personally can do to determine whether or not you die. Getting low and under sturdy furniture, or against internal walls, knowing where you’ll go ahead of time are all you can really hope for. After that, it’s just fate and building codes.

Taye Diggs is Proof that God Loves Us and Wants Us to Be Happy

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Oh my fucking drag queen Jesus, it’s a true fact.

I have loved this man since The Wood. To this day I have no idea what happened in that movie apart from Taye Diggs in a brocade vest.

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This is going to be so sweet. Glitter lipstick can only make this man sexier. I want to see every picture anyone takes of him. Ever. But especially in Hedwig drag.

By the way, if you feel like you need more Diggs in your life, please do check out Day Break, a 2006 crime drama with a supernatural twist that you can watch on Hulu without having to be a paying member. Plus, it’s an old series with only one season so there’s virtually no commercials.

Gay for Pay: What’s That About?

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THIS ARTICLE IS ACTUALLY SFW IN THAT THERE IS NO NAKED PENIS. THERE ARE NAKED DUDES, AND IT IS ABOUT PORN, SO READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

I don’t watch a lot of video porn, since I tend to get more bang for my buck with the written word, but when I do, Gay for Pay can be a nice vanilla appetizer before I get down to the real stuff.

If you’re not familiar, the premise of Gay for Pay porn is that young straight men will agree to do gay stuff, which is against their very nature, for the promise of cold hard cash. Usually, this is part of the narrative, from agreement to payment, sometimes with the money being thrown on their cummey backs for extra effect.

The videos really set up that these are st8 studs willing to get gay assfucked and cummed all over for them sweet sweet dollars.

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Over the years, I’ve wondered why the insistence on straightness, and all I’ve been able to come up with is that these videos are a gay male power fantasies where the straight stud is the one who is denigrated and other-ed for his (in the context of this virtual room) minority sexual identity. Especially because the denigration factor is frequently high.

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Later on in the video Michael wraps his thighs around Freaky J’s head and cums directly onto his face, but instead of the cum shot being the end, as in most traditional porn, the camera follows J into the bathroom and records him while he washes the cum off his face and tells the cameraman that it was unexpected.

In a perfect world, there wouldn’t be pornos that punish straight bros for thinking it might be fun and profitable to get fucked by a gay dude they met on Craig’s List. A lot of people have a lot to say about how that perfect world should happen. Not the least of which are my feminist sisters in the dick police who seem to have more in common with the extreme Christian right than with any actual feminists I know.

But if our porn is problematic, that’s got nothing to do with the porn and everything to do with our problems. We frequently work out real-life tensions in the sphere of erotic fantasy. There’s no denying there’s cultural tension between gay and straight men that we have yet to resolve. And that’s putting it lightly. Gay men are still subject to physical attack for being gay in this country. It’s understandable how someone might want to blow off a little steam by watching Freaky J get his face cummed on.

Not being a gay man, whether or not the men are straight is less of a factor for me. It’s more important that they’re doing something that makes them physically and emotionally uncomfortable in exchange for money, which is my own particular interest. One I have a feeling a lot of people might find even more problematic than the gay for pay issue.

Which, of course, is kind of the rule of human sexuality. A thousand separate people can adopt the same sexual practice or habit for a thousand different reasons. I like to think about it like Newtonian physics and quantum physics. Newtonian physics is what we already know about sociology and psychology, we’ve got a pretty solid framework that we’ve used to make some amazing advancements in the field of human behavior. But when we get down to the human sexuality level, all that goes more than a little bit haywire. We tried to applying macro morality to personal sexuality, and all it got us was about a hundred generations of people who were deeply ashamed of their own bodies and appetites.

Would I ever hit someone I loved? Bite them? Restrain them? Let them do anything like that to me? Of course not.

During sex? Oh hell yes. (Provided there’s consent.)

In order to be happy in my body and my use of it, I had to decide that the moral dilemmas of race, class, and gender are not allowed in my presence when I’m fucking.

When I’m getting spanked and fucked, I don’t think “Oh yes, this is one of the weird sex things I do in order to re-contextualize childhood abuse in a safe way so as to manage my lifelong PTSD.” I’m thinking “Spank me, fuck me!” Which, in my opinion, is exactly how it should be.

