Thursday, July 31, 2008

perceptions of feminism

More from "I Was A Teenage Feminist", distributed by Women Make Movies.

Some issues with the voice over - although I realize that I haven't seen the whole movie and so I don't know the context these words were being said in. But the notion of worrying about whether or not to hide that you're a feminist on a date simply does not resonate with me. Trying to hide that I'm a feminist would be like trying to hide an elephant in a teacup. However, while I can imagine that lust-blindness or extreme wishful thinking could lead to such an incompatible pairing for a first date (do people date as a way to get to know each other still?), I don't understand why someone who identifies as a feminist would in fact want a second date with a person shows signs he thinks all feminists are...well, watch the clip and ask yourself if you'd want a first or second date with any of these characters (excepting Anthony in NY).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Are you a feminist?

Clips from "I Was A Teenage Feminist", distributed by Women Make Movies.

An added bonus - a link from Trixie Films (makers of I Was a Teenage Feminist) is to Women In Media and News, a site I am thinking will appeal to at least two of the people who read this blog (which is a considerable percentage of my readers).

Not necessarily

News or commentary?
Dems wield oversight cudgel on Bush administration
By Laurie Kellman, Associated Press Writer
July 30, 2008

WASHINGTON - Across Capitol Hill, Democratic-led committees are considering punishments for past and present Bush administration officials for a range of alleged misdeeds, from discriminating against liberals at the Justice Department to blowing off subpoenas and lying to Congress.

The proceedings on Wednesday are the latest congressional review of the White House, a constitutionally mandated power that majority Democrats relish. But three months out from Election Day, a lame-duck Congress conducting oversight of a lame-duck White House produces mostly talk. There's little time and less willingness to spend the remaining five weeks of the congressional session doing more than holding televised hearings to try to convince voters that President Bush has abused the powers of his office.
The story goes on with no support, whether in the form of quotes or even analysis of conduct and practices, for Kellman's claim that congressional review of the White House was being conducted with "relish" or that such practices amount to wielding a cudgel.
Nice "reporting", Ms. Kellman.

Monday, July 28, 2008

OMG - my cell phone is cooking my brain!

I just heard about the cell phone/popcorn thing this weekend. The person who told me about it was not telling it in a "funny" way. He was telling it in a "omg think about what it's doing to your brain!?" way. I have a strong streak of skepticism and so I googled it. Apparently it was a "stealth marketing" campaign which was supposed to be "funny". On the CNN video clip below, the announcer asks "and what about the idea that videos try to scare people who hold cell phones close to their heads?" The response to this or a similar question from the CEO of the headset company behind the hoax is "we really never meant to eh ehm insinuate any of that ehm...the truth is that it was funny..." The jerk goes on to chuckle about stealth marketing. The news guy obliges him with a giggle, which was to me entirely creepy.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Who wants a kitten? Anyone? Vengicar perhaps? C' know you want another kitty.
8 week old grey female who was rescued but who can't be kept by her rescuer. I'm told she's very sweet. More details as I get them. For now, here's a not very high quality picture of the kitty.
Email me if you're local to CT or MA and interested.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

this just isn't me...

I took this from Bubblewench's blog. Clearly a flawed blog-thing, at least when it came to my name.

What PFG's Real World Name Means

You are relaxed, chill, and very likely to go with the flow.

You are light hearted and accepting. You don't get worked up easily.

Well adjusted and incredibly happy, many people wonder what your secret to life is.

You are usually the best at everything ... you strive for perfection.

You are confident, authoritative, and aggressive.

You have the classic "Type A" personality.

You are a very lucky person. Things just always seem to go your way.

And because you're so lucky, you don't really have a lot of worries. You just hope for the best in life.

You're sometimes a little guilty of being greedy. Spread your luck around a little to people who need it.

You are wild, crazy, and a huge rebel. You're always up to something.

You have a ton of energy, and most people can't handle you. You're very intense.

