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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
December 2022
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Voracious escape

So I tell people I don’t watch “a lot” of TV. I say this because sometimes, I don’t. If you consider how many hours I spend with motion picture entertainment vs textual entertainment or work, it comes out at the bottom. There are seasons or years where I didn’t really watch anything.

I do watch more television than my father though. He doesn’t own a TV. He doesn’t have a netflix account. He spends part of his year without reliable electricity or internet. So no matter what, when I compare myself to him, I do watch “a lot” of television.

So, since I’m such a voracious consumer of brainless mental escape, here’s the shows that Kevin and I have been watching this fall (all links are wikipedia):

Once Upon a Time
Big Bang Theory (If you want the actual cosmological theory, you gotta google “big bang” apparently)
Top Chef
Booth at the End (Hulu)
Spy (Hulu)

Are you also a consumer of brainless mental escape? Do you also call all visual entertainment/education “shows”? (This drives Bear insane. My documentaries are also “my shows”.) Have you seen any of the shows I’m mentioned?

What is up with my use of quotation marks in this post?

of great social and political import

I was totally going to post this yesterday and do a sad little Music Monday. I failed. If someone wants to know what I’m listening to: Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin. (That’s a Grooveshark link. Youtube link is here.) It’s an old song that I’m listening to because of a conversation that happened as a result of the Superbowl Ad (Super Bowl?). I adore scratchy voices so I’m not even caring what she’s singing, I’m just loving the sound of her voice.

I also love that she’s a woman. That sounds weird. Lemme ‘splain. I listen to a lot of men in music and lately I’ve been noticing how much of our world view, our societal point of view is created by men. So I’ve been trying to consciously pick female points of view. Which has been interesting.

I think a lot about women in society and how most bigotry is systemic. I spend a lot of time reading meta type blogs. I read a lot of blogs by some very perceptive people who are really good at noticing systemic bigotry. I’m not, so it makes me grateful for the blogs that these people write. Because I’m good at finding myself uneasy, but not noticing or understanding why, but these people are.

But in consciously picking my world view influences, I’m noticing something. The male point of view is comfortable. Male voices and turns of phrase and perspectives are all more normative. Female voices and turns of phrase and perspectives feel different. I can’t tell if this difference is purely because as a society everything IS from the male perspective or if it’s a personal issue. Maybe it’s because I AM female. I’d love to try this experiment out on a guy. Pick books, movies, music and articles produced by women and see if the world feels a bit more uncomfortable to them or if it feels more comfortable.

There was (yet another) article from some online magazine/journal/newspaper about how romance novels are pretty shitty and shouldn’t be used as any kind of real life …standard. Plenty of people jumped all over the article, especially because the author of said article admitted IN the article to not reading romance novels. My favorite kinds of snobs are those that are snobbish over things they’ve never experienced. So someone posed a question after reading the article; If you assume that romance novels really are just women’s fantasies, why are men’s fantasies on Super Bowl commercials while women’s fantasies are considered something to be dismissed/talked down/laughed off? We don’t take things that women like or think about seriously. We don’t let women’s fantasies have the same legitimacy as men’s.

What if we can’t even recognize what it would look like if female fantasies WERE considered normative and were on Super Bowl commercials? What if part of the discomfort I feel is because the women produced media is being produced by women in a male tinted culture? I dunno. I’m not even sure how much longer I can keep up my experiment. There’s not enough stuff produced by women, even if it’s meant for men.

(Linda, the title of the post is from the song Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin. It cracks me up. It’s not meant to be a commentary on the content of the post. AT ALL.)

(ETA: If you didn’t get what I  meant about women in a male tinted world, to wit: Specifically “a teacher at his school came up to him and asked if he was the kid whose mother wrote “trashy romance novels.” I think my mouth dropped open. I asked him what he said. He looked at me and said, “I told her no. You write Superromances.” LOL. So, suck it, random teacher implying I write crap…to my kid.” Jeepers people.)

A bird wearing a brown polyester shirt

I’m helping my mom with her psych/child development class, so I’ve been reading a lot about gender issues and gender typing and differences in development and treatment of the different genders. I know growing up we joked with my mom that she was very sexist. She would make my younger brother go out with me, not because it was safer in numbers but because he was a boy. Considering that he’s a year and a half younger and that at 17 and 15 this made a big difference I always thought she was nuts. I love my brother and often didn’t mind taking him along thankfully. Once we got past the annoying boy cootie stage of our lives, I’ve mostly loved having Carl around.

