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## Team "Don't Burn Shit Down" FTW, For The Moment

Posted by Alameida
on 10.14.11

Yeah, so, I have to go see my shrink every week and the same as my sponsor she wants me to do this inner child bullshit. Christ. It's a bit easier to think of it as, what would I say to my past self. See, the problem is if I saw that person I would just cry for like 3 hours, and then I wouldn't know what to say. Everything's going to turn out OK? I mean, everything has turned out OK, sort of. I have a wonderful family, a caring husband, a thriving business doing something I enjoy. I broke the cycle and didn't marry an abusive alcoholic/addict. I won at life!! Past self will be delighted to hear my stepfather had a stroke that paralyzed one side of his body, and then a drunk driving accident that paralyzed the other side of his body, and then committed suicide while in a wheelchair all alone. Ha ha ha. That's honestly worse than my fantasies of revenge. I'll be psyched about that for sure. But also I'm supposed to stop rationalizing and minimizing my step-dad's actions.

Fuck remembering all this shit. I hadn't thought about that thing about my kitten in probably 10 years, and suddenly it struck me how truly evil it was. (If you didn't read the comment, he threw my kitten against the wall, hard, so he fell down like a little rag doll and I didn't know if he was alive at first.) Like, I didn't know it was evil to hurt someone's kitten and then refuse to let her take it to the vet, even when I pleaded. And this morning waking up my first impulse was to start rationalizing that the kitten had made him angry by scratching my mom pretty badly (he fell off her lap and kind of scrabbled for purchase on his way down) and that I was being a big drama queen about it and it wasn't that bad.

I really needed my husband to say WTF that was horrible?! So it's actually very helpful for people to tell me that stuff was crazy and fucked up and not OK. You can help me by commenting when I say something like that just by saying "holy crap that's psycho evil, I'm sorry you had to go through that, al." I know it's difficult to know what to say to something so horrible--you're kind of like...uh....that...I...loss for words...This happens in real life a lot, it's a hilarious story until I get to this one part and then everybody goes dead silent, and I'm like, oh, I guess that was too much. I don't know how horrible it was. I'm a frighteningly reliable narrator. Sorry if I tell you all lots of horrible stuff that creeps you out to think about. It's better than getting wasted so I don't have any feelings at all. Mmmm, not having feelings. I want to turn the gain down on the stereo so all the input gets silent. Then I can watch from the other side of the screen, where everything is quiet and the core of my body is warm with chemical fire.

## Café accidental

Posted by Stanley
on 10.14.11

Today I have inadvertent iced coffee. You see, I made coffee yesterday morning and left the half-full French press sitting in on the counter as I hurried out the door. Upon returning home in the evening, I had the bright idea to pour the coffee into a pint glass, cover it with plastic wrap, and put it in the fridge overnight. This morning it rode in my car. And now it's got some ice and milk in it.

It's really quite strong.

## Smile like you mean it.

Posted by Stanley
on 10.14.11

Recently, I found myself called upon to review the textual contents of a friend's dating-website profile, in the perhaps misguided hope that I might provide some useful suggestions towards the proverbial brown-chicken-brown-cow.

While I undoubtedly failed to provide much insight, I was surprised to read, under the category of "things that annoy me" (or somesuch), "random strangers who tell me to smile".

Have we talked about this phenomenon before? I'm prepared to learn that it's a regular occurrence, of which I've been heretofore unaware, à la catcalling.

## Guest Post from Parodie

Posted by LizardBreath
on 10.14.11

I remember this being on Unfogged a while back about a mother from
Georgia who was crossing the street with her daughter when her
daughter was killed by a car - and the mother was charged & convicted
of manslaughter.
(http://www.unfogged.com/archives/week_2011_07_10.html#011437)

There's an interesting follow-up happening (including a new trial,
apparently), and I thought the mineshaft might be interested in
contributing to this effort:
http://t4america.org/blog/2011/08/17/raquel-nelsons-story-may-be-rare-but-the-dangerous-conditions-are-not-%E2%80%94%C2%A0show-us/
(wow, that's a terrible link. http://tinyurl.com/3n8aech )

It's a really troubling case, frankly.

