What’s wrong with guys?

I hate to ask that question because, generally speaking, I get along pretty well with dudes.

There isn’t a general parking lot where I work, just one for the higher ups.  Because of that, I have to park a couple blocks away wherever I can find street parking.  This is not a great situation, not because I mind the walk, but for whatever reason this particular neighborhood, which is quite nice, has some very not nice traffic in the form of guys who like to harass women.

Up to now, this has only really been a problem in the evenings, after dark, and if I leave particularly late or am parked particularly far away, I can usually get someone to walk with me.  Which I never do because that seems pathetic.  I have been followed by cars, honked at, and screamed at.  It’s usually just a brief scare and it passes.

Not that it matters, and it certainly shouldn’t matter, but I don’t dress provocatively.  80% of the time I’m wearing some variation of jeans, t-shirt, ponytail and glasses.

Anyway, the point is that the summer has been a welcome respite because it stays light longer, so I walk to my car from work in the daylight and it’s all good.  I haven’t been bothered in ages.

This morning, I parked not terribly far away, and someone in a gold forerunner not in very good shape honked at me and waved like crazy as I was walking through a crosswalk.  I looked at them, it was some guy I didn’t recognize and who, even at a distance, looked skeezy.  To be fair, honking at a girl automatically puts you in the skeez camp, even if it is 10AM.

I crossed over another street and saw that the forerunner was driving too fast up that street and quickened my pace a little to be well out of the way.  The guy had driven around like 5 blocks to get back to me.  The guy started screaming at me, but I just ignored him since he was behind me, hoping that he’d go away.

The guy swearved around traffic and pulled into someone’s driveway to cut me off.  He very nearly ran me over.

Creep: Hey, I’m the guy who honked at you.
Me: Yeah, I got that.
C: Do you have a boyfriend?
M: Yes.
(The inflection here has to imply the imaginary boyfriend is a linebacker, very violent, and the jealous type)
C: Does he make you happy?
M: Yes.
C: That’s too bad, I was hoping I could take you out some time.
M: Sorry, you can’t.
C: You could still go out though, right? I mean –
M: Really I couldn’t
C: Do you have a sister?
M: No, I have a brother, I doubt you’d be interested.

Do you have a sister? WTF SERIOUSLY?! Who goes around picking up women on the side of the road?

The Imaginary Boyfriend

The Imaginary Boyfriend

Anyway, this all reminds me of a post on Pharyngula yesterday, about why there aren’t more women who go to conventions. It’s because women deal with shit like that on a regular basis and walking into a room dominated by strange guys by yourself isn’t fun. It’s not fair to the vast majority of guys who aren’t super creepy, but it’s true. Even if only one guy in the room is super creepy, if none of the other people have your back, many girls decide that it’s not worth it.

And if one person comments that I’m lucky to have the attention, I will find you and bring a baseball bat.  I don’t own a baseball bat, but I’m seriously reconsidering my position on that.

The Amaz!ng Meeting

I’m going.  I gave in — what are credit cards for, right?  I’ve been obsessing over it for 2 months, I figured I must actually want to go if I still care.  I spent a lot of time debating if I wanted to go to TAM or get an iphone.  Now the trick is to resist the temptation to get an iphone too.

I’m gonna go down after work Thursday (7/8), and stay for Friday, Saturday, and hopefully enough of Sunday to see Jen McCreight from BlagHag.  I haven’t had a vacation since February.  Weirdly, I stayed at the same hotel.  Anyway, it’s been a rough six months, getting away from LA is an incredibly necessary thing.

So, if you’re also going to TAM, let me know!

World Cup Day 14, Day 15, Day 16

This is what my system of just trusting FIFA rankings predicts. What I want to happen is for Uruguay to win… Landon Donovan needs to be treated like a national hero, but it probably won’t happen. He’s had most world cup appearances and goals of any male US player.

US v Ghana — how heartbreaking.  Looking at these numbers it looks like Germany has the hardest road ahead of it, a lot of closely matched games.

Current predictions

From FIFA

Day 16 odds

World Cup Day 12, Day 13

Halfway through the knockout we’ve got the following:

Group A
1A: Uruguay!!
2A: Mexico!
Out: S. Africa, France!!

Group B
1B: Argentina
2B: S. Korea
Out: Nigeria, Greece

Group C
1C: USA!!
2C: England
Out: Algeria, Slovenia

Group D
1D: Germany
2D: Ghana
Out: Serbia, Australia

So, the first half of the games in the Quarterfinals are (with FIFA rank)

Uruguay (16) v S. Korea (47)
USA (14) v Ghana (32)
Germany (6) v England (8)
Argentina (7) v Mexico (17)

The only game where I don’t have an easy favorite is Argentina v Mexico.

