01.05.11

Won’t someone think of the chillens?!

Posted in Conventions, Feminism, culture at 12:51 am by kyrias

Warning: This blog post will now proceed to engage in the following potentially offensive and triggering activities: victim blaming, victim shaming, cursing, omnicidal intent, and incoherent rage-filled ranting. Continue at your own peril. I take no responsibility for whatever sensibilities might be offended. You have been warned.

C and I just had a fun little conversation where I ended up declaring that if I had access to a little red button that would end the human race, I’d hit it. I’d hit it so hard my wrist would break.

It all started out with the mention of how women at a certain workplace get let go when they fall pregnant.

I will not bore you with our rather longish convo log, but just state my conclusions because to be honest I’m in a frothing sort of rage right now and I can’t be arsed to go ahead and support all my statements with the facts:

I’m really surprised and disappointed that we women as a whole haven’t just closed our legs, sewn up our vaginas and refused to pop out more children unless things were changed. No comments from the peanut gallery about how that wouldn’t work because the mens would just force themselves upon the wimminz — it’s the principle that counts.

I like how we could chain ourselves to fences, to trees, to all sorts of things and endure all sorts of terrible treatment for voting, to save trees, so and so forth, but we’re just sitting here and taking it with regards to childcare and government support and gender inequality in the work place.

I like it because I see it as the result of socioeconomic strata at work again. The rich have enough money to throw at the problem so they can ignore it. The middle-class has dreams of becoming the upper class and being able to throw money at problems and somehow it’s just so gauche to complain that they just suck it up. The poor just take it up the ass, along with everything else.

It’s exactly like the organic food movement. The people who can afford to worry about where their food is coming from and how it’s grown aren’t exactly turning out in droves to fix the problem for everyone. No, they go to Whole Foods and help Whole Foods make a killing.

I just don’t understand it.

It’s not like any other issue where any one of us can stand aside and say “well, fuck it, this doesn’t affect me at all, so the rest of the world can go screw themselves”.

Everyone of us has a mother, some of us have sisters, a large number of us have daughters, and many of us have female spouses and at the very least has friends — gender inequality in the workplace affects you, affects the people you love, affects far too many people in your life — how the hell do people just stand aside and let it happen?

How?

C mentioned something about how the standing argument by the dumbasses is that it’s hard to argue for gender equality when the reality is that women are sometimes, maybe even often, semi-incapacitated (in terms of workforce labor) once they have the chillens.

All I have to say to that is: to explain why things are the way they are right now by saying this is how we failed women is like saying “Oh, I beat my wife up because she limps and isn’t fast enough at catering to my every whim. Oh, what’s that noise about how she wouldn’t be limping if I didn’t beat her to start off with? STFU, man, keep outta my srs bzness”.

To clarify: to complain that women often have to take sick days off to deal with their children, that women often are saddled with most of the childcare duties and so are somewhat more unreliable at work than men, to complain that often women are overworked in the house and so come to work with less than 100% is nothing but pure, fragrant, bullshit.

You know what?

I will think of the children.

I think that it’s better for the children if we just didn’t have anymore children until we cleaned up our act.

Fuck you assholes who see women as nothing more than cheap-ass brood mares that you can use and use and then throw to the knackers when you’re done.

01.02.11

QR codes: useful or not?

Posted in I.T at 3:14 pm by kyrias

I came across a mention of QR codes on Shiloh Walker’s blog where she asked what exactly they did. Curious, I went to uqr.me and got one of my own.

There seems to be two parties of thought to the idea of QR codes: there are those who think that they are a passing fad that won’t really catch on, and those who think that they’re the wave of the future.

Some magazines and adverts are already starting to use them, Continental Airlines is currently using it to expedite plane boarding and you can use it to set up Paypal payments so it’s not as if they’re utterly useless.

I set my QR code to point to this blog, but I could also have set it to my Vcard, so whoever scans it will be able to automatically download my personal info onto their phone. I could also have made a “leaf” where any information I put on the leaf, such as my resume, or other sorts of general information.

