aliaras: (Default)
These movies came out while I was in middle school, and were a formative part of my Young Geek identity. I've watched them a number of times. Extended edition, obviously. And I've watched all the special features on the extended DVDs, which have a lot of good stuff in them.

They were a fertile testing ground for my male-centered sexuality, or lack thereof. Not too many women, but I tried them too.

And now I'm re-watching it, with a lot more years of experience and more ability to identify with grown-ups because shit, I'm going that way myself pretty soon. And it's weird and interesting and also has the problem where it wrote a lot of tropes, and so watching it sometimes I'm like "jeez, that trope is old". But it's not, not in this movie.
aliaras: (Default)
So I am watching Doctor Who right now. I like it! It's good! I've seen everything up to about halfway through new-season 5, and kind of avoiding spoilers.

Spoilers up through 5x07 )
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So I've decided to start using this. Some of the cool kids are doing it, and it strikes me that I can just crosspost everything. I will still check my LJ flist (probably, tbh, more than my DW one) and read and comment there, but posts and commenting will also be available over here. Comments and crossposting will happen on LJ from here until the heat death of the universe. Or LJ, whichever comes first.

Some occasional entries will happen just for testing of security, as I do use public/flocked/private entry options for various good reasons.

ETA: Testing completed. Various access lists work, and so does crosspost deletion. Good job, Dreamwidth people.
aliaras: (Default)
Postering. First time I've had to do this academically, it's a lot like kindergarten in some ways. There are gluesticks.

My poster is just on big white thick paper. I got it from the bookstore. My poster will also look fucking *excellent*, and I didn't have to figure out that poster TeX class. You know why? Art skillz. Getting to apply them to physics is kind of neat. I have a table up here, 2'x4', covered in poster with beautiful, pristine bits of presentation on it. I'm currently putting my TeXed explanation of things onto black construction paper backings, then those will go on the poster paper. Then I have to do a title.

It's so nice to be back to this. Cut, squint, adjust the ruler. Cut again. It's not brain work, which is good, it's 7:08am and I'm nearing the 24 hour mark of awake. Also, I can watch TV while doing this successfully. Dr. Who, you're addictive. David Tennant/10, you're possibly my new favorite person ever.
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This time, it's the moralizing about food.

Yes, I get that some food choices are bad for you. But that does not mean that you get to look down on people who make those choices, as poor deluded sheep or somehow lesser or whatever. This includes, but is not totally limited to, the judgements thrown at fat people -- there's a lot of shit thrown at people who eat processed food, pre-prepared food, out of season food, and now apparently everyone who likes sweet things.

I appreciate that doing research is good and science and yadda yadda but science is value-judgement free, and all this other shit is bonus from everyone else.
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You guys, I am sick of seeing "natural talent" waved around as if it's the only damn thing that guarantees you success in a field.

Inasmuch as I believe in natural talent, it's only that it gives you a bit of a leg up over the next guy, but if he takes an extra year of classes he'll end up kicking your ass anyways. So much of being good is practice, and so much of practice is caring enough *to* practice. People ask me, how do you draw so well? I've been drawing shit on every surface since the third grade, is how. I've taken a number of art classes. You could do this too, if you had done that -- but you didn't, because you didn't really care about being able to draw, just like I don't really care about being able to write music (I keep *meaning* to take that theory class). Whatever, there's other equally cool stuff to do with my life.

If you have talent, it makes your first encounter with something easy. That makes you more likely to like it -- after all, it brought you easy success! But at some point it'll get hard for you too, and then you find out how much you really like it when you're up until 5am with all the rest of the guys who didn't have that talent. Which is why I'm sick of it being like some magical thing when I'm good at something, especially if that's art or physics. I PRACTICED, okay. And so can you.

This rant brought to you by reddit, which is insisting that teachers who are good at their job just have some magical gift, what can you do. LEARN TO TEACH, is what you can do.
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So. The TSA. They are doing some nasty shit right now. Almost the entire internet has an opinion; almost the entire internet thinks they're evil.

And they are. But not for some of the reasons people are saying. And some of the protest ideas are pretty wrong too. At this point, I'm tired of explaining to everyone why some of these arguments are bullshit, so I'm just going to put it all in one place here.So you can enjoy your friendslist in peace )
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It occurred to me while walking home today that a lot of the things that women find objectionable about the behaviors and complaints of self-identified Nice Guys are the same things that men stereotypically find objectionable about women.

