Misandry: When Feminism Defeats Itself

As a staunch, self-proclaimed Libertarian, nothing is more sacred to me than the principles of liberty and equality. Indeed, it is upon these very principles that the foundations of Feminism are also built. In an environment in which anyone, be it a class of peoples defined by superficial differences or sporadic individuals similarly discriminated against, I believe that inherent in our existence is a moral obligation on both those discriminated against and their privileged peers to endeavor to correct such social, judicial, and economic incongruities. It is in the light of this general, nonspecific moral obligation that I align myself with women, minorities, men, majorities, and disenfranchised individuals alike, for to encompass preference for any particular struggle for liberty and equality would be to resemble the root of oppression itself.

Note: Some people do not believe that such moral obligations are inherent in their existence, which they view as some incarnation of the notion of social contract. To clarify, I also believe in and defend the right of individuals to maintain this position of dis-compassionate autonomy. Such is their choice. Mine is one of compassionate Libertarianism, which teaches us that all obligations are self inflicted, at every individuals discretion. All non-voluntary obligations amount to tyranny, whether petty or absolute or somewhere in between. So when I talk of a moral obligation, understand that I mean only that I have obligated myself with one, and that to attempt to force another to adopt my philosophy would be to unmake it.

One possibly unfortunate effect of this stance is that I am forced by my own moral position to defend the rights of people and groups with whom I disagree, such as vocal neo-nazis, radical fundamentalists, drug war crusaders, and gun control advocates. One fortunate side effect is that my moral position is immune to accusations of political bias, despite having been born of largely political origins in Libertarian philosophy.

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Review: Outside Lands 2012 Food and Drink

The Outside Lands Music and Arts festival has always been really good at providing a great selection of quality food and drink options. The best part is that the vendors are local, with some exceptions. While the stars of the festival are obviously the bands playing, it was nice to take a breather and grab some sustenance.

Food Review – I Love Spicy Pie Pizza – San Diego, CA

While actually from Southern California, I Love Spicy Pie is a repeat vendor to Outside Lands, so while they don’t quite apply to the “Taste of the Bay Area” banner, they do have some credibility within the festival. Their short menu of ready-to-serve pizzas included several amazing sounding meat-centered pies, but I went for a veggie slice called “Gnarly Marley.” The pizza included a simple but delicious combination of red peppers, green peppers, and red onions.

The spice was a little cold, but then again, it was quite cold in Golden Gate Park that day so keeping the pizza warm was probably a challenge. Other than the temperature, I don’t have a complaint. Delicious sauce and cheese with quality ingredients.

Food Review – Senor Sisig – San Francisco, CA

I have never been into the idea of a food truck. I grew up in a town where I only spotted them in shady areas or near the community college. The trucks in my town never looked clean. Outside Lands included quite a few local food trucks that showcased a very diverse array of food, most of them fusion. For dinner I decided I wanted a burrito of some kind and Senor Sisig was the most interesting option I came across. Senor Sisig is a Mexican/Filipino fusion food truck, which seemed like a very odd mixture. I had never had Filipino food of any kind, so why not? All the items on their menu included sisig in some form with the option of pork, chicken, or tofu. I went with the California Sisig Burrito which consisted of a tortilla filled with cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, fries, and tofu sisig.

This was the best burrito I’ve ever had. The guacamole to sour cream ratio was perfect and the salsa was delicious. The fries were not the potato sticks that I expected but rather potato chunks that provided more of a texture to the burrito with a subtle flavor. The tofu sisig was what made it so good though. It was a very unique flavor that I cannot describe.

The one question I had following the meal was, “What the hell is sisig?” I looked it up and Wikipedia lists it as “a Kapampangan term which means ‘to snack on something sour’. It usually refers to fruits, often unripe or half-ripe, sometimes dipped in salt and vinegar. It also refers to a method of preparing fish and meat, especially pork, which is marinated in a sour liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar, then seasoned with salt, pepper and other spices.” Other online sources list it bluntly as the meat from a pig’s head. If it is the latter, having the burrito with tofu was a good choice on my part. Perhaps it was mixed with pork head, I don’t really know. The menu on the website doesn’t really go into detail.

