24.7.11

Hello.

Once again, almost a month has passed. I’m not going to make excuses for not posting. You have a quasi-real life, and you don’t have time to read blog posts, am I right?

I wish I could tell you I was busy with my own REAL LIFE and forgot to update my blog. But to be honest, I haven't been able to complete a post. I'm not blocked. I just can’t commit to an idea.

Should I continue whinging about my divorce? Or should I complain about Six’s school?

I want to keep hiding on the couch, numbing myself with downgraded cable. (L.A. Ink!)

In our relentlessly positive thinking culture, melancholy isn’t on trend. Unfortunately, it’s what I’ve got. As Shakespeare once said, “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

It's still winter.
As I type this post, it’s still winter here in the Southern Hemisphere. I’m bundled up as if for an Antarctic expedition. But I’m in my lounge (Kiwi for den or living room), which is the room I’m currently heating.

Insulation is marvellous, but it’s lacking in most New Zealand homes, including mine. So, Kiwis are quite expert in the technique of heating one room. And putting on another wooly jumper.

Landlord: I bet those new double-glazed windows are making a big difference though, eh?

Me: (unconvincingly) Uh, yeah. Definitely!

Landlord: Just harden up, FFS.

Can I ration out my firewood to last for the rest of the winter?
“Is it really cold enough tonight for a fire?”

“Should I put more wood on the fire if I’m just going to bed?”

For the last few weeks, these are some of the questions that have been occupying my mind.

I’m realizing that, in spite of my pitiful efforts to be frugal, I need to order more firewood. Dammit. Winter is cold.

Social media isn’t supposed to be social
So, it looks like we’re going to face more pressure to video chat. Which will rid us of the ENTIRE POINT of the Internet.

First we were asked to use our real names. Now we need to video chat with each other?! I might as well talk to some REAL LIVE HUMAN BEINGS in my village.

On cyber gossip
As we all know, social media is a fantastic way to procrastinate. Twitter or Facebook is where we go to gossip about the important scandals of the day. Casey Anthony, Dooce, Amy Winehouse. Everyone is just so grateful. Because it gives us all something to talk about. You can almost feel the relief, as everyone joins in. At last, a topic we can all get worked up about!


Bullying
Six’s school continues to insist there's no bullying problem: “There may be one-offs, but these are dealt with at the time. Also, you need to tell us when bullying happens. Otherwise, we don't know about it.”

Over the last two terms, I’ve made several complaints to the school. So, I'm a bit upset at this "one-offs" quip. Because making complaints has become my part-time job. Which is obviously stressful for my whanau (Kiwi for extended family).

The school has dealt with my complaints by getting defensive and fobbing me off as an isolated crank.

Why would the school take this ludicrous position? There's no bullying? Come on. Don’t ALL schools have problems with bullying?

Maybe the school is worried that bullying reflects poorly on our community. I can understand this. However, since this school has had recent issues with teachers bullying teachers, it's reasonable to suggest there may be a “culture of bullying”.

The school should instigate a zero tolerance for bullying policy. Stat. And perhaps educate the teachers on staff about what bullying is. Because some of them seem quite uninformed. BTW, one complaint about an issue is always enough.

I'll be attending the next Board of Trustees meeting. If I can get off the couch.

--
I didn’t make a complaint about this, only because Six wasn’t at school on the day. (Thank God.)

FTR (I can't believe I need to say this), if a child comes to school dressed up as Hitler, he should NOT be permitted to spend the day marching around the school grounds gesticulating. FFS.

13.7.11

The Rise of the Wimple.


At the turn of the century, when my grandmother was a young woman, she always was uncovered in public. The wimple wasn’t permitted.

Misguided people believed that the wimple infringed on women’s rights in a “free society”. If a woman tried to wear the wimple—for modesty, or because of her religious beliefs—she wouldn’t be allowed to enter any shops. In fact, it was likely that she'd be arrested as a suspected terrorist.

