Deja Rant, Redux Again (Or “Hey Lady, Your Agenda is Showing!”)

March 4th, 2012

An article on “The New Single Woman” in Atlantic Monthly led me to a teen dating website called “Hooking Up Smart.” It’s moderated by a woman named Susan Walsh who’s about my age who was a self-proclaimed slut in B-school and developed a teen advice web site after advising her own teen-aged daughters. Mama, don’t let your babies grow up to be Mama.

After reading a few of her posts, a pattern emerged and I started taking bets with myself on how many paragraphs would elapse before she turned the topic into blaming feminism for whatever was wrong with the world and some of the misguided choices she made in her life. (Hello, Lori Gottlieb.) And then she accuses the “women living alone movement” of having an agenda, while she of course has none.

Apparently even teens/20’s sex is a Red State/Blue State issue. It appears that the Walsh site is populated by a lot of guys who believe in “Men’s Rights Activism,” (MRA) which states that I alone, Melinda Bruno, am why nice guys can’t get laid and Western Civilization as we know it is in jeopardy. The Blue State guys are on a site called the Good Men Project. Both have some truths and are at least somewhat of an insight into the young male psyche, at least the “Angry Young Man Psyche.” Both were established by women. The Good Men Project gave this description of MRA philosophy (italics mine, because I take things personally):

Problem: Men have to do all the work asking women out, and women are often hostile to men’s overtures, which hurts men’s feelings.

MRA explanation: Women are lazy princesses, who enjoy forcing men to dance for the pussy, and then enjoy shutting them down, because it strokes petty female egos.*

Reality-based explanation: These are two separate issues. Women reject men forcefully because 1) a lot of overtures are actually just harassment, and 2) even men who are sincerely hitting on you sometimes are really rude and entitled about it, requiring a forceful response. (Plus, some MRAs experience all rejections as women being too big for their britches, making it impossible for a woman to say no without being labeled a bitch.) Women don’t approach men very often, because doing so often gets you labeled slutty, bitchy, or desperate, or sometimes all three.

MRA solution: Pay a lot of money to creepy men who label themselves “pickup artists”** and who promise to teach you how to get any woman you want in bed. The method usually involves taking an abusive posture to women, and learning to identify insecure women, extracting sex from them through bullying. You know, instead of doing something as quaint as sleeping with women who actually want to have sex with you.

Reality-based solution: More feminism. A world where rape victims weren’t denounced because they were overly flirty, where women weren’t mocked because they acted “like men,” and where the word “slut” had no meaning is one where women would feel freer to hit on men. Plus, a world where women weren’t harassed on the street, or where they could tell men “no” and be heard the first time, would be one where women weren’t immediately suspicious of every man who approached them.

*What’s this, the Scumbag Manifesto?
**The “Rules Boys”?

I hadn’t realized how angry I was at what I’d read on the Walsh blog until I was on my way to my tax appointment. (Here’s a rule of thumb: When you find yourself siding with the troll, you’re on the wrong blog.)

I was still upset when I settled down for the night with my book in hand, of course a book and not a man because of feminism! Not because cancer kills the person who you did marry, not because you value your autonomy and aren’t willing to desperately throw it away, but because of the evil feminism, which caused Susan Walsh to be a slut back in business school and which will turn you into a miserable lonely spinster.

I wanted to get on that woman’s site and call her every kind of name, and I had to tell myself calm down, you’re too good for that, you’re above that. And look how she responds to the troll, telling her she has to put a bag over her head to get laid. You want to stoop to that level?

Too goddam much of that, and that’s what gets the attention these days, while I get none…and that’s what’s really upsetting me.

Aha, a Feminazi, complaining about how she’s getting none! Au contraire, mon frere. I’m an iconoclast who’s had a problem with feminists since I was in a Second Wave-era women’s group as a teenager…along with anyone else who’s told me what I should think, do and be. But “feminism” and “anti-feminism” are just two sides of the same coin and often have nothing to do with the reality of how real men and women live. And they’re often used not to encourage communication and understanding, but to shut it down.

We’re all influenced by the mores of the era in which we came of age. In my parents’ generation, you didn’t do it until you were married except if you were a boy doing it with a “bad girl.” Today, kids are pressured in every media and by their peers before they even reach puberty. My generation, and Walsh’s, had its own mixed messages to contend with. But no matter when you grew up and what somebody was telling you what to do and not do with your body, ultimately your road is your own personal story, and your own responsibility.

In light of what’s been happening lately with the arguments on contraception, I’d like to see it stay that way.

A Very Hitchcock Moment on the West Side Highway

April 16th, 2011

Undead Hard Drive

April 11th, 2011

This was originally posted on March 2, 2010 to a graphics blog I’d kept for a while that I’ve since taken down.