I don’t know how useful QR codes are currently and I’m not sure how useful they’re going to be because although it seems like smart phones are ubiquitous nowadays, there are still enough people who don’t have the latest in phones that I don’t see QR codes exploding overnight. Add to that the older generation who tend to be less enthusiastic about the more gimmicky types of new tech and it might be a while.

Regardless! I have a QR code, and when I’m a little more on top of things I’m going to edit my leaf, which can include a link to my blog, instead of just having the QR code direct to my blog which is a much less efficient way to disseminate information.

Right now I’m using my QR code as my Facebook profile pic, but if I ever make out name cards, I intend to use it as my name card picture as well. Sort of like Twitter — I won’t necessarily use it much or find it terribly useful in the interim, but there’s no harm in having one now and twiddle with it.

01.01.11

2011! Goals, resolutions, etc etc

Posted in life tagged at 11:57 pm by kyrias

One more year until the apocalypse! Are you prepared for the end of the world?

Requisite trolling aside, I suppose it’s time to talk about goals, timelines, resolutions, and so forth.

I agree with Thene that I’m not really the resolution making sort, but I figure that goals are not quite the same as resolutions and are really quite a bit more friendly.

So!

I didn’t actually manage to get my driver’s license in 2010 because of the blizzard that wiped out my road test, so I guess that goes back on the list.

Goals for 2011

Lose 50 pounds

Set aside 5k into my ROTH IRA

Get driver’s license

Finish Estyria (more writing)

As can be seen, it’s a pretty short list. I figure that it’s dumb to put down a huge list and essentially set myself up for failure, so I’m just going to put up the things that I would really kick myself over not accomplishing.

I want to finish Estyria and hopefully quite a bit more than that, but since I’m probably still going to be working fulltime unless my parents fire me from my job — it’s better to be realistic than sorry when 2012 rolls around.

Everything else is pretty self-explanatory. As a general note, I’d like to try and keep my room neater, and keep better track of where the money is going. The rest is just icing on the cake.

12.27.10

In search of brownies

Posted in Cooking, Recipes tagged at 2:53 am by kyrias

We used to have a really good brownie recipe, but sadly it was lost in a move, so we’re on the lookout for the perfect brownie recipe.

We tried KAF’s site first, because KAF usually has good ideas, but it didn’t turn out so well, even with modifications.

C said that it was more like a honey cake than a brownie because it was both too sweet and not enough chocolate even though we doubled the dose. So, putting it here for reference so we can tweak it more next time. It makes a good honey cakes, as far as we’re concerned, but not a good brownie.

Brownies, take I

2 sticks butter
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp salt
2 bars 100% ghiradelli’s chocolate
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
3/2 cups flour

Brownie-ize it.

Was cakey, not fudgey, btw.

Need to double the chocolate, and half the sugar again next time.

12.26.10

Dear judgmental assholes who like to comment on my dating situation…

Posted in Racism tagged at 11:30 pm by kyrias

Caesura texted me the other day with:

…when I mentioned that I’d been dating someone from Taiwan for six years, she made a comment about how girls from Taiwan really seem to like white men.

Caesura called her out on it, but she wasn’t deterred and said something to the effect of: “…but it’s true!”.

My response?

Has anyone noticed that we’re in the US and Chinese men aren’t exactly thick on the ground here because Asians are what, 5% or less of the population? What does she expect me to do, go cradle robbing at BU?

Also, considering this was a Chinese woman, I would have dearly loved to have been there and been able to tell her: “I was in Shanghai for 6 years, at least, and during that time, no Chinese male showed any interest in me. To whine about my outsourcing for boyfriends is ridiculous. They’ve had their chance and they blew it.”

Besides, to generalize that way is stupid. not just because generalizations in general are stupid,  (harhar, see wat I did thar?), but because I don’t believe that mainlander Chinese girls are in any way shape or form less guilty of dating outside the race. It’s just that previous to this, they haven’t been coming here in droves for college because of socioeconomic reasons. So far as I can tell, the going abroad country of choice was the UK for the rich people back in the day and not the US and for the not quite as rich, they simply couldn’t afford the US.