Your Friendly Next Door Atheist, Please Don’t Evict Me

My apartment building has new project managers, who also happen to live next door to me. They are a very young, blonde couple with two very young blonde children. They are incredibly polite, though I do hear their baby crying all the time.

They are, of course, god-botherers, having moved in here while he goes to seminary. I feel both good and bad that my radar skills are so honed that I knew he was a seminarian long before he told me (and the rest of the apartment building) through a letter to everyone. I suppose it must be difficult being a priest because you can’t say what you do without saying what you believe, and therefore implying what you think about people who believe differently.

Perhaps it’s overly paranoid of me, but I worry that there’ll be some prejudice against me should he find out I am not into the Jeezy Creezy, and as he is in a position of authority it’s one of those :/ things. Plus his kids are cute, I’d hate for him to be like, “Stay away from the evil monster lady next door.” On the other hand, priest types are usually more interested in conversations with the non-believer than the average Christianist, I think they think it hones their skills.

Slightly related to this is something that came out about Elena Kagan recently — she supported a landlady’s right to refuse to rent to an unwed couple on religious grounds, despite the Fair Housing Act. This is one of those ideals versus real life problems — ideally people would be free to discriminate and the free market would prove that they don’t do well and no one would want to discriminate anyway, but in the real world, you have to balance rights — which is more important the right to housing or the right to discriminate? Maslow has some thoughts on this, but basically my right to resources offered to the public trumps your right to refuse me those services because you don’t like me.

Also today, the guy at the 7/11 near where I work let me get $10 in quarters. Maybe he’d have done this for anyone, but I’m going to say it’s because I’ve made a real effort to talk World Cup with the people in the 7/11, even though they can be somewhat difficult to understand, and I’m always very nice to them. I have a weird psychological need to get along well with all the people who do jobs I would hate to do.

I’m thinking about going to TAM for just one day, which would be 175 instead of 450. Have to figure out work situation first, but it could be cool. Penn&Teller have cancelled and I’d miss Adam Savage, but I would see Randi and Dawkins. And I’d get to, you know, be there.

Psychiatric Diagnoses are not voodoo

The Hazards of Psychiatric Diagnosis

Read the whole thing if you want to understand my rage. Here’s the paragraph that made me stabby:

Medical diagnoses are real. When you learn you have pneumonia, diabetes or even cancer, you quickly discover that there are potential remedies. There are scientific tests and studies to diagnose the disease and to evaluate its treatment. Medical diagnoses don’t demean your mind and your soul, they describe your bodily impairments.

1) His complaint that there are no positive psychiatric diagnoses. May I ask when the last time someone was diagnosed with a most excellent spleen? People usually go to doctors because they have a perceived lower quality of life, not for validation. They get diagnosed when the doctor sees something wrong. Or are people rampantly being diagnosed with good cholesterol and no one’s telling me?

2) A diagnosis gives you something positive in that it allows you to work towards a specific goal. “I have ADD, therefore I need to take particular care to learn patience and find ways of learning that are hands on and interesting.” Instead of being like oh my life sucks and there’s nothing I can do about it you can instead be like, hey here’s what’s been wrong with me all this time and there’s something I can do about it.

3) If someone’s life sucks and getting a diagnosis is going to get them medication that will make it suck less, that’s a positive. Not everyone can look at life with sunshine and roses and hugs in their hearts, and it’s absolutely shitty of that guy to imply that people’s real problem is that they’re just not trying hard enough to face life with warm fuzzies and empathy.

4) By his definition, all drugs are toxins because the point of a drug is to try to chemically alter the body to improve symptoms. Damn those asthmatics and their toxic inhalers, how dare they want to live. Damn those depressives with their anti-depressants, how dare they want to stop being suicidal. How dare anyone take any of that voodoo medication that’s been carefully studied in clinical trials to help the symptoms these people have? Everyone knows if you treat a headache, all you are is that symptom, not some sort of human being who had a headache that needed some ibuprofen.

5) He’s just furthering the bullshit argument that psychiatric problems aren’t as “real” as other health problems. His worry that someone might be one-dimensionalized by a diagnosis is because people like him keep saying that the only important thing about a person who has been diagnosed bipolar is that they’re bipolar. As though getting a mental condition under control is going to make someone less able to live normally because they have to recognize they have issues. Yes, let’s let all the schizophrenics and autistic kids have terrible lives, but at least no one will call them schizophrenic or autistic.

