Thursday, December 29, 2016

Interwebbing: Thoughts on P*rn

In an ideal world, pornography as an industry wouldn’t exist, or would exist as a tool to facilitate healthy relationships and attitudes towards sex, especially for women and kink groups. It would help people understand the varying ways pleasure can be found and love can be expressed. This is, of course, a long way from the ideal world. And even if this kind of sex work wasn’t exploitive, there are tropes within it that are damaging to how men and women view and treat each other.

If you believe any of the following tropes, you watch too much porn:
  • Consent is optional, and these videos are from real life.
    • Commentary: In my opinion, made of silly notions and some articles I read, the run-of-the-mill porn you find on the internet is put out by legal, adult professionals and enthusiastic hobbyists. They know they’re being filmed, no matter if it’s voyeuristic , looks rapey or rough or degrading, or seems to involve a minor—they are pretending. They may even have signed a contract on what they will agree to do. And although the sex part is real, the staging part is fantasy. Most of the porn I have seen has average to exceedingly poor acting, so I feel you would know if someone was really being abused—so, should you suspect you are watching an actual crime take place, please report it.
  • Whenever two or more gay men, or two or more gay or straight women hang out, every situation quickly turns into a sexual encounter.
    • Commentary: It’s more likely to turn into a Pinterest party.
  • Body hair is bad.
    • Commentary: This has been, um, uncovered before. Hair is distracting to film (gets in your teeth and whatnot), and you can’t see all the privatey parts.
  • Those women are related. Muslim women have to have sex with their headscarves on. For an Asian woman, all penises are SOOOO huge and scary. Gay men have no gag reflex.
    • Do I even have to comment on this?
  • Any time two people are having sex, more naked people may show up and jump in. No one should be surprised.
    • Commentary: I believe that the differences between group sex and gang rape are consent and planning. This is not something you should surprise someone with.
  • All kinks are interchangeable. The fact that the woman in the BDSM clip was also in the foot fetish one tells you so.
    • Commentary: Never mind she probably gets paid per video.
  • Everything will fit everywhere. At any time.
    • Commentary: People's orifices aren't portals to alternate dimensions. Neither are they baseball gloves, which get stronger and more comfortable when you beat them up bunch. For all those men out there who think you can just start jackhammering away at your partner the minute you're aroused: Finesse (and foreplay and lubrication and respecting the limits of people's physiology) is the name of the game.
  • Women should expect to be cum upon during sex.
    • Commentary: This is another one that has to do with staging. Male ejaculation is traditionally/reproductively an internal process, but viewers obviously can’t see that. The face cumming part is just an added misogynistic twist.
  • Existence=normality=probability.
    • Commentary: I think that porn has done a lot to show folks what is possible in a sexual relationship, and has even normalized stuff like anal sex. However, “possible” and “probable” are two different beasts. Just because you watch a video or even a series of videos where a certain act is performed, it doesn’t mean it’s a given that your current or next partner(s) will automatically do or enjoy that act.
  • Everything always feels oh, so good. Or oh, so bad. (Depending on your flavor.)
    • Commentary: Once again, it’s a fantasy created by paid professionals. The women are paid to act as if everything they do and have done to them excites them terribly, and while, because of physiology, men are not generally known to be able to fake interest, there are little blue pills that can turn on/up even the most reluctant performer.

I had wanted to comment on the manicures on the women, but didn't know how to phrase it. Do you have any you’d like to add?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Vicarious: Sh*t I will Never Do

I used to be adventurous, but now I look back on those days and shudder at my idiocy, whilst marvelling how many times I didn't die.

Now that I have kids, I have to pass on some of my guardian angels to my kids, and just say NO to a bunch of adventures that 10 years ago would have sent me going, "Oooh, pick me, pick me!" like a contestant on The Price is Right, such as:

-Glass encased slide on the side of a sky scraper
-Glass bridge in China
-Sleeping while rock climbing
-Underwater hotel

Monday, July 11, 2016

Vicarious: Sh*t I will Never (ever, ever) Watch

I hate horror movies. At the same time, I have a morbid (pun intended) fascination for them. It comes from watching scary movies and reading Stephen King books at too, too young an age (and anyone who tells you those things don't make a difference hasn't lived in my head for the past 30+ years).

So, my strategy is this: I will hear of a movie, or see a preview, and then YouTube, IMDb, Google Image, and Wikipedia the stuffing out of it. In this way, I can understand the movie, while at the same time maintaining the necessary buffer that will enable me to sleep at night, go to the bathroom alone, drive, or any other activity than sit in my house, with my back to the wall and all doors nailed shut, staring at the front door with an axe in hand. And you think I'm kidding.

By the way, if you ever make a horror movie, be sure that the main characters' names are not too similar to each other, because the Wikipedia entries can become very confusing. Also, if you are a Wikipedia contributor, proof read your entries! People's imaginations are at risk here!

Here are the top five things I will look up but never watch:
-Korean horror films (Tale of Two Sisters, Whispering Corridors, Three Extremes)
-Human Centipede series, which then led to Scandinavian horror films (
-120 Days of Sodom
-You’re Next

I'm sorry, and also, you're welcome.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Imprecision Cooking: Can't take credit for these

Ever go to a restaurant, and eating something so delicious that you become obsessed with it and cyber stalk it until you find the perfect recipe for it? Yeah, me too!

Here are my five favorite table-to-computer recipes:

1. Restaurant: Kit n Kitchen; food: chimichurri sauce
My husband will put chimichurri on anything.

2. Restaurant: Scratch; food: shakshuka
My kids love shakshuka so much, my daughter wanted it for her birthday party.

3. Restaurant: My old boss; food: Irish cottage bread
This is the plain kind. It's supposed to be more authentic. I like to make it as a part of a ploughman's lunch. Makes me feel like we are on vacation.

