December 31, 2007


December 31, 2007, Portland, Oregon, United States.

37 degrees Fahrenheit, solid clouds, fog, overnight low of 33. Yesterday's snow/hail/slushy bullshit stuck, melted, refroze, halfway melted, and now covers the sidewalks and streets with every possible combination of puddles, ice, frost, black ice, partially frozen water and partially melted ice.

The Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, Oregonian, and other fine publications all have lists of the hot places to go, things to do, $75 dinners to eat, clubs to be seen in, and $12 cocktails to drink. But they are all forgetting one New Year's option that is not to be missed, namely, dressing up all hot and fancy and then curling up in bed with a plate of burritos and all 5 Harry Potter movies because, dude, seriously. Black ice? Fuck that.

Posted by dianna at 01:57 PM

Hello, moon friend. Let's have a moonversation.

First thought on last night's Feministe get-together: no more Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout for me. I know my alcohol tolerance is a joke, but even so, no single beer begun at 9 pm should make the floor still tippy at 11:30. Stick to a nice ale, Dianna, for god's sake.

Second through fifth thoughts are, roughly, that was fun and not quite as scary as I thought it would be, the internet occasionally provides well-spoken and interesting people who are also well-spoken and interesting in person, the bar at which we met boasts the creepiest bar employee I have ever encountered*, and jesus fucking christ it was cold last night. Five-and-a-half: I left early and wasn't sure what anybody else's transportation plan was, but I hope they were all in nice warm cabs.

Six: it was intriguing, and probably good for me, for my scruffy unstyled annoyed feminist self to meet other annoyed feminist selves and find them to be all sorts of nicely made up and mainstream-ly feminine. And some of them not, of course. But I think I stomped in in my boots and short hair and hoodie and habitual lack of cosmetics expecting to see mirror images of myself, because through the internet everyone looks like the reader, and that was certainly not what I found. There may be an earthshattering realization there about the Rich Tapestry Of Life and/or why everyone with a blog and an opinion is convinced they have their own supportive torch-waving mob behind them, but thanks to Mr. Rasputin I got too little sleep to do it justice today. Maybe tomorrow.

*I'm not kidding. When I asked him (because he was serving tables and might theoretically know) if he knew where the Feministe group was, he giggled and asked if it would be a bunch of lesbians beating each other up. I told him not specifically, no, and that I'd just ask around until I found them. He grabbed my hand while I was consulting my watch to see if it was 9 yet, and then tried to convince me I shouldn't worry about the Feministe folks and should just have a seat, like right here next to the bar. I was relieved when he came by our table later and unnerved everyone else too, because it meant it wasn't just me.

Posted by dianna at 11:30 AM

December 30, 2007

Recipe day!

I. Chai Spice Crumb Cake (a shameless modification of this)

1.5 cups sugar
2 cups white flour
1/2 cup Earth Balance (or other vegan buttery thing)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp Ener-G (or other powdered egg replacer)
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup soy milk
1 black tea bag
cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, powdered ginger

Heat soymilk until steaming (a mug in the microwave works fine), and stick tea bag into it. Add a generous shake of cinnamon (~1/2 tsp), a biggish pinch of cloves, a smallish pinch of nutmeg, and a smallish pinch of ginger. Stir up with a fork and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350.

Mix flour, sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl or Cuisinart, and cut in Earth Balance to make little crumbs. Scoop out 1 cup of crumb mixture, toss a small pinch of each spice into it, and set aside for topping.

Mix Ener-G and water in a small cup and fork vigorously until lumps are gone. Add it to the tea-y soymilk (first take out the teabag and squeeze to get all the tasty tea flavor), add vanilla, and stir. Pour entire liquid mixture into main crumb mixture, fork until evenly mixed, and pour into a greased 8x8 baking pan. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top, and bake for 45 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test. Snarf.

I realized while typing this that where I went wrong last night was in completely forgetting the baking powder. So, for the record, if you completely leave out the baking powder, what you get is an extremely dense and kind of doughy but still very delicious cake.