6) Just to be clear, fuck that guy.

World Cup Day 9, Day 10, Day 11

So, the most important things we’ve learned in the last three days are.

1. Portugal kicked North Korea’s ass hardcore, and probably could’ve gotten more goals if it’d been more on target.

2. Spain seems to have regained its footing, its next game against Chile is important, but if they continue to play solidly they may still be in this

3. Brazil is definitely in, Portugal is probably in — their game is going to be fun to watch

4. Italy is not quite as embarrassing as France, but close

5. Netherlands is definitely in, Cameroon is definitely out

So, the last round of games is upon us.  They’re going to be two at a time, so a two hour stretch of time is going to determine who moves on of the four of each group.  North Korea and Cameroon are the only teams that are for sure out, and Argentina, Brazil and Netherlands are the only ones definitely in, so it’s 27 teams fighting for 13 spots.

Nate Silver gives odds!

World Cup Day 7, Day 8

So, I’m beginning to think that unless you’re from Central or South America, you’re just here to disappoint me.  And I’m not sure that that’s even right because I wasn’t impressed with Brazil.  Even the Germans, who looked unstoppable after their total destruction of Australia, have lost to a minor team.  I guess that’s the great thing about World Cup, it’s unpredictable.  I dunno if you remember who my favorites originally were, but they are now officially 1) Uruguay 2) Argentina and 3) Mexico.  Favorites, of course, not being who I think will win, but who I want to win.

Argentina v South Korea

Argentina, 4-1, is looking pretty good offensively, especially with the first hat trick of the Cup going to Gonzalo Higuaín, but they let in a goal with a pretty intense lapse of defensive attention.  Still, they’re looking good and might go all the way.

Greece v Nigeria

Greece wins!  For the first time!  Nothing like a good comeback story, especially when there’s a very obvious villain in the form of a Nigerian player, Kaita, who got kicked off the field for a blatant red card offense.  It’s what red cards are there for.

France v Mexico

I admit that I actually freaked out with happiness when Mexico scored it’s first goal against France.  The second was just icing on the cake, because it’s almost impossible for France to advance.  This is two part, because I like Mexico and I know some people really enthusiastically cheering for Mexico, and also I hate the French team.

Germany v Serbia

WTF Germany?  How do you lose to Serbia?  This is one of two games this day that were dominated by over-refereeing.  I mean, the sheer number of cards thrown out was absurd, especially considering how mild some of the fouls were.

USA v Slovenia

Oh, let’s talk some referee bullshit.  The US was robbed, absolutely robbed, of a third goal.  They should have been moving forward with a win rather than a draw.  Still, the US will move forward if they win their next game, which slightly makes up for it.  But the lame-ass ref also gave a yellow card for an intentional handball that wasn’t.  Very irritating.  I read that the ref is probably going to be not allowed to ref any more World Cup games.

England v Algeria

Scoreless matches aren’t always boring, but this one sure as hell was.  England and I aren’t speaking for the moment, I’m too disappointed in them.  I don’t even want to talk about it, have some statistic porn, courtesy Nate Silver and Wikipedia.

Day 8 Odds

Group A: How to Advance

Group B: How to Advance

Group C: How to Advance

No Atheists in Foxholes

I wrote this a few weeks ago with the intention of polishing it up and posting then.  Since I’d bothered to write it, I’m just going to post it as is.

Recently, Leonard Pitts wrote about Jindal embracing big government when it was convenient. In doing so, he casually threw out the old canard that there are “no atheists in foxholes.” When contacted by atheists, who explained that that was both untrue and offensive, he offered a non-apology saying he was just using an old saying and that wasn’t even the point of the article.

Saying that there are no atheists in foxholes is no better than saying that all black people like fried chicken and watermelon, jews are greedy, or muslims are all terrorists. I don’t understand how he can fail to see how offensive that is. Not only does he insult the thousands of men and woman who have in fact been atheists in foxholes, serving in the military and dying for his country, he’s also insulting people’s whole approach to life by flippantly charging them with being either wishy-washy or cowardly.

It’s exactly the same as if he’d said “Jindal loves other people’s money but hates spending his own, just like a Jew.” Oh sure, the point isn’t about the Jews, but does relying on a terrible stereotype to make his point do anything but undermine his legitimacy? That he can’t even see the bigotry in the statement and refuses to apologize or correct it makes it so much worse.