You definitely are a handful, and you're likely to get in trouble. But your kind of trouble is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here comes the rain


It just started, after several days of blistering hot. The last time it rained I got all excited, thinking the heat would break. Nope. It just got humid. I still do like the rain though. The windows are open, it's dark, and I can hear the rain just starting up like distant applause. Too much to hope it means a break in the heat? Probably. So I'll just enjoy it for what it is for now.

A____ and I have been total couch potatoes this weekend which has for me extended into Tuesday. I occasionally get up to apply to a job or run an errand but mostly I've been low key. I was looking around Monday thinking "Man, I should clean this place up. Why haven't I cleaned? I've been off work...." then I walked out of the one air conditioned room in the apartment and into the suffocatingly hot hall and remembered, right - because I could clean one room or pass out from heat stroke. For now, I'll just look at this as a bit of a vacation, my unemployed state and the heat conspiring to keep me in and lazy. Something like being in the tea room except my life's ok. Yeah, I'm looking for work and yeah, it sometimes keeps me up at night worrying about money, but I've got some savings, family, a cat who is super pleased that his people are around so much, and of course A___ - who is all sorts of wonderful.

Monday, July 21, 2008

job posting of the day

"RN, Will Train, Get off the floor and into Dialysis!!!"
So is kidney failure a job requirement, or would one be getting into dialysis just for fun?

Friday, July 18, 2008

new word

Out of total desperation, A___ and I have watched some episodes of Lost. I know, I'm like 4 years late.

Now that I've watched it, I can say with authority that yes, it is crap. At least season one is. Things I've learned from this show.
- Gender stereotypes, they aren't just for women anymore!
- The "take my child, please!" genre has finally jumped from the big screen to the little screen. I suspect Lifetime movies facilitated this leap.
- A whole style of delivery can be categorized in one word, "cryalogue"*. This is what happens when you have a volley of lines which are delivered with throaty sobs and frantic, indistinguishable diction. I'm not sure the writers are to blame for this. It could be the actors, but ultimately I blame the director and whoever s/he is working for who said "oh yeah, that's perfect". I sometimes pretend to be the director during these moments. That is, I yell directions to the actors from my couch. "You're upset! Be more upset! More crying! More sniffling! Scrunch up your face and say it again, but louder and less articulately!"

* = Can't take credit for the word. I googled it after using it and found this entry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

temp to perm

back around

One of the faculty members in my department has Lyme. While this is not the faculty member I most wished a nasty case of Lyme on - yes, I admit that I have often harbored such wishes regarding at least three faculty members from the program I am leaving - this is the faculty member who most overtly and vocally supports hazing of grad students.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

summer cold?

Last day of work and the first student I met with had the sniffles. I didn't think much of it, until this morning when I woke up with my ears crackling and my head feeling stuffed full of achy tightness.

Bright side? current boss invited me to lunch sometime this or next week. This is nice although possibly only that. The issue is I need a job, they have an opening (it just opened up), but I don't think lunch means anything more than lunch. I have a few reasons for thinking this. One is that I've dropped several rather pointed hints (her: "Let me know if there's anything I can do for you", me: "Ok. You can give me a job") and she's not picked 'em up. The other came yesterday, when the topic of job searching came up a few times (several of my co-workers are looking for jobs or looking to change jobs right now). In response to hearing about two positions I'd applied to most recently, my boss said that I probably wouldn't get a call. She said this about each job and it made me feel this big.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

cool job

(posted at Feminist Career Center, Feminist Majority Foundation site)
June 20, 2008
Job Title: Publicity and Publications Manager
Organization: Women Make Movies
Region: East Coast
Description: Founded in 1972, Women Make Movies (WMM) is a non-profit feminist, media arts organization dedicated to the distribution and exhibition of films by and about women. With a collection of more than 500 titles, WMM is the largest distributor of films by and about women in the world. WMM also facilitates the production of feminist media through a Production Assistance Program, which includes a workshop series and a fiscal sponsorship program. WMM is an equal opportunity employer and encourages women of color, lesbians and older women to apply.