II. Peanut Butter Granola Muesli Breakfast Whatever

You can make this a bowlful at a time, but you can also make a huge batch in a mixer/Hobart/Cuisinart/Robocoupe/whatever. If you use a thing with blades, you should probably start with the big chunky oats because otherwise they'll get ground into powder.

1 cup quick oats (no, don't cook them. what are you thinking?)
1-2 heaping tablespoons peanut butter
1-2 teaspoons honey, or slightly more maple syrup
small heap of chopped or smashed walnuts
small heap of dried cranberries
1 tbsp flax seeds
1/2 tsp (or more!) cinnamon

Dump oats into a bowl and squish in peanut butter and honey-or-maple-syrup with a spoon, knives, pastry blender, mixer, or whatever you please. When you have smallish crumbly tasty-looking gooey oat clustery things, add walnuts, cranberries, flax seeds, and cinnamon, and mix. Then pour soymilk over it and enjoy with a nice cup of tea.

For a huge batch I use something like: a medium canister o' oats, 1/3 cup peanut butter, 2-3 tbsp honey, 3/4 cup walnuts, 3/4 cup cranberries, 3 tbsp flax seeds, and I just stand around shaking the little cinnamon shaker until I'm sick of it. It all goes in the stand mixer and then I eat half of it at once.

Posted by dianna at 02:56 PM

December 29, 2007

The five-percent nation of numerical disadvantage.

Last night I found myself suddenly contemplating the question: what exactly do you say when, across a bar table from you, a member of your party tells his sister to "shut up, slut"?

I had accepted an invitation to hear some music and have a drink with my co-worker, who is adorable, bubbly, happy, outgoing, popular, and about twenty-nine times cooler than me by most people's reckoning. Her roommate's friend, or maybe her roommate's friend's friend, was playing at the White Eagle, and her cajoling and the fact that it was five minutes from my house convinced me to tag along. So it was me, my co-worker, and a respectable crowd of her friends of whom I'd met one before.

The women were stylish and cheery and drunk and, every one of them, graciously tolerant of the fact that the two men in the group were acting the perfect, stereotypical, petulant uncivilized man-child. The women chatted and drank and made New Year's plans, and the men threw food and grunted that the music was "gay". They squinted uncomprehendingly at a tasty happy-hour hummus plate and announced (as if it were of tremendous import) that they weren't touching it. They pretended to simultaneously hump my co-worker's roommate, and, yes, they addressed her as "slut". Twice, actually, and she herself responded with the resigned stoicism of the longtime bullshit recipient. The first time, my co-worker tried to rally with an indignant retort, but it got lost in translation between her alcoholic haze and theirs and the conversation simply moved on.

By the second time I had acquired an ally in the form of my co-worker's classmate, who was interesting and friendly and not totally smashed, and I was talking to her and trying to ignore the boors across the table. Because of the time it took the remark to penetrate my tuning-out efforts, and because I had already been established as that one uptight dork who doesn't think much of the group nor they of her, and because my general astonishment didn't allow me to think of any responses more likely to succeed or less likely to start a fight than, say, "do not ever fucking do that again", I more or less did nothing. I directed a generally appalled look at the woman next to me, who returned it, and we kind of... let it go.

The point I am considering today is that now, sober, removed from the awkward vibe of the evening as a whole, I still cannot think of a single response. Nothing witty, concise, forceful, and/or persuasive is coming to mind. Really, it's all blank. So, you know, purely hypothetically because we know nobody else in the world acts like this and the situation just couldn't ever happen again... what would you say?

Maybe I'll ask these fine folks.

(Edit: fucking hell. Cementhorizon's comment engine is apparently down again. Please save your outrage, if indeed you have some, until this nonsense is resolved.)

Posted by dianna at 04:10 PM

December 27, 2007

The repository of comf.