I’m not quite sure if this offends me more or less than the comment that C apparently gets most from other men: “Asian chicks are hot!”

I think the default reaction to that should be: “My gf is actually 60 pounds overweight and a frigid bitch in bed. I only date her because I love her cooking and I’m a masochist who likes being whipped.”

That should turn them on their collective ears.

12.25.10

Thoughts on Christmas

Posted in culture, life tagged , at 4:31 am by kyrias

Note: I will sound like the worst sort of Grinch ever, so if you have a soft spot for X’mas, please go away and save us both the carpal tunnel and energy. Thanks.

I just realised something: I do not care to do X’mas, ever again.

I used to do it because I enjoy buying people presents and it was a good excuse to pamper the people I love without them freaking out about specific reciprocity.

Now? I figure that if they can’t deal with my giving them gifts, then they can really just suck it and shut up.

This said with all possibly fondness, mind you.

I guess I’ll just call it the generally accepted sanctioned time period of gift giving, or GASTPOGG.

Also, I’ve decided that I’m not telling my kids that there is a Santa. I’m not even going to hem and haw the way I originally thought I might.

The thing is, if I’m not willing to fudge on whether or not there is a Christian God, then why in the world would I worry about “depriving the poor dears of the wonder of childhood and believing in magic”? Seriously, I don’t think there’s very much more magical and wonder-ful than God, provided you believe in him, and if we’re taking that out of the equation, does Santa really matter that much in the grand scheme of things?

The poor darlings will just have to deal without this particular portion of love and wonder and magic.

Besides, I’m Asian — we don’t do Christmas.

Little tangent: The other day Zack and I were walking out of Walmart when a man shaking the Salvation Army bell heard me saying that I’m Asian and that I don’t do Christmas when complaining about how it was only the 17th and people were already slamming me in the face with their cultural imperialism. He then proceeded to yell: “Merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry X’mas!” then “Merry merry merry X’mas” at us. At last count before we left him behind, he was up to 8 merrys.

Azora, if you’re reading this, I won’t tell your children that there’s no Santa and I’ll try to keep mine from taunting yours about it too.

Furthermore, in response to the whole greed and capitalism bit of X’mas, I’m just going to submit that Santa is an anagram of Satan. Greed, after all, is one of the capital sins, no?

Convo between friend and I:

(2:07:03 AM) YourVillige: I have a santa hat and it makes me happy.
(2:08:10 AM) kyrias: yay!
(2:08:13 AM) kyrias: I’m glad it makes you happy.
(2:08:21 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that I’m not doing x’mas anymore.
(2:08:29 AM) YourVillige: Too expensive?
(2:09:08 AM) kyrias: no, too dumb.
(2:09:12 AM) YourVillige: how so?
(2:09:36 AM) kyrias: the “wait, if I’m willing to deprive my children of the “wonder in the world” by telling them I don’t believe in the x’tian god, why the fuck would I ever consider telling them santa is real?” thought.
(2:09:47 AM) kyrias: also. I’m not even christian. why the fuck do I give a flying fuck?
(2:10:39 AM) YourVillige: Because without the presents you give every year, Santa couldn’t regenerate his health bar and the easter bunny’s assassination attempts might succeed next year.
(2:12:28 AM) kyrias: …that’s assuming I believe in the easter bunny who actually wants to give us all diabetes.
(2:13:57 AM) YourVillige: Right. Santa just wants to give us greed
(2:14:03 AM) YourVillige: I’d rather be greedy than diabetic
(2:14:13 AM) YourVillige: so I’ve chosen Santa’s side.
(2:15:31 AM) kyrias: that’s fair
(2:16:02 AM) kyrias: I’ve decided that, not being christian and thus being uninterested in general dichotomies for the sake of dichotomies, I’m going to disbelieve in both of them and thereby by-pass the problem.
(2:16:17 AM) YourVillige: I suppose that is also a valid solution.