AMEX Condescends to Women of Color, Pats Self on Back

I had a totally different blog planned for tonight, and I’ll get to that tomorrow, but this bullshit just popped up on my TV about 20 times in a row, and I can not stay silent on this.

You guys know I own my own business, you’ve read all about my struggle to breath life into this thing and how hard it has been for me physically and emotionally, and this isn’t even my first rodeo.

You know I eat, sleep and breathe the market right now, because that is where the rent comes from. We’re in the trenches over here. This is not The Mindy Project. I am no Aretha. Nobody’s lining up outside my door, and yet AMEX thinks denigrating and belittling the snap-worthy accomplishments of my heroes is going to get me to leave my credit union for them?

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If you haven’t seen this mess, here’s the run down: AMEX has launched a campaign they’re calling The Journey Never Stops, featuring business owning women of color. They have confession-style voice-overs paired with images of them in their daily lives, showing them making decisions and doing work, just like normal business people! Except these ladies have an extraordinary journey: from dirt person to market factor. They even made poor Mindy cry. It was gross.

The three commercials feature Restaurateur Natalie Young, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, and Writer and Actor Mindy Kaling

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At the end of each ad, there’s a blurb “welcoming” us into the AMEX family, as it were.

For Natalie, the welcome goes out to “the next generation of late bloomers,” and the voice-over adds “and second chances.”

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For Aretha, they welcome “all those still trying to find their voice.”

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And for Mindy, the welcome is for “unlikely leading ladies.”

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Fuck a damn journey. This campaign should have been called Brown people: Almost Important

Natalie Young is not a “late bloomer” or a “second chance” she is an experienced professional chef with two restaurants to run. That she has a history with drug addition (they talk about it in the commercial) only makes her more impressive.

Aretha Franklin is trying to find her voice like Carlos Santana is trying to find his guitar. The woman is not the Apprentice of Soul, she is the fucking Queen. The Queen, you Kraft-service eating clowns.

And as for Mindy Kaling, what exactly makes her “unlikely” except racism and sexism? Oh nothing.

I’m supposed to feel inspired by these stories, but I only felt condescended to. AMEX picked three amazing women who have risen to the top of their respective industries despite a range of challenges, including the culture of classism, racism, and sexism that keeps so many of us from pursuing our dreams,. Instead of telling that story they did everything in their power to other their subject, and by extension, their target market.

In Mindy’s commercial when she’s talking about how everybody said she should be a side-kick, there’s an extreme close-up of her eating jelly beans in front of an open fridge in the dark.

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Get it? Because she’s fat.

That’s why she’s an unlikely leading lady. Because who would believe that a fat* brown girl could be the star of her own show?

What I want to know is what kind of Neanderthal is surprised that a fat brown girl is just as capable of being the star of her own show? The same people who would characterize the legendary, award-winning, multi-platinum Aretha Franklin as finding her voice, or imply that the good work of a woman who dragged herself back from the pit of addiction could be a simple “second chance.” The accomplishments of women, more-so the accomplishments of women of color have long been overlooked by the men who run boardrooms and ad campaigns like this one.

We are not “late bloomers” or “unlikely leading ladies.” We are not “finding” our “voice.” My voice was born found. It’s just been talked over by douche-bros who are too busy patting themselves on the back for being racially inclusive because they let one token minority bask in the glory of their genius while they go around belittling our contributions and making it political suicide to say something like “BOSS, I THINK THE COMMERCIAL YOU MADE IS RACIST.”

AMEX, you can’t have it both ways. You can’t tell a touching story of overcoming racism and sexism without acknowledging racism and sexism. Because without that context, you make these successful professionals look like fools. You can’t just parade women of color in front of the screen and expect me to freak out like when my dog sees another dog on her walk. This is not a commercial made by women business owners. This is a commercial made by a committee of privileged salary men who think this is what motivates me.

Lets set the record straight: My goal in life is not to be a great Latina business owner. It’s to be a great business owner regardless of where I come from. Have parts of my life been difficult? Yes, but I don’t want to be successful when compared to expectations of my performance. I want to be successful based on my actual performance.

I do not need bed music in a minor key that transitions into synth banjo when the audience is supposed to feel good about my terrible circumstances. What I do need is to be treated with the same respect and consideration that any white man would get from his business partners. Which AMEX does not look prepared to do.