Women Make Movies is seeking an energetic, dedicated and highly motivated full-time Publicity and Publications Manager to promote and publicize WMM, the Production Assistance Program and its collection of films to our customers, potential customers, filmmakers and the media. The Publicity and Publications Manager will be responsible for copy development, branding and production management for all promotional and publicity materials and marketing collateral, including website, emails, catalog, flyers, posters, brochures, DVD covers and press kits. This is a great opportunity for someone with exceptional writing and public relations skills to serve as a team leader and work collaboratively with a management team to develop the potential of a highly regarded, internationally recognized distributor.

-3-5 years professional experience in copywriting, public relations, branding and editorial. Excellent writing skills a must.
-Enthusiasm and passion for Women Make Movies. Experience in film industry desired.
-Strong computer skills and knowledge of graphic design programs.
-Ability to juggle multiple tasks under deadlines and work both independently and as a team.
-Flexibility, professionalism and a positive attitude.
-Sense of humor appreciated.

Salary and Benefits:

-Competitive salary based upon experience.
-Excellent benefits package including medical and dental insurance, long term disability, retirement plan, vacation and paid holidays.

To apply: Send, fax or email cover letter and resume describing your relevant experience, where you saw this job posting listed and salary requirements (please do not say negotiable; though you may give us a range) to:

Women Make Movies
ATTN: Publicity and Publications Manager Search
462 Broadway, Suite 500
New York, NY 10013
fax: 212.925.2052
email: (with subject line: Publicity and Publications Manager)

Closing Date: August 7, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008


Hey, I just got a call to set up an interview for a job! Whoopie!
Whether I get it or not, at least I feel a little less like a loser who's just spinning her wheels here sending out all these resumes and shit. Also, apparently the header/contact info is not a problem for everyone.

que sara

A first.
I just sent out a cover letter, resume, and reference list for a position a local college. Within an hour, I get a reply that my contact information is not on them.
Um, no. It's in the header. It's taking a bit of restraint for me to not write back saying this and include "dumbass".

I'm going to file this under "job I might not want to have". Why? Because if it were me who was in charge of receiving resumes, I'd actually open the files I got and view them in a normal window. Or I'd have put in the post that files must be plain text format or plain text compatible. I see today's experience as a hint that the person in charge or people I'd work with have less attention to detail than I do and have minimal problem solving skills, which to me is not an ideal work situation.

But ultimately, this experience is informative. I now know that people will not reliably know to view a document in Word, even when the applicant has stated that the files are formatted for Word 97-2003 in the email to files are attached to. Apparently, depending on how the recipient chooses to view the file, header information may not show up.
Live and learn.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


In a comment on another post*, AM asked where a recent ad commentary I had posted went. It was up for a few days, and then I took it down. It's back up, but will be down again in the future. The reason for all this is that the post got a hit from a corporate data miner. Here's some info about the program that hit my blog:
"...through the monitoring of blogs and other online public forums, we have the most information about online consumer sentiment and behavior, allowing our clients to make more informed business decisions." Yes, one of those "business decisions" could be whether or not to sue someone who is commenting on how the business is conducted if that commentary includes examples of images or other proprietary elements. Think I'm paranoid? Consider the following, from the data mining program's website:
"Organizations are...realizing that monitoring and protecting brand and copyright usage has become....harder with the rise of the Internet. Phishing, spoofing sites, phony links, misleading photos – there are literally thousands of ways a brand or copyrighted images can be misused. The rise of blogging and recent amendments to fair-use laws in the United States that allow journalistic use of copyrighted material without permission, have made it even more challenging."

Thus, this commentary may move around.

*I deleted the comment since it included a word which would greatly enable future searches.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I'm at home after the post-last official day of work semi-mandatory work party at the house of my boss. She's fun, but it was an outdoor event and the outdoors in the backwoods of CT scare the hell out of me since I caught Lyme in 2002. Lest I forget how much that sucked and how much the physical symptoms I have had since contracting Lyme continue to suck, my left ankle's been hurting a lot the last two days. (I blame the wacky weather. It's been overcast, warm, and humid all week. Today's nice weather comes courtesy of a front that moved in yesterday, hence more joint pain.) It was fairly throbbing earlier. I thought about wrapping it but then remembered my bad luck with such things and bagged it, opting instead for medication.