All joking aside, here’s a little fic for your reading appreciation:

“Noelle Winters?”

“Yes?” Noelle turned towards the voice, one hand still fumbling around in her purse for her house keys.

“I’ve come to serve you with your contract with Nicholas ae Magi. You will find detailed within the parameters of your debt and the methods of repayment.” A man stood a couple of feet away, immaculately turned out in a white suit from the top of his golden head to the toes of his Italian leather loafers. Blue eyes gleamed from behind wire-frame glasses, the corners of his mouth tipped up in a friendly smile.

“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong person.” Noelle wrapped her fingers around her keys, grasping for a polite smile even as she slipped her other hand into her pocket for the mace.

The man shook his head. “Noelle Winters, age 19, daughter to Mary and John Winters. Attended St. Peters kindergarten through high school, now matriculating at Notre Dame University.

“You’ve got to be joking. Whoever you are. Is this someone’s idea of a joke?” Noelle backed into the door, yanking the canister of mace from her pocket and aiming it at the man.

“Nicholas ae Magi.” He bowed slightly, a sardonic twist to his mouth. He shook his head, the corners of his mouth turned down in mocking sorrow. “Now, now, my dear. We of the fey never take such things as debt lightly.”

“This is seriously not funny. If you don’t leave, I’ll be forced to use the mace on you.” Noelle’s hand visibly shook as she raised the mace higher.

Nicholas ae Magi’s body blurred for a second, twisting and distorting until a rotund man stood before her in traditional Santa Claus gear. The same blue eyes glinted at her from above the now bulbous nose and plump cheeks, his smile now bracketed by a set of full whiskers.

“But! Santa…gifts….good children…” Noelle sputtered, clearly at a loss for words.

Nick raised his eyebrows, blurring back to his dapper self. “You cannot tell me that you honestly thought that there was someone willing to give you gifts simply because you achieved the elusive and dubious goal of being good.”

Noelle’s mouth worked for a few seconds, but she soon lapsed back into silence, her teeth worrying at her lower lip.

“Everything has a price.” He leaned closer and whispered next to her ear, “Even for good little girls like you.”

“What do you want from me? Sell me into white slavery?” Her voice shook, husky with the threat of tears.

He contrived to look genuinely shocked, “Dear me, absolutely not. You’ll see. We have much better uses for you.”

She opened her mouth to scream, but his hand clamped over her face, blocking both her voice and breath. Before she fell into the darkness, she heard a voice chiding her gently, “Now why did you go doing that for? After your impeccable behaviour all these years too…”

12.24.10

Cranberry orange muffins

Posted in Cooking, Recipes tagged at 11:53 pm by kyrias

Mom wanted muffins, and she also wanted me to use up that bag of thousand-year-old sweetened dried cranberries that no one wants to eat straight. For the record, I adore dried cranberries, but only if they’re unsweetened.

So. I looked up a recipe and adapted Culinarily Obsessed’s recipe from the Food Network:

Cranberry Orange muffins

1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk

I thought that this recipe wasn’t bad, and everyone else said that it was very good, but I thought that the orange flavour wasn’t pronounced enough even though instead of just simmering the cranberries in the orange juice for a while, I set it to simmer until all the orange juice had concentrated into the cranberries and there was none left in the pot.

Next time I might add some vanilla extract, some orange extract, and use fresh cranberries.

12.23.10

Cheesecake, take I

Posted in Cooking, Recipes tagged at 11:03 pm by kyrias

I totally adapted this from Cook’s Illustrated, just for purposes of general disclaimer. However, I used triple the usual amount of crust because I adore crust and most cheesecakes don’t have enough for me.

Plain Cheesecake

Crust
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
15 tbsp butter
1 tsp each cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger

Cheesecake
4 bricks of cream cheese
1 cup brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Mix the butter and graham crumbs and spices. Press into bottom of a springform pan.

Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in eggs, one at a time. Mix in cream, lemon juice, and extract. Pour into spring form pan.

Wrap bottom of spring form pan in foil, then set pan in roasting pan. Fill roasting pan half-way with boiling water, then bake at 500 degrees for an hour or until the edges are set but the middle is still slightly jiggly.

The water bath, although irritating, will usually ensure that the cheesecake will not crack. However, if you either don’t have a springform pan, or the idea of water leaking into said springform pan makes you want to hide under the covers — then mix in 1 tbsp of flour to the cheese mixture, or use the idea of baking at an ultra low temp for longer.

This cheesecake was — ok. Not as light as the one I made with pumpkin and it was almost unpleasantly dense. Pretty good though, it wasn’t too sweet so next time I might leave the crust as it originally was, add more lemon juice, possibly some lemon extract because I don’t really like zesting lemons and don’t have a microplane besides.

12.22.10

Making lotion

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 11:26 pm by kyrias

I first got the idea of making my own lotion from asonomagarden.

I was already a bit frustrated with how expensive the KissMyFace lotion was, and how many ingredients was in their list, and also with how it didn’t seem as effective as it used to be. Frankly, I suspect them of doing something with their original recipe, but hey.

I’ve already quit using Burt’s Bees because their products have noticeably gone downhill since they got acquired by Clorox. I used to buy their products exclusively, but it was really too much after a while.

So, why not make my own?

asonomagarden’s original recipe is as follows:

1 1/4 cup hot water
1/4 cup emulsifying wax
1/4 cup olive oil
24-36 drops essential oil

Of course, I couldn’t leave well enough alone.

I had heavy cream sitting around in the fridge, so…

1 and 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup olive oil
6 tbsp emulsifying wax
1/4 cup hot water
20 drops lavender
30 drops Germall

Funny thing that happened:

I come out of the kitchen with a pot in one hand, whisk in the other, and approach Nora, “Hand.”

She extends her hand, I flick some of the liquid that’s on the whisk onto her palm.

She brings her hand in close to her face. I, thinking that she just wants to sniff it, am not too alarmed until she licks her palm.

Even as I belatedly start to freak, she pauses, wipes her tongue off on her hand, and I stutter out: “That’s lotion…”

She gives me a look, “Way to not warn me! At least it doesn’t taste bad.”

I sigh. “Yeah, at least all the ingredients are edible. Olive oil and heavy cream.” Relieved that I hadn’t put in the Germall and lavender EO yet, I flick some more lotion onto her palm.

“It was a pot and a whisk! How was I to know?”

I blink. “I thought you knew I was going to make lotion?”

Edibility aside, I liked the texture as is, but we’ll have to see how much more it sets up once it’s fully cold.

The thing is, I’m choosing to use preservatives. I figure that a paltry 1% is not going to kill me, and it’s gotta be better than anything else that I buy, and I’d really prefer not to get sick through mold and other microbes that will proliferate though my oh-so-nutritious lotions.

This, especially since I’m using ingredients such as heavy cream, organic milk, honey, and so forth in my body care items… I’d really much rather have the ability to have hydrous items up for making rather than not.

By the way? I bought my Germall and Calendula extract from Lotioncrafter’s and they are awesome.

Not only did they get my stuff out to me on the 22nd via Priority mail when I placed my order on the 21st of Dec, they also refunded me a whopping 2 dollars for over-estimating my shipping costs. The pipettes that they threw in as a gift was just icing, really.

I’m very impressed with them and I’ll definitely be a repeat customer. They could have sucked up that $2 and I wouldn’t have known, but now that they’ve given it back, they’ve got a very, very happy customer.

12.17.10

Why the COW is never seeing a red cent of mine

Posted in life tagged at 2:01 am by kyrias

Thene mentioned today that a friend of her’s is thinking about applying to the College of Wooster. I’ve touched briefly on the COW’s many failings for me, but I figure no harm done in giving just a little more detail.

