Saturday, November 3, 2012

Leaving iPhoneLand for the bountful shores of Androidia

Hi there!

First let me get this out of the way: I haven't blogged in a while! In fact, I'm on the internet a LOT less often than I once was. I have many reasons for this. Some are personal, many have more to do with some dismaying developments in the various online communities I participate(d) in, which kind of made me lose interest in participating in them. (Yes, I am talking about the pervasive and horrific sexism that has been allowed to fester in the atheist and skeptic communities. I'll have more to say on that at a later date).

I want to get back to blogging. And here we are. I wanted to start with something important and heartfelt.

But instead, I'm going to detail my migration from the iPhone to an Android device (the Galaxy SIII) next week. I'll detail why I'm making the switch. And once it's done, explain what I miss about the iPhone, and why I'm happy (or not) with my decision.

If it's boring to you, just skip it. This is meant more to get me back in the swing of things than for anything else.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

O, hai

Hello. It's been a while.

So, where have I been? Nowhere, really. I kind of took the last year or so off from the online world. This was not by design. It just kind of happened. A few drafted blog posts, and the occasional Twitter update, but otherwise it's been radio silence from me.

Anyway, I can't promise I'll be posting regularly again. But I'll try.

Friday, May 13, 2011

FYI: Men's Rights Activists are terrible people

I'm starting something new today. Those of you on Twitter will be familiar with "Follow Friday." For those of you not on Twitter, well, I'll defer to The Oatmeal to explain.

I'm expanding on the idea, and will try to review a blog, podcast, or website that is worthy of your attention each week

For the inaugural edition, say hello to Man Boobz.

First, a bit of background as I bet there's a fair number of you unfamiliar with Man Boobz's bread-and-butter: the special breed of über-misogynist assholes known as the Men's Rights Movement or Men's Right's Activists.

Are you familiar with "Men's Rights Activists?" If not, consider yourself lucky, because finding a more hateful, self-pitying, angry, pathetic, priviledged, tactless, and self-contradictory no-need-to-parody group of human beings on this planet (I can't speak for any other planets) is difficult indeed. A good introduction can be found here. And an even better introduction is the frothing bile from the MRAs in the comments section at the same link. (Note: you'll have to manually expand a lot of comments, as the MRA hordes have systematically down-voted almost all rebutting conversation as "not helpful")

Essentially, Men's Rights Activists believe that our society is run and dominated by women, for women.

In MRA world, poor, put-upon men are helplessly manipulated by devious feminists. (Which is to say female supremacists. Which is to say all but a few women.) Women hate men and have only staved off eliminating them entirely to make sure someone provides them with a baby, thus ensuring a lifetime of child support payments which they can use for shoes.

In MRA world, all women are frigid sluts who refuse sex with every man they see ever, and paradoxically spread their legs for every man they ever see (with the notable exception of any Men's Rights Activist making the claim).

In MRA World, women are almost never victims of rape or spousal/partner abuse, but will gleefully lie about being raped on the off chance they could fuck-over a hapless dude. And they'll slaver at any stories of men being raped or beaten, which of course happens far more often to men than women.

In MRA World, not only have women collectively been given a position of authority over all men, but this is of course the opposite of how it should be: Women should be demure and subservient to men, catering to their every desire. MRAs will rarely admit this directly, but it shouldn't be too much trouble to get them to own up to it (I know I've been able to in my rather limited online interaction with them).

Though I've been aware of the Men's Rights Movement for a few years, its only in recent months that I've come to be fascinated by the movement. And by "fascinated" I mean "entertained." And by "entertained" I mean "horrified."

I'm occasionally involved in debates about all manner of irrationality and nonsense, from creationism, Teapartyism, and climate-change-denialism to homeopathy, alien abduction, and homophobia. But I have found few people as so unhinged, hateful, irrational, and jaw-droppingly awful as members of the Men's Rights Movement.

And that's where Man Boobz comes in. Man Boobz is the handiwork of David Futrelle, who tirelessly tracks the most outrageously misogynistic assholes the world has to offer and mercilessly mocks them to hilarious and/or depressing effect. How does David has the intestinal fortitude to read this kind of bullshit, day after day, I'll never know. Easy targets? You bet your ass they are, but it is nonetheless satisfying to see the bankrupt ideas of MRAs treated with exactly the type of response they deserve: outright mockery.

