Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Lessons for Us, My Chiklits

And, as a perfect follow-up to that previous post, what happens when I try and subsist on 1500 calories a day and then walk into my 3rd MA class in a row, forgetting my 6pm protein bar at work --

I lumber through my class and nearly pass out.

Ten minutes from the end, I was ready to just fucking bow out my lame, shaky ass. Between boxing rounds, we were doing wall squats and plank positions, and I just blanked out into la-la land.

I've been trying to lean up my calorie count to speed up the condensing process, as I'll be traveling back to BG for the holidays, and we count coup based on weight in my family.

Oh well. I'll have to settle for the long, hard road.

Beer and pizza for everyone this weekend!

This Week's Eating Regimen

Because I'm an obsessed American woman who should be spending all of this mental energy working toward a Ph.D.... here I am cataloguing this week's meal plan.

6am: protein shake (half banana, four strawberries, half a cup of milk)

10:30am: string cheese
handful of mixed nuts

1pm: half cup mixed rice and veggies with pork
string cheese

3:30pm: protein bar
handful of mixed nuts

6pm: protein bar

8:30pm: 2 scrambled eggs with mixed veggies

I'm *so* eating bread products and drinking beer this weekend.

Four martial arts classes this week (about 50 min of hard exercise per day)
Five afternoons a week: half-hour walk at Forest Preserve at lunch
Five mornings a week of 20 min. stretching and 30lb free weight reps
About an hour a day of train-walking time, five days a week

I'm *so* NOT jogging this weekend.

This is getting ridiculous.

But I'm getting pretty buff.

Not thin. Buff.

And really, what more could a girl want?

Jib Jab Again

Jib Jab's got another parody up. Not as good as the first one, and I agree that it's moving toward the homophobic. One gay joke is funny - making the entire peice a gay joke is pushing it.

Take some lessons from South Park - discriminate against everyone equally: it's a lot funnier.

Debate Prep

Debate Prep: Shamlessly stolen from Jesus' General


We have to be on our toes for tonight's debate. It's very probable that Our Furious Leader will go into a violent fit of rage, pull a piece from his waistband, and shoot Bob Schieffer. We can't prevent it from happening--killing is how Our Leader deals with frustration. We can, however, try to put a positive spin on it. I've created the following talking points to help you do just that...

*Sure, Our Leader killed a respected journalist on national TV, but Kerry forgot Poland. The liberal media is showing its bias by not reporting that too.

*Did you see that perfect military style shooting stance?

*Hey, didn't the terrorist threat level just go to red?

*Schieffer is a French name, isn't it?

*Our Leader isn't afraid to exercise his God-given Second Amendment rights on the campaign trail.

*Klinton did it with the pipe wrench in the billiard room.

*He's going to lower your taxes!

*OK, so Schieffer didn't actually have weapons of mass destruction program related activities stuffed in his sock. He was thinking about getting them.


The Labyrinth is Out

No, I haven't read it yet, but Catherynn M. Valente's The Labyrinth is out, and it looks hellacool. I get paid on Friday....

From Publishers Weekly
In Valente's surreal, image-driven first novel, centered on the Greek myth of the Minotaur, a female Theseus details the bizarre landscape of the Minotaur's maze and its unique flora and fauna. These include a wisdom-dispensing monkey guide, a mystery-solving "Meaningful Lobster" straight out of Lewis Carroll and numerous other creatures who evoke works of classic fantasy and mythology. The pursuing entities in the claustrophobic maze-world are not the bull-headed monsters of legend but doorways to other dimensions, which the characters spend much of their time avoiding. Most of the action is internal, as characters swap life stories, exchange experiences and try to solve their way out of puzzles philosophically. The author's poetic prose simmers with paraphrases from Blake, Milton, Shakespeare and other literary heavyweights, and this often gives her descriptions stimulating depth and richness. Sometimes, though, her sentences groan under the weight of images awkwardly layered and fused to express the unique chaos of this private universe. Readers who luxuriate in the telling of a tale and savor phrases where every word has significance will enjoy the challenge of this fantasy. Others may find its maze of language an impenetrable mystery.

A Mixed Bag

Had a pretty good boxing class last night, and met Sifu Dino for the first time. He generally teaches on Tues. and Thurs. but he was out last week, so I didn't bump into him (last week was the first time I was doing classes in addition to my usual Mon/Weds). He seems cool, very loud and high energy, really likes what he does. He and Sifu Katalin played tag-team with the two classes going on simultaneously - Boxing and Krav Maga - which meant you got to work with both of them no matter what class you took, which was... different. Not so structured, but in a good way, cause it kept you on your toes.

In other news, I've been shrugging off the whole "Does Bush Wear a Wire?" internet debate because I thought it was a lot of smoke and mirror lefties snickering at each other. Then I caught this article on, and I'm thinking I may be one of the clueless hookwinked. Bush apparently has a lot of problems with telepromters (he's dyslexic), and this sort of push-to-talk system would have been a great tool to use on the campaign trail. My thoughts are thus: if the pres. *does* wear a transciever so he can be in constant contact with the secret service, why didn't the White House just say so? If that's all it was, there wouldn't be anything to hide. Same as if it's some sort of weird bullet-proof vest of some kind. You'd owe up to it. Stop the controversy. Instead, they're flat out saying it's absolutely nothing, and we're all freak shows. The more you don't owe up to shit, the more conspiracy theories. Just tell is straight, folks. Oh. I forgot. That's not how you run a White House...