Back onto the topic. Linda and I have talked about when we have children multiple times. We’ve both also got a fair amount of exposure to young children and have experience taking care of children. I know at least once Linda’s made a comment about how she hates it when boys do x, where x is crying or whining or something. I know that feeling. When a little girl does something annoying, it can be fifty times more annoying in a boy. Or vice versa. A girl crying because she tripped and fell mostly makes me want to pick her up, smack her on the butt and say “Stop crying.” A little boy doing that though makes me want to pick him up and cuddle him until he stops. Mostly because boys do it more rarely than girls and boys tend to not even really want the cuddling whereas girls, the second you give them that attention they will just glomp all over you. But I’m wondering if this behavior is trained. I’m reading these papers about studies showing how parents will very subtly and unknowingly reward girls for “submissive” emotion and boys for “disharmonious” emotions.

I would really really REALLY love to know if anyone has any examples of things that annoy them more when a boy does them instead of a girl or vice versa. Not just because it helps with this class, but because now I’m curious whether this is just Linda and I reacting to our admittedly sexist natal cultures or if it’s more widespread.

while we were laughing and smoking and drinking

Today started off rough and got worse. Got up, took Bear to work, went to the post office and home to get my shit and ran back to school to meet a new guy because his installs on his personal laptop aren’t working. Walked in to find out that he just left for “class” despite telling me that his class didn’t start for 40 minutes after I showed up. I swallowed that down, because if it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t have gone in today. I ended up answering a lot of questions about an assignment I created for a class that two students I’m in the lab with are taking, so I’m telling myself it was worth it.

I then started working on the next assignment I’m giving (thankfully I’m only giving two). The last one, creating the assignment went pretty well and was fun except for figuring out exactly what to ask. This one, just figuring out what the assignment should cover or how it should cover it was hell. The tools I have available BLOW in terms of documentation. One is so bad I think the creators and collectors for the different tools don’t even understand the concept. I spent hours just figuring out which stupid Pin tools do what. I’m still not sure whether one metric I want is available or if I’d have to create my own tool (not doing that). Some of these tools give numbers and I’m like…. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN SIGNIFY? And gprof failed me. The program we want the students to work on it too short for it to get actual timing for each of the functions and if I make them use a longer version it defeats the point of using this program. So I’ve spent an increasing amount of time glaring and huffing and growling at my computer screen while I work my way through what feels like three billion different tools that are all undocumented and some without any kind of readable LABELS trying to piece together enough information to ask the students for any kind of analysis of the assembly they are supposed to deconstruct.

In the middle of all this my mom tells me that IE doesn’t work for her anymore. I spend a lot of time fighting with her to get logmein set up on her computer (omg, how did my mother forget how to figure out the USERNAME for her account on her laptop???? how did she not already KNOW IT???????????). Eventually I log in and start poking around with IE and realize that the pages that have the most trouble use java, but I can’t click any links and I can’t click buttons and I was losing my mind. Finally I was like, I don’t know. I asked Bear to check it out and he said, you can’t install anything either. So I tried, and it’s fucked. I thank Bear for spend half an hour during his workday messing with my mom’s computer and I call her back. I tell her, do you see this isn’t working? It’s worse than you thought. And she says (I have it on my phone, she actually said this) “The cat did it.” My response: “That is not acceptable mother.” It was at least worth a shocked giggle I guess. My brother got about a million IMs during this going, “where is our mother’s brain?” and “I’m going to kill her.” His response was to make sure I didn’t make a mess. I really do thank God for giving me my brother. Bear and he are my boys.

So yeah. I’ve now racked up more than 24 hours playing with assembly instructions and really frustrating tools for this assignment alone and I haven’t written a solution yet. In addition to my mother acting brainless and like a 5th grader, I had a new labmate stand me up. I can’t tell if I’d be more frustrated if I’d found out he never showed than knowing he showed, he just decided not to stick around. But I really really want to do something that WORKS right now. I just don’t know what. I’m worried if I try to read, the story will be bad or silly or not make enough sense for me right now and I’ll just combust from the accumulated frustration.