Being forbidden to wear the wimple was an invasion of a woman’s right to privacy. And it was cruel. Can you believe that "artists” used to be allowed to take photos and videos of women, and publish them online, without women's consent?

After having their images stolen and published on countless unsavoury websites, thousands of brave women revolted in three different states. They stood quietly in their robes and wimples in front of State Houses. And after a tumultuous couple of weeks, the government finally enacted The Reforms.

First, the Internet was restricted. In its early days, the Internet was like the Wild West, a place where the law had little power. But the government cracked down, bribing service providers to cut off or slow down connections until they were unusable. Only government officials and others with a “legitimate” need for Internet access could go online.

Next, there was a voluntary amnesty for all digital devices that had the ability to connect to the Internet. Naturally, not everyone complied—some people always want to do things the hard way. But after the National Guard was mobilized, and homes were searched, most of the equipment has been recovered. An added bonus is that there are now few worries about the scarcity of rare earth metals, as they are no longer being plundered to make smartphones and computers.

Depending on the laws on the state, some people were able to keep things like old 35mm cameras. But these are just relics. Nobody can find the materials needed to develop photos anymore, except maybe on the black market. And luckily, manual typewriters were made obsolete many, many years ago. They are as rare as hen’s teeth. Yes, there are still a few dark rooms (and even some copy machines) in rough, gang-controlled areas, but these are slowly being eliminated.

The courts preside over “intent to distribute” cases that crop up from time to time. Anyone caught by the police with photos, music, or manuscripts that have not been approved and distributed by the government is arrested. Thanks to the Three Strikes Law, repeat offenders can be executed.

Artists have been rebranded as “content providers”. They need to be licensed by the government. This is a process that involves psychological profiling. Once licensed, all of the content providers’ creative works are submitted to relevant agencies, and edited as needed to comply with government standards.

There are some underground artistic collectives—salons—but these are on the very down low. It’s unfortunate, but any society is going to have a certain number of deviants. It’s just a matter of stamping out these undesirables. In some areas, there are rumours about police going to salons—for kicks, I guess. But if a whistleblower complains, it usually turns out to be a bona fide undercover operation.

Before The Reforms, society was inundated with sexual images—of women—that were used to sell everything from breakfast cereals to antidepressants. “Sex sells!” But this was obviously degrading to women.

Then there was a shift. For reasons still unknown, possibly because of chemicals in the water, or radiation after nuclear accidents, most women couldn't become pregnant.

Some younger women still bragged about having multiple sexual partners, and didn’t even try to conceive. They took the Pill (which is illegal) and proudly called themselves “sluts” or "feminists". But if any of these young women did manage to become pregnant, which was rare, they achieved instant celebrity status. Yes, they became the property of the government. But this is justifiable. They had to be protected "for the future of human race".

Older women who were unable to bear children spent tens of thousands of dollars for “fertility treatments”. Sometimes they were able to “conceive” in a petri dish, and embryos could be planted in their wombs. These women had to live in sterile tents for the duration of their pregnancies, and also were celebrity saints.

The aging population coupled with rising infertility has led to a such a drastic decrease in the population that the government has abandoned all other research projects to concentrate solely on “The Race to Conception”.

Women are sacred vessels. The reasonable solution is to cover women—protect them—so that they can move freely in society, and not have their images exploited for advertising campaigns. Or worse, used for masturbation. Spilling seed is sinful, not that anybody ever would admit to being so self-indulgent and wasteful. You'd be shunned, and sent to a “rehab centre”.

At first, only younger women wore wimples and robes, but after a short time, these items became fashionable. Older women began to wear them too. Fashion designers (which are also content providers) created lines of the figure-concealing garments in weather-appropriate fabrics. Some politicians suggested colour-coding robes to indicate women’s fertility status, but this was seen as an invasion of the women’s privacy, so all women wear identical red robes.

In our enlightened society, images of women are never exploited. Woman are free to go almost anywhere and not be harassed in any way. “Personal liberty is for the common good”.