I had lots of fun with the Hipstamatic while in P-town the past few days

Just like everyone says will happen, the Hipstamatic has become quite addictive. About the most fun you can have legally for $1.99.

Some of the highlights:



















Hey ladies, want a raise? Wash your vagina!

From AlterNet, an ad-pretending-to-be-an-article that ran in Women's Day recently, giving women handy pointers about making sure to have a freshly washed vagina before asking for a raise. I wish I were making this up.


Calling the mayor's hotline results in more trouble for constituents, not less

Me: Hi, Columbia Road just south of Quincy Street has about a foot of
standing water and cars are getting stuck, in case you're not aware yet.

Phone person: What part of the city is that?

My brain: Um, and you work for the City of Boston?

Me: Dorchester

Person: OK, what's your name and telephone number?

Me: No thanks; I'm not there anymore and don't need anything further.
Just letting you know.

Person: We need your name and number in case we need to contact you
about the issue.

Me: No, I don't need to be contacted. Thanks.

Person: Ma'am...

Me: Thanks for your time, bye.

Apparently if I want to be helpful to my fellow residents, I need to
permit the city to bug me about something that no longer has anything
to do with me.



Judge rules that graduate school has the right to refuse to give counseling degree to actively homophobic student

This makes me really really happy.

When I was in graduate school, I had a number of homophobic classmates and a really homophobic instructor. I got nowhere when I tried to address any of this, saying that people's religion and political views were no business of the program's. I've also had similar workplace experiences, where I've showed administrators the codes of ethics that say we have to affirm and respect all people, and they've told me that, yes, ideally we are, but the agency isn't allowed to make an employee violate his/her religious or political beliefs. I am extremely happy that it's finally gone to court and a judge has ruled on this matter specifically. It seems obvious to me anyway that one's religious or personal or whatever beliefs can't be cited as a reason for refusing to do one's job. It's great that a university was so upfront in making it completely clear that this person needed to heal from homophobia in order to be allowed to have a counseling degree.

Also, I really hate that the GLBT community so often gets bundled in with "politics" or "religion" while other cultural groups don't. A large human services agency where I've worked marches in a couple of local ethnic-group parades and a couple of (very political, actually) disability rights events as an official company event with the company banner. But when I asked if we could march in Boston Pride, they said that we aren't allowed to participate in political events, being a nonprofit. Total bullshit, of course, since the regulation is that nonprofits can't have a substantial part of their time and money put toward partisan politics. And clearly the people who said this crap know nothing about the pride parade, since it's full of not only nonprofits, but also things like huge greedy corporations. Really sad that several major banks are showing more commitment to the GLBT community than a human services agency whose sole function is to affirm and support people in the community.

On a related note, I've often thought that we need to sort through "politics" and not allow so many things to be lumped under this sort of untouchable umbrella. As long as it's part of "politics," it's taboo for an ethics board or an employer to say anything to an employee who is advocating for unequal treatment of GLBT people, immigrants, people with disabilities, people with lower incomes, etc. Why is it acceptable to fire or fine a helping professional who says at the company lunch table "I really think queer people are inferior to me and should not have the quality of life that I have?," but it would be a huge legal nightmare to discipline someone for saying they had voted in this same way or had written this same thing to one's congressperson? They're expressions of the exact same beliefs, and these beliefs are not compatible with working in the helping professions.


Delores Handy word of the day

"the cross on which Jesus Cross died"


Seriously, where is Amazon finding these shipping services?

from Amazon.com
to [eeka]
date Fri, Aug 6, 2010 at 9:40 AM
subject Your Amazon.com order of "Epson T0601(2x)/T0602/T060..." has shipped!

...shipped the following item(s) in your order
104-2090303-7729806, placed on August 05, 2010.

Delivery Estimate: August 27, 2010

This shipment was sent to:

[address]

This shipment will be delivered by USPS.