Okay, so this was less a review of MB as it was a chance to vent about MRAs, but if you want that chance more often, be sure to check out Man Boobz. I'd say "enjoy," but I don't think that's quite the right word here.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

BREAKING NEWS: Jon Stewart exposes Fox News commentators as racist, hypocritical assholes

And by news, I mean just another day. Still, an absolutely brilliant, funny, and quite depressing take-down of Fox's ginned-up outrage at the rapper Common. Watch both parts:

Part 1:

Part 2:

[via Balloon Juice]

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


So, it's not my intention to turn this into an all-Doctor-Who, all-the-time blog. But I haven't been inspired to write much lately, so you'll have to forgive me.

So I have a theory on the events of last week's episode that I want to share. It's incredibly spoilery, so if you haven't seen "The Impossible Astronaut" yet, please DO NOT READ ON. Seriously, it will hamper your enjoyment of the show if you read this before you see it.

Here's an amazing photo of the sun. Just to fill some space in...

Pretty, eh?

Still here? Okay. So, the little girl who regenerates at the end: what's her deal. It's implied that she's Amy's daughter, as Amy sees a photograph of the two of them together. But is it that simple?

Well, yes. Kinda. I think she's the daughter of Amy and Rory, two regular humans.

But remember, Amy was abducted by the Silents and had been kept for "many days." It was never explained why. We know the Silents have been trying to replicate Timelord technology ("someone's attempt to build a TARDIS"), and now I think they're trying to replicate Timelord physiology as well. They abducted Amy to futz about with her fetus's DNA and experiment with regeneration.

We know the Silents have an interest in Amy's pregnancy (the one at the White House is very keen that she tell the Doctor about it), and we know they were keeping a very close eye on the little girl at the orphanage.

Experimentation with Timelord biology was foreshadowed by River saying that aliens would gladly tear the world apart to get a single cell from the Doctor's body. (Perhaps this is even why the Doctor engineered his own death and fiery funeral?)

Lastly, this fits right in with the outside-of-Doctor-Who cultural narrative of the Grey Aliens (whom the Silents are clearly meant to resemble) as abductors who experiment with human reproduction and hybridization.

I think there's a lot going for this one! Of course, I'm willing to be proven wrong.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Goodbye, Elizabeth Sladen

I was sad to hear just minutes ago that Elizabeth Sladen, who played Doctor Who's Sarah Jane Smith for a time spanning 38 years. So, so sad.

Having just reflected on the impact Doctor Who had on my childhood an hour ago, I'd be remiss to not remark on the impact she had on the show and on my life. Farewell, and you'll be missed.

Me and Doctor Who - a history

I cannot tell you how excited I am for this year's premiere of Doctor Who. I think more excited than I ever have been since the show returned in 2005. And that's on the heels of last year, which I was pretty damn excited for.

But anything I can say about what I'm looking forward to has been said elsewhere. So other than noting that I am absolutely loving the bold new direction that Steven Moffat has pointed the show, and that from the little bits I've heard of what is to come (I've tried to shield myself from too many spoilers) we're in for an amazing journey this year, we'll leave it at that.

Can I just say that eight-year-old me couldn't be happier about the state of Doctor Who?

You see, I grew up with the show. I remember discovering the show early on in grade school (maybe 6 or 7 years old). And being a child Doctor Who fan in the United States in the eighties and nineties was a depressing experience. In Salt Lake, Doctor Who aired each evening at 5:00 on the local PBS channel (later, it was moved to Saturday night), and no one else I knew watched it. My friends, who were all Star Wars fans, had action figures and lunchboxes and books and pop cultural references to their favorite property. I had, well, a battered library-clearance-sale novelization of "The Five Doctors" and a tire pressure gauge that made a reasonable stand in for the sonic screwdriver. I was the 4th Doctor for Halloween one year, and absolutely no one knew who I was (I remember one kid being impressed with my "homeless guy" costume). Still I was getting to see the occasional brand-new episode just a few months after they aired in the UK for a while... and then when I was 9, the show was over.

In 1996, I was so excited when I heard that the BBC and Fox were collaborating on a revived series to air in the US right along side the X-Files. They were airing the pilot as a movie, and I couldn't wait! Then I saw it. I was crestfallen: It was crap. Even by mid-nineties Fox sci-fi shows standards. (I've rewatched it recently and it's not near as bad as I remembered, but it's still not, you know, good.) I still clung to the idea that the series would be picked up, but alas, it was not to be. Soon, the classic series stopped airing on the PBS affiliate, and it looked like all I had of my favorite show was my memories.

And then in 2005, the revived series returned to BBC screens and became a massive hit. Now, Who merchandise is readily available, from action figures of even third-tier forgettable characters (like Star Wars kid of yore had) to more adult-friendly (not in that way... without a little jiggery-pokery) goodies like a TARDIS USB-hub and a sonic screwdriver that works as a real screwdriver (to go along with my old tire gauge).

1988 me is awfully jealous of 2011 me.