December 31, 2011

Fearless 2011

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Going Places,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 11:07 pm

And… here we are! 2011 has run its course. Let’s review!

January: Unapologetically Fierce

-Nothing like a 7-year-old’s birthday party at a sports bar!
-Missed New Year’s Eve skiing but I’ll get up there some evening.
-Liberty’s restaurant says anyone under 16 must be accompanied by an adult.
-Uh oh! Big snowfall at afternoon rush hour on untreated roads!
-Three hours to go ten miles.
-Come on, car! Don’t get stuck. Doing great…
-Okay, now it’s stuck… just outside my house. Okay, COULD be a lot worse!
-Dinner invite! How nice!

February: A Reclaimed Minuet

-Superbowl Sunday! To Brookside. To climbing gym. To get fried chicken. To bake cookies. And, well, watch the game!
-Hey, lots of free sheet music for classical music online. Public domain!
-Uh oh! Lots of changes and of course fighting over NYRA’s website redesign.
-Yay! #16tovote on the 16th is a year old!
-Helping out in NYRA office on weirdly warm day. And burrito with Dave from weird burrito truck guy.
-WES Auction! I won a big urn!

December 30, 2011

Temptations for Ageism

Now for a growed-up, snack-packy edition of…


Jell-O. And they’re little Temptations pudding advertising. See, the idea is that it’s not like their other desserts (somehow). I mean, it probably still contains the exact same ingredients. But somehow this one isn’t for kids. They’re not only saying so. They’re forbidding kids from getting free samples of it through fancy machines!

The current offer is for Temptations by Jell-O, the brand’s first product designed specifically for adults. The machine is equipped with technology to determine the age of the person requesting a sample. If the machine senses a child, a panel lights up with the words, “Sorry, kid. You’re too young to experience indulgence like this. Please step away so the adults can get their free treat.”

You’re too young to experience indulgence like this? Even if I weren’t outraged on youth rights grounds, I’d want to smack the person who came up with this. Are they actually implying eating this particular pudding constitutes sex?

We’ve been discussing this a bit on the NYRA board e-mail list, and Eric Goldstein suggested the restriction could be for liability purposes. And he’s probably right. Except if that were all it is, you’d think they could at least try to be respectful about it. Having a machine say the equivalent of “ha ha, you can’t have this!” pretty much shows there’s more to it than that.

December 28, 2011


Filed under: Christmas Time!,Inside the Fortress,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:57 pm

You know when a year has the same calendar as another year?

I was born on a Friday, so whenever my birthday lands on a Friday, that year’s calendar matches up (or mostly matches up if a leap year) to the 1983 calendar.

Hey! My birthday was a Friday this year! So 2011 and 1983 match up!

This year also has the same calendar as 2005.

So, today, December 28, 2011, is a Wednesday, just like December 28, 2005 was.

I feel like that date rings a bell…

I feel like the days leading up, once Christmas was out of the way anyway, I was putting something together and fixing it up.

And on this day, six years ago, it went live…

Of course! You’re looking at it! 😀


December 27, 2011


Filed under: Christmas Time!,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:28 pm

Does this offend you?

How about this?

The whole site is in Verdana, but maybe I’ll switch the whole thing to this.

Or I’ll switch the whole thing to this.

Decisions! Decisions! Decisions!

Which one shall I pick?

Contrary to popular and inexplicable opinion…

Neither one is really all that bad!

This has its uses.

As does this.

Yet there are some who recoil at the mere sight of this!

They recoil at this, too!

What is wrong with these people?

Maybe they should get a life.

If they are so offended…

Down to their very souls…


December 26, 2011

Getting Kids Reading

Now for a juvenile, literary edition of…


People who are all like “we’ve got to get kids reading!”

There’s been ads for James Patterson books on TV, and some recent ones start off with “James Patterson gets kids reading!” Because he’s apparently written young adult lit now, so it shows a pre-teen reading from a book about middle school.

Because if there’s anyone who truly knows what middle school is like, it’s authors in their sixties!

But, what, they couldn’t just advertise the book? They have to include some crap about “getting kids reading”?

That takes away the “here’s something you’ll enjoy” factor and turns it into yet another “getting kids to do things adults want them to be doing”. Okay, the implication seems to be “it gets them reading BECAUSE it’s enjoyable”, but it still makes it being enjoyable to the young reader secondary to satisfying some cliched expectation. Because, after all, the world cares nothing for kids’ personal desires and cares entirely for what adults desire for them.