As of this year I am officially the keeper of my family's oldest, coziest, best-loved clothes. They call to each other, I think, and once I accumulated a few of them the rest started to come to me unbidden. The first one that I remember is borrowing my mother's circa-1970 polyester star-and-stripes shirt for a costume for an elementary-school musical. I never gave it back because she never asked for it, which I now find is because she'd forgotten who had it. The same thing happened with my dad's sky-blue hoodie, circa 1980. I found it in the closet of my old room on one visit home, and was totally unsecretive about wearing it to the airport on my way out of town. To judge by my dad's expression when I mentioned still having it, this was recalled by nobody but me.

These twin revelations were occasioned on this visit by my mother suddenly bequeathing to me her brother's parochial-school uniform sweater. It was somewhat unexpected -- I appeared in the living room rocking the same disheveled-schoolboy collar-and-sweater combo I'm always rocking, and mom disappeared into her room and emerged with the softest, comfiest, most delightfully v-necked late 1970s heather-blue sweater to give to me. (Sidenote: I just looked up Chaminade College Preparatory, the school of the sweater's origin, and found that (a) I'm thrilled to have not gone there and (b) they no longer permit sweaters on campus at all, which is interesting. How is it a Catholic school at all if it doesn't have girls in tight sweaters and little ties and short short skirts that give the nuns fainting spells? Can they even have nuns if there are no sweaters? What self-respecting nun would teach a bunch of kids in polos and sweatshirts?)

I'm going to make a point of keeping my cozy treasures all together in my closet to maximize their accretional potential. The sweater and the hoodie and the polyester shirt will hang out in a special corner with my grandmother's Chinese dress from World War II and my sister's cartoon-animal shirt from 1983, and once they've gotten to know each other I will start introducing my thrift-store treasures from other people's closet corners. The paper-thin t-shirts, the soft holey sweaters, the flowing flowery picnic dress, their voices will all join together to call the world's comfy idiosyncratic things to me. If you own anything old and interesting and don't intend to give it to me, you may want to consider closet door locks at this point. I don't think DuPont invented MysteriousAccretionalEnergyGard for fabrics until at least 1985.

Posted by dianna at 10:01 AM

December 26, 2007

Longest shortest day of the year.

I'm back in Portland. After five days in Los Angeles I am overstimulated, overtransported, overconversated, overobligated and underslept. After twenty-six years on Earth I have found the one word that sums up all of my various impressions of LA, and it is "saturated". It perfectly encompasses everything from the blaring widescreen televisions at every gate in Bob Hope Airport to relatives who can talk at you for two hours without ever stopping to hear your responses.

Next year, in my place, I will send a crude robot with sophisticated sensory apparati but next to no capacity for mobility or speech. It will watch celebrity news on the ubiquitous televisions, it will listen to the unceasing talk of everyone around it, and it will spend two hours of every day riding in an enormous SUV and looking out the window at corporate sponsorship and pressure to conform and the baffling monotony of 40 solid miles of suburbs, and probably no one will notice that it isn't me. It will report back to me here in Portland, and I will carefully download all of its sensations onto a hard drive which I will then leave to be run over by a train.

I woke up at 5:45 this morning and napped on two airplanes and one airport and spent the afternoon uselessly at work. My immediate goal is to be asleep by 9:00 pm. Bye.

Posted by dianna at 08:55 PM

December 21, 2007


Still no post about my weekend in Berkeley, and here it is Friday again and I'm hauling self and luggage to Los Angeles. Katie and I have spent the past week second-guessing ourselves about what to do for our parents for the holidays, and it wasn't until I started packing last night that I realized how far we have deviated from the family decision to have no gifts this year. Our no gifts take up as much space as my five days' worth of clothes. I'm probably lucky they didn't crowd my clothes out entirely.

Because of the sneaky way that winter break and the Christmas season happen at the same time, I've had nothing but free time at work and nothing like enough time for anything outside of work. My to-do stacks are shrinking obediently while I sit at my desk and sip tea and listen to VNV Nation (who's around to know?), but then 5:30 comes and I'm dashing to three stores and home to make dinner and puzzle over half-assembled handcrafts and somehow it's midnight before I've managed to do my laundry. My adorable pictures from Berkeley are, of course, on my computer, at home, in the panicky place.