Regardless of what the US rankings say, what the book 365 Best Colleges in the US says, and so on and so forth: I’ve not met a single person since graduating and moving away from Wooster who knows what I’m talking about when I say that I went to the COW. Believe me when I say that there’s a special sort of difficulty to having people believe that your GPA and sheepskin is worth something when they have no idea what caliber your school is and what it means that you managed to emerge triumphant, sheepskin in hand and wallet devastated.

Perhaps those who are definitely applying to graduate school afterwards will have better luck. After all, graduate school admissions will probably have a better idea of what the COW is, but I say don’t bet on it. I had a couple of professors who candidly admitted that they themselves had no idea that the COW even existed until they were looking for jobs. When I was taking summer courses at BU, none of the profs there had heard of COW either.

The college let me down when I needed it most. Despite what it says about it being a small, intimate college where everyone knows everyone else — it’s all too easy to disappear into the woodwork unless you strive to be noticed and be a someone. As I mentioned before, the majority of my professors didn’t care or didn’t notice that I was slipping between the cracks. I wasn’t a bad student either,  so it’s not like I’m a slacker who’s whining about the harsh, cruel world that hates me and just misunderstands me.

I hated the food. I couldn’t get used to the food and I never got my money’s worth out of the mandatory meal plan. I prepared logic and went to appeal to be allowed off the meal plan because I was spending a ton of money on groceries asides from the meal plan, but no go. The dean I spoke to was not sympathetic to my problems, didn’t try to fix anything, and finally ended up by saying that if I didn’t like the meal plan, I should feel free to go elsewhere. The college wants us all to be social and friendly and hang out with each other and so it was a matter of principle not to let me off the meal plan. I say bull-fucking-shit. One of my friends was on a migraine elimination diet, and she wasn’t allowed off the meal plan either, despite it being truly difficult for her to eat at Lowry with all the food items that wasn’t allowed for her. I also have heard peripheral stories of people with severe food allergies that weren’t allowed off the meal plan even though it made their life much more fraught than it really needed to be.

My boyfriend was kicked out of college, effectively ruining my life as I knew it. The college had accepted more students than it had beds for, and so they moved a portion of the students up the street into an apartment complex. Someone got raped who lived there and probably from parental pressure, the college moved all of the students back on campus proper. Except — they still didn’t have enough rooms. What did they do? They kicked out students to make room.

True, Caesura was on academic probation. However, his grades were improving.

What I think was the sticking point?

Caesura wasn’t paying full way.

Hu Da Peng, a Chinese student who was a super senior by that point because of sheer inability to pass classes wasn’t kicked out. He was paying full tuition so far as we know.

How Caesura was kicked out but Da Peng wasn’t is something that I personally find profoundly sketchy.

It wasn’t just that C was kicked out, thus throwing my life into disarray — it was that I finally realized that the college wasn’t ready to act in good faith with regards to too many things.

Caesura mentioned that when he quit band, the professor in charge essentially told him straight out that if he was ever up for review to be kicked out, the prof would make sure that he got kicked out. The fact that the college employs teachers like that and makes them part of the board that decides whether or not a student goes or stays is mind boggling for me.

Further more?

The only two professors I had who actually gave a damn about their students, who actually made time and effort to help their students, who were the only ones who noticed that I wasn’t just a slacker and was in reality trying my best and who gave me a chance — those two professors didn’t make the cut and were let go after their year was up. I’m not being biased just because they were good to me — one of those professors was the only person in the entire damn psychology dept who bothered to tell us some crucial information that no one else had ever gotten around to tell us. Information about grad school applications, for example. What grad schools actually looked at and wanted to see. She was the one who pushed us to try and get our papers published and to go speak at conferences. None of the other professors I had tried that hard.

The fact that these two profs were let go when the psychology dept was severely understaffed from what I could see and understand and when they were actually good professors who cared…

COW?

You’re never, ever, ever seeing a red cent of mine and I’ll never suggest to anyone that they should apply to you.

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