I went to the party today covered in DEET and spent most of the few hours I was there sitting away from the grass, trees, ornamental shrubs, and other tick-havens. While my choice of seating left me a bit removed from the rest of my co-workers, I did have fun chatting with another woman who wouldn't come out onto the grass either. "Holy shit, so basically we're going to a fucking Tick-nic!?" she had asked last week when told about the location of this get together.
On the way home from the party, I started feeling really gross, probably on account of being drenched in DEET for going on four hours. I got home to find A____ making food - some kind of mexican beef thing which smells great now that I've had a shower and a blueberry muffin and shook off some of the ick feeling.

It's nice and quiet here right now, just the sound of the fan, some birds, and a faint but comfortingly familiar, specifically non-rural traffic hum from the highway about 1 mile to the south.

Like the sore ankle, my anxiety over not having a job yet is still lurking around the edges but it's such a pretty day and I'm so happy to be home early and to be able to have some down time with my fella later this evening that I'm determined not to let either of these bring me down right now.

job posting of the day

Assistant to the Vice President of Institutional Advancement
institutional advancement is one of those terms that makes my skin crawl.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


The cat woke me up at 5:30 (a half hour before my alarm was set to go off) for food. He's been crying on and off throughout the night most nights these days. So up I got, and stumbled out to the kitchen. I bent down to get a can of cat food from a low shelf and smacked my head off the corner of the counter.

My day followed in a similar vein at work. No injuries, but it was not a good day. Lots of fuckery, some preventable and some not. The latter I can accept with some grace. The former however, tends to push my buttons, especially on a day that started out as unpleasantly as this one did.

Today was my last official day at work, and I don't have a job or even an interview.

My siblings, who were both just down for my sister's birthday, are both cranky right now too. And my fella's in some kind of semi-depressed or possibly sick state so he's sleeping a lot and feeling like shit.

On the plus side, I've never been a fan of July. Aside from my sister's birthday, the month generally is one of my less favorites. Too hot and lots of stagnation. So this July sucking already, well, it's not like it's wrecking a month I love and that's a little sliver of a bright side.

Friday, July 04, 2008


It's the fourth of July. For me this means two things. There's the whole holiday, fireworks, barbecue, etc thing but more importantly, it means my sister's birthday.

Yes, my sister is a yankee doodle child, but only by an accident of biology. If you imagine the kind of person who would love the idea of being born on July fourth, someone who would wear red, white, and blue, who would want a cake dripping with patriotic frosting buntings, who would jump around doing a sparkler dance in the evening while singing patriotic tunes and wearing a straw hat decked with stars and stripes, then you are imagining someone who is largely the opposite of my sister.

Aside from AM's not terribly patriotastic disposition, there was also the fact that our dad was firmly against allowing us to attend any parades or fireworks. Thus, for me the fourth of July has a weaker association with the national holiday than it does with AM's birthday and AM's birthday tastes. So here's what I think of as we near July fourth.

AM liked chinese restaurants, especially the kinds with ornately carved dragons and red fringed laterns. I say "liked" but I think actually this still applies. (My use of past tense is simply because I am speaking of the conditions of our childhood, the ones which shaped my associations with this date.) And indeed, this year I was thinking we could order chinese food. Or maybe I should make some kind of sweet and sour dish with rice. Or a sesame noodle thing. Chinese food and such dishes have featured prominently in my plans for her birthday since becoming an adult. When we were kids, AM's birthday celebrations often included going to a pond or lake with a group of kids. We should find somewhere to swim, I find myself thinking when considering how to celebrate her birthday. Other memorable AM birthdays included the sundae party and a tie-dye party (clearly this was in the late 70s or very early 80s). These condition my up to now unexamined belief that I must get ice cream and perhaps plan some crafts on her birthday.

My brother was born late in November. His birthday usually falls within a week of Thanksgiving, sometimes on the actual day. Needless to say, T____ has had many a turkey birthday cake. Other than a turkey shaped cake, T's birthday wasn't necessarily associated with any food in particular, probably because there is so much cooking going on around it that we just didn't establish a set meal or type of meal for the birthday proper. When his birthday comes around, I (usually) suppress the perverse desire to order him a turkey cake since as an adult, T has forbidden turkey birthday cakes, opting instead for a standard birthday cake decorated with frosting flowers in "autumn colors".

