apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
If you missed it, I have a poll up about 'femininity', what it means, and how well you fit into the paradigm here. (Please don't tell me you all are finally getting sick of my incessant polling???)

The garden is pretty much all dug in and planted. All that I have left to do is build trellises for the pumpkins, squash, and melons. Here's what it looks like so far: (click to embiggen)

And now, a few things that sparked my discussion post on femininity: Read more... )

Well, rambly TL;DR post is...yeah, you know! Do share your thoughts, vote in the poll if you haven't, and...well, accept my kisses and hugs for being exceptional, regardless of your gender! :D
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Whatever Floats Your Boat)
(Disclaimer: Dudes, I want your opinions, too. I know there's, like: two of you who read my journal regularly. But don't feel left out if it seems I'm only talking to the ladies!)

The subject has come up elsewhere, and it's been on my mind recently: what is femininity? Is it the traditional, stereotypical traits that have historically been prized in women? (And in whose history?) Has the definition evolved significantly over time, or are we still stuck in an antiquated frame of mind? Which qualities are absolutely necessary in order to be considered feminine, and which are optional?

Are you offended when certain traits, interests, or qualities are described as masculine or feminine? As for myself, whenever I've taken any sort of "Male or Female" brain test, I've always skewed slightly toward the masculine side of the scale. (Including when I took such a test in college as a research participant for credit in my psychology class.) It does bother me when people say I "think like a guy", but I do realize that when it comes to science, they're speaking about statistical norms, which I'm cool with, because I like math. :P (Even though, as a child, I got much more attention for my writing abilities than I did my mathematical skill.)

(If anyone else is interested in taking a test based on "male vs. female" brain science, here's a really good one from the BBC. Save it for when you have some time, though, as there are multiple parts. Though I do believe you can save each section as you finish.)

Oh, you just know there's going to be a poll... )

Also, I'd like to know: how well do you fit into (what you perceive to be) your culture's definition of 'masculine' or 'feminine'? What do you think of others who are unable to adhere to your culture's rules? How many of the differences between men and women come from biology, and how many are culturally constructed?

I'll provide my own responses once I've had some sleep!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Doctor (Hush!))
I've now watched each of the first two episodes of the new season twice. I have Questions and Concerns. I would like to know if other people share my questions and concerns, and if they have any clever speculation they'd like to share as to the answers. Let me know your thoughts! But please: NO SPOILERS FOR UPCOMING EPISODES!

Cut for those who haven't seen the new series yet. )

apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Amy "Oh Dear!")
Bashfic / Character bashing.

It's banned from nearly every fic exchange. It's against the rules in most communities. If you want to speak ill of a show or its characters, you're going to have to start your own comm dedicated specifically for that purpose. Fans are so scared of the ramifications for speaking negatively about a fandom's characters or canon, they retreat to memes where they can bitch about the things they don't like under the cover of anonymity. You'll see "character bashing" listed as a squick alongside cannibalism, incest, and noncon.

Why such a strong reaction?

Nearly everyone can agree that the Negative Nellys who just can't resist the urge to slip in a snide remark everytime their least favorite character is mentioned are annoying. But what about the fans who need to "defend" a character's virtue everytime they detect a real or imagined slight? Some fans just cannot psychologically deal with people who disagree with them about how the canon should be interpreted, and the general fandom opinion seems to be that they shouldn't have to. And what I want to know is: why shouldn't they?

(Or am I totally off the mark, and most fans' negative view of character bashing attaches to the wank that it eventually stirs up and not the bashing itself?)
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Omelette)
After scouring the internet for days looking for a US-based company that imported a particular tea blend I wanted to buy, I started looking at European websites. Most of them I dismissed out of hand, as they charged between 20 and 30 Euros for shipping; 27-40 USDs. Definitely not worth it for a few boxes of tea!

I decided to try one more website: that of a company based in Poland. Like many websites, they didn't specify upfront how much shipping cost. I started going through the process of filling in my details for the order, waiting to get to the point where you're asked to confirm your order and they finally tell you how much it's going to cost to ship. One of the options I was offered was designated "personal acceptance", and didn't involve any additional cost. They way I figured it, "personal acceptance" meant that I would "personally accept" the shipping charges; meaning, I would be asked to pay on delivery. Like a fool, I selected that option and confirmed my order without knowing exactly what shipping would cost. I started to panic over it in the next couple days, but figured: well, at least I'd get my tea out of it!