Regardless, I now follow the truck on Facebook and will be tracking it down when it decides to come to the Sacramento area.

The last time I attended Outside Lands I came with no money beyond what I used on a shirt, so I wasn’t able to partake in the alcoholic festivities, which was sad. This time I came prepared with extra cash and no interest in merch. I was excited to explore the beer garden now that I know what good beer really is.

Beer Review – Hell or High Watermelon by 21st Amendment Brewery – San Francisco, CA

The 21st Amendment Brewery is one that is carried in my local supermarkets so I have had experience with them and I trust their products as a fan of the Monk’s Blood brew. Hell or High Watermelon is a completely different beast. It is a wheat beer, which is always a good choice for those looking for a beer that isn’t terrible intense in flavor. I had this beer at one in the afternoon so I wasn’t looking for anything intense. This was a solid wheat beer with a hint of watermelon flavor that isn’t too powerful, which is nice since it doesn’t turn it into a fruity flavored drink.

I would recommend this brew over their vast selection of IPAs only because I am not an IPA fan. 21st Amendment is a great brewery though, so if you do dig IPAs, wheat beers, or dark beers (see: Monks Blood), check them out.

Beer Review – El Oso Lager by Bear Republic Brewery Co. – Cloverdale, CA

A name will often sell me on a beer. For example, Monk’s Blood sounds pretty metal so I got it and didn’t regret it. On the other hand, El Oso (Spanish for “The Bear”) was not such a joyous experience. I guess I just have to accept that I’m not a fan of your typical “lager style” beer, as El Oso was an American Amber Lager. Lagers all taste the same to me, which is just like a generic carbonated alcoholic beverage.

Fans of Lager might like this one. I guess I am just not a fan.

Killing Time

I was probably a bit delirious-and definitely stoned-when I walked into a popular 24 hour coffee shop and bakery.  I brought my laptop in, ordered a hot lemon and ginger tea and a couple of snacks, and went to sit down in a comfortable looking chair.  This chair was situated along with another chair opposite a couch, with a coffee table between them. The couch and other chair backed up to a wall… But my chair’s back was to another table in a fairly high traffic area of the shop.  As soon as I sat down I wanted to get up and move to the other chair, but I didn’t want to look stupid. I don’t know why I thought it would look stupid, as if someone was going to observe this and lean to their companion and whisper, “Hey.  Look at that idiot.  She can’t decide which chair she wants to sit in.”

After a minute or two I decide to move, but as I start to get up and go to the other chair some stranger comes to my little corner and asks if anyone is sitting there.  “No, go ahead,” I say. He looks relieved and sits down.  This man seemed to be about 37 years old, he was probably six feet tall and he had a big beer belly. It made me gag on the inside, which I know sounds mean… But I don’t care, you can’t help what kind of people give you a gag on the inside.  It was as disgusting as seeing a raw hot dog…  A raw hot dog gut gag.  He had a big face and looked like his name was Matt.

Matt had on khaki cargo shorts, some nondescript graphic tee, and boat shoes. His skin was so pale it was almost pink, and he had a bald head.  Fuck.  I was already irritated at my positioning in the furniture and now I had to sit beside Matt.  He plugs his headphones into his laptop, places them upon his wide, round head, and starts to listen to music.  I can hear it, too.  We all can.  His headphones are not plugged all the way into the jack on his laptop and he has no idea.  He only knows that he just plugged headphones in and he can now hear the shitty Zero7-meets-Meatloaf bullshit he’s jamming down hard on.  A few other people notice but no one says anything.  I just try not to look at him.