Also, maybe someone should tell these adults that when kids are reading, they’re generally -gasp!- inside and sitting! Oh noes, they’re getting fat! So send them outside to get exercise. Then bitch that they aren’t reading enough.

December 25, 2011

Feliz Natal

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 11:27 pm

My world is changing. I’m rearranging. Does that mean Christmas changes, too?
– “Where Are You, Christmas?”

The days leading up have kind of sucked. Christmas is about joy and hope. I see much ahead that is uncertain.

Today and yesterday have been okay. Even through it all…

Still with watching the Christmas Eve Christmas specials…

Baked cookies! Mmmm!

The Redskins lost… -_-

Wrapped presents.

Why did I buy my stupid family so much shit?

Mmmm, cookies.

Wrap more presents.

Mmmm, cookies.

You know what? I can finish this later.

Off to see stupid family.

They weren’t sure whether to get a platter of mezze or a big platter of sushi or a big ass bowl of shrimp. So they got all of it!


Brother wants me to watch YouTube videos. Mom wants me to watch British sitcoms.


Reading “Visit from St. Nicholas” to brother before he goes to bed.

Trying to leave but Mom keeps asking pointless questions.

Yay, got to church sort of on time!

Running down aisle while they’re singing “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

Breathlessly singing “Gloooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooria, in excelsis deeeeeeeo!”

Wearing Santa hat all through service. LOL U MAD?

Time for the peace. Wearing Santa hat. “Merry Christmas! Peace be with you!”

Here it is… the highlight of my Christmas time… and perhaps of my year…

Raising my lit candle, singing Silent Night!

Back home… to it being 1am and all my neighbors’ outside lights still on and shining, long after they’ve normally turned them off.

Last wrapping, more staring off into the divine night… and off to bed…

But so many questions remain. So many things are uncertain. What will things look like this time next year? How will such changes change Christmas itself for me? And the biggest question of all, what can I do about it? If anything?

Do I just wait and see? Am I sitting on the answer and just don’t notice it yet? Do I know what the answer is but have chosen not to do it?

Am I even asking any of the right questions?

But, at Christmas Eve night, trying to go to sleep, what can be done now?

Now? For now, yes, maybe just wait and see…

And in the morning, the bright sun shining… at last Christmas Day!

Let there be peace, love, joy, hope, and giving!

I got a Slinky! 😀

December 24, 2011

We’ll Just Have to Muddle Through Somehow

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing — Katrina @ 3:31 pm

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
“Peace on Earth, good will to men!”

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of “Peace on Earth, good will to men!”

And in despair, I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said.
For hate is strong
And mocks the song
Of “Peace on Earth, good will to men!”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
“God is not dead nor doth he sleep!”
The wrong shall fail
The right prevail
With “Peace on Earth, good will to men!”

Till ringing singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day!
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime!
Of “Peace on Earth, good will to men!”

(words by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, of course!)

December 23, 2011


Filed under: Christmas Time!,Decrees! — Katrina @ 5:32 pm

I hereby decree…

It’s pointless to point out hypocrisy.

Sad but true. A hypocrite will never see himself as hypocritical.

Point it out and what happens?

“That’s totally different!”

It’s a common climactic plot point in sitcoms when someone points out where someone is being hypocritical to get the response of “oh you’re right!” and he changes his ways or something. Yeah, like most other things that happen on TV, that’s bullshit. Never happens.

The people who whined that anyone ever said an unkind word about George W Bush will say the nastiest things about Barack Obama (and vice versa).

Those who fear and fight government monitoring will use even more intrusive monitoring methods on their children.

Someone who tells all his friends something he heard or believes about someone else will complain when that someone else tells all her friends something she heard or believes about him.

From an objective standpoint, seems hypocritical. Oh, but they have their reasons! Bush/Obama deserves to be called Hitler because of XYZ! Children aren’t people! My gossip is totally different from hers somehow!

Just keep telling yourself that.

December 22, 2011

Twin Fail

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Science,What the hell? — Katrina @ 4:29 pm

There are two things I want to see movies and TV shows stop doing when they have twin characters.

For one, stop showing a twin brother and sister as “identical”. Identical twins are also identical sexes because of that whole identical DNA thing. They’ll look sort of alike anyway just from being siblings, but they are still fraternal twins as they came from separate eggs and sperm. But you get brother-sister twins being shown looking exactly the same except maybe one hair or facial feature so that you know the sister is female. Or Phil and Lil from Rugrats looking completely identical, and occasionally being mixed up, except for Lil wearing a dress, though that still is basically the same outfit Phil wears. Seriously, writers, stop that shit!