Yesterday morning on the MAX I discovered that I was too sleepy to swallow my tea.

But through my fog I would like to make the following statement of position: we at Snoqualmie do not condone, even in the name of totally catchy electronic music, the haphazard use of the English language. Ronan Harris, I am speaking to you. A fortitude is not a sturdy defensive structure, conceiving to do something is not the same as conceiving of it, and have you read Brave New World? If so, you're obviously operating at a level of ironic sophistication I can't even conceive to understand.

Posted by dianna at 01:02 PM

December 20, 2007

Fum, fum, fum.

Put this Christmas-themed video in the "Genius Ideas I Wish I'd Thought Of" file.

Admittedly, that file already fills several large file cabinets, but this is a pretty prominent addition. Go watch!

Posted by dianna at 07:55 PM

December 17, 2007

Fuck the silver and black.

My trip to Berkeley this weekend was lovely. Lovely. However, I spent three and a half hours in Oakland Airport last night. Three and a half hours. It was mobbed with Raiders fans, still drunk and excited from the game, roaming around in black jerseys and engaging other black jersey wearers in drunken, excited, totally pointless conversations. One sat down next to me for the apparent purpose of calling his (presumably) girlfriend and asking, and I quote, "Hey, baby, are we going out to dinner or are we just going to stay home and bone?" I found myself another seat, and another black jersey sat down next to me and started talking to me about how much he likes sitting on the floor in airports.

Still another spent all three and a half hours loudly and unconcealedly harassing every woman within visual range -- to me he suggested, I believe, a hotel room and staying an extra week, and my shock that anyone would direct such a suicidally cockfaced remark to someone so obviously hostile was so great that it caused me to automatically assume he had been talking to the sweatered, avuncular man standing to my left. (That man, with somewhat clearer perception, declined to respond to my incredulous "Was he talking to you?") The jersey wearer continued his unexamined commentary, propositioning women with babies and/or partners, cussing at the general public, and harassing the airline employees. Two minutes after boarding he was removed from the flight, and, weirdly, went as quietly and docilely as a lamb.

In short:
While there are obviously people (e.g.) who are pleasant and socially appropriate and have an abiding interest in professional sports, and may indeed back the silver and black for all I know, on behalf of absolutely everyone who spent any amount of time in the hopelessly crowded and delayed Oakland Airport last night, I would like to say a resounding and heartfelt "Fuck the Raiders". Fuck the Raiders, fuck their stupid game, fuck their goddamn fans, fuck whoever thought Sunday night was a good time for a sporting event, and fuck the whole shebang all the way back to whoever invented football.

Thank you. An entry about my lovely weekend in Berkeley will arrive shortly. Unregistered comments have been disabled on account of massive amounts of spam (not on account of offended Raiders fans, who are welcome to get a TypeKey login). Also, I spoon Kingman.

Posted by dianna at 09:45 AM

December 11, 2007

One week.

If you haven't already seen the One Week's Worth Of Food photoessay, I highly recommend it. Highly. I keep looking at it again and noticing more things: the huge variety of family sizes, the people's expressions, the really awesome hats on the Ecuadorean family. The Bhutanese kid with his fingers in the rice. The fabulous city names, like Cllingbourne Ducis. Go click.

If you have already seen the photoessay, allow me to show you my own humble effort. This is the Woolsey family of Portland, with a one-week food expenditure of I recycled my grocery receipt but I think about $40.00. Favorite food: still, as always, chocolate-chip cookies.

Click to enlarge if desired.

It's damned difficult, I've discovered, to take the kind of top-down picture that shows foodstuffs so nicely in all of those other photographs. It's especially difficult if your roommate is locked in her room with her lady friend and cannot be recruited to take the picture for you, because cameras on auto-timer really want to be on level surfaces (or they really want to fall on the floor). There are also a lot of problems with my spread here -- some things are missing, like soymilk which I just plain forgot about. Some things were already in the process of being made into dinner when I thought to do this, which is why you can vaguely see a pan of tasty vegetable korma at the back of the layout. And some things, like my enigmatic oatmeal canister and my various alchemical-looking jars of rice and sugar, are just totally unidentifiable.