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Worst Human #3

This situation also has to do with my new apartment location (See Worst Human #1). So it’s my first time having a car on campus and I have a parking spot in the lot behind my building. It was my third day at my new apartment and I got back from running errands to find a mini van parked in my spot! I called the realty company to ask if maybe the person was just parked in the wrong spot, so they took the person’s license plate information and told me that no one with that car lived here and that I’d have to have them towed. Being the caring human that I am, I waited for an hour to see if the person moved their car…they didn’t. So I call the tow truck company and they get here in like five minutes. As I creepily watch the tow truck man from my bedroom window, I see a tiny little Asian woman standing next to him waving a piece of paper around like a psychopath. I was eventually asked to join the discussion and this girl and I realized we were both assigned the same parking spot. Obvi my realty company is a bunch of dickcreams. The tow truck man left and we settled the issue with my realty company. I tried to make light of the situation since this was the first time meeting my neighbor, but all she did was inform me that she didn’t have me towed when I was parked in her spot. Fucker. My realty company and this girl, worst humans.

Why Everyone Needs Gun Nuts

Guns exist. They exist in huge numbers – conservative estimates put the number of guns in the United States at around 200 million. Or as someone once put it – there’s already pee in the pool.

I get it, anti-gun nuts. Clearly no one would be able to shoot anyone if guns didn’t exist or weren’t available to anyone. But to argue that inevitably futile efforts should be made towards that end is to reject objective reality on the assumption that such a goal is not only possible, but logistically feasible. It demonstrably and irrefutably isn’t, but that is not the point of this article. The point is that whatever your position is on the private ownership of firearms, everyone benefits from widespread proliferation of firearms.

Study after study has shown that areas where responsible citizens are prohibited from possessing firearms inevitably become the targets for crime facilitated by illicit gun use. Washington D.C. for example has some of the most draconian handgun regulations requiring permits, registration, background checks, fingerprinting, mandatory safety courses, spent shell cataloging, and requires that residents explain where the firearm will be kept and what it will be used for. This is actually a small step forward from the landmark Hellar case in 2008, prior to which no person could legally own a handgun within the District of Columbia. However, as of the writing of this article open carry is prohibited and concealed carry permits are not being issued.

This sounds great, right? No guns, no gun violence? Well I am sad to report that the criminals didn’t get (or don’t give two shits about) the memo.

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Review: Des Moines Is Dope! My Experience at the Iowa State Fair

Last year, when I first proposed to my friend Angela that we go to the Iowa State Fair, I received the typical response friends give me when I propose an unusual trip—dead silence for about 10 seconds and then agreement. I think they just humor me.

Determined to actually make it to Des Moines this time instead of being stranded in Minneapolis due to a blizzard (like three years ago when we tried the first time) which resulted in Angela and I spending the night in a cheesy hotel with a ‘70s clover leaf-shaped pool and passing the time at the Mall of Americas the next day while we waited for our evening flights, we decided to go in the summer. Phew, long sentence.

The Iowa State Fair was so super fun! Toted as having more than 50 foods on a stick and tons of interesting concoctions, we set out to try as many as we could. Here’s a list of what we consumed in order of best to worst:

  • Fried butter on a stick
  • Fried cheese curds
  • Pork chop on a stick
  • Rice Krispie Treat with chips, pretzels, M & Ms, marshmallows, chocolate on a stick
  • Hot Beef Sundae
  • Fried turkey breakfast sausage on a stick with powdered sugar and syrup
  • Fried cheese on a stick
  • Pickle pop
  • Bacon on a stick dipped in chocolate
  • Red Velvet funnel cake on a stick

We also participated in a wine tasting; craft beers tasting (Iowa has great local beers); viewed snakes, sheep, goats, cows, rabbits, and horses; and watched a Red Hot Chili Peppers tribute band called First Born Unicorn.

We spent 7 ½ hours at the Fair and spent the rest of the day in a food coma. The next day we shopped, drank, ate, and drank some more. I need to seriously detox. While I was waiting for my flight at the airport, two people got through security without IDs. Apparently, besides being a great place to visit, there are no rules in Des Moines 🙂

Hot Beef Sundae

Suggestion: Soundtracks and their Evolution

So, for no reason whatsoever, I’ve begun to listen to soundtracks more and more. The current crop of music that is trending in movies by people like Michael Danna (Moneyball, Little Miss Sunshine), Cliff Martinez (Drive, Contagion), and Hans Zimmer (Inception, Dark Knight Trilogy) is reasonably varied in production values and tempo/sounds, but all the movies I’ve mentioned above are favourites of mine, and so it may just be that since I love the movie, I love the soundtrack.

