I came across an article today, through the blog of John Moore, about the differing reactions of men and women to advertisments with sexual themes. Overall it is pretty interesting, though I think the methodology could be, ah, improved a bit. I'm not a big fan of anylysis based on self-reporting; virtually no one is good at introspection, and what someone thinks they think or thinks they do is not nearly so interesting as what they actually think or do. You can't usually figure out directly what someone actually thinks, but you can always watch what they do and go backwards to motivations. Not to mention that it was done online. Gak.

But anyway, enough of the methodology stuff. One sentence in the article really jumped out at me. "Women were also more likely than men to say that sexual ads ... are demeaning to the models used in them." (rant follows) I think that is a really horrible. I feel that it is pretty clear that when someone says that "such and such an action demeans such and such a person", what they are really saying is "I like or respect person X less because of that action." This would, of course, only be relevant for voluntary actions; I would agree that it's pretty reasonable to think that a someone who both wanted to and could be a brilliant scientist or jurist or what have you to be held back by sexism or racism or somesuch and forced into a situation where they can't use their abilities as they desire to, then yes, of course it is demeaning. But here, we are only agreeing with the person who themselves feel that they are demeaned by their circumstances. How would you feel if someone told you that for you to do a job that you loved was 'demeaning' to you?

And then, we come to the possible role in this of the 'mitigating factor' of force. It is certain that there are various pressures, societal and economic, which induce these people, mostly young women in this case, to do what they do. But they have plenty of opportunities - I would be willing to assert that a healthy attractive young person in the western world has more opportunities than five nines of everyone who has ever lived. If they don't like what they are doing, there are many options open to them. And if they do enjoy it, then who the hell has the right to criticize them for it? To make my overall position/bias clear, I believe that would be true for any job, profession, hobby, quirk, kink, etc, as long as nobody experiences involuntary harm due to it.

OK. I'm done ranting. Time for some meatloaf.

A short message for anyone who disagrees with me: I would truly appreciate it if you would send me a message with your reasoning. I am completely serious about this. It's fine that we disagree, people do that all the time. What I really don't like is I don't even understand why you might think the way you do, and that bothers me a lot. Help me understand your position.

I'm so very close to that proverbial blown gasket these days. It almost seems as though each step is a test of my abilities to refrain from running around and indescriminately asking people if they were born assholes or if they worked at it.

Totally unrelated to that little outburst (okay, so maybe not), I am simply stressed out.

In the last two months:

  1. I was laid off
  2. Hurricane Katrina hit us
  3. I saw an Army recruiter
  4. I took a job with the State Farm Catastrophe Team
  5. Found that job to be 7 days a week, 12 hours a day

Now, here I sit in the Wyndham Hotel in Houston.

You see, my daughter has developed my love of theater. We are going to see Wicked with my much, much, much younger sister tomorrow night.

Unfortunately, with only being able to wrangle one day off, I've found myself doing the marathon travel. I left work at 7pm, picked up the kids and drove the 5 hours to Houston. We will drive back tomorrow night after the show and I will be back at work by 7am Sunday morning.


At some point in the next 2 weeks I will know if I'm actually going to be shipped off to boot camp. Being 30 and a mother, I have my concerns. I won't believe it can happen until I'm sworn in.

I've wanted to be in the Army since I can remember. At 5 I told my grandmother I was going to wear that uniform.

So I wait. What's a few more weeks added to 30 years, right?

Somehow, all the order barking and structure seems like a much needed vacation from the chaos that I've grown to know. I find myself craving the security of knowing where I'm going and what needs to be done when I get there.

Lucy Grace Martin

Born this day, October 29, 2005

Oh, little girl, we're all so glad you made it.

welcome home, little one

Everything changes. Not one thing will remain the same from the beginning to the end of the world.

Even God will learn from our mistakes.

They say if you don't hook up by the Halloween party you're doomed to a month of loneliness at McMurdo. And the lustre wears off Halloween romances by Thanksgiving in November, where the process repeats, Christmas being the breaking point. After Christmas, everyone gives up while turning their sights to home. With few exceptions ice romances stay on the ice. Sometimes there are spouses and SOs to get back to. Sometimes the brilliant light of northern day makes everyone different.

We don't choose the same mates in the real world we do on the ice. There are talents which are useful in the northern world which serve no purpose on the ice. Things that are beautiful on the ice don't attract us back home. Context changes everything.

This is called anthropology. I know an anthropologist who studied the McMurdo coupling phenomena. Her conclusion was that women had a different, more powerful societal role here on the ice but for some reason most of them didn't exercise it. It wasn't for lack of desire.

I remember reading her conclusions and wondering what continent she was studying. What she'd written wasn't my experience. To me, it seemed that women who wouldn't raise their voice to a shortchanging Macy's cashier back north were hitting on welders with biceps the girth of redwoods.