Still, I think it actually gives a fairly accurate picture of where I fit into the world in terms of buying power, available options, ideas about nutrition, and my unique blend of good intentions and limited cooking energy. I say to you: here is my food life laid bare. Now you go.

Posted by dianna at 11:22 PM

Worked up.

I'm discovering that the end of the academic quarter, which is a huge relief for students and faculty, sucks for admin staff. I can't be happy for the 10 or 12 people who just finished their master's programs and are home free, free, walking away with a weight off their shoulders and a shiny new bunch of letters after their names, because I'm still busy with late paperwork and missing signatures and last-minute graduation-delaying bureaucracy for all of them. The faculty are turning up in jeans and t-shirts saying they're glad things are slowing down, and I am glowering at them from behind the paper-pile battlements that rise from every corner of my desk.

This is where my personal system of rewards and entitlements comes in. Whereas, this week sucks and I am busy and stressed, and whereas, I am here until 5:30 every night and everyone else is sauntering out of here at 4, now therefore, once the big hand hits 5 I will sit at my desk and listen to "Worked Up So Sexual" by The Faint over and over as many times as I please, and the fact that it is wholly inappropriate for work will not trouble me in the slightest. Who wouldn't work better accompanied by a tiny voice singing about boobs?

Posted by dianna at 05:21 PM

December 07, 2007

Mitt Romney is reading my mind.

Quoted by the BBC:

"Religion is seen as merely a private affair with no place in public life."

Hey, yeah. That's pretty much exactly it. Thanks, Romz.

In other news, on Tuesday night there was klezmer music blaring in Pioneer Square downtown. You know, Pioneer Square? Right under the glowing 70-foot city Christmas tree? There might even have been a dreidel around somewhere (though let's not get ahead of ourselves here). It was sweet of the cheesy municipal holiday folks to take time out from their month-long orgiastic celebration so that they could spend just one night acknowledging another religious tradition.

I mean, I've been given to understand that well-intentioned efforts at inclusion and pluralism have overhyped Hannukah out of proportion to its actual importance in the Jewish holiday calendar. But since I never see anyone going around trying to figure out what would be an appropriate holiday to make a big fuss about to honor all the j00z, I'm going to stick with complaining about token Hannukah festivities for right now. I mean, it's eight times as long as Christmas. Doesn't anyone ever feel embarrassed about giving it 1/1,000th the attention?

Posted by dianna at 03:18 PM

December 05, 2007


It's been hovering around 60 degrees for the last couple of days, and I've been mad as hell about it. I've just adjusted to the idea that it's December in a sort of half-assedly northern latitude and I should be wearing five layers of clothing at all times. I've dug out the Shit I Never Wear box from my closet (I knew I shipped it here for a reason) and started using its contents to achieve the necessary warmth. I am 3/5 of the way through knitting myself a pair of fucking awesome stripey leg warmers. And now 60? It's an outrage. It's an insult. Fortunately, today it's dropped 10 degrees since yesterday and tomorrow it's supposed to drop 10 more.

I recently devoured a book of David Foster Wallace essays, the oddest of which was a stoically lit-review-y essay about Dostoevsky with more or less all of humankind's desperate soul-searching questions about love and self and meaning inserted in sneaky italics between paragraphs. It's unkind of me to say they looked cheesy -- or it's just excellent support for DFW's thesis about modern readers -- but they looked cheesy. Here is my italicized interjection re: the last sentence of the previous paragraph: Am I really saying this? Doesn't this go against everything I've ever believed? What's happened to me? Don't I want to be happy? Comfortable? Warm?