And, to keep you pissed off - voter fraud in Las Vegas. Of course. Aimed at Democrats. Of Course. Think you're registered? Think again! (you know, when I filled out my registration form, I wrote in "Independent." I thought that was really fucking conspiracy-theory cyncical, at the time). Did I need to mention that Nevada's a swing state?

And, to further baffle you with my mixed link bag o' goodness, I just had to include this.

For the record, no, I have no idea what the hell the brown teeth things are supposed to be: vagina dentate? (update: I have since been told that they are domokun)

via Pinko Feminist Hellcat

War Doesn't Work Without Women

My buddy Jenn forwarded me a reading list for Duke University's military history majors and minors. To be fair, this was a reading list compiled in 1995, and the note at the top says the instructor was compiling a 1999 list, but I can't find it, and h-net (a big history geeks list) is still toting this a great recommended reading list for military history (ie History of War and Warfare).

What bugs me about such a great, comprehensive list?

Oh. The "comprehensive" part.

There are 100 books on this list. Their topics cover a time period of about 5,000 years or so.

1) Not one book's major topic is the gendered nature of war/masculinity building/rite of passage of war (Barbara Ehrenreich, Blood Rites, would be a great pick for this, though other do very well).

2) Not one book's major topic is women's roles in warfare (supporting/promotion of - there are about a bazillion of these books, particularly covering WWI and WWII). Think supporting roles aren't a viable part of "military history"? Bullshit. Every heard of "logistics"?

3) Not one book covers women's participation in violent combat as guerilla fighters, in, say, Vietnam, and my area of interest - Southern Africa (Cock, Jacklyn. Colonels and Cadres: War and Gender in South Africa. New York, Oxford University Press, 1991 - among many others. Unfortunately, my biblio isn't online). In fact, not much is said about the military history of Africa at all.

4) Unless initials are hiding gender, not one book of the 100 is written by a woman. I'd bet not one is written by anybody whose skin darkens much past tawny, either.

This shit really bugs me. Why does it really bug me? Because once I got into my women-and-war Master's thesis and subsequent book research for future projects and personal interest, I felt really ripped off. I honestly thought there weren't many women warriors at all, that women had always been kinda suckered into being couriers and damsels-in-distress. Seriously, I really thought this. Sure, you had all those Mythical women from Ancient Times, but what did we know about them, really?

Then I started reading all these books. I started reading about all these women who not only defended hearth and home during those times when men went out to kill each other and other women, but women who crossdressed and joined up - or didn't hide their sex at all, but were so damn good nobody cared what sex they were. I read about women passing out white feathers to men who didn't enlist in WWI - shaming men into heading off to war. Women who did all the laundry, cooked all the meals, cleaned the guns, brought ammo to the front, nursed the wounded, and yes, even picked up guns and fought for their damn lives, because that's what people do when they're at war. WAR DOES NOT WORK WITHOUT WOMEN. Women must support the war and soldiers. They have to maintain homes. They have to take up arms. They have to burn fields and farms when the enemy gets in. If women don't support war, wars don't happen. They can physically pick up a gun or not, and sure, war will march on, but UNLESS WOMEN ARE SUPPORTING WAR, IT CAN'T HAPPEN.

In our country, WOMEN HAVE TO VOTE for war. We make up 51% of the population. Yea, yea, patriarchal society and all that. Maybe if we weren't so concerned with how skinny we could be today, we'd be more interested in politics. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Hence, the popularity of Lysistrata. Still. Thousands of years later. It's a comedy, sure - but I think it's using the sex so it doesn't have to say just *how* important women's continued involvment in and support of war keeps the machine running. Women in some societies have kicked men out of the house for not fighting, for being cowards. Women have killed and butchered bodies. Women have always fought, and have always supported men fighting. They had to. Because if they hadn't, there wouldn't be wars. They would have stopped. 49% of the population CANNOT continue to fight without the support of the other 51%. That's just simple numbers.

Is war primarily a male sport? You betcha. That's why there's so many books on it. Yet here we've got a list of 100 books about men carving people up, and not one of them explores *why*. Why primarily men? And if it's so inherently male, why do women fight? Why can they be just as brutal - or more so? Because women are people too? And why are some men so terribly bad at fighting? Why is there an entire coercive system in place socializing men to fight? Not one book addresses that. The list makes assumptions. The list is "specialized" enough to add a book about the history of the US Marines, but one book about female guerilla fighters is just too much. Apparently.

I feel ripped off. And I have a feeling a lot of other women who start in on all this "alternate" or "specialized" reading about what the hell the other half of the world does during a war (when they're not getting raped and killed - our assumed default role) are gonna be pretty pissed off, too.