"I've always been there for her! But she never notices me! When will she see what's right under her nose?" is pretty much the same thing as when a woman expects a man to read her subtle signals of interest, and then is peeved that he never notices her lingering 0.5s longer than usual when telling him goodbye. I can't speak for whether or not this actually occurs, but it's a complaint I've heard multiple times. It's also the same principle as, say, rearranging your fridge and expecting your roommate to understand that you want her to wash the dishes, except so much higher-stakes.

Obsessing about how much he loves her: Extreme clingyness is equally frightening in both genders, but tends to be thought of as a thing women do. It's not just them.

Relatedly, the idea of a high-maintenance girlfriend. Again, terminal insecurity goes both ways, and a high-maintenance boyfriend is just as bad. If the slightest thing hurts him, it's easiest to just stop dealing with that and move on to some other, less high-maintenance boyfriend.

That's all I've got for now, and it's deliberately written to focus only on behaviors, not beliefs or misogyny. I might be talking about a strawman here, but I don't think so. Also, I realize that this focuses entirely on heterosexual people; as far as I know, the queer community isn't afflicted with a plague of neckbeards.
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You guys. Bikes. They are so sexy. ([livejournal.com profile] sabinelagrande, [livejournal.com profile] dreamwaffles SHUT UP I KNOW) I'm talking about bicycles, of course, although motorcycles do have their own appeal. I just got Athene (she/it has a name now!) back from the bike shop, and there's nothing quite like that first glorious mile where you can go anywhere and do anything, wind in your face, bicycle silently propelling you forward. I get on and instantly I'm flying effortlessly down the road. This probably has something to do with the fact that Athene is a road bike, but it's a sensation I've had before, and it's fantastic.
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Hey! You got good! Or at least, the writing didn't suck this past episode, and the annoying is starting to get filed off the characters (characters are like shoes or anything, they kind of get broken in as the series goes on). People are now more three-dimensional and I'm starting to care about them, and the case was more interesting and complex and not pissing me off with the stupid Rape as Drama trope (HELLO FIRST EPISODE, I AM STILL LOOKING AT YOU).

...so where's the fandom/kinkmeme/Rizzoli/Isles fic? :D
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So, there is this show. It is a police procedural whose main characters are both women, and upon hearing this I had two reactions:

1) I want to watch the hell out of that
2) I ship it.

After having seen the pilot and second episode though...meh. It spends a lot of time reminding you that these are GIRLS with GIRL PROBLEMS, except not the kind of girl problems where they're gay, the kind where HEY YOU GUYS THEY'RE FEMALE. Which isn't what I wanted at all, I wanted women who do badass things, and together they fight crime. Quite literally. So...giving it a few more, because new shows all have some writing problems at the beginning. Hopefully the writers step it up a bit.

Oh, and lose the stupid puking gag, please.
aliaras: (teal deer)
I just learned today about this case going on in Washington, DC. To sum up: John "Buttman" Stagliano is accused of making some really freaky porn. Well, really, he's accused of shipping it across state lines, since this is federal court, but the point is that it's freaky -- milk enemas, squirting, watersports, and some scat play. If you want more info, the Wall Street Journal law blog has a nice summary of the case, and Salon goes more in depth and linky. Anyways, it's a First Amendment deal that goes into whether or not it's "obscene" and thus no longer speech.

The obscenity bit is really what I wanted to talk about. Obscenity in the US (Wikipedia) refers to stuff which is so gross, weird, and out there (and otherwise un-meritorious) that it's not considered speech, so therefore congress shall make whatever law they damn well please about it. Which...doesn't quite make sense to me. I am all for prohibitions on where you can do/present your obscene materials, and will slightly less enthusiastically support bans on minors having access to them (they can lie about their age, anyways). But bans on producing or distributing the material at all? The porn in the Stagliano case went from one private individual to another private individual for some unspecified amount of dollars. It wasn't out in any non-porny spaces, it wasn't going to minors, it was just going from one individual to another for the purpose of boners.