Possibly not. Have I mentioned that I've been biking to work more regularly since the weather turned grim than I did during all the warm, bright days of summer and fall? (No technicalities about it still being fall. If you have to wear gloves and a scarf in the middle of the day it is fucking winter.) Rain is another story, but the cold, the fog, the icy wind, and all of the Willamette valley's other unfriendly tricks just make me want to get on my bike and ride around going "brrr" and rubbing my freezing hands together at every stoplight. Or go out for walks and shiver and try to keep my scarf from blowing off. My roommates are probably sick of my habit of opening the front door to see if it's still cold and turning around with door still open to announce gleefully that, yep, it's cold.

So this morning it was pea-soup fog and I was delighted -- I couldn't see from one side of the river to the other, or even from one bridge to the next -- and by Friday night it should be back below freezing, and I am downright ecstatic. And no, I don't know who I am or what I've done with Dianna.

Speaking of which.

Click for pictures of people you don't know (and mostly I don't either) rocking some quite excellent costumes. The hats alone are worth a look.

Posted by dianna at 09:40 AM

December 03, 2007

Internet heroism.

Here at Snoqualmie we are not in the habit of handing out awards. We are pretty grudging with our praise, in fact, and stingy with our accolades and tightfisted with positivity in general. We are well aware that it is unreasonably difficult to impress us, and so, when we announce that we would like to give someone an award for Outstanding Use Of The Internet To Locate Awesomeness, we are really not fucking around.

I would like to give today's OUOTITLA award to Elliot, for emailing me this wonderful piece of meta-netitude. That is a new word I have just made up because existing ones were failing me. Please click.

Posted by dianna at 11:09 PM

December 02, 2007

When I argue with my screen I gesture as though it can hear me.

Via Feministing I see that Amnesty International is running a new ad campaign against female "circumcision"* using sewn-up roses as the eye-catching imagery. You can see larger images here and here.

It's an interesting approach to an ad campaign. Obviously it's visually striking. Also obviously, it's kind of an overused symbol and one that's been made into all manner of creepy ideas and phrases. This is discussed pretty well in the comments on the Feministing post.

The other thing that's discussed very well in comments is: these pictures are still pretty, and that is a problem for the ad campaign. Obviously it's a matter of opinion and personal aesthetic or cultural aesthetic or whatever aesthetic you care to apply, but when the purpose of the image is to make people upset and motivated to act, a difference of aesthetic can render the whole effort ineffectual. My own visual response, especially to the picture of the red flower, is more like "that looks kind of neat" than like "that's an awful thing to do". And I may not be AI's intended audience -- I am already aware of the existence of female circumcision* (see first footnote below) and think it's part of a suite of beliefs and practices which are sucking in many ways for the women involved** (see second footnote) -- but I certainly don't find myself more shocked and galvanized now than I did before seeing the posters. Maybe even less so, now that I've been encouraged to think of the issue in terms of pretty flowers that are still pretty instead of women's genitals which are painful and/or desensitized and/or medically problematic.

I'm tempted to say that the well-meaning folks at AI should have given more thought to what constitutes attractiveness in the American mainstream at the moment anyway. Maybe I'm not speaking for the mainstream if I am part of the jaded urban coastal population that came of age in a world containing Tim Burton movies, but it sure looks to me like I am being encouraged on all sides to think of "damaged" and "beautiful" as synonymous. Consider the usual suite of designer clothing ads with hollow-eyed, haunted-looking models being moodily unhappy in their artful rips and frays. Consider the massive Louis Vuitton poster I used to have to stand next to while waiting for my train, the model's makeup smeared awkwardly across her face while she stared vaguely and sullenly at the camera. Consider Johnny Depp in Edward Scissorhands, all trauma and confusion and scars and alienation, and now be honest and admit that that was hot. Take the whole gothy punky thing about scars and stitches and ruinous rebellion, and the whole fashion world's thing about violence and jadedness and artful misery, and you could throw in there the wildly popular porn stuff about dominance and pain too, and take the exhausting world of irony and oversaturation in which anything pretty and happy is contemptible for its naivete, and now go back and look at those flowers.