## Unwelcome reminders of what one formerly was

Posted by Ben
on 10.13.11

I still have, as I'm sure we all do, all or most of the papers I wrote as an undergrad. I was lately inspired to look at one of them, or really to look for one of them, but, having confirmed that it was there, I naturally couldn't resist looking at it as well; a paper I wrote in the fall of 2002 on the Laches for an ancient phil survey course. Apparently I had just discovered LaTeX's comment environment at that time, because as I was paging through the file what did I see but the following?

among a number of other parts'' of virtue \cite[198a]{lach}. Second,
Nicias agrees that fearful things are future evils, and the ones
inspiring hop\begin{comment}

I LIKE CHEESE

\end{comment}
e are either future non-evils or future goods'' \cite[198c]{lach}

Well, I'll tell you. I saw a bunch of other text, most of which was the actual paper and another of which was another comment alleging that one of the participants in the dialogue is a dork.

I guess this amused me at the time? It amused me to come across it. Good job, previous self. Nevertheless, I have the vague idea that it was somewhat ridiculous, perhaps even shameful and disgusting.

## Let's Get Ready to R-r-r-rrumble!!!

Posted by Alameida
on 10.13.11

I have to go to the regular doctor now. Who will offer me valium, which is prescribed for me, but not as much as all that, and some xanax (not all that much because I told him I know it's habit-forming. Let's say 1 or 2 10-tab strips.) Am I likely to say no? No. I'd have to have a 'talk' with him about why and fuck that. I have to go because I'm out of (non-narcotic) pain medicine and if the step down the psych meds that make me not be manic, then I'll experience physical pain WHICH SUCKS. That's been the best part of this whole manic adventure: not having daily, agonizing pain. So fine and then I'll go to my psychiatrist and I'll tell her the truth and she'll say...hey maybe just give me about 40 of those valium and the xanax please? Fuck, I'd be pissed off. But there's no point in lying to those people, especially if you're paying then $300 an hour to help you titrate your way to mental stability. I'd say fine, if you give me fistfuls of delicious, zombifying kolonpin. What, I'm negotiating now? No, I guess I'll just do whatever she says. And I can't take two xanax before I walk in because then it'll look like I'm not tripping out, which, in fact, is false. I say, robots represent! I'm pulling 100% for team "you're a robot but Christ it's not like you're about to go buy a$70 straw of dope in geylang, eh?" So, Tony Stark, but after he sobered up and was just a cyborg with some kind of mini nuke-plant for a heart. Well, may the best self win!

## I built my own college and attended it on a scholarship that I paid for

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.13.11

A bunch of these right-wing responses to OWS have been circulating recently (like this collection, via Apo), and good lord I find it fascinating.

It makes an incredibly solid case that everyday Republican voters have been straight up duped out of voting for their own best interests, by messages appealing to their pride and desire for self-sufficiency, and painting recipients of government benefits as lazy, shifty types that you don't want to identify with.

## The forecast for tonight is dark, with scattered light toward morning.

Posted by Apostropher
on 10.13.11

Because election season is officially underway, I keep reading people attempting to bolster arguments with "According to Intrade, blah blah blah." And if Intrade allowed bets on the rate of increase of arguments citing Intrade positions as confirmatory evidence of something or other, the smart money would be on the over, no matter where the over/under was actually set. However, my observations of Intrade's predictive power indicate that it can tell you with great precision what the mainstream media conventional wisdom is right this minute and will continue to do exactly that right up to the point that the conventional wisdom changes. At which point, so does the Intrade betting. And what it can tell you about how or when the conventional wisdom will change is, more or less, jack shit.

That is to say: best I can tell, Intrade is essentially a fancy, monetized version of Gary's Weather Forecasting Stone, and yet people who make their living writing about electoral politics (like, say, Nate Silver) keep returning to it as if it were more than just a Magic 8-Ball that always returns "What Nate Silver Said". Am I missing something here?

## Ogged: Objectively Wrong

Posted by Alameida
on 10.13.11

Wearing makeup doesn't just let you look better, it helps you convince the ignorant that you are competent simply because you can use a Shu Uemura eyelash curler properly! 1. Get the lashes right at the base and squeeze. This part should hurt. Not a ton, but some. 2. Curl them again nearer the tip. Apply mascara (remember to put it right against your lash line and gently wiggle it out, using as few strokes as possible, and always take care to get the bitty outer lashes that are the most crucial.) 3. CURL AGAIN, with the mascara on. Yes, it's true.

I would like to point out something I myself thought of, which is really helpful; when you comb our your lashes with the little eyelash comb/brush thing to make sure there are no clumps, also take the opportunity to comb and darken your brows in one step--the perfect amount's already on! That is, do the lashes of one eye and use the excess on your eyebrow, then switch eyes, etc. You can thank me later.

Wearing makeup -- but not gobs of Gaga-conspicuous makeup -- apparently can help. It increases people's perceptions of a woman's likability, her competence and (provided she does not overdo it) her trustworthiness, according to a new study, which also confirmed what is obvious: that cosmetics boost a woman's attractiveness.