*Editor’s note: I understand that Mindy Kaling is far from fat. That’s a whole other angry blog post.

You Can’t Schick With Us

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It’s not nearly as dramatic as it sounds. Somebody saw a dude pulling the pickle in his car, it turns out it was the CEO of a nearby hospital. Police arrested him and now he’s in jail.

This is why it’s important to tint your windows, people. Also, to avoid doing sexy car stuff at 9:30 in the morning when random weirdos can just look into your car.

Unless you’re into the whole 9:30 a.m. parking lot peeper kind of scene. In which case, it’s important to find a consenting voyeur so you’re not just pig poking randos in the Bi-Mart parking lot.

Who to Vote for in the May 19, 2015 Special Election in Multnomah County, Oregon

I live in Southeast, in school district #1JT, so I may have ballot options you don’t, or visa versa. This is, of course, my personal opinion based on how I voted. You can do whatever you want. Also, please note that I take a lot of things seriously in life. This blog is not one of them. Nothing I am about to write should be take to heart by anyone for any reason. I am not a lawyer, I don’t want to be one. Also, ignore my medical advice if I ever give you any.

MULTNOMAH EDUCATION SERVICE DISTRICT

DIRECTOR POS. 7, ZONE 3

vote no
No.
Kay L. Bridges: Former order clerk for a printing company who is not endorsed by anyone. Also, I found a lot of typos and grammar mistakes in her bio.

vote yes
Yes.
Siobhan Burke: Has a Master’s Degree in Teaching, and is endorsed by the Portland Associations of Teachers PAC. Less typos.

 

DIRECTOR POS. 6, AT LARGE

vote no
No.
Doug Montgomery: What is with the cryptobabble, dude? I had to look up “ESD.” It stands for Electronic Software Distribution. Doug wants to turn public schools into an Electronic Software Distribution model and fire some staff people (you know, whichever ones.. whatev). Doug, my man, you do realize you’re running for school board, right?

vote yes
Yes.
Stephen Marc Beaudoin: Dude is already running a successful non-profit, he has a list of endorsements 2.5 inches long (that’s actually pretty long), and his biographical info is extremely well formatted. What’s not to love?

vote no
No.
Colby Ross Clipston: Why no picture? What are you trying to hide, Roy?

Fun Fact: My voting guide randomly has three more people listed for this position than the ballot does. Including someone who looks an incumbent (her bio is sort of unclear.) Guys, I gotta draw the line somewhere. If you’re not on the damn ballot what are you doing in my voter book? This isn’t Who’s Who, people.

PORTLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE

DIRECTOR, ZONE 3

vote no
No.
Courtney Wilton: I don’t like that he lists his endorsements without their titles. Am I supposed to just know who the ever-living eff Marianne Zarkin is? There are 609,000 people in Portland. I haven’t got to the Zs yet.

vote yes
Yes.
Anita Yap: This is an open and shut Yap. She’s endorsed by the Democratic Party of Oregon and Communities of Color for a Just Oregon.

vote no
No.
Michael Sonnleitner: I wish I could vote for this position twice, I really do. The formatting. It’s just beautiful. But Yap has more experience, and Michael talks about embracing diversity right there in his bio. I gotta go with my POCs on this one. How often does a civic-minded lady like myself get to vote for a woman of color in Portland, after all?

PORTLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT #1JT

DIRECTOR, ZONE 1

vote no
No.
Andrew E. Davidson: Look at that sweet face. And he’s a student. With professional experience as an intern. Also, three dudes from the board love this guy.

vote yes
Yes.
Julie Esparza Brown: The freaking Governor endorses this lady. Also, another rare woman of color opportunity. She has no prior governmental experience, but she does have the benefit of holding a real job and raising three people to adulthood, which I feel is probably going to be valuable on the board. If my own experience with school board meetings is any indication, being the kind of person who can coordinate sharing between multiple toddlers is a valuable skill.

DIRECTOR, ZONE 2

vote no
No.
Emma Russac Williams: I dig the cemetery angle. There’s not enough people with funerary experience in schools these days, and that’s a shame. But her bio makes it sound like she’s joining the board so she can keep an eye on her kids. Noble goal, just not my goal.

vote yes
Yes.
Jose Gonzalez: This guy has experience working in schools. He’s the executive director of something. That makes me feel like he knows Robert’s Rules of Order, or at least could learn them, which is important.

vote no
No.
John Sweeney: The typos. Are overwhelming.