My 320 GB LaCie external hard drive, which served me faithfully for five years, failed to mount last week. This could have been because it accidentally fell on my hardwood floor, although I’m not ruling out an act of suicide over being upstaged by my new 1TB LaCie hard drive.

I brought it to Tekserve to find out if there was anything that could be done. Diagnosis: Sorry, it’s trashed.

“So do I bring it somewhere to be recycled or something?”

“Actually, we can dispose of it for you right here.”

“How do I make sure that nobody can retrieve what’s on the hard drive?”

“We take the drive out of the case and put a stake through it.” And he wasn’t kidding; it’s actually what they do. And then they sell the case as scrap.

The tech brought me a release to sign. I felt like I was putting an old sick pet to sleep. Fortunately, I had backed up all the info on the drive just before it (literally) crashed, or there would have been a data recovery fee of up to $800.

I’m treating the new one with kid gloves now, continuing to back up regularly, managing the octopus of cables so it doesn’t accidentally get dragged off the desk, and being on the lookout for hard drive suicide notes.

April 11th, 2011

This was originally posted on February 11, 2010 to a graphics blog I’d kept for a while that I’ve since taken down.

I’m in the middle of a project that involves audio and video files, which eat hard drive space voraciously. I’ve been looking into how to upgrade the internal hard drive. Based on what I’ve read, my Intel iMac is held together by a bunch of magnets that a normal person will never be able to put back together properly again.

A techie friend said, “Oh, it’s simple. You just remove the bezel.” I replied that it wasn’t so simple for me, although “bezel” is a funny word.

I went for an external hard drive instead. My 300 GB LaCie 2d Quadra’s been running faithfully for over four years, so I feel confident about the brand, even though I still don’t know if it’s pronounced “Lacey” or “La See.” J&R and B&H both carry the 1 TB drive for $150, which is the cheapest you’ll find anywhere. J&R had a coupon on their site for $15.00 off a purchase of $150 or more.

Once I got there and was in a mild trance staring at an array of RAID arrays, the clerk told me I couldn’t use the coupon on the hard drive because it wasn’t good on sale items. Just about everything this weekend is a sale item there, so I went ahead and bought it anyway.

“So, Miss Spendthrift,” said my Inner Parents, “you don’t know where your next paycheck is coming from and you’re buying more equipment? You might as well get the two terabyte drive.” This is how I know it’s my Inner Parents speaking. My actual parents wouldn’t know a terabyte if it bit them.

I explained to them that while a 1 TB drive would be a good investment, the 2 TB would be overkill right now. By the time I need the 2 TB drive, it’ll be time for a totally new iMac that will have a 10 TB internal drive and make toast.

So now I’ve got both drives connected and I’m nervous about putting stuff on the new one, afraid I’ve jinxed my equipment by recommending it. I keep checking them to see if they’re running. They are, but as you can see in the photo above, the little blue light is beginning to dim on the old one. I’ll have to find out if you can change the bulb and if it involves magnets or bezels.

RAM Upgrade for My Mac

April 11th, 2011

The underside of your iMac, with the little panel removed. Photo courtesy Bleedingedge TV

This was originally posted on January 31, 2010 to a graphics blog I’d kept for a while that I’ve since taken down.

I needed to upgrade the memory in my iMac from the 1GB that it shipped with in 2007 to 4GB so that I can run Parallels Desktop. This is so I can use MS Office 2007 and the Beta version of Office 2010 in their native habitats, because the Mac version of these apps is like a toy.

I ordered the upgrade from OWC, which has a little video on how to install it, but I was really inspired by this video because they showed what actually happens when you, a real person, upgrade your own memory cards. They’re supposed to pop out of the slots like Pop Tarts out of a toaster, but they don’t. I had to ease the old one out with that most intricate of contemporary instruments, the bent paper clip.

Also, I thought I was pushing the new ones in too hard, so I didn’t push: I didn’t want to ram the RAM. So when I plugged the computer back in and turned it on, instead of the familiar Bwwwoongggggg! I got “boop boop boop…boop boop boop…” So I pressed them in harder than I’d thought I was supposed to, turned it on again, and got the familiar start-up sound.

And there you have it:

Now I’m going to look for a hard drive upgrade. What part of the iMac do you unscrew for that, and what sound does it make when you’re doing it wrong?

Sometimes the Most Obvious Things Slip Right Through

April 11th, 2011

Like minnows through my brain

This was originally posted on December 8, 2009 to a graphics blog I’d kept that I’ve since taken down.