Livin' la vida gringa )

I think I'm going to come up with a poll to explore these ideas further. (Watch out for that! :P) In the meantime: any thoughts?
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (PiMP)
So, two of my most challenging students have left. Aurora, my little ADHD princess, had her last day at the end of January. She left in a torrent of suffocating hugs and too-loud goodbyes. I am most definitely going to miss her.

The other child I am less sad to see go. Let's call him...Ernesto. He's seven, and terrifically smart: just a genuinely bright and clever child. He's also incredibly spoiled. His mother, though the nicest lady on the planet (she brought me Godiva! Yum!), babies him terribly: getting his book for him, hovering over him while he works (on the days she stayed), wiping his mouth for him. She tries to goad him into being polite, and yet indulges his every complaint: there's a line between making children feel heard and allowing them to express themselves, and teaching them to be complainers.

And while I'm on the subject, here's a tangent for all the parents of clever children: )

Anyway, with my two most challenging students gone, and two others suddenly transformed into model pupils, I should be relaxing and enjoying the relative ease of my job: instead, I'm wondering what type of kid will get thrown at me next!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Math Nerd)
In the end, I had twelve respondents to my survey on fanworks exchanges. (If you haven't taken it and feel you'd like to, please do go ahead: I won't close it.)

I really, REALLY had to fight the urge to pimp it out to other comms and beg for more responses; as I said, I am a social science geek who loves surveys, statistics, and data. However, coming up with a "representative sample" of fandom on my journal is just impossible. And no matter what I like to pretend, I am NOT a legitimate researcher!

So, anyway: 12. Thank you to that twelve! (And to the thirteenth person who expressed her opinions in the comments.) The results of the survey are naturally skewed, as all of the respondents came from my flist, and let's face it: you guys are most definitely a better class of fan than the average rabble! However small and skewed my sample was, I did draw a few conclusions.

Take a gander, if you're interested. )

CONCLUSIONS: To me, the most telling piece of data is the revelation that NO ONE from this survey cited receiving a gift tailor-made to their interests as their most enjoyed aspect of the exchange. While a few people admitted they expected their author to adhere pretty closely to the scenarios they provided, most people were just happy to receive a gift that showed a little effort on the author's part. This is good news for those of us who stress ourselves out trying to come up with a story to please our recipient! The fun comes from taking part and having a batch of new stories to read, not in receiving THE PERFECT STORY. Everyone gets stressed out participating in an exchange, and so giftees are likely to be understanding so long as an author tries their best.

From what I can tell, the important rules to follow for fic exchanges are these:

  • It's important to be specific in what you will or won't write in order to avoid an awkward matching.
  • When making a request, be specific about what you don't want, and give several options/scenarios for what you DO want.
  • Read your recipient's request thoroughly, and make an effort to include at least the characters they like and to avoid at all costs the things they don't like.
  • Effort is the key point, so even if you can't come up with an idea that perfectly matches everything on your giftee's request, start writing your story with enough time to polish and perfect before turning it in. A well-written story that misses some of the marks is better than a hastily cobbled-together one that matches the request exactly.
  • When you get your gift, be sure to say "thank you" and provide a list of aspects you enjoyed. If you're so inclined, it's OK to exaggerate a little; if you prefer to be completely honest, get creative in your praise! (More enthusiasm is better.)
  • If you want to complain about the gift you received, be careful where you do it: remember, you're talking to fellow fans who know how stressful writing for someone else can be! Unless your story was clearly a rush job that included details you specifically asked your author to avoid, people aren't likely to be sympathetic to your whining!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Default)
Had a lovely day today: I spent it thrift store shopping for my Halloween costume. At the salvation army in Redford, I found a wedding dress that would be ABSOLUTELY PERFECT for dressing as a Calvierri girl from Doctor Who. It was of a thick, satiny ivory fabric with a swirling french pattern, long sleeves, and a very full gathered skirt with long train. There were a few too many sequins on the bodice, but overall, they were tasteful and would have blended in perfectly. The best thing: it FIT me! Perfectly! The one problem? It was $70.00. I'm sure that's a very good deal for a wedding gown, but it's a little pricey for a Halloween costume.