However, I would actually much rather sit and listen to an entire OST (Official Soundtrack) now than an album. That’s not to say I don’t listen to albums, because I do. But there’s a different emotion that is stirred.

And so to the evolution: I can’t remember an OST that I gave a shit about prior to about 2004 when I heard Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind‘s musical offering. I’ve tried to go back and listen to OST’s of older movies I love: Shawshank or Batman (1990, Tim Burton version), but they’re just too specific to the movie, with crescendos and down tempo beats to match parts of the movie. I know these still exist in more contemporary soundtracks, but they just seem to blend in much better and more smoothly for a fuller kind of listening experience. The OSTs we have going on recently are amazing, standalone pieces of art that should be embraced fully. I mean fuck – look at Trent Reznor winning an Oscar for his soundtrack to The Social Network! Or Daft Punk’s Tron: Legacy – Daft Punk didn’t write the soundtrack for the Tron universe, Tron is set in the Daft Punk universe…

Go to Spotify or grooveshark.com and give them a go if you haven’t before, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Eat This! One-Minute Chocolate Cake (Gluten Option)

Photo courtesy of http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/

A lot of you nice men and women have been on a healthy kick recently, and if you’re anything like me, staying away from dessert is the hardest part. At the end of the day when I’m laying in my pajamas, I just crave something sweet. So I thought I better find a solution instead of ending up caving in and binging on a whole bag of Hershey’s kisses (this may or may not have happened before). I wanted to find something that was decadent, easy, yet still not horrible for you. And Voila! I came across this One-minute healthy chocolate cake recipe! Thank you internet. This chocolate cake is a measly 140 calories and has 2g of fat! (with a gluten option for people like Justin). This is probably one of my favorite recipes, just because of how easy it is. You mix all these ingredients together and zap it in the microwave! Best. Another easy recipe suggestion for when you crave something sweet, is melted semi sweet chocolate chips dipped in your favorite fruit like strawberries or frozen bananas and then chilled (great option for the hot summer). But before I start rambling on, I present you with a guilt-free 1 minute chocolate cake!

  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons spelt flour (or white, or peanut flour)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar (pr evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 stevia packet (or 1 tablespoon more sugar)
  • 2-3 tsp applesauce (or mashed banana, coconut oil, or vegetable oil)
  • 3 tablespoons skim milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. Add liquid, stir, then transfer to a little dish, ramekin, or even a coffee mug. Microwave 30-40 seconds. If you don’t want to eat it straight out of the dish, be sure to spray your dish first (and then wait for it to cool before trying to remove it).

Peanut butter frosting topper (Optional)

(Yields almost 1/2 cup, 55 calories a serving)

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • 4-8 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tsp milk of choice
  • 3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

Blend everything in a small food processor until mixed well. Store uneaten frosting covered in the fridge.

Worst Human #1

Hopefully I can do this situation justice. So in the town where Zach, Brian, and I went to school, there are several Walmarts.  Since I moved to a different apartment once I started grad school, I decided to visit the Walmart I had never been to before because it would be closer to my new location.  Little did I know, it was in the middle of herda-hadda-ville*.  The entire experience was like literally being in a farming town with a population of 300 people.  As I was in the checkout line, I of course started eavesdropping on the couple in front of me.  It was a man and his pregnant girlfriend.  The man was buying a short sleeve button down shirt and proceeded to explain to the cashier that he was going to be cutting off the sleeves to meet his preggo gf’s family for the first time tomorrow at their family BBQ.  He also mentioned that he had the perfect “Larry the Cable Guy” hat to match with his ensemble.  F his life, I can’t believe humans like that exist.  I feel bad for the baby in that woman’s stomach.

*herda-hadda is a term taken from Uhh Yeah Dude (uhhyeahdude.com). It’s a phrase that represents the stereotypical southern U.S. citizen*