The Miller test which determines what's obscene doesn't say anything about boners being an acceptable purpose -- if anything, it says the opposite. Which again, doesn't make sense. Nobody's sexual tastes should be censored for being too weird, and nobody's porn should have to aspire to artistic merit if it's just wankfodder. And yes, that even applies to porn that I find very distasteful and wrong and downright distressing. That porn should be perfectly legal, just as any scathing essays I post on the internets describing how terrible it is are.
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When talking about some -ism or another, personal preferences/taste seem to come up a lot. For example, attractiveness. While I don't have a firm type, I do find some people more attractive than others, and these people will fit into a more privileged category, or at least a stereotyped one in relation to some privileged category (mmm, butch lesbians.) And so we will be talking about sexism and someone will talk about how man, it sucks that there's this beauty ideal that includes slender, toned bodies for women. We need to recognize other shapes as equally beautiful. And then someone will come in and say "maybe but...I like slender toned women, and I don't want to lie and say that really fat women are beautiful when I don't think so". When they're called out that this is sexist and fatphobic, they'll point out that hey, that's their preference, they can't change it or be expected to. Or maybe they're open to accepting all shapes, but the only people they date are slender and toned, or I don't know.

And they're right. It is their preference, and they can't change that, and I don't think anyone should pretend that that's not the case. That's not license to be a dick, of course -- you are required to treat your fellow human beings, who consist of all members of the species H. sapiens, with a certain amount of basic respect. This includes not pre-judging them and not somehow believing that one party lacks certain rights or is always trumped by some other party's rights, or that one group is inherently lesser to another.

But how did that preference get there? This is where the whatever-ism gets in. Preferences are shaped by culture, and if the culture is sexist, you're in a hard place. I mean, it makes sense. People learn from watching those around them what the expected behavior is. For a less loaded example, see different cultures' foods. There's plenty of shows about Weird Things Those Weird People Eat (okay...maybe that's still icky.) But, as those foods are edible, they're just as valid as a cheeseburger as a Thing To Put Inside Your Stomach. Whether or not you like them has a lot to do with who raised you and, if it was not the same culture that made the food, how openminded you are.

I tend to think of this kind of cultural patterning as analogous to (electric or mechanical) potential. It's socially easiest (note: may not actually be easiest time and sanity wise) to conform, much like it's physically easiest to minimize the energy you spend by moving to and staying at an area of low potential. Nonconformity is expending energy or going uphill. It takes (social) effort. Born somehow non-conforming? Well, you'll have to put more social effort in to stay that way, or put more mental effort into passing. Privilege means not having to expend that energy, a flat bike route instead of one full of dips and climbs.

Which is how I got onto this. Bike culture is pretty white and kinda hangs out with hipster culture (although plenty of cyclists also make fun of hipsters and their fixies). And I like some of that stuff, the crazy, the eccentric, the let's-put-on-random-costumes-and-have-a-mobile-party. But I know there's some shit that's underneath that layer of awesome, and I don't know if it's that that makes it so white or if it's something else, some kind of culturally influenced preference. Which is all tangled like a terrible fishing line. And I don't know how to fix or change any of it.

So. If you're still reading, thanks for "listening" to my ramblings. I'm interested in comments and thoughts -- this is just stuff I'm thinking about and developing, not any kind of formed opinions. Likewise, if my ass shows through any of this, I'd be happy to pull the metaphorical pants up.
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^my thought on DC pride. I mean, when I got there, I was all excited about OMG I AM ON A STREET FULL OF GAY PEOPLE <3 <3 <3, like you do. Actually, first I was extremely lost (thanks, Metro trip planner!), but I ran into a group of people from Georgetown and we hung out and they got me there. And I met this really cute girl who was an English major and seemed awesome and man, why the hell didn't I try to get her number? I'm bad at this.

But then, once in the pride festival, someone was distributing this book of gay things to do in DC. And I was all, "Awesome! Does it have any listings in it for lesbians, or is it all male focused?" The guy handing it out said, "Oh, it's mostly male focused. But that's just the way the world is, a lot of stuff is like that." And he just kind of shrugged and I sputtered something about that not being right and it was clear that he didn't really see that.

Because, NO. And suddenly, at a gay pride festival, I felt invisible. Where were the other women like me hanging out? Sure, there were some here, but there weren't really any lesbian groups. There were groups that supported same-sex couples, and groups for gay dudes, but none/not many for the lesbians. Or the bisexuals, men or women. Which is another kind of fucked up, and man, I didn't realize that for a while. And I'm kind of in between the two and just...where are my people here? I mean, I'm not anti-gay-male, I just don't really fit in their spaces because...well, I don't. I want a space of my own.