Calvierri girls, Vampires of Venice

What I ended up buying instead is a long black and white formal gown, the kind one might wear to prom or to be a bridesmaid. It was only $15.00, and just a little bit too big; it only needs a few tucks in the bodice, and it should fit perfectly. My plan is to be some sort of Zombie Miss America. Stay tuned for pictures.

Now here comes the dilemma:

Cut because I'm going off on a tangent again )

I welcome your input.
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Winged Pi)
One of the courses I'm taking this semester is Social Research Methods. I'm a little peeved that I have to take this course, considering I already have lots of experience and have even presented my research at symposia, but whatever, I have to take it, it's fine.

Our major assignment for the semester is a review of literature on a topic of our choosing. I need to choose a topic, do some preliminary research, and write up my proposal by Wednesday. And I still haven't picked a topic.

I can think of plenty topics I'd like to cover, but either they're psychology and not sociology-related, or they're so obscure that it's unlikely I'll be able to find enough research. Some ideas I'm DYING to use: Cut for extremely long and boring musings on topics that may or may not be of interest to anyone other than myself. )
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Masquerade Mask)
From this article in the New York Times: (commentary and bolding is mine)

Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans (Well of course it does!)

Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.

Researchers from the independent Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life phoned more than 3,400 Americans and asked them 32 questions about the Bible, Christianity and other world religions, famous religious figures and the constitutional principles governing religion in public life.

On average, people who took the survey answered half the questions incorrectly, and many flubbed even questions about their own faith.

Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.

Knew it! Here are some of the questions from the survey:

Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice.

Without the benefit of multiple choice (or Google) my answers: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Ramadan is an Islamic holy month, Martin Luther inspired the Protestant Revolution, Moses led the exodus from Egypt, the Dalai Lama is a Buddhist, Joseph Smith was a Mormon, Mother Teresa was a Catholic.

How did I do? (Meaning, do feel free to correct me on any wrong answers.)

I'm telling you: atheists ROCK Bible trivia!
apple_pathways: Whatever floats your boat! (Double Karen)
This post definitely got away from me a little bit. Nevertheless, I have loads to say on the issue, and would interested to hear what anybody else thinks.

Once again, I have an idea for a post inspired by a thread from an anon meme I occasionally browse. The original poster titled the thread "Things it's probably stupid to be insecure about." The poster describes herself as a pretty girl who likes to wear nice clothes and makeup. She also describes herself as a geek into gaming, fantasy novels, and classical music. Her problem is that she's worried that other "less pretty" girl geeks probably resent and judge her for being more attractive.

The follow-up posts she makes in response to other people's reactions tend to muddy the water even further. She insists that she doesn't judge other women because of their appearance, but as someone else pointed out, she must, as that's the entire basis for her post: she can't feel insecure that "less pretty" women will resent her looks unless she's first identified these women and deemed them less attractive. She also insists that she finds "conventional" good looks boring, and that one of the prettiest women she knows is overweight. She also throws in a curveball by announcing that she's attracted to women, and this is why she's so focused on the way other women look. (Of course, this is after denying she judges physical attraction in the first place, but we may as well take her at face value.)

Some respondents to the thread suggest that she's a troll looking to stir up outrage, but her plea got me thinking: why can't a woman call herself "pretty" without being dogpiled and verbally beaten into submission by other women?

Thinky thought ahead. )


I didn't want to create an entirely new entry, but I did want to include this snippet from a NY Times article about France facing sanctions from the EU:

The legal case accuses France of failing to incorporate minimum European Union standards protecting ethnic groups into national legislation, which it agreed to do under a 2004 law. While other countries are also thought to be in a similar situation, France was singled out on Wednesday with a formal letter, the first step in legal action.

I may just be in desperate need of a nap, but does anyone else find the idea of sending a letter to the entire country of France hilarious?

Dear France,

Stop expelling the Gypsies; it's not nice.

Yours Truly,

Europe xx


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