My own birthday is near a set of Jewish holidays. My family's not Jewish, which is good for my birthday I think because of the two holidays my birthday falls near or on, one involves a fast and the other involves gefilte fish.

So it's my sister's birthday and my sibs are both coming down tomorrow so we can celebrate. I'm off to go plan meals and order unpatriotic cake and whatnot. Assuming one can order any cake, let alone an unpatriotic one, on the fourth of July.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


My job is not that hard. There are some organizational issues which end up making more work for everyone, but providing it gets shared fully among the people whose slack caused the extra work, it's not so bad. There have been I think two days that I've been annoyed by this, and on both days I was feeling shitty enough physically to have it impact my mood and general outlook.

Our boss is kind of hands off, assuming we'll all self organize into a more or less efficient system. What makes for problems is that the system which academics naturally self organize into when confronted with tasks like those at this job (e.g. filing, organizing paperwork, tracking down administrative details) is not a more or less efficient one. For that goal to be achieved, someone has to take on the job of herding, coaching, cajoling, or whatever. It's a largely thankless, rarely respected, and much maligned job and so I can't blame my boss for avoiding it somewhat. And perhaps it has worked out in the past, however I think a few factors conspired against a more efficient outcome this year. One is that we had a shitload of students accept admission this year. Another is that the office was down a program assistant. That would be one of the people who would at least peripherally herd. And a final factor is that the staff consists of a lot of new people who didn't come in with a good idea of what needed doing or the best way to do it.

Anyhow, aside from the extra work we sometimes make for ourselves due to our tendency to self organize into a mini-goat screw, it's a decent job. I like it ok and I thought my coworkers did too. It has nice hours aside from being up early but I thought lots of people were early risers. Several of my coworkers have told me they are up and out by 7 most days even when they are not working here. There are reasonably decent people to work with, e.g., there is not a single person who is chronically tweeking or zombified, who is angry all the time, or who is all up in your face with whatever ("let's have a birthday party!!!"). Everyone says "good morning" and usually talks to one another if they are in the same room.

My coworkers are not disgruntled or maltreated workers. Our work is not physically or emotionally draining. It is not terribly cognitively demanding and while there are challenges and some problems to be solved, we have at our disposal the tools to meet and solve them. Many of us leave quite early most days because we think that although we were hired to work until 4:00, if we are done by 2:30 with whatever routine work we were doing in the afternoon, then 2:30 or very shortly after is quitting time. Sometimes this is true. Either way, we are actually underworking and getting paid for lots of time we aren't even there. Generally, no one gets too uptight about that either. Sometimes something slips through the cracks and it sets of a flurry of catching up and running around later but it's not like anyone gets viciously chastised or ostracized for having ditched out.

And finally, the students we work with (who do tend to make up the larger topic of complaint when any specific complaint is made) rotate through so fast that if there are some not so great ones in the bunch, they are out of your hair quite soon after they start getting on your nerves.

Thus, by all accounts, I'd say this job is a pretty sweet gig. Therefore, it strikes me as odd that over the last week or so, a lot of people have been making statements like "Thank god it's almost over!" While I consistently question what the motivation for this attitude is, I have different overt responses to these statements. Sometimes I try to look and sound agreeable because I know they assume we all share this sense of relief and to indicate otherwise would mean touching on a disclosure moment I'm fairly certain is not considered terribly polite. I sometimes ask "why?" And sometimes, when I'm feeling a little tetchy, I can't stop myself from saying I'm having a hard time feeling psyched about being unemployed. Yeah, gotta work on that.

Anyhow, I've decided that this "thank god it's almost over" attitude is similar to the "you don't have to be crazy to work here... but it helps!" type of comment/attitude which is repeated without much thought about whether a job or place of work really is all that nutty/rough/busy/hard/etc. This line of thought naturally called to mind Maria Bamford's "Crazy Office" routine, which I present below for your viewing pleasure.