It has long been known that symmetrical faces are considered more comely, and that people assume that handsome folks are intelligent and good. There is also some evidence that women feel more confident when wearing makeup, a kind of placebo effect, said Nancy Etcoff, the study's lead author and an assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard University (yes, scholars there study eyeshadow as well as stem cells). But no research, till now, has given makeup credit for people inferring that a woman was capable, reliable and amiable....

The study's 25 female subjects, aged 20 to 50 and white, African-American and Hispanic, were photographed barefaced and in three looks that researchers called natural, professional and glamorous. They were not allowed to look in a mirror, lest their feelings about the way they looked affect observers' impressions.

One hundred forty-nine adults (including 61 men) judged the pictures for 250 milliseconds each, enough time to make a snap judgment. Then 119 different adults (including 30 men) were given unlimited time to look at the same faces.

The participants judged women made up in varying intensities of luminance contrast (fancy words for how much eyes and lips stand out compared with skin) as more competent than barefaced women, whether they had a quick glance or a longer inspection.

No report on sandals/willingness to own Tevas, or other considerations.

## Observed

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.13.11

My upper-level math class is stocked with hard-working kids. I am really pleased with nearly all of them. They show up to class prepared, ready to learn, and they are engaged.

The homework policy is this: the grader grades their proofs and gives no comments whatsoever. They can then fix the proof and resubmit it to me as many times as they want, and when it is completely right, I'll give them half the missed points back. Corrections could be submitted up until the test on Tuesday.

There are eight female students and nine male students. As of Monday, six of the female students had turned in corrections for every single proof they'd missed points on. Not a single male student had turned in a single correction. At the test, two male students and one additional female student turned in corrections. (Let me be clear that students who turned in corrections at the test are being responsible, conscientious students. I'm not dinging them in this discussion.)

Anyway: this is a crazy gender discrepancy! I don't exactly know what the larger point is, though. I know a lot of the early-submitting kids have a lot of anxiety about school. I'm not making a normative point about which group is the most desirable kind of citizen.

(Also, to head off trolls: the male students do not have a better understanding of the material. The top students are all female, and early-submitters run the gamut of performance.)

I've read that when math classes are taught by women, the top students tend to be female, and vice versa. Who knows what's going on with this phenomena, but I think it's interesting.

## Whereas I stare out the window.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.11.11

The Iranian chair of my department draws Clint Eastwood-esque sketches - sometimes complete with cowboy hat, sneer, and poncho - whenever he's bored in meetings. His office is littered with them.

## Privilege and Outrage: Together At Last

Posted by Stanley
on 10.11.11

Bocephus wrote a tantrum song. Someone should have told him that "United Socialist States of America" doesn't scan well.

## In Memoriam

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.10.11

I am really sorry to share that pdf23ds committed suicide back in April. (A few relevant links.)

News via Cecily

## Suppressed funny bone.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.10.11

I am always perplexed by really funny people who don't very often make jokes. Some of these people even comment on Unfogged. Weren't we all raised in homes where the not-so-subtle currency was how funny you were?

I'm not saying that I enjoy jokes in all contexts; derailing a conversation is a form of domination. I'm just saying that sometimes I look at people and think "Why aren't you being funny? I know you have it in you."

## Fixed-term marriage lisences [stet]

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 10.09.11

Mexico city politicians are proposing:

The minimum marriage contract would be for two years and could be renewed if the couple stays happy. The contracts would include provisions on how children and property would be handled if the couple splits.
"The proposal is, when the two-year period is up, if the relationship is not stable or harmonious, the contract simply ends," said Leonel Luna, the Mexico City assembly member who co-authored the bill.

I hope this passes, because I'd find it so fascinating to see what happens. IMO, many marriages have one foot in insecurity, and wanting a little insurance that the other person will stick around. The financial and legal perks pale in comparison. (Not everyone. Some stable couples would otherwise be content being bffs with sex, but officially marry for the perks. But obviously the marriage craze would hardly evaporate if the perks disappeared.)

This legislation totally up-ends the insecurity aspect of marriage - people using this option are open to the possibility that their current longterm relationship is not the permanent soulmate, rocking-chairs on the porch when we're 80, end-all-be-all. That is a total anathema in the US, and a lot of people would find it terrifying.

This is fascinating legislation, and probably good legislation. But it really calls into focus why there are legal perks to marriage at all.

Mostly I'd like to interview the people who opt for it and find out their take on life.