4. Restaurant: None. I've never had this dish until I made it from this recipe (the photos sold me); food: bolognese
A note: I don't really think you need 8 hours to make this. Three is still awesome, and even 1.5 will work.

5. Restaurant: Sol's cousin's girlfriend; food: mole
It's really a crazy recipe, but here's a manageable one:

Imprecision Cooking: Frosting

I hate most store frosting. Also, I can only take from-scratch cooking so far. See the chocolate heart on the cupcake above? I bought a huge block of fancy baking chocolate, thinking that I'd temper it and make hearts, easy-peasy. I ended up making a huge mess and wasting 3/4 of this block (into my face!), with chocolate decorations that still melted. I asked my best friend, who is a home economics pro, and she said, "Just mix the fake chocolate melting wafers into real chocolate. It's impossible to temper chocolate."

So there. Only five hours down the drain.

I also hate baking. It usually takes too much precision.

My daughter recently turned one, so to pretend I know what I'm doing, I bought unfrosted cupcakes and a small cake from Sam's Club, and then decorated them myself. Came out pretty good, I think:

But, as everyone knows, a cupcake is only the vehicle for frosting, so a good frosting is key. Here is the best best best frosting:

-Whipped cream, 1 1/2 cups (if you have a really good blender, you can use half and half, or even regular milk--just wrap a blue cooler pack around the cup part when you do this)
-Instant pistachio pudding, 2-3 Tablespoons (some sites say to use the whole packet; resist!)
-Almond or vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon
-Green food coloring, couple drops

Pour it all in the blender. Blend! In about 45 seconds, you have awesome frosting that is light, delicious in a sophisticated way, and holds its shape even when it's warm.

You want the pink kind?:
-Whipped cream, 1 1/2 cups
-Instant strawberry jello, 2-3 Tablespoons 
-Red food coloring, couple drops
-Niceties, in this case being orange extract or some other unexpected extract

Pour it all in the blender cup, stir, and let it sit in the fridge for a few minutes to dissolve. Then, blend! This will take a little longer (I don't know why), and is more look and smell than taste, but still quite light.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Imprecision Cooking: Lu'au Leaf

So this is an uniquely Hawai’i problem: we are having a bumper crop of kalo. We (that is, Sol, with me hovering in a completely useful and unannoying way) had moved some stuff around in our garden, and made some raised beds. I planted seeds (basil, tomato, lettuces, green onions, cilantro, eggplant), fertilized with Pro-Em (which is amazeballs, by the way), and in just a few weeks, we had… kalo?!

In my loud but completely unscientific opinion, the kalo bits had gone into hibernation and we awoke them by tilling the soil. There’s kalo everywhere, even in the compost heap!

Most folks know kalo for using the corm for poi and the lu’au leaf for laulau. This kalo, since it’s grown in the garden, have small corm and huge leaves, so no poi for us. And we don’t have an imu handy, so no old-school laulau.

But we make do. Here are three ways to cook lu’au leaf, that don’t require an imu:
1.       Stew lu’au
This is a favorite of my in-laws and about as easy as it gets.
-Meat, 2-4 lbs. Sol likes pork. I like beef. He’s doing the buying and cooking, so pork it is.
-Lu’au leaf, a bunch as big as two or three cats. I said it was imprecise! It will cook down.
Here’s the key: cut up the leaves small, like the sized of your phone, or smaller. Not only will they cook faster, they will fit on your spoon. Lu’au is already a food that non-ethnic people find intimidating and gross; having pieces twice as long as your utensil is like a caricature.

Ok, so cube your meat, fry up in a big pot. Add lu’au leaf. Add water so that the meat is covered. Add salt to taste. Hang out for a while so everything cooks down. Eat!

2.      Slow cooker special
-Ti leaves, 8-10. You might want to take the midribs out.
-Lu’au leaves, 10-15. You can cut them up if you want.
-Meat, a pound or so. Or fish. Or not. I don’t like having meat all the time.
-Coconut milk, two cans. Or one can if you're scurrred.
-Sweet potato, cubed.
-Garlic, to taste. I use about 15 cloves, because I’m a garlic head.
-Salt, at least a tablespoon. I undersalt stuff.
-Niceties, to taste, if you like. Some niceties include: cumin, chili, cilantro, chopped onion.

First, the ti leaves line everything. You could just put everything in one of those plastic, slow cooker bags, but I freak out about plastic, so I’m going with leaves where I can. Make a layer of lu’au, then one layer of meat rubbed in salt and a splash of coconut milk, another layer lu’au. Then chop up your lu’au stems really fine, and make a layer of coconut milk, salt, garlic, sweet potato, and stems. Then, another layer of lu’au, then the meat layer, then lu’au, then garlic layer, and so on. When you reach the top, put a layer of ti leaves, throw that baby on high, and walk away! Set it, and forget it! He he he. Cook maybe 6 hours, but who is gone from home at work only 6 hours? No one. Eight hours is fine.

3.      Just add to stew
-Lu’au leaves, a bunch the size of a cat.
-Beef stew. Or whatever stew you like.

Chop up your lu’au leaves (see directions above). Parboil them while you are prepping your stew ingredients, then drain. Start making your stew. After meat, add lu’au leaves, then make the rest of the stew like normal. That’s it.

And don’t forget to test your food, to see if it makes your throat itchy. If it does, just let yourself get lost in looking up stuff on YouTube, and when you’re done, it will be ready.