I looked on the USPS website, and I can't find any 21-day shipping methods. Not only that, but for the shipping I paid ($4.99), it should be here in two days from anywhere in the U.S.


Yeah, I know it's all just a big ploy to make people think they need the two-day shipping if they want their stuff in any sort of remotely timely manner, but still. WTF people?!


Federal court system freakin ROCKS

I got summonsed for federal jury duty during the high holy days. Also it was for being on-call for three weeks. I called them today to see if I could at the very least postpone it because of the holidays and also asked if there was any way I could do a shorter period or something because of work, because my clients can't just not have any services for three weeks. (Also, I'd lose all my private practice income, and my salaried job requires us to use vacation time to stay in paid/benefited status, and I don't have three weeks' worth, and I kind of need my health insurance.)

I talked to a very nice man named Jim, who apologized for not having thoroughly read my letter that he received today (!), then said that they would gladly postpone me, as they have the highest respect for religious observances. He also told me that he would be happy to let me choose any Monday in the next three months to come in rather than being on-call for three weeks, since they realize that life occurs outside of the courthouse, and the three-week on-call thing doesn't work for everyone. He said to just let them know I'd talked to Jim if anyone needed verification of this. I chose October 18. I really appreciated how respectful and upfront he was, and also that there seemed to be no bureaucratic bullshit in the way and he was able to access all of my information and change my date right then and there. Other government agencies *cough*MassHealth*cough* could really take a lesson from these folks. Jim rocks!

(Dammit, I forgot to ask him about beverages. The summons says no beverages, cellphones, or electronic devices are allowed in the courthouse. Yes, courthouse, not courtroom. I'll reluctantly give up my electronic device addiction for a couple days of course, but I need frequent beverages to avoid having angry neurology. I'm assuming they sell them in there, since they can't deprive people of beverages, right? Eh, either way, they have to at least have a faucet, right? So that'll cover the hydration issue, and I can bring non-liquid calorie-containing snacks to cover the blood-sugar issue, so I should be good. But really? Banning beverages? WTF. What did a beverage ever do to them? Also, the dictionary says water isn't a beverage, and I may take some in along with a printout of said definition. Bwahaha.)


Promoting healthy eating in schools

I'm happy that this act passed, which will ban the sale of soda and junk food in vending machines and school stores. I also love that there's a provision to try and buy produce from local farms. Still, this is a little unnerving:

The school nutrition bill institutes nutritional guidelines, to be developed by the Department of Public Health, for foods and beverages sold to students outside of the federal meal program.

So, we're telling kids they can't choose to buy soda and chips, but the school can continue to serve them french fries, chicken nuggets, piles of cheese, gravy, ground beef, and sugar-and-white-flour-laden desserts? If we really want to get kids eating healthy, we need to speak out against political pressure from factory farms and demand that our country's nutritional guidelines come from somewhere like the American Dietetic Association instead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Hmm, I wonder whose dietary guidelines the government should use -- those of scientists who study nutrition, or those of people who are looking for factory farms to profit.

Oh, and we'd also need to ask the U.S. to stop subsidizing corn and corn syrup and white flour and start subsidizing local produce.


We have a winner!

Our final destination was guessed correctly. One lucky winner can expect to receive a lovely gift, purchased at said depot.



First person to guess our final destination wins, uh, the contest



Hm, we can't exactly buy a train...



Check this one off!



Safely arrived



Molly ponders the next leg of the mission



Success!



First location has been reached



Provisions for the mission have been obtained



And the mission commences



OK, route has been planned out


Let the mission begin!



Headed off on a VERY IMPORTANT MISSION

In a short while, Molly and I will be headed off on a most-important mission that will take us to several yet-to-be-disclosed stops around the Boston area. I'm mapping the route out right now, then I just need to stock up on provisions and find some way to make the July 2010 inspection sticker (oops) less conspicuous as we hit the mean streets of Eastern Massachusetts. Will we succeed on our mission? Stay tuned!