And this isn’t the sort of thing only biology majors or whatever know. It’s almost common knowledge.

Then comes the other annoyance. You get shows or movies that are about conjoined twins… who aren’t identical. Conjoined twins are always identical. They didn’t just get hooked together at some point. They, like all identical twins, were initially one fertilized egg that then split into two identical ones. But for conjoined twins, didn’t finish splitting, so they’re stuck together. And still identical. I mean, I’d give Oblongs leeway since on that show the family is basically all mutants anyway, but you get other shows and movies showing conjoined twins with entirely different features and trying to pretend this is how they normally are. Again, writers, stop that shit!

It takes like no time to look this shit up. You’ll save so many brain cells!

December 21, 2011

Solstice of Lights

Filed under: Christmas Time!,WTF Did I Just Write? — Katrina @ 3:58 pm

Ah, winter has begun! And I think something else has, too.

Winter Solstice: Here I am! Alright, Northern Hemisphere, time for another winter!

Chanukah: Shalom!

Winter Solstice: Oh, hey, Chanukah! How’s it going?

Chanukah: It’s my first day!

Winter Solstice: Hey, seems we’re the same day this year!

Chanukah: Oy vey! Don’t let Christmas know that. I’ll never hear the end of it.

Christmas: Hear the end of what?

Chanukah: Ah, you again.

Christmas: Oh, wow! You start on the Winter Solstice this year? That’s awesome!

Chanukah: Actually, I started last night at sundown if we’re to be more specific.

Christmas: Close enough. This means that this year, just like me and my traditions, you too are a Winter Solstice celebration.

Chanukah: Oy. Here we go again. I have nothing to do with the solstice. The dates are a coincidence. I’m about a temple rededication after one of very very very many times the Jews were attacked.

Christmas: Hey, you know what would make an awesome menorah decoration?

Chanukah: Menorahs don’t need decoration.

Christmas: A holly sprig! Right at the base of it.

Chanukah: Why?

Winter Solstice: Holly is evergreen and symbolizes everlasting life. For you, it could mean the resilience of the Jews all through history maybe.

Chanukah: But that’s a Celtic thing, that Christians later also made about Jesus because they’re so insecure they have to make everything about Jesus. I don’t need that. Our own traditions and symbols are plenty interesting on their own.

Winter Solstice: Maybe instead of candle oil you guys should try my Yule log. That lasts weeks!

Christmas: How about a Star of David atop the tree?

Chanukah: Fuck this shit, I’m going to make some latkes.

Christmas: Don’t forget to leave some out for Santa!


December 20, 2011

The Cratchits

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,What the hell? — Katrina @ 9:42 pm

So I’m watching “A Christmas Carol” (1984 version with George C Scott) on AMC since it’s on pretty constantly and why not.

Christmas Present takes Scrooge to the Cratchits’ house where Scrooge is informed that sweet lad Tiny Tim is going to die from some unnamed illness that can apparently be cured in 1845 England with enough money at least but money the Cratchits of course don’t have. Then they have their meal and Mrs. Cratchit brings out the dessert, this round chocolate cake thing.

She sets it down nervously in front of her husband, and he takes several severe looks at her while scooping some onto a fork, then he takes a bite, and now is smiling and says “another triumph, my dear!” Followed by invisible-to-them Scrooge saying “what a relief for Mrs. Cratchit!”

Is it just my imagination, or does all that imply that if she screwed up the cake, he’d have slapped her?

I mean, okay, okay, maybe it was just playing around, that she was being a perfectionist and he was quietly teasing her about it.

But then later, during the Christmas Future sequence, after Tiny Tim is six feet under, Mrs. Cratchit is sewing and remarks the color thread she’s using hurts her eyes, then after a minute she says it’s better now. Then she remarks to her remaining children she doesn’t want their father to see her with red eyes when he gets home. Because, as a wife, she’s supposed to completely put away her own feelings or emotions and stick to serving her husband’s every whim. Selfish woman! How dare she be sad that… her son died!

Though that’s not the most disturbing part of the movie. Christmas Present does open his robe at one point to reveal two shriveled waist-high children standing there for some reason… :scared:

December 19, 2011

Out of Context

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Idiot Box,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 12:55 pm

Common Christmas time song is “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”. The song is a list of how awful this Mr. Grinch guy is. To someone unfamiliar with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (theoretically, since I’m not sure such a person exists), hearing this song among all the other Christmas songs might seem a little odd. Because, really, standing alone, the song makes no sense, nor does it explain why said Mr. Grinch is so horrible. It doesn’t explain it’s because he’s robbing a whole lot of houses on Christmas Eve out of spite.