I think it's a bad call. I think the audience for these posters is more jaded than Amnesty International realizes, and is going to be attracted to the imagery in a way that will undermine AI's efforts to get them involved. I don't think people are going to look at this and say, "Hey, that's hot, let's do more of that," but I can see them looking and saying, "Huh, that's neat, oh, I guess that sucks," and moving on and forgetting about it. What do you think?

*Term used with the understanding that it is flawed, but I have problems with the term "female genital mutilation" also, because it is a supposedly descriptive term which has a nasty little cultural value judgment embedded in it when it is used to describe, for instance, procedures justified by Islam in Sudan but not procedures justified by aesthetics in New York or by being so very punk rock in San Francisco. And I am not just whistling Dixie here and playing the Let's Set Aside Moral Judgment Just Because We Can game; I am playing the If You Fail To Recognize That The Morality Of Any Of These Things Is A Product Of Specific Cultural Processes And Agendas You Cannot Possibly Understand The Effects Of Your Attempt To Eliminate Them, And The World Is Full Of People Trying To Change Parts Of Other Cultures Without Understanding Them Because They Think All They Need To Understand Is That This Is Wrong But They Do Not Consider That The Cultural Constructions Of Morality Which Inform The Practices In Question Will Persist If The Practice Is Suppressed By Brute Force And This Can Have Consequences As Brutal As The Practice Itself** game. It's not a very popular game, really. The print on the box is just too tiny.

**This is going to take over this entry, which was supposed to be about pictures of sewn-up flowers, but I cannot resist the urge to elaborate. If female "circumcision" continues as a practice because of a cultural belief that sexual restraint is an absolutely essential virtue in a woman and that modifying her genitals is the only way to really ensure and confirm that she has such restraint, and a woman who is considered to lack virtue will lack marriage options and a woman who does not get married in this particular society will have an incredibly difficult life economically, socially, and legally, then the reason a caring parent would circumcise a daughter is obvious: it sucks but being ostracized and destitute and unfairly stripped of property rights and shit like that may very well suck more. If those values persist, a woman who is rescued from this modification (in a community which demands it of her) has not been gloriously set free so we can now go about our business, she has been made horribly disadvantaged in the context of her community. She may even seek out the procedure herself in order to remedy the situation, and then what have you accomplished? Shit all. Ergo: if you want no more of this cutting up girls' goodies, it needs to be possible for girls and women with goodies intact to have some quality of life in their communities. Maybe you start with the economic stuff; remove obstacles to women independently owning property and earning income. Remove the stigma to being unmarried, which is much harder. Or maybe you start with the virtue thing, and convince people that you can have an au naturel vagina and still refrain from fucking everyone in sight and still generally be a good person to marry. You could try to convince people that fucking everyone in sight is not a problem anyway, but that seems to be difficult in a lot of places. Maybe do all of them at once. Maybe do all of them at once and try to stop the goodies-cutting. It's a tall order, and I tend to think it's a big reason why supporting activists who are actually in the places where bad shit is happening and who may actually understand the ramifications of their issues has more potential than sending in brigades of arrogant outsiders who just think they know This Is Wrong And Needs To Be Stopped. Also I should have my Shift key taken away from me.

Posted by dianna at 03:35 PM

So my vacation in Oregon is over now, right?

Yesterday my renting roommate woke me up to tell me that it was snowing. Like, snowing. At my house. I stood in my front yard and got snow on me. That's not why I want to go home. That was awesome.

But today... well, let me quote to you from's storm advisory.

"In the Pacific, an unusually large and rapidly intensifying storm south of the Aleutian Islands will hurl hurricane-force winds and 40-foot seas toward the Oregon coast. Conditions will be at their worst--and most dangerous--tomorrow morning."

I can't decide what's worst about this. Hurricane-force winds? 40-foot seas? The fact that the weather forecast, which deals with all kinds of outrageous weather in the less temperate parts of the United States, feels compelled to use the word "unusual" for my weather this week? That these forceful winds are not simply arriving of their own volition, they are being actively hurled by this Aleutian nuisance? That I am supposed to be a stoic Oregonian and go to work in this mess?

Actually, that last one probably wins it.

Posted by dianna at 11:34 AM