Feminism, Fear, and Faux-pas

During the whole permission-to-fondle-your-boobs blogging flame-war (you have heard about this, right?), I was told that I would be violating a woman's rights if I told a female stranger that I thought she was attractive. Specifically, I was told that these kinds of events can be "triggering" for victims of trauma (assault and rape in particular). I can't seem to get this thought out of my head.

I generally don't tell strangers I think they're hot. : ) I do, however, make specific comments, and I make them with some frequency. Things like "that's a really nice necklace", or "I like that skirt", or "what a great tattoo".

This freaks me out because I don't know where to draw the line.

I can't imagine the fear that a victim of assault may have. But I fully understand that the tiniest little things can be triggering events. ...but where does the line of reason stand, in terms of what actions should be considered potentially triggering and those that should be "okay"? At what level does being "safe" with one's actions (and in particular comments) become ad absurdum?

When I think deeply on the subject, I realize that my frustration is because my right to speak freely is being trumped. "Why does your dysfunction have to affect me?" ...And then I realize how selfish it is.


So if I've said something to you that caused you pain, I apologize. I would assure you my intentions were good, but I realize that good intentions don't mean shit if you've been hurt.

Housemate's blog

I have a house-mate. She's very quiet, nice, and otherwise avoids complicating our lives... it's been quite a positive experience, really.

My wife and I went to lunch with her the other day, and I asked her what was "on her mind recently" (since she's so quiet). She then admitted that she had recently been bullied into starting a blog*, and that she spent a lot of time thinking about what to post there.

I had to agree. Having a blog kinda changes the way thoughts roll around your head. In fact, I likened the sensation to that of someone who's just taken up photography. You end up looking at the world quite differently.

For me, blogging helped me realize just how connected we are, even those of us who are clearly introverts. It also made it very clear how influenced are actions are by how we think people will perceive them. And finally, it made it crystallized just how "different" a lot of my opinions are from (most) other people's. It's really been an experiment in sociology for me. Not entirely positive, to be sure... but I've learned a lot.

How has blogging changed your outlook?

* I didn't ask for a link to it; I figured it would be fairly private and be awkward to have to filter it for the people she's living with, in case she wanted to bitch about how we run our house. I'll ask when she moves out.

America's BIG.

I grew up in Massachusetts, and long had the impression that it was this tiny little state in a relatively small country (maybe tenth largest?) on the smallest continent on the light side of the world.

Today, I was fiddling with Google Maps and noticed that MA is actually not as small as I thought. It's over 1/3rd as wide as New Mexico (my current home). ...And, hey, the US looks kinda big compared to the rest of the world.

Hey! I exclaimed. How does the US stack against the world?

I was surprised to learn that the US is effectively tied for third with China. This was shocking... I had grown up thinking China was massive. Way-way bigger than we. Oops.

And while I was doing my homework, I made the mistake of searching for "countries by size" (rather than area), and stumbled upon some statistics that point out the size of our armies (by troops) is roughly seventh or eighth in the world... yet we spend 623 billion bucks. Compare that to the distant second of China, who spends 80 billion. ...We get half the army for 7.8 times the money.

We're doing something wrong.

I mean... that I knew... but, still, seeing the numbers just makes it all seem so phenomenally asinine. To quote (appropriately enough) Big trouble in Little China...

"I must be so monumentally naive!"

"You are."

Self-portait Through Time

Here's something you thought about doing, but didn't have the staying power to actually pull off:

Google Maps: I am Looking In Your Window.

View Larger Map

From a technical perspective, Google's new Street View stuff is really very, very cool.

It's slightly scary... though I can't quite place why. It's not like anything they've captured is special. I heard an argument that they're helping criminals "case your house from their couch"... but I'm sorry, I just don't see that. Still, there's something disturbingly spooky about the fact that my house can be viewed on-line from anywhere.

Plus, the fact that they shot our city in the wee hours of a weekend morning (I know because I leave for work before dawn and my car is still there), with empty streets... just makes the whole thing feel post-apocalyptic. I'm reminded of This Silent Earth.

Speaking of Drawing...

I have officially decided to withdraw from CNM (college).

I've taken on a couple of new work projects... and earning money trumps art. ...For now. Thus, I've gone to my last art class for a few years.

A little sad, but necessary. ...Also, I learned that the class was, for the most part, superfluous. It was an excuse to draw on a regular basis. ...If I need to learn more in the future, I know that the best way to do that is to draw on a regular basis.


I recently became disenchanted with the nature of this blog. It's all over the damn place, 'cause I'm a guy with lots of diverse interests, and they don't particularly synthesize into a compelling narrative.

So, I've split my blog up.

I will no longer be posting here about science, programming, religion, philosophy, or music. This blog will be "the life and times of Jeremy". ...Goings-on, events, opinions thereon, and the like. A place for friends and family to get updates without my having to repeat myself. ; ) I will also leave my drawing stuff here.

If you are interested in any of the above topics, email me, tell me which subjects you're interested in, and I will point you to the variants containing each.

Guilty Pleasures: As You Get Older

One of the aspects of life that I find most fascinating is how people's tastes change with age.

A dramatic change for me has been my taste in music. Five years ago, I listened to and wrote ambient music 80% of the time. While some techno fascinated me, I thought it was redundant and obnoxious.

Today, I listen to techno 80% of the time. Some ambient is fascinating, but I mostly find it redundant and obnoxious.

(Okay, I really only listen to techno about 50% of the time.)

As I get older, I'm finding this trend continues... I just want music that's blatantly electronic.

Latley, I have even been listening to Astral Projection. I feel guilty admitting that.

What are you doing now that your younger self would have slapped you for?

Rest In Peace, Kikapu

Well. I just discovered that one of the net labels that I have released music on, known as Kikapu, was laid to rest this year.

Looking around, it seems like there are very few netlabels yet thriving. And those that I found were less than impressive. Is Kahvi the only one left? If you read this and know of one, please drop me a line.