But we all know that story, so it seems appropriate to hear the song among Christmas music. It’s funny how often this can happen.

If you’re a fan of The Sopranos, you know that one of the characters’ nicknames is Big Pussy, usually shortened to just Pussy. So thinking of the show, you might find yourself talking about things that happen, saying “pussy” a lot, and someone overhearing this who’s not familiar with the show might be like “what?!” I’ve had that happen a couple times!

December 18, 2011

Play Ball!

Filed under: Check It Out,Christmas Time!,Think About It! — Katrina @ 3:24 pm

A few weeks ago, I read and reposted to NYRA’s forums an article by Alfie Kohn on children playing, and its being redefined to serve adults’ expectations of children.

Crap about how adults keep trying structure children’s play, making it all about and led by them, rather than just letting the children do it any way they want. Whether it’s “productive” in any way or not.

Totally agree. I found this part interesting, too:

3. Play isn’t just for children. The idea of play is closely related to imagination, inventiveness, and that state of deep absorption that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi dubbed “flow.” Read virtually any account of creativity, in the humanities or the sciences, and you’ll find mentions of the relevance of daydreaming, fooling around with possibilities, looking at one thing and seeing another, embracing the joy of pure discovery, asking “What if….?” The argument here isn’t just that we need to let little kids play so they’ll be creative when they’re older, but that play, or something quite close to it, should be part of a teenager’s or adult’s life, too.[4]

It brought back memories from college. A few times, I inexplicably carried around with me a miniature playground ball. And the looks and remarks I got were interesting. Of course, I threw it at a few of my friends’ heads and they weren’t too happy, but usually I was just strolling around campus, bouncing it around, or tossing it to people I knew and they’d toss it back. I was the first arrival at one of my classes and the teacher interrogated, “Why do you have a ball?” And I said, “For fun.” And he mulled this over and remarked that it’s perhaps therapeutic.

Therapeutic! Ha! Why must there be a reason? I just felt like having ball with me! It was fun. That’s reason enough.

Such boring and unimaginative people! Don’t have real fun. The desire has been squeezed out of them in a world that demands productivity at all times. And those who do have some unexplainably fun seem weird or immature. They’re just jealous! 😛

December 17, 2011

Real Men

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Estrogen,What the hell? — Katrina @ 4:45 pm

Lots of messages from pop culture as to what it means to be a “real man”. Real men are supposed to only like certain things, do certain things, and above all, maintain this state of being lest they slip and become like a -gasp!- woman!

Real men are supposed to like beer!

Despite the fact that, well, aren’t there plenty of men out there who don’t like beer, or any alcoholic beverage for that matter. Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men are supposed to ogle scantily clad women!

Despite the fact that, well, said scantily clad women might not be some men’s type or they probably aren’t into leering? Yet… aren’t they still men? Aren’t gay men still men?

Real men are supposed to like steak!

Despite the fact that sometimes they just prefer chicken. Or they are vegetarian or vegan. They might actually – gasp! – prefer salad! Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men aren’t supposed to want to be teachers or nurses or stay-at-home parents!

Despite the fact that, well, many men excel in these jobs and are great with patients and children! Yet… aren’t they still men?

Real men are supposed to like… action movies!

According to that stupid Dr Pepper Ten commercial anyway. Despite the fact that men like all kinds of movies, even – gasp! – romantic comedies! Yet… aren’t they still men?

December 16, 2011

#16tovote on the 16th – Typical

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings,Teh Interwebs,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 10:56 pm


12:00am, the 16th: Introductory “yay it’s #16tovote on the 16th!” tweet along with link to Top 10 Reasons to Lower the Voting Age

12:02am: tweets some basic voting age point to get things started

12:10am: trying to think of another voting age tweet, comes up with crap

12:15am: finally just tweets link to recent voting age news article, if one’s available

12:30am: facepalms at Max’s “#16tovote or I’ll chop off your dick and shove it down your throat” tweet

1:00am: manages to tweet some good stuff, perhaps a couple tweets and/or retweets from regulars

1:30am: can’t come up with anything else for night but stays up late with it for some reason

2:00am: finally tweets link to NYRA voting age page or something from the downloads section, to get people through night

2:30am: goes to bed, ready to get up and get to work nice and early to resume

December 15, 2011

You Thought Otherwise?

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings,What the hell?,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 1:24 pm

I’ll never understand how there are corporal punishment supporters in NYRA. It’s something that shocked the hell out of me loooong ago when I was new on the forums and found there was anyone in the organization justifying the practice! I mean, in a youth rights context, it should be a no-brainer. One of the most basic aspects of supporting someone’s rights is supporting their right to not be assaulted for supposed “misbehavior”.

Got a reminder of it yesterday when an anti-corporal punishment article was posted to NYRA’s Facebook page. Seriously, click through that and check out all the comments.

Some people are all “WTF? I thought NYRA was only against corporal punishment in schools?!”


Do they really think our opposition to corporal punishment is about WHO is hitting the kids rather than, you know, the idea of them being hit at all? Or, in general, did they not catch that we’re a “youth rights” organization?

Hell, in 2009, when our opposition to school paddling was added to our Education position paper, someone at the annual meeting out and asked me “this is just for schools, right? so if I had kids, I could still smack them?” I gave him a dirty look that made him recoil a bit and answered plainly “just for schools” and my look that seemed to add “but go fuck yourself”. I mentioned this to Alex later, since that guy was a friend of his, but Alex insisted the guy was joking. Eh, maybe.

While the words “youth rights” can make people think all kinds of different things, many of which way off what we do, you’d think freedom from assault that’s called “discipline” would be obvious. I wonder if these same people join or follow an LGBT org and are surprised they are for same-sex marriage. I wonder if they join or follow an animal rights org and are surprised they are against fur.

December 14, 2011

Making a Difference

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Youth Rights — Katrina @ 11:52 am

As I’m sure anyone involved in making any change in the world wonders, I wonder if we’re making much of a difference. I wonder if our youth rights messages are resonating with people, are getting them to at least rethink their previous assumptions about young people. More importantly, I wonder if the messages we spread truly help anyone, truly stop or directly lead to stopping much of what youth suffer.

I recently watched this viral video of the depressed bullied 13-year-old with the index cards. All I could think after watching that was how much I wanted to give him a hug!

On one hand, it’s nice this is getting the attention it is, not being written off as just “typical” teenage depression (though I’m sure many are still seeing it that way). Of course, that could be because he’s supposedly gay (or at least that’s the implication) and his tormentors are his classmates. If his tormentors were his parents, the reception would be much different. But I’ll cover that another time.

December 13, 2011

NYRA Holiday Cards – Fun Facts!

Filed under: Christmas Time!,NYRA Happenings — Katrina @ 8:35 pm

Today I’ve officially completed the sending of the 6th Annual NYRA Holiday Cards! Yay! Last year I sent 570 cards but this year it was back down to 480. No really reason except by the time I went to order more the price had been raised. Oh, well.

It’s teal with snowflakes and some pink gifts on either side of the Annual Meeting picture.

Like 2009, Alex was nowhere to be found with helping with recipients. Though maybe that’s not totally true, as what helped me the most this year was not only some he provided last year but the last two years’ Annual Reports, which he put together.

Anyway, having been doing this for six years now, there are some things that have changed and some that stay the same. So enjoy some fun facts!

-There were 90 cards in the first holiday card run in 2006. They were all sent on the same day.

-Daily batches of holiday cards are always a multiple of 30 because that’s how many labels there are on the Avery label sheets I use.

-Cards are sealed using a moist napkin and clear tape. So, don’t worry, my tongue goes nowhere near them!

December 12, 2011

Welcome, Step In

Filed under: Christmas Time!,Musical Musing,Think About It! — Katrina @ 10:39 pm

So just like every year, I’ve been preparing and sending NYRA’s holiday cards, and my soundtrack for this task has been 97.1 WASH’s 24/7 Christmas music on the stupid I Heart Radio streaming thing. Something that, as a cursory glance through the Musical Musing category will tell you, I have a rather complicated relationship with!

One popular and of course overplayed song is Elton John’s “Step Into Christmas”. Not bad.

Then I noticed something about the song I never noticed before.

The first line of the song is… “Welcome to my Christmas song!”

Um, thanks, Elton! I guess.

You see, that’s the kind of lyrics that really makes you think.

Even if just thinking he should go back to Chef for more help with them.

December 11, 2011

Participating in Life

Now for a generational, sneering edition of…


I’m really getting sick of the same canned “complaint” about the younger generation, whether my own or ones after or even a little before, that we expect life to be fair all the time. This is blamed on school and maybe parents that supposedly give out awards just for participating, hoping to squash competition in order to prevent anyone from “feeling bad”. Or occasionally blamed on pop culture telling stories