We can't help but seeing through our own eyes. And the freedom to approach without backlash whomever she chooses wasn't the power my anthropologist friend wrote about. She was writing about the hierarchy of jobs and the apparent supremacy of the physically strongest, which has dictated our roles in society since there were societies. A lot of that is upside-down in Antarctica, she writes. Yet, women aren't striking at the proverbial jugular of opportunity.

I wonder if that's because there isn't any worthwhile opportunity beyond choosing with whom you're going to sleep tonight. Until the volcano erupts breaking the umbilical to the north, this is going to be northern society in a petri dish rather than a new world. But count the minutes after the flights stop. As soon as we run out of parts for our D9s and diesel for our electricity and heat, we of the northern species are going to degrade to a Lord of the Flies story faster than a helo falls when the power fails. Whoever's got the ingenuity and strength to catch penguins and seals is going to get the mates and the shelter and the army. Provide the food and heat -- everyone bows. We the misfortunate become the indigenous Antarctic race. Then we'll start all over.

It really isn't any different than it's ever been.

I know. Cynical boy.

Once I heard of a romance that started on the ice and lasted well into the future. It ended on January 15, 2053 when the Pine Island Bay Glacier slid off the continent and the lovers were joyfully crushed under a mountain of ice the size of Montana.

And then it continued on a wagon train crossing the great plains in 1852.

Some things neither start, nor end.

Because you must know, I have not hooked up with anyone, nor have I at any previous Halloween party in my five ice seasons. Nor have I made the attempt. The reasons should be obvious, and it is not without a fiercely inflated ego that I mention I have rebuffed all encounters.

Though I have decided that all men need the experience, if only so we can see how our female counterparts exist in an electromagnetic field of desired and undesired approaches.

And also because at whatever hollow, superficial level you care to name, it's human nature to want to be wanted.

At any point in time there are things to which society ascribes much more importance than what's going on in your life. There are disasters and wars. Elections and coups. Birth and death.

How could this be anything other than the normal state of affairs on planet earth? It doesn't make you any less valid.

You'll get your chance. The trick is being ready when it comes.

Everything you have ever done, from your first breath to your eye passing over this word, has led you to this point.

Everything I have ever done has led me to the bottom of the earth.

It is the purpose of my being, and so are you.

McMurdo Station -- October 30, 2005

Remember this? Well, that was a great day. This wasn't.

Another game of cricket, this time with the C Graders. Could I possibly do as well as I did against Great Western today? Naw, definitely not. Even from the start of the game, I had the sense that we had lost the game, because one of our opening batsmen was struck on the ear with a bouncer and had to be taken 35km away to a medical centre. That'll teach him to wear a helmet.

He retired hurt. He could come back later in the innings if he wanted to. After he was hit, though, the run-scoring degenerated. Badly.

I was called on to umpire for a little bit. I took the centre position, and did all I needed to do. On the last ball of the second over out there, though, the Rhymney-Moyston boys appealed for a caught-behind. I heard nothing, no bat hitting ball or anything, so I turned the appeal down, called 'over' and moved away.

The square-leg at the time came over to me, and the batsmen came up to us. The batsman claimed that it had hit his pad. Fair enough. Everyone else thought he hit it. Fat chance. Even if there was, I couldn't give it out by law. If the umpire can't decide or can't hear a snick, then he must give the batsman the benefit of the doubt. Always.

Anyway, a short time after drinks, I put my pads on. A short time after that, I went in to bat. The first few balls I was a bit tentative with, but throughout that albeit short innings, I did not let one ball through to the wicketkeeper. Next over, I hit a ball out towards fine leg. I managed to pick up one run, called for a second, but couldn't get it, so I returned to my crease. The other batsman was batting for the first time. I called to him and told him to just stay in.

He was bowled that ball.

That was the last wicket. I finished on 1 not out. And, to make things even worse, one minute later the batsman who had been injured returned. He could have batted if he had arrived a minute earlier.

Both teams sat down to eat 'tea', which is really sandwiches, drinks and chocolate biscuits. I bought myself a can of Sunkist, and drank it all quicker than I ever had. Then I went out behind the club room, set the empty can on a tree stump, and picked up a length of pipe. I'll leave the rest to your imagination.

The guy who opened the batting also opened the bowling, and got a wicket on his very first bowl. Nice work. Pity he couldn't do the same later. We defended 44... and they ended up with 2/42 half-way through. I was called on to bowl after drinks, and after we had officially lost. What does that say? Ten points for anyone who can give me an answer, twenty for anyone who can give me a correct answer.

I bowled four overs, and conceded 36 runs.

Ouch. Well, that caps off a perfect day in the Waverider's life. I'll write something up about the next shit day I have.

One lousy minute...

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