So yeah. And there's all kinds of stuff running around in my head about how gay stuff gets more segregated by gender because gay people aren't interested romantically in the other gender, and then the other part of my brain smacks me for thinking it makes any sense at all to only hang out with people you're potentially romantically interested in. Not everywhere needs to be a meat market. We're all people and we can all be friends and let's all hold hands and sing kumbaya etc etc.
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OH MY GOD THIS SHOW.

So I finished Battlestar Galactica, right? And that show wrung me out left and right, but I loved almost every minute of it. And so it was time to try something new, and [livejournal.com profile] etaoin_shrdlu decided to go and get me started on Babylon 5. Eventually its nickname became "space-cheese" or "cheese" due to the nature of the first season especially, but the second season too.

But the third season. Jesus christ. Not that space-cheese isn't bad, but it just takes things to a whole 'nother level. This show. I just finished the third season and-- yeah, this show has everything going for it that BSG did, except that even when crazy shit goes down, it never quite becomes Darker and Edgier. It gets more serious, but all the characters are not angstbuckets who angst about angsty things all the time the way they can always sometimes be in BSG. There's a recurring theme of good and evil and shades of grey all in between that's really nice. Because, as great as it is to have some moral ambiguity going on, it's also nice to have "these are the good guys, and they are struggling to kick some bad guy ass". And yet, for all that, there's also the ways in which the good guys (and, to a certain extent, the bad guys) are three-dimensional people. They're not just Shining Warriors of the Light, but they're still staying firmly on the side of "good guys".

If you haven't watched it, you should. Now. Go. The first two seasons are on Hulu. For free. Need more enticement? IVANOVA, being the person whose picture is next to "great character, and also, badass, and also, incidentally, a woman." And there is at some points some lesbian romantic tension. And it warms the cockles of my heart. Ask anyone who has been in the room with me when it has come up.
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Comment and I will serenade you!

Requests taken. In the event of no request, you'll get the music I always get stuck in my head. If it gets stuck in your head, too bad :P
aliaras: (Default)
So. Dreamwidth.

I'm here mostly to read and comment on things. At the moment, I'm not really planning on using it for anything. However, I'm on livejournal as aliaras as well, and you can find me there. That journal is some parts fannish squee, some parts my Thoughts on Things, some parts random, and (flocked) a bunch of real life stuff.

I'm a sophomore undergrad physics major who works at a TRIGA research nuclear reactor. It's awesome. I'm also into art, cooking, fandom, the internet...oh hell, I put all that on my profile. Anyways, feel free to friend at lj. Might decide to do something with this journal at some point. Maybe not. Who knows?
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Something which just occurred to me:

Why is it, that when there is an issue of objectification of women's bodies or lack of representation of some underprivileged group we justify this with "Oh, it sells. You can't expect the company to have a conscience, can you? The media is just being lead by the culture," but when some business does something slimy (Google caving to the Chinese censorship demands, some random corp screwing its workers or people living nearby over, etc) we demand they behave ethically? I mean after all, isn't that just them maximizing their profits?
aliaras: (Default)
Really, guys? REALLY?

My glass ceiling, earnings gap, and overwhelmingly male-dominated field would like to have a word with you.

Avatar

Dec. 22nd, 2009 06:57 pm
aliaras: (Default)
My Thoughts On Blue Kitties:

First off, pretty. The CG was gorgeous, everything moved really well, and it was like seeing a big-screen render of all the best parts of World of Warcraft without the addicting or the PUGs or the oh god going to die.

I got sucked into the storyline. It was awesome, I never felt like it lagged at points or anything.

But.

For all it's Pocahontas where the colonists lose and in space and in The Future, it's still got all the same problems. My disbelief/discomfort stayed nicely suspended in a corner for the duration of the film, but...yeah. Evil White Guys impose on Nature-Loving PoC who are all in tune with the environment and stuff. Hello, racist stereotypes, how you doin'. It's the whole Noble Savages trope.

Which all makes me want to polish of the Ga'iran 'verse (which has the exact same problems) and change it and make it better somehow, or at least something different. Something newer.

And while I'm on my sociological soapbox, can we please, please at one point have a queer hero(ine) who goes and saves the day and gets the {girl/boy} as appropriate to {his/her} gender and sexual orientation? Girl gets the girl! Boy gets the boy! I don't want it always to end this way, but at least once can the love interest be queer instead of just "oh hey there are more straight people kissing". Which, not that it isn't cute, but goddamn I could use some variety.

All that said. I had fun with it. I just had to turn off my brain for a bit, which leaves me with this sour taste in my mouth.
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