 

vote no
No.
Paul D. Anthony: Who the hell is Barbara Roberts? Oh, she was governor in 1995… when I was 10. Also, bad grammar.

 

DIRECTOR, ZONE 3

vote yes
Yes.
Amy Carlsen Kohnstamm: Is endorsed by one congressperson (Blumenauer), and one of the two PACs that I tend to look to for guidance (Color PAC).

vote no
No.
Wes Soderback: Okay, that picture is adorable. Wes, you seem like a cool guy. Also, you used to work on a submarine. You’re trying to save your Alma Matter from unfair closure, and I get that. If there was a Mr. Congeniality, I would vote for you twice.

vote no
No.
Gretchen Hollands: This is a strong field. You guys all should have applied to be the Director of POS. 7, Zone 3 in the Multnomah Education Services District.

vote no
No.
Robbie Regan: Is endorsed by another congressperson (Bonamici) and the other PAC (the Teachers). I decided against her because her congressperson doesn’t represent Portland, and Amy’s does. Also, she’s the second person to list a twenty-years gone governor in her endorsements list. Call it arbitrary, but it’s 1 a.m., and despite my surprisingly cavalier attitude about the whole thing, this has taken a lot of work.


DIRECTOR, ZONE 7


vote yes
Yes.
Mike Rosen: No brainer.

Things Bad Negotiators Say

After Thursday’s How to Negotiate blog, I thought of some things I’ve heard and had said to me in negotiations that signaled I was working with a bad negotiator. Usually, this is an indication that it’s time to take your shit and go home, but in some situations, that’s not an option. So, this is what they say, what they mean, and how to deal with it.


What they say

“We’ve never had anyone ask for that before.”

What they mean

We’re relatively inexperienced in business, but are trying to hide it by making you feel like an idiot.

OR

We actually get a lot of people asking for the exact thing you’re asking for, but we pretend those people don’t exist.

How to deal with it

“Right, but I’m asking for it now.”

Even if they really never have heard of the thing you’re requesting, that shouldn’t be part of the conversation. It’s an item you want to come to an agreement on, and them making you feel weird about bringing it up is not productive. It’s either blundering, or it’s a tactic to get you on the defensive and off-balance.


What they say

“That’s irrelevant.”

What they mean

I don’t think your concerns are valid. I have no respect for your point of view.

How to deal with it

Either find a way to make them see how your problem is their problem, or find a way to not have that problem anymore.

For example, if you’re worried that a supplier is going to deliver late and hold up deadlines, the answer to this presumptuous fit of denial would be to make them responsible for deadlines. And if it’s really an issue, tack on fees for late delivery. Then the “irrelevant” manner of supplies management is not only not your problem, but if it turns out to be a problem after all, it magically becomes your payday.


What they say

“You should be happy you have a job/that I’m talking to you/that I’m even considering your offer.”

What they mean

Please don’t look anywhere else but here, please don’t consider other options. I am so desperate for your help that the only thing I can think of to get you to work with me is to belittle you because being a complete asshole is the only thing I have to offer.

How to deal with it

At this point, I really suggest leaving. But, if you insist on staying, or have no choice, the only way to deal with this kind of third grade shitlordation is to shitlord back harder. So your answer needs to be “No YOU should be happy I work HERE/am talking to YOU/am even wasting time on YOUR offer.” Brace for drama.


What they say

“The person we had on before you/my cousin/another worker would do this job for way cheaper/a specific and horrifically insulting low-ball offer”

What they mean

I am flat-out lying to see how stupid you are. I either hated my cousin’s work, have burned a bridge with the last guy, or I can’t find anyone that cheap or I wouldn’t be talking to you right now.

How to deal with it

Leave. Please leave. These people will never be happy, so you will never be happy, and they probably won’t pay you anyway. If you’re tempted to answer this question, just empty your checking account and light all the money on fire. It’ll be less of a hassle in the long run.

Pokémon 3: Jane Griffen

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NAME: Jane Griffen

ORIGIN STORY: Jane is starting to realize this isn’t a Tae Bo intensive.

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Fun fact: After drawing this, I realized that a resting heart rate of 70 is actually not that impressive, since my own resting heart rate is 74. Oops.