I had an interview today at a temp agency that supplies graphics people to large multinational corporations. I took a PowerPoint test and finished the one-hour test in forty minutes, doing stuff most people would never do to PowerPoint: Standardizing chart formats, matching RGB colors and typesetting away like Robo-Gutenberg. And then I spent the next twenty minutes on one thing, which was how to start numbering pages from “1″ starting on the page after the cover page.

I looked under every menu and sub-menu for the magic formula, clicking headers, footers, options and tools until the timer dinged. I asked the guy in charge of the test room, “How do you make the page after the cover page be 1?” And he answered:

“You number the cover page zero.”

All right…it’s not like there’s actual multinational corporate work flying around out there.

April 11th, 2011

My badge is tired, and so am I

This was originally posted on November 29, 2009 to a graphics blog I kept for a while that I’ve since taken down.

WordPress, the blogging/content management software with which you’re viewing this blog unless I change my mind, had a big convention on November 14th and 15th at Baruch College’s Vertical Building. The people who designed the Vertical Building were very thoughtful. They knew that bloggers sit at a desk so much of the time and rarely get enough exercise, so they built elevators that only go to the third, fifth and eleventh floors and the escalators weren’t working that weekend at all. And since events were taking place on several different floors, often within minutes of each other, we had plenty of opportunity to move.

But even though the building had a learning curve, attendees were enthusiastic about pursuing more info on our favorite tracks. Mine were “Blogger” and “Beginning Developer” and I zoned in on everything about Themes, including:

* Daisy Olsen and Adria Richards, who were informative and proved that I’m not the only woman who likes to make a cartoon of herself.
* Allan Cole, who had a funny presentation on Parent/Child Themes, something I didn’t even know about and one that may ultimately solve my “customization” issues: The parent theme gives you the framework and the PHP code, and then you adapt the CSS to your own nefarious ends. (This is, of course, dependent on my having the patience to figure out CSS to begin with.)
* Jim Doran, who does the websites for Johns Hopkins, and showed us how to make Javascript easy with jQuery, and answered the question “Oh, so that’s what happened with Javascript since the last time I learned it and never used it.”

Towards the end of Day Two I was saying to myself, “Okay, enough with the theming; six months from now you’ll be kicking yourself for not having sat in on some of these other great topics.” So I went to a presentation on podcasting and when I got there, the guy was talking about theming.

The conference finished in the auditorium, so we didn’t have to run from place to place but I think that’s where I picked up a bad cold despite copious applications of free hand sanitizer, courtesy of Microsoft.

Some random stuff:

* The winner of a plug-in contest was “Conversation Prompter,” which “allows you to prompt your readers to comment by asking them to answer a question specific to that post;”
* There’s a WYSIWYG application called “Elastic” being developed that will make designing WordPress themes even more like using Dreamweaver;
* The guys at the Genius Bar showed me that I was smarter than I’d thought, or at least they ran through the same steps that I had when troubleshooting my problem;
* There was free cheese.

And I enjoyed Erin Blaskie‘s “Lifestreaming” presentation. The name makes it sound like the latest in New Age self-help, but it’s really just having this “You Central” that unites your blog, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and videos in one place. It’s a narcissist’s dream, and my New Year’s Resolution for 2010.

How to Shop The Jersey Gardens Outlet Mall

June 22nd, 2010

  1. Don’t tell yourself you’re going there to save money. You’ve already spent $13.00 just to take the bus.
  2. Don’t buy anything you’re not crazy about just to justify your having spent $13.00 on the bus.
  3. Do buy something you’re crazy about even if it wasn’t what you went there looking for.

    Wrong: “This cobalt blue sweater looks great on me, but I didn’t come here looking for a cobalt blue sweater.”

    Right: “This cobalt blue sweater looks great on me. I’m buying it.”

    And last but not least:

  4. Know the real prices of things before you go. Just because it says “Outlet” doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting a bargain.

Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim

June 12th, 2010

I was on a David Sedaris kick when I was unemployed. Yes, I’ll catch up with trends from this century sooner or later.

This week I got around to “Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim.” No fashion advice here, except for a story revolving around a fringed velveteen vest in 1969.

Lots of laugh-out-loud humor here and some poignancy that doesn’t clobber you over the head. Plus, he confirms something I’ve always suspected: “The real voice of reason sounds like Bea Arthur.”

Return of the Return

June 7th, 2010

I’ve imported all of my old brunobaby posts into this blog, so now it’s one big happy blog post family under one roof.

I haven’t updated this in a while because:

1. Nothing worth remarking on has been going on, and

2. There are more people reading my status updates on Facebook in like, an hour, than have commented on my blog in five years.

That being said, even if nothing I’m doing is remarkably earth-shattering, it’s still important to me, and I’d still rather write about it than not.