June 20, 2006

Skedaddle Alert

FYI: I don't intend to update this weblog anymore. The irresistibly charming and gracious Pixy Misa, Lord of All Mu.Nu, has put up with my freeloading ass long enough, for one; I'm no longer a very good fit for the overall mu.nu vibe, for two; and I really want to experiment with Wordpress, for three. Pixy's not into the admin chores of hosting multiple Wordpress blogs and, given what I can understand of the work that goes into it, I don't blame him. The gent works himself to death as it is.

Until I can arrange to nestle into more permanent digs--give me a week or two for that; you recall that I am neither efficient nor speedy, I hope?--I'll be over here. You won't find much there at the moment and I doubt I'm gonna post up a storm at what I intend to be a temporary blog anyhow, but, you know, if you get lonely or whatever, look me up.

Oh! Some of you have also griped at me that the email displayed at upper left isn't working. Use the gmail addy--it's my first [fake] name followed by a dot followed by my last [fake] name, all at-gmail-dot-com. Purty simple, huh?

Posted by Ilyka at 03:25 PM

June 17, 2006

Commemorating the Fallen in the Great Blow Job Wars of Aught-Six (by Special Guest Blogger Robert Southey)

It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.

She saw her brother Peterkin
Roll something large and round
Which he beside the rivulet
In playing there had found;
He came to ask what he had found,
That was so large, and smooth, and round.

Old Kaspar took it from the boy,
Who stood expectant by;
And then the old man shook his head,
And with a natural sigh,
"'Tis some poor fellow's skull," said he,
"Who fell in the great victory.

"I find them in the garden,
For there's many here about;
And often when I go to plough,
The ploughshare turns them out!
For many thousand men," said he,
"Were slain in that great victory."

"Now tell us what 'twas all about,"
Young Peterkin, he cries;
And little Wilhelmine looks up
With wonder-waiting eyes;
"Now tell us all about the war,
And what they fought each other for."

"It was the English," Kaspar cried,
"Who put the French to rout;
But what they fought each other for
I could not well make out;
But everybody said," quoth he,
"That 'twas a famous victory.

"My father lived at Blenheim then,
Yon little stream hard by;
They burnt his dwelling to the ground,
And he was forced to fly;
So with his wife and child he fled,
Nor had he where to rest his head.

"With fire and sword the country round
Was wasted far and wide,
And many a childing mother then,
And new-born baby died;
But things like that, you know, must be
At every famous victory.

"They said it was a shocking sight
After the field was won;
For many thousand bodies here
Lay rotting in the sun;
But things like that, you know, must be
After a famous victory.

"Great praise the Duke of Marlbro' won,
And our good Prince Eugene."
"Why, 'twas a very wicked thing!"
Said little Wilhelmine.
"Nay ... nay ... my little girl," quoth he,
"It was a famous victory."

"And everybody praised the Duke
Who this great fight did win."
"But what good came of it at last?"
Quoth little Peterkin.
"Why, that I cannot tell," said he,
"But 'twas a famous victory."


Posted by Ilyka at 06:42 PM | Comments (4)

June 16, 2006

Barbie Ho!

I'm not putting this in the "feminism" category because I gotta be honest: I can't get too feministically upset about Barbie. Yeah, "Math is hard!" was a stupid thing to have Talking Barbie say. Yeah, Barbie's original dimensions were preposterous. Yeah, no one ever believed in "Barbie the Astronaut" for a second.

Come on. We all know Barbie's a bimbo. We all know Barbie's a shitty role model. And yes, I think it's pretty clear that Barbie's being depicted as a prostitute here. "Celebrates the working woman," my ass. The only maids who work in 4-inch heels exist solely in Penthouse letters.

I went through my little-girl "I wuv Barbie" phase. I went through my "I'm too old to play with Barbies anymore, but I'm not PLAYING with her, I'm just POSING her" phase. I went through my "Hey, I know--let's BURN Barbie" phase. And I went through my "Barbie is the epitome of sexual objectification and vulgar consumerism" phase.

And that bitch Barbie, do you know what?--She's still here. I have some nutty Oscar De La Renta-costumed Barbie up on the plant shelf in the kitchen right now. There's a Victorian Barbie sitting in the closet somewhere. There's a Princess of Ireland Barbie (oh man, just kill me for even typing that) in the bedroom.

I keep trying to ditch Barbie, but Barbie keeps finding me. Barbie's a codependent. Maybe if I'd only made her sleep with Donny Osmond Barbie, I wouldn't have this problem.

None of this is to say that you can't have lots of derisive snorts and giggles at Barbie's expense right here. Especially this one. Oh, how the caption captivates my inner 12-year-old:

Sleek and elegant, Muffy Roberts™ Barbie® doll

Muffy Roberts. Somewhere in the world is a woman named MUFFY ROBERTS and--AND--she DESIGNS BARBIES, and no one made this up, it's 100% for reals. I am dying.

is dressed for a stylish shopping spree

Barbie won't be coming with me to Wal-mart?

and a bite with the ladies who lunch.

Is there any phrase in all the language as hard on the teeth--the clenched, ever-grinding teeth--as "the ladies who lunch?"

Her flawless ensemble starts with a black and white shantung dress paired with a matching, fuchsia-lined jacket. A coordinating scarf and tricot gloves play brightly against her black straw hat, tricot hose, and stiletto heels.

Because when you're exiting Neiman's laden down with shopping bags, you want to be balancing them all while perched atop stiletto heels. The only way I could be down with these stilettto heels is if Barbie were depicted using them to give a swift kick in the pants to all the LADIES WHO LUNCH.

The final, delightfully appropriate touch?

Wait for it . . .

. . . waaaaaiiit for it . . .

A fluffy, plush, ebony muff!

Oh, Barbie. You forgot the bikini wax.

(Barbie Collector site links all courtesy of the Reclusive Leftist, who's betting that Prostitute Barbie's client "is probably Charlie Sheen," and, well! Can I resist a good dig at Charlie "I spent $27,000 on hookers and not only that, I paid them with checks" Sheen? Nope. Nope, I sure can't.)

Posted by Ilyka at 02:52 PM | Comments (6)

June 15, 2006

Dear DirtCrashr

Recently it has been brought to our attention here at Ilyka Damen that you have expressed some dissatisfaction with the quality, or lack thereof, of our content.

Please be assured that we here at Ilyka Damen are determined to excel in the realm of customer service, and that therefore we are pleased to present you with this check, representing a refund in full of all monies paid by you to date to our company.

Happy DirtCrashing!

--The Management

UPDATE: Heartfelt apologies to DirtCrashr, whom it seems I have misinterpreted completely. It's almost like I'm not very smart or something!

Anyway, DirtCrashr's all right. But if any of the rest of YOU get any bright ideas about asking for a refund . . . [evil glare].

Posted by Ilyka at 05:12 PM | Comments (6)

Language and Hate

Right, those two posts from yesterday! First, Jill's:

Jeff Goldstein is a paste-eating ‘tard. Ann Coulter is an anorexic cunt with an Adam’s apple. Hey Michelle Malkin, me love you long time!

Is this ok on left-wing blogs?

I don’t think so, and neither does Scott.

"Wow," I thought, "Finally." Because this apparent disconnect between what some lefties say they believe about racist, homophobic, misogynist language, and what they do with that kind of language vis-a-vis the, ah, wingnuts, has baffled people on the right for a long time. And Jill addresses that in short order:

Part of [me] hesitates to write this at all, because I think that it’ll just be more fuel for a racist, sexist, homophobic right to say, “See? It’s really the left that’s racist, sexist and homophobic!” But the point is that it’s not a gotcha game of who the real bigots are — there are apparently enough individual bigots to go around.

I've skipped, as you'll notice if you read the whole thing (and you did, right?) the part about the GOP advocating racism, homophobia, etc. as national policy, though not because I disagree with it; on the contrary, it's THE chief thing lately that's making me feel that maybe me 'n' the GOP are not such a good fit, after all.

It's not that I believe all Republicans are inherently racist; I've tried before to be very clear that I don't believe that at all. I do, however, think that presently the right is where most racists, homophobes, and misogynists congregate, where they feel most comfortable. This is, to me, a problem. I don't think the right as a whole has done enough to flush these people out and drive 'em off. I don't think the right overall has been willing to examine some of its underlying beliefs about those who are Other, whether "Other" is women or gays or blacks or Hispanics, and I've tried at times to say that, too, though likely I've still been sadly deficient.

It isn't easy, or fun, or rewarding, to knock your own side. So I have a lot of sympathy for Jill's concerns up above--that she'll just be handing the other side a big club to hit the left over the head with. It's why Chris Rock quit doing that routine he had about black people versus [that word], the infamous one in which he said he wished he could join the KKK, he'd do a driveby from coast to coast--because too many racists seized on that and used it to reinforce their hatred. The last thing you want to do, when you're critiquing your own side, is wind up creating a situation in which the other side gets to shout at you, "See? See? She admits it!" over and over again.

The question I guess this brings up for me is, do progressive liberals have a special obligation to be extra-vigilant in eschewing hate speech? Any more than the rest of us? Morally, no. Practically speaking, however, when your side has billed itself as The Un-Racist, The Un-Hateful, it really helps if, when people look to you for that, that's what they see--and not "Hey Michelle Malkin, me love you long time." Otherwise, you leave them open and receptive to the idea that no, no, it's the left who are really the racists.

(The parallel between this and the subset of Christians who seem amnestic to Paul's pronouncement that the greatest of virtues is love is left as an exercise for the reader.)

One last thing, although what I have to say about it is only tangentially related to Jill's point:

But left-blogs have been known to have their racist, sexist, able-ist and homophobic moments. Case in point: The DKos drama of last year. A recap for those who weren’t around: Kos, the biggest left-wing blog, had a ridiculously sexist ad up on his site. I don’t remember the exact content of it, but it was something like hot young girls in bikinis fighting in whipped cream and then making out. He received some criticism for it, and instead of having a lightbulb moment and saying, “I’m sorry, I honestly hadn’t realized that the ad was sexist, because as a guy I don’t usually have to think about these things. But now that so many of my fellow liberals have pointed it out and taken issue with it, I’ll take it down,” Kos responded with a defensive rant in which he called feminist bloggers “the sanctimonious women’s studies set.”

The thing that killed me about that episode, which indeed I do remember, is that from where I sit, the whole thing could have been avoided if Kos' side had been willing to take a hard, critical look at the guy's character back in, say, April 2004.

Yeah, character. I'm sitting here with my toes crossed (I could hardly type with my fingers crossed, now, could I?) that this does not launch an "OMG what IS it with the wingnuts and the obsession with character, like does Dubya really have any character anyway when he lied us into war after stealing the election and fuck CHARACTER, you hypocrite Repukes wouldn't know about CHARACTER if character were blowing you in the Oval Office" rant in the comments, because that's not my point.

My point is that when a man says something hateful (and I hope we can agree that what Kos had to say about the deaths of the Blackwater contractors in Fallujah was hateful) and people call him on his shit, and his response is to delete what he said and then edit what he said and then move what he said to make it look like he didn't say it in response to what you thought he did and then rationalize what he said and BLAH BLAH BLAH--that all says something about the guy's character, only it doesn't say anything good.

So to my mind, expecting Kos to react to the criticism of those ads in any way other than the way he did was, frankly, a little naive. But that's my only nitpick of Jill's post, and I'm fully aware that it's one that could easily be aimed back at the right--particularly regarding Ann Coulter, who also should have been escorted out of the building the first time she said something hateful, instead of everyone waiting for her to target the Jersey Girls.

It also applies to the subject of Scott Eric Kaufman's post, the post that prompted Jill's. This is more difficult for me to talk about, because I'd like to keep the discussion very, very general here--and that's because, as I've hinted previously, I don't mind admitting that I think the subject of Kaufman's post is suffering from "No, actually, it really isn't funny at all"-level mental illness. I am not mocking, here. I am serious about this. And so I think there's no telling what that guy would do if I got in his crosshairs, and I think I like my job and my relative anonymity, and I think that if you're wondering why I don't speak out more about some of this guy's behavior, well, connect the dots. If you squint at them closely, you'll see that they spell B-E-C-A-U-S-E-I-A-M-C-H-I-C-K-E-N-S-H-I-T. Then again, I'm pretty chickenshit regarding rabid squirrels, too. I'm not sure that's unreasonable.

Here's part of Scott's post that Jill took issue with:

My fellow leftists who read political blogs have never actually had to befriend someone with whom they "shared" damn near tangible differences. They have never had to interact daily with people whose politics they found repulsive. They have never been close to someone they would have given a kidney to and spent whisky-soaked nights debating the fundaments. They live in an echo-chamber which demands ideological conformity at the gate. And you know what? The "intellectual" environment in which they live breeds the stupidity they so regularly evince.

The thing about being in an echo chamber (and do echo chambers exist both left and right? Is Charles Johnson a terrible dresser?) is that the people in the chamber are the worst judges of whether or not they're in the chamber. It is tough to tell people in an echo chamber, "Hey, you're in an echo chamber." People get defensive about that. "I am not! My views and my environment are very diverse." Except when they're not, as a later post at Feministe yesterday by zuzu demonstrates:

Now, I’ve always known that the right wingers are way the hell more organized than the lefties. I’ve assumed that the talking points were coming from somewhere, LGF or Rush or somewhere, and the good little dittoheads, having received their marching orders, were spreading their wingnutty message far and wide.

If you've spent any time at all hanging around wingnut blogs you're going to read that, and you're going to have a difficult time not pissing yourself laughing. Because if you've spent any time at all hanging around wingnut blogs, you know all too well that that's not how it works. You also know that the chief thing to remember about right-wing blogs is that (1) they're blogs, and therefore, by definition, (2) all the authors of these blogs detest each other.

That isn't to say that groupthink never sets in, or that there aren't some issues that unite the right more than they polarize it, but good gravy, YOU try sending some of these jokers out with marching orders. You'd find it easier to herd cats. Hey, wingnuts! Remember how we all agreed completely about Schiavo? Those were some days of wine and togetherness, weren't they?

So if it were me, I wouldn't dismiss Kaufman's echo chamber point just yet. Yeah, it's a little back-patting of him, and it also ignores some, ah, patterns of behavior by his subject that I don't think Kaufman was entirely aware of before those patterns were thoroughly, exhaustively catalogued here. But in the abstract, I think his point stands. If you're regularly throwing around blanket slurs like "moonbat" or "Dhimmicrat" or "wingnut" or "Rethuglican," you might want to listen for the echo.

I feel a little bit like I'm intruding where I don't belong--after all, these are posts by people on the left, about people and practices on the left, and what business is that of mine anyway? I may not be certain whether I stand on the right anymore, but I still think it'd be a stretch to claim I'm on the left. So why'm I saying anything at all about this? Is it the scolding gene acting up again? Am I just a damn busybody*? Who asked me anyhow?

And all I can say is okay, no one asked me. I was just glad to see the subject come up. Not because it proves that Liberals are the Real Racists (it doesn't), and not because it gives "my side" something to gloat over, but because it'd be better if political bloggers on both sides dialed down the hate, whether the hate is blogger-generated or merely thriving in their comments. That's one. For two, I'm glad because it takes some guts to examine your own side the way Jill and Scott did, and I hope they're not thanked for doing so by a bunch of conservadorks trackbacking I-Told-You-So posts to their work. I only wish my admiration and respect were actually worth something, because they've earned it.

UPDATE: This, on the other hand--is this necessary?

FURTHER: Regarding the update above and some other comments from that thread, I just have to say--if Dawn Eden came to my door personally to deliver me a big ol' embroidered scarlet "A," suggested I pin it to my chest, and then stood there reading aloud from a lovingly calligraphed, itemized list of my sins, in front of the neighbors, I STILL wouldn't hypothesize that with a name like "Dawn Eden," she must have been "fighting against being a stripper all of her life"--although if she tried to pin that "A" on me herself, it is true that I might have to go all kung fu on her ass. Well, maybe that's just me.

*Yes, pretty much.

Posted by Ilyka at 01:00 PM | Comments (13)

The Very Last, I Swear, I Promise, Thing I Have to Say About Outing

"Saturday, August 26, 1990, 1:26 a.m." is how it began. But it wasn't Saturday, August 26, 1:26 a.m. It was Sunday. It had been Saturday, earlier, but then it was Sunday. The policewoman who interviewed me got that wrong. At the time, I didn't notice it. I just imprinted her statement on my memory. Saturday, August 26, 1990, 1:26 a.m. Except it was Sunday.

That's what happens in the middle of the night: Dates and times get confused. But at the time, I wasn't thinking about that. I was thinking that it was really horrible that I had to talk to this police officer at all, not right then, not while my boyfriend was being Air-Evac'd to a hospital miles away, and I didn't even get to go with him, I didn't even know if he was alive or dead.

Maybe I'd get to the hospital, and he'd be dead, but he'd have arrived there alive--only, I would have missed it. I would have missed any last words, because I would have been talking to this police officer.

The police officer wanted to know what happened that night. I told her, it had been his night off. I told her, I'd woken him up, even though he'd been sleeping. He'd been on a graveyard schedule. I'd been on an early day shift. We hadn't had a lot of time together, and I'd missed him. It was Saturday night. So I'd woken him up.

"And this was approximately . . . ?"

"Um. 11:30? No, maybe 11:00. I'm not sure--"

"And then what happened?"

Well, then we'd had sex. I really, really, really had not wanted to tell this stranger that. I was twenty years old and still Mormon enough, in heart if not in soul, to be embarrassed about that. But I'd also just really, really, truly told the 911 representative an hour ago that she had to hold on, hold on while I opened the door for the police, because I had to put a robe on first, I was naked, but could she hold on? In case it wasn't the police? In case it was that man come back again? But I had to put a robe on. I was naked.

Somehow I hadn't minded telling a stranger I was stark naked, but that was different. That was an emergency. This was just a terrific waste of my time.

"And then when would you say you heard the knock on the door?"

I don't know. I was half asleep, I don't know, we weren't expecting a knock on the door, I don't know. Later sometime. I don't know. Fuck, but she wants a time. Okay, 12:30?

"And what happened when you heard the knock?"

He answered the door and then I heard shots and I hid in the closet, but only after I counted three of them, only after I was sure it wasn't his younger brother with a cap gun, Just Kidding like kids do.

"How many shots would you say you heard?"

I lost count after six.


I won't go into the rest of it. My now very-ex boyfriend lived; so did I; the dude who shot him went to jail; we were on food stamps and state-subsidized health care for a long while (in case you are wondering, in 1990 dollars it would have cost you about $80,000 to get shot nine times and survive it; please don't do meth, kids!); my now very-ex boyfriend hit me (untreated posttraumatic stress disorder is a motherfucker); I left him; I went back (because he needed me); he hit me some more, I left again; etc. etc. etc., and then I finally, FINALLY left him, and eventually I broke up with him from 1000 miles away via email, THANK YOU, EMAIL, I LOVE YOU SO FUCKING MUCH YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW.

The guy who shot him got 28 years, 2/3 mandatory before parole. He could be out by now, for all I know. I know you won't believe this, but do you know what I've done? I've forgotten his last name. I can't even CHECK on this shit.

Me: Hi, I'm kind of peripherally a crime victim, and I need to check if you paroled somebody?

[Five phone transfers later]

Me: Hi, I'm trying to see if you paroled this one prisoner?

Jail Person: Name?

Me: Bill.

Jail Person: LAST name?

Me: Um. Um. It began with a "W," I think. I remember, they read his full name in court when they were sentencing him? And of course they didn't call him "Bill," they called him "William," even though my boyfriend always called him "Bill" and I always thought of him as "Bill." But I remember that his whole name, read together like that, it was very alliterative?

Jail Person: Lady, I have to ask you: Is this important?

Me: Of course it's important!

Jail Person: Lady, stay with me, here: Do you think maybe, if it were really important, you might have remembered this guy's name?

And I don't know what to tell you except, I Had Stress. Lots and lots and lots of stress. And in the having of the stress and the recuperating from the stress and the (mercifully) beginning to forget of the stress, I fucking forgot this guy's name. I am sorry. I have been a bad peripheral crime victim.

Besides, I always thought I would be (1) in Canada (2) with a name change, by now, because that's what I thought at the time was the only thing to do, because my ex and I were the only witnesses, we were the ones who put him there, and while it'd be nice to think this fellow learned a useful trade while in prison, and/or found Jesus--while it'd be nice to think he'll be totally 100% about making a positive contribution to society when he gets out, I am not that much an optimist, and you wouldn't be either, if you'd been where I've been.

Don't get me wrong: I don't fret about this every day or even every week or even, for that matter, every month, but do I worry? Yes, a little. I worry a little. I think it's only natural.

And THAT is why I blog under a pseudonym: Because I don't want this guy Googling me and getting a fucking hit. And fuck all to hell you petty-minded pseudoacademics who actually believe that what some 12-year-olds say about you ONLINE is, in fact, Potentially Damaging to Your Intellectual Reputations--and that, therefore, outing is sometimes JUSTIFIED, because why should someone be able to hide behind a cowardly pseudonym and be able to say mean, mean, awful things about you without suffering any consequences, oh my sweet savior, it is so unfair, that these anonymous cowards never suffer the CONSEQUENCES?

Because you don't have a fucking coddled precious privileged clue what "consequences" are, that's why. Now grow up. Sticks and stones, etc.--if a child on the playground can learn to live with a little name-calling, so can you, you fucking douchebags.

And the next time you dare to invoke "liberty" in defense of your idiotic "Everyone Should Use His Real Name, It's Only Fair" agenda, kindly at least remember that the people who founded this country didn't always promote liberty under their own names because they had this little problem, see, this little problem where they LIKED LIVING.

Now let us never speak of this again. Cripes, but I hate bloggers sometimes. And as much as I love and admire and respect, seriously, 99.9% of you, permit me the indulgence of not leaving comments open for this one. Okay? Okay. I don't need someone giving me the "But I Love Doughnuts" argument on this one.

Posted by Ilyka at 03:48 AM

June 14, 2006

It's a Dry Heat

Every time I complain about the heat here--and complain I do, because I'm a complainer by nature, Complainy McBitchalot, that's me--my boyfriend reminds me that I'm the one who moved here. On purpose.

He also reminds me that I am the world's worst cheerleader for the idea that It's a Dry Heat.

Me: Damn, it's hot today.

Boyfriend [mimicking]: But it's a dryyyyyy heeeeeat!

Me: Oh, shut it.

Boyfriend [still mimicking]: I can't believe I moved to the desert and it's hot here! What's up with that?

Me: No, really? SHUT IT.

The thing is, though, I may complain a lot, but it doesn't mean I haven't been converted to the belief that dry heat beats wet heat every time, because I have. I really, really have.

Not everyone subscribes to that idea. That's cool. It's weird to me, but it's cool. One of the funniest ongoing conversations I ever had was with a fellow waitress years ago who had moved to Phoenix from Atlanta--and she wouldn't shut up about how hot it was.

Me: But Linda, Atlanta?

Linda [near tears]: At least we had SHADE there! At least things GREW there! At least we had BREEZES once in awhile! At least it RAINED! [Note: This was all sobbed in the most beautiful, heart-rending Southern accent possible, seriously. Southerners even do complaining graciously. It's astonishing.]

Me: But the humidity--

Linda [shrieking]: It's 117 today, Ilyka, 117, THAT'S BARBARIC, how can you even think about humidity? Whether it's dry or wet it's still one hundred and seventeen degrees! One hundred! And seventeen!

Me: But it's a dry--


Unsurprisingly, Linda eventually moved back to Atlanta. Actually, Linda went to her husband, who had been transferred in his job from Atlanta to Phoenix in the first place, and told him he could either stay married or stay in Phoenix but she, by gum, was getting on a plane and going back to the place where she'd never have to hear about the you-know-whatting dry heat again.

You either get used to dry heat or you don't. Linda didn't. I did. But you can only get so used to it. It's not like temperatures in the triple digits quit bothering you. They just don't bother you as much. On the day it hit a record high of 122 in Phoenix, I was making the quarter-mile trek from my apartment to the one, the only, apartment complex laundry room. This was a huge apartment complex, but--one laundry room, on the south side of the complex, and I lived on the north, and I'm not kidding, the complex spanned an entire quarter mile. It was about noon when I was hauling my gigantic, overstuffed laundry basket up there, and I remember thinking something like, "Wow, little worse than usual today."

I did not think, "Wow, IT'S A RECORD HIGH TODAY," because you don't think like that. 115, 117, 118, 119, 122--is there really that much difference? Apparently there is, because I did notice it, long before I heard the weather report. But I noticed it in passing, so to speak. I didn't notice it the way Linda would have noticed it. That's what I mean when I say you get used to it. You don't quit noticing it, you just quit shrieking about it.

That's not to say I didn't shriek just as bad as Linda my first year there. My parents moved us to Phoenix in June. Now, hold on--they meant well. They thought that this way, my brother and I would have the whole summer to make friends before school started. My mom, in fact, spent a lot of time nagging me to Go Outside and Make Friends. Me, I kept screaming at her that there was no one outside to make friends WITH because the neighborhood kids were what some would call SANE PEOPLE who STAYED INDOORS watching television, instead of going outside WHERE IT WAS OVER 110, for crying out loud, was she trying to kill me?

Every time I did shuffle out of doors--and believe me, I did this as seldom as possible--I thought, this is what it feels like to be baked in an oven. This is what a Thanksgiving turkey would feel were it not already dead when you popped it in at 425 degrees. Even when you do get a breeze in 110+ temperatures, it doesn't comfort you. The lousy breeze is hot.

So I get why some people don't care how dry the heat is. It's just the opposite of why I don't care that it's "only 78" some place, some place that's also having 80% humidity. I've been vastly more uncomfortable in 78 degrees with high humidity than I've ever been in the oven-like climate of the desert. You put me in a humid climate, and the sweating, it never stops. The theory of sweat is that you sweat, it evaporates, you cool off. I know this is 46 kinds of gross and more than you needed to know about me and all, but in a humid climate my sweat never evaporates. It just COLLECTS. And you can't tell me there isn't something unnatural--something just as unnatural as, say, living with three solid months of over-100 temperatures--about getting out of an ice-cold shower and never being able to dry off from it because the minute you exit the shower, oh, look out, here come those great big buckets of sweat again.

Here, you sweat for a microsecond before the dry air sucks it right offa you, before you can even think to flick it away. This, this I can deal with.

It's not anywhere near what it used to get up to in Phoenix here today, but it's still pretty hot. And I'm still kind of complaining about it. Just know that I don't really mean it. Deep down, I am praising the heavens that I am here in the magical marvelous dry heat and not anywhere else; especially not anywhere else where I'd get into Linda-style arguments with the locals about how yes, I know it's only 78 degrees on the thermometer, I know, but the humidity is going to drown me.

I believe. I believe in the dry heat.

UDPATE: That said, this is still the best part of the day. Sink, you fiery bastard!

P.S. Help me out: Did I write this before? I'm getting that horrible sinking feeling that I've written this post before. I can't turn it up via Google here, but, I dunno, somewhere else? Maybe Journalspace? Or that one blog I deleted last year because some petty, childish, passive-aggressive, hypermanipulative little armchair analyst viper pissed me off too much to continue it? Am I really getting this senile that I repeat myself this badly? Can we pretend that last question was rhetorical?

Posted by Ilyka at 03:07 PM | Comments (7)


Nag me tomorrow if I haven't barfed up some thoughts on this, which is excellent, and this, which is also excellent, but which pains me nonetheless because, frankly, I have a difficult time drumming up any sympathy for the blogger being discussed in that post.

Still, it's the principle of the thing, and I do support the principle.

I would just like to point out to any left-leaning readers that the blogger under discussion in that second link was the right's thin-skinned freak machine long before he was yours, lefties--and we managed to have just as much fun with him without calling him a paste-eater. It's not difficult; you don't exactly have to reach down deep into your bag of insults to launch some people into angry, angry orbits.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:45 AM | Comments (5)

June 12, 2006

More Interior Desecration

Behold, if you dare, my new bathroom decor:

This is only partly my fault. My Most Beloved Aunt gave me a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I know she had only the noblest intentions, but really, she should know better. Giving me a gift card to Bed, Bath & Beyond is like giving Charlie Sheen a gift card to his favorite brothel: Something icky is bound to happen.

In this case the icky thing that happened was that I bought a shower curtain described by the boyfriend as "Kinda 'Brady Bunch,' don't you think?" And yes, I do think, but here's the thing: Everything in Bed, Bath & Beyond is "kinda 'Brady Bunch'" right now. The 70s are back and me, I'm through fighting it. I just don't have the energy. Besides: Trading warm tones for cool did not make things any less ugly in the 1980s. Because that's all that happened, you know--rust became berry, avocado became teal (do you remember? All the teal?), beige became peach or gray, depending, and brown became black. These colors still had the potential to add up to U-G-L-Y, especially if you went overboard on the teal. And every third restaurant, apartment complex, and strip mall in the Southwest went overboard on the teal in the 80s. Personally, I would have preferred more berry.

I am also not sure the rugs really go with the shower curtain, but the rugs that probably did go with the curtain were that pukey shade of gray-green they call "sage" and I was not feeling up for sage tonight; as for wheat, that's just phoning it in, to go for the wheat-colored rugs. Wheat-colored rugs match everything but white. No, I had to live on the edge and get the apple green, because the key thing about myself that I always forget when I'm in Bed, Bath & Beyond is that the reason I own so many pieces of black clothing in my wardrobe is that I can't match colors for shit.

In other news, I continue to be as dumb as a box of rocks. I spent half an hour cursing the shower rings that held up the previous shower curtain, the previous shower curtain that came in a perfectly decent non-Brady color scheme, because no matter how hard I pried and tugged at these rings, they would not snap apart. And these were the kind of shower curtain rings that snap together to hold the shower curtain UP and snap apart to take the shower curtain DOWN. They were not rocket science, these shower rings. Snap together, snap apart. Except that for some reason they would not snap apart no matter what.

I blamed the hard water we have here for leaving mineral deposits that had clearly built up and fused these stupid rotten shower curtain rings together permanently, apparently. What else could explain this?

But when after what seemed like hours I finally broke my second or third ring open and my boyfriend cheered, "Great, only seven more to go!"--that, I think, is when I just plain lost my shit and started quoting from that scene in Vacation, you know the one, the one in which Chevy Chase tells his family that they are going to have so much fucking fun at Walley World that they are going to be whistling "Zippity-Doo-Dah" out of their etceteras--only, compared to me, Chevy was a pretty mellow guy in that scene.

I had really had it with those rings, is what I'm saying.

Finally we took down the entire rod and slid the entire curtain-and-liner set off of it and resumed trying to pry these miserable bits of plastic apart. After screaming every obscenity I knew and a couple I made up specially for the occasion at one of the rings, I shrieked at my boyfriend, "Lookit this! Lookit this, the little fucking bastard has the nerve to WIGGLE at me! It won't come apart, oh, NO, but it'll damn sure wiggle at me! It's fucking taunting me, this fucking thing! It's--"


It turned out all you had to do to these shower rings was twist them ever so slightly, just the barest, neatest little flick of the wrist, and apart them came with no resistance whatsoever. I brute-forced FIVE OF THEM before finding this out. I don't know whether to cheer my amazing upper body strength or bemoan my advancing senility.

Posted by Ilyka at 10:08 PM | Comments (8)

June 09, 2006

That Blog, That Blog, That Bad Bad Blog

Hmm--the first sentence of this poses a good question.

I was all set to answer it, too--something along the lines of, "Would it help if I specifically invited you not to?"--but then I remembered that I do the same thing myself. And this won't be of much comfort to Zatera, but I finally figured out that most of the blogs I do this with exhibit the same faults I don't like about my own blog.

Anyway, enough of the meta-meta, and on to Zatera's question:

I’d like to know why “pussy” is offensive, but the f-word (which Ilyka and many feminist bloggers use regularly, ew!) isn’t. I think the f-word just as demeaning, if not more–an insult to loving sexual intimacy between a man and a woman.

And there I don't really know what to say, other than that she's probably right. Believe me, I know I throw around that other f-word too much. It's so adaptable, though. It can be a verb or an adjective or a noun or . . . and it's punchy, sometimes. Sometimes you just want to let the reader know that you're through, uh, messing around.

(Whew! That was close.)

Ideally, I'd work on my vocabulary instead of always falling back on that all-purpose vulgarity to express myself. That'd be better, I agree. But this is a subject I've beat into the ground already, so let me ask Zatera a question of my own:

Why is a Christian conservative woman remaining completely unoffended by, even laughing at, a site emblazoned with the silhouette logo of a nekkid woman about to poke herself in the hoo-ha?

Posted by Ilyka at 07:28 PM | Comments (14)

June 07, 2006

The Kids Are All Right II

Could you all do me a favor? Chastise me if I go on one of my these-damn-kids-today benders again anytime soon.

We went to see X3 Monday night. At the ticket booth, a sign warned that the theater's ATM was down. The boyfriend and I failed to derive from that what the cashier then told us: All card activity was suspended.

"Cash only!" he barked at my boyfriend. I forgave him for his surliness when it dawned on me that he'd probably been explaining this problem to customers all night long. It's hard to be polite the 45th time you bear bad news to people.

I fumbled in my purse but came up with only $9. Neither of us carry cash much anymore. It's all debit card action around here.

That's when a young guy somewhere between his junior year of high school and his sophomore year of college (there was a time I could have estimated his age to the year, but that was before I got old) pushed between us to hand the cashier a twenty, saying to my boyfriend, "It's cool, man, I got it."

Then he handed us the tickets.

Then I fell over dead.

We tried working out a deal with him in which my boyfriend would run across the street to an ATM; I tried giving him the paltry $9; we tried selling ourselves into his indentured servitude, but this kid would have none of it.

"Really, man, it's all right! I've been in this situation before myself."

And then he and his girlfriend rushed into the theater, away from the crazy old people with their strange obsession about money, dude.

"Do you suppose he was on Ecstasy?" I asked the boyfriend.

"Oh, could be," he replied.

"Do you know what this means?"


"I am officially in favor of legalizing Ecstasy*."

"And subsidizing it."

"Ecstasy grants."

"Fixed-interest Ecstasy loans."


So thank you, strange kid at the theater. Whether you have a big heart or were just stoned out of your mind, we love you.

*Actually, I'm in favor of legalizing most street drugs.

Posted by Ilyka at 12:07 PM | Comments (6)

June 06, 2006

Admin Note and an Observation

At some point in this blog-thing somewhere (I'm too lazy to look it up), I noted that it's the dashed-off, throwaway posts that garner me the most comments. This continues to be so.

I take from this that whenever I write more than a dozen words, I bore people.

But what I also take from it is this: The less you write, the more others can project their own thoughts onto the post. Or, the blanker you leave the canvas the more room to paint for everyone else, or create your own analogy, but I think you get the idea.

I don't know that this is a bad thing, but it's sometimes an aggravating thing. Then again, it's only an aggravating thing because why? Because VANITY. Because I think of all the things I took the time to craft and develop that were, comments-wise, failures, and then there to rub salt into my wounds is some half-assed post that's over a week old, off the main page, and still going strong. Well, I mean, it's still going; I don't know about "strong." People seem a little fatigued at this point. Hey, guess what? I WAS FATIGUED WITH IT LAST WEEK, you nerds.

All a long way to tell you that (1) comments are closed here and (2) if you have a blog, but you despair of ever receiving comments, just throw out whatever random thought comes to mind some morning (being sure to keep it short), and watch people get well and truly busy with it.


I Don't Like Doughnuts
posted by ilyka in were you going to finish that? at 1:07 p.m.

I don't get the appeal of these things. Why're they brought to every staff meeting in every office in America? Doughnuts are gross. Fuck you, doughnuts.


you dont like donuts? ill bet you dont like america either, bitch.
--some troll

I can see where you're coming from, Ilyka, but are you sure you've thought this through? Imagine if there were no doughnuts. What effect would that have on our economy? What about the bakers? What about the sugar tariffs? I think there's a lot more to this that you could have explored had you taken the time to really look at the problem in depth.
--some guy who needs to get out more

Aw, shoot, there's nothing wrong with doughnuts! You just haven't had any good ones. My grandmother makes hers from scratch and I'll bet if you only tried one of them, you'd change your perspective in a hurry. They're really good!
--a proud granddaughter

I agree, Ilyka. I don't like doughnuts either, for what it's worth. A cinnamon-raisin bagel beats a greasy doughnut every time. Especially a cinnamon-raisin bagel with fat-free cream cheese. MMMMMmm!
--CorrupterOfBagels, Somewhere in the Midwest (or Maybe the South)

Cinnamon-raisin bagels are an abomination in the sight of the Lord. So is fat-free cream cheese, for that matter. Crikey, you people.

god, you anti-donut people discust me!!! MOVE TO FRANCE BITCH!
--that troll again

Etc. and so on. Try it! I'm sure you'll see results in no time.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:01 PM | Comments (10)

June 05, 2006

Rebound From This

If you've ever sat around wondering, "What's better than comic books and Charles Barkley?"--and I've lost countless hours to this activity myself--cheer up. It turns out that there's a very simple answer: Charles Barkley IN comic books.

(Via the JayPinkerton.com forums. The next time the man gives me aggro for lurking around there too much, I'm going to point to this and remind him that sometimes it pays off.)

Posted by Ilyka at 11:53 AM | Comments (3)

To the Person Who Got Here Via a Search for 'Let Them Eat Jellybeans'

Thank you for making me feel less like a 37-year-old woman. Or damn you for reminding me that I'm 37 years old to begin with; I'll decide which tomorrow.

Oh, well. If nothing else, I've at least kept my vow not to visit Nicaragua.

Posted by Ilyka at 12:08 AM | Comments (2)

June 04, 2006

Commenting Difficulties

If you're having trouble getting your comment to post, fear not. Or rather, do fear, but know that it's nothing personal. I just had one of my own appear not to go through, and so I reposted it, at which point I realized the previous one HAD gone through, so there I was in public repeating my damn self.

Mu.nu, my host, has had a rough few days, as those of you who noticed the site outage Friday night may have suspected. Apparently we underwent a denial of service attack. And then there's the spammers, who crapflood the system regularly. So, you know, things is wonky around here.

I don't know what to tell you besides just do your best, and if you have problems, email me. I can delete duplicate comments for you or whatever if you need that.

Thanks, and sorry.

Posted by Ilyka at 11:47 AM

June 03, 2006

The Next Time I Mock Somebody on the Internet, Consider the Source

Proof, if more were needed, that I am an imbecile:

My boyfriend and I were standing on the patio smoking cigarettes when a crew-cutted young fellow in swimming trunks headed past us, towards the pool. I will omit the pointless disagreement that his passing prompted between my boyfriend and I, about whether the security guards lock the pool up at different hours on the weekends than they do during the week, and get to the good part, the part in which I am exceedingly dumb.

As the young man passed us on his way back from the pool, he chuckled in a slightly embarrassed fashion and explained, "Dropped my dog tags in the pool."

"Oh," I laughed, "didn't feel like sending the dog into get 'em, huh?"

The young man gave a very small "heh" and continued on his way without further comment.

"Good job, honey," my boyfriend muttered with clear disgust, "Making fun of a serviceman. And so soon after Memorial Day."

"Service . . . ?"

"Yes. The hair?"



"I--oh. You mean . . . you mean his dog tags. HIS dog tags."


"Not his dog's tags?"



"Oh, no."


"I am--wow, I am REALLY STUPID."

"Edith," my boyfriend sighed, shaking his head, "Edith, you dingbat."

Posted by Ilyka at 11:56 PM | Comments (3)

June 02, 2006

What's So Funny

The accusation from antifeminists that's easiest for me to shrug off is the accusation that I don't have a sense of humor. I doubt I have the best or the most discerning or the most-like-your-own sense of humor, but I obviously have one. It's such a nonstarter, that accusation. It's like, are you even trying? Or did you just press the big red button on your Automatic Feminist Basher and "humorless" is what it spit out first?

This came up in the comments to an old post that got linked by feminist parody site Feministing.org. Oh, wait, time out--


Why Feministing.org Doesn't Get a Link - Reasons That Do Not Apply:

  • I'm scared of them.
  • They outrage me.
  • My femynyst principles will not allow it.
  • Why Feministing.org Doesn't Get a Link - Reasons That Do Apply:

  • I'm afraid of adding to the vast number of links they've accrued already; I'm scared that my linking to them might BREAK TECHNORATI FOREVER.
  • It's just not very good at what it tries to do, and I demand quality in entertainment.
  • I know that the site is run by the guy who maintains the "Ameriskanks (Mostly) Suck" page, and I seriously think that guy has capital-p Problems. Quick quiz: Which quote is from The Nice Guy, and which quote is from aspiring cannibal Kevin Ray Underwood?
  • (1)

    But worst of all, she gave me the old "lets just stay friends" talk. I hate that thing. I've heard it so many times I know it by heart.

    I guess I'm just too nice, women all want to be friends with me. Even girls I don't like have told me what a nice guy I am, and, as if that wasn't bad enough, I've even been told that "I actually forget you're a guy, I don't even think of you as a guy, you're like one of the girls to me."


    Millions of men around the U.S. are nice guys like me. They make an effort to think of women as equals. They are attentive, faithful, kind and nurturing. While some people call us "nice guys", others (primarily women) call us "just friends," or even "wimps." We hear things like: "you are such an angel." "You are so sweet." "You are so understanding." "You say the nicest things." "You are so considerate." "I love the flowers." "You treat me better than all my old boyfriends." "We have so much in common." "I know I can rely on you when I want to whine to somebody about the guys I do sleep with." And that, friends, is when you fight the urge to hit her repeatedly upside the head with a broken bottle!

    I'm not saying poor-pitiful-me-ism causes cannibalism. I'm just asking whether we can really afford to take the chance that it might. Think, think of the children.


    Anyway, here's the thing: I don't mind misogyny in humor per se, but most misogynistic jokes are told by two kinds of people:

  • Misogynists who think they're funny.
  • Funny people who are sometimes misogynistic.
  • And obviously, for me, it makes all the difference which of those two is making the joke.

    If you're funny, you can tell any kind of joke. Nothing's off limits. That's kind of a point of this movie, isn't it? You can't be too offensive, if you're good enough. Someone who's really funny can be thoroughly, repulsively offensive because what comes across to the audience, even in the midst of offending, is a clear sense that this person does not HAVE to be offensive. They're not limited to mere offensiveness. They have more than one game going on. They're not being offensive because that's the extent of their ability (see: Clay, Andrew Dice), they're being offensive because they can be, because they feel like it, and let's face it, because sometimes it's FUN to be offensive.

    Yes, it is. Don't argue with me. Part of what makes certain jokes funny is the naughtiness of them, the sense that you're telling a truth that was supposed to be kept a secret. And the truth is sometimes offensive. Most children, for example, cannot draw worth a lick. We're not supposed to say that, because My God! They're Only Children! They're Just Learning to Express Themselves! How Can You Be So Cruel? How Can You Crush the Fragile Bloom of Their Budding Creative Expression Underfoot Like That?

    I don't know. I just know something about "Vrrroooooooooooommmmmm! F" makes me laugh. Because it's funny. That's how.

    We're also not supposed to equate the word "pussy" with "hopeless coward." That's really demeaning to women! It must stop. But we're making progress on that front, because no one I know, feminist or otherwise, ever laughs at this:

    Peter Gibbons: Lumbergh's gonna have me work on Saturday. I can tell already. I'm gonna end up doin' it, because, uh . . . because I'm a big pussy . . . which is why I work at Initech to begin with.

    Michael Bolton: Uh, yeah, well, I work at Initech and I don't consider myself a pussy, okay?

    Samir: Yes, I am also not a pussy.

    So that's why I'm just not much annoyed by Maddox: I don't get the sense that Maddox "means it," even if he did say some pretty stupid things in his interview about women, which he definitely did.

    But I'm more interested in other, tangential questions that interview brings up, like: We're seeing a small trend in books that tell dudes how to be manly; what's up with that? I kind of think that what has happened is, we've obsoleted the man-as-ultimate-provider ideal for guys anymore, and they're trying to find other ways to redefine themselves; which, great, but I'm sometimes leery of the ways they're choosing to do that.* I dunno about this "the manliest guy is the guy who guts fish with his teeth" business.

    That's what I wonder about the whole Maddox thing--if not his version of manliness, whose? Where's that gonna come from? It has to come from men, obviously. Pro-feminist men need to quit playing the More Feminist Than Thou card against each other and come up with something.

    And maybe it's just me, but it would probably go over better if it were funny.


    This is why, by the way, I stay right the hell out of feminist conversations that critique pro-feminist men. Which brings me to something else I've been wanting to vent:

    If you're a dude who's all proud of how you don't cloak yourself in the feminist label, not like those other poseurs, those guys who think they can be feminist but who really just don't have a clue, can you do me a favor? Consider. Consider that I NEED those guys you're so superior to. Not want. NEED.

    I don't care if they sometimes get shit wrong, I don't care if they sometimes forget themselves and start bossing women around, I don't care if they often step in it, I don't care if they brag about watching porn, I don't CARE. I am not exactly drowning in alternatives, did you notice?

    Right now, my chief alternative is guys like Harvey Mansfield, Tucker Max, and the Maddox readers who make the mistake of taking Maddox's shtick seriously:

    hey maddox, why shouldnt we be allowd to rape girls in the army? write about it

    So listen: When things are so golly-gee-good for women that I can afford to hold pro-feminist men to higher standards, because so many men are beating down the gates to overthrow the patriarchy, I will let you know. But I don't think we're there yet. I don't think we're remotely close. You can't even get all women to agree that feminism is beneficial right now. And you want me to smack down a guy who's up for it?

    Have you ever worked at a place where the boss hired two or three people solely to gain the luxury of terminating one? One who wasn't pulling his weight? That's where I think women are at with this. Once we bring aboard some new hires and get them set up, then . . . .

    I'll get all nitpicky about Who's Really a Troo Feminist when I can afford to get all nitpicky it. When I have nothing better to do with my time, that's when. That time ain't now. Or did I miss where it was you being interviewed for your surprisingly successful (and movingly pro-feminist) book?


    Posted by Ilyka at 12:18 PM | Comments (8)

    June 01, 2006

    The Comments to This Are Killing Me

    Killing me, I tell you.

    Favorite bits:

    I know this recipe! My stepdad was in jail last year. It’s called “Jailhouse Burritos”!

    Just when you thought burritos couldn't move any lower on the food chain, they totally, totally do.

    This is one of the favorite meals the inmates here. Our guys add cheetos though. Ive always wanted to try it but I would never tell them that.

    Oh now hey. I'm sure they'd be happy to share.

    I still eat it and I have been out of jail for a while now.

    HAVING to eat this I understand. Choosing to, not so much.

    Finally, if you think I've been abusing the caps lock lately:



    (Ramen blog courtesy of Dr. Alice.)

    Posted by Ilyka at 03:18 AM | Comments (1)