Showing posts from March, 2017

But What About The Children?

Yes, I am aware that there is a clear double standard. When you typically hear this question asked, the intent to criticize some woman for having a job or having career aspirations. Men are not subjected to the same thing.

In fact, quite the opposite. When a man has a successful, well paid career, he is viewed as more entitled to a wife and kids. But women are generally expected to choose between the two.

Nonetheless, this is a question that feminists seem to not adequately address. In fact, the framing of most feminists seems to be hypocritically guilty of the same thing it accuses men of: It only views some subset of people as fully human and worth talking about. The children and their caretakers don't count.

The general feminist narrative is very much an upper class narrative. It pushes the idea that upper class women should be able to have serious careers like upper class men. It then largely sweeps under the rug the question of who is raising the children and what about…

Etiquette and Social Friction in Global Spaces

The internet puts people in contact who normally would not be able to rub elbows, so to speak. As just one example of the possible extremes: I am currently homeless and I can talk to very rich, influential people in some online forums where I currently participate. In some cases, they will even speak to me.

It actually goes well beyond that. People from very different countries can talk as well, in real time, daily. I sometimes really struggle to communicate effectively with people from other countries, even if we both speak English as our primary language.

Their experience of life and mine are vastly different. The assumptions they make are very unlike the assumptions I make. This can rapidly go weird places.

But, for the sake of simplicity, lets limit this to class differences.

I think many well-off people are incredibly uncomfortable with me being openly homeless on the internet. It is quite clear to me that some people believe that I speak about my circumstances as a means …

The Long Shadow of Biology and The Past

I have read a lot of stuff over the years, such as about The History of Women's Work, and I have had a class on Women's History, among other things. But a lot of that reading was long ago and far away. I have no plans to try to back up this post with studies or evidence.

This post is my personal opinion.

It is based on many years of reading about the very real challenges women face in life, no matter how good they are or how right they get it. It is also based on many years of thinking through the details as to why my life did not go the way I expected it to when I was a teenager doing well in school and looking forward to a modern life as a liberated woman, part of a two career couple.

(Ha ha. None of that happened. I had a 1950's style marriage, followed by divorce and poverty.)

What I have come to firmly believe is that the traditional gender-based roles where mom is home with the kids and dad is the primary breadwinner is a system that evolved as the least…

The Art of Conversation

My mother is an extremely talkative individual, and she's wicked smart. In fact, both of my parents were wicked smart, but neither of them ever went to college. So the family narrative is that we are just plain folks, nothing special.

Thus, I tend to think all families are like my family of origin in terms of having smart, competent highly communicative and articulate parents, regardless of their educational background. In short, I tend to assume everyone talks intently with their family, just like mine did and just like I continue to do with my adult sons.

It has taken me a lot of years to conclude this is probably not so. Many parents apparently talk at their kids rather than with them. My expectation or assumption that everyone knows how to engage in real conversation seems to be out of touch with reality.

My mother once told me her mother's maiden name started with von. She said it like that should mean a great deal to me. Unfortunately, it didn't.

I did not grow…

Do You Need a Startup Idea? Try Fixing Housing.

I tripped across this article this morning: Fixing housing could bring $300 billion back to US economy, new data show. I then used Bing search to look for variations on it. Surprisingly, there are none. It appears to be one of a kind. So I posted it to Hacker News

Here are some of the U.S.-centric articles I did trip across: Editorial: Making California housing affordable requires new approach

Finding the Missing Middle: Rowhouses, Townhouses, and Seattle’s Affordability Plan

Fixing LA’s Housing Crisis … Cheaper Homes is Not the Answer (There is a lot I don't agree with in this article. I include it here in part because it at least talks about housing affordability as a complex issue, not easily solved. We need more elegant solutions, not mandates of "10% affordable housing in new construction." That seems to not really work.)

But this problem is not limited to the U.S. I found others from around the world:

Why fixing housing is the best medicine
First Nations Are…

The Unfortunate F Word Rears Its Ugly Head

I happened to post this piece to Hacker News: Dystopian dreams: how feminist science fiction predicted the future. Much to my surprise, it showed up briefly on the front page. It then disappeared.

It is a mostly excellent piece of work, other than the slightly ax-grindy "feminist" angle. I suspect that the title got it flagged off the front page, probably by people who didn't even read it. Most likely, they just reacted to the title, flagged it and moved on without a second look.

Hacker News is an overwhelmingly male space. They get tired of the man bashing.

I'm a woman and I get tired of the man bashing. So I am generally pretty sympathetic.

I did email the mods of HN as an FYI. They say they want to see good writing on the front page. This is good writing. No clue if they will change the title to something more palatable for the HN crowd.

The "feminist" thing and the behavior of a lot of women really offends me and grates on my nerves. An awful …

Functional 3D Printing: A Sub-Reddit

I happened to trip across this subreddit: Functional 3D Printing and I was jazzed. I thought I would look for something cool on it to share with Hacker News, but a lot of this is just photos of something someone did plus a title. They aren't necessarily articles.

So, the forum itself is cool. Thus this post directing you to it. I hope you enjoy it.

Some good ones to check out:

This is what 80 hours worth of functional printing look like
My vintage Dietzgen Compass needed a case, so I made a little dovetail box for it.
I made a drawer insert to keep my end mill bits organized at work

This subreddit made me think of the book: FAB: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication

The R Word

Here is yet another person suggesting it is okay to force yourself upon someone socially "for their benefit" if they have the right label foisted upon them by society. I did what I typically do in such situations and compared it to rape. They came back to say it was an insulting comparison.Ah, but you wanting to insist people who are different should be forced to fit in against their will is somehow not insulting? Give me a break.I replied with the following:I am unaware of another example that conveys this exact point. I would be thrilled to pieces if someone could suggest another effective example that clearly makes the point that forced social contact is inherently a negative experience, no matter the supposed "good intentions" that justify it.I then thought better of it and deleted it and decided to blog about it instead. I am sure this individual is not actually interested in understanding my point. They have already basically admitted to having zero respect f…

Of Mice and Men

As I write this, I have 18022 karma on Hacker News. Yesterday, someone got banned after making a nasty personal attack against me.

I did not expect them to get banned. I expected the mods to remind them that personal attacks are not okay.

However, this individual apparently has a history. So, the mods decided they had had enough.

If you have your "I see dead people" goggles on for Hacker News, his banned account is responsible for pissing on the mod who banned him and for making yet another attack against me (link, link). So, apparently, it was a good call.

For a time, I had this at the top of my HN profile: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world! At one time, I even had a link to the scene on Youtube. In case you don't know who Pinky and the Brain are, this is an old cartoon about lab mice. They try every night to take over the world. So, you can infer from that statement that they al…

That's Slumlord-ess, Fool

I have been putting some info together on SROs. That stands for Single Room Occupancy. Before WWII, SROs and boarding houses were commonly available forms of genuinely affordable housing for young single people with entry level jobs. But, most SROs in the U.S. were torn down in the 60s and 70s.These days, most SROs are apparently supportive housing for the mentally ill and chronically homeless. That wasn't always true. It used to be market rate housing for young adults just starting out who couldn't afford much.I think we should bring that back. So, I am having fantasies of doing just that: Get off the street and build a few thousand units of SROs, becoming a real estate tycoon in the process.I figure if there are, say, 2000 homeless people in a city, you need at least 5000 SROs to reduce that by 50 percent or so. Because the first people that move in will not be people who are currently homeless. No, the first occupants would be people living in their parent's basement or…

Blaming the Object of Desire

As noted in a recent post, I participated at one time on a forum where a man alternated between verbally feeling me up and verbally attacking me. I generally preferred it when he was attacking me, in part because it was icky to be publicly felt up by the man. But also in part because whenever he felt me up, his wife would viciously attack me in some other discussion.

So, I was doubly victimized, first by him virtually molesting me and second by her kicking the crap out of me over his bad behavior.

I did not find this man at all attractive. I absolutely was not inviting such attention. I desperately wished he would stop.

This is hardly the only time I have been treated badly by the lady of some jackass who has a thing for me. It boggles my mind that these women attack me and blame me instead of addressing the issue at its source with him.

I probably didn't want your man to begin with. His hard on for me is ZERO evidence that the feeling is mutual. And knowing what a sick bitc…

Helping You Look Your Best

When I was 17, I got romantically involved with my best friend. At that time, he looked like something out of Revenge of the Nerds.

Although he looked truly terrible in the clothes and haircut he had, it didn't bother me. In spite of bad presentation, I could see that he was cute.

But it clearly bothered him and caused social friction for him. It was a personal pain point for him in his life. He clearly was suffering.

So I took him shopping and helped him find more flattering clothes, and I took him to get a haircut. After that, he dressed a lot better and was a lot pickier about who cut his hair.

In our twenties, the moms of friends of mine would say "Wow, what a good looking, sharp-dressed man. I can see why you married him!" In spite of his tendency to try to take credit for everything, he and I would both die laughing whenever this happened because it was simply an absurd thought for both of us.

Then I would say "No, you have that backwards. I didn't…

The History of Women's Work

I read this book years ago and I highly recommend it: More Work For Mother: The Ironies Of Household Technology From The Open Hearth To The Microwave

It covers about 300 years of the history of household technology. I like it in part because it helps explain why certain kinds of work has become "women's work" and why that work is unpaid without being man-bashy.

In a nutshell, modern housework as we know it evolved alongside the development of paid jobs. Until relatively recently, both man and wife worked to literally put food on the table.

Money was not widely available, so most people did not work for money. Certain jobs that had historically been handled by the man of the house got shifted to the wife with the help of new tech, thus freeing him up to get a paid job.

This was not done to oppress women. It was done because it worked well for the family. It allowed the family to raise its quality of life and income at the same time, instead of choosing one or the …

Hello? Did you not get the memo that this is a business?

In response to this mod note on Hacker News, someone replied: Which is disallowed by the site guidelines:

please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait.

The title wasn't misleading or linkbait. It was just bad.

I'm not trying to be overly fastidious to the rules, but you regularly say "No, we have to use the original title" whenever someone tries to use a title that is more descriptive and isn't editorialized compared to the article's title/subtitle. There are good reasons for the existing policy -- the "past" link is currently broken for this article, for example -- so this is an interesting choice.

The new title here is clearly better and should stay. Perhaps you might rethink your stance on all the other titles that are better and should stay? While I was writing my reply, they deleted it. This is why I am blogging -- well, that and the fact that people say inane things like that all the time on Hacker News and it kin…

Women Eat Their Own

As I stated in the opening of a previous post: I have heard for years -- and witnessed for years -- that women (as a group) are our own worst enemy. I recall hearing the phrase "women eat their own" as a tldr of the issue.

I have longstanding, very back burner plans to try to talk about those social dynamics on this blog in the kindest way possible in hopes of empowering women to find a better way... I am currently in a furious rage over bullshit that continues to go on at Metafilter. My experience of Metafilter has improved, but remains remarkably shitastic. I have spent the past few days contemplating writing an incredibly venomous poison pen post here about some of the people there that so enrage me that, at times, I have violent fantasies of them having terrible things happen to them.

This is pretty contrary to my generally compassionate personal bent. It takes a helluva lot to get me there.

The post quoted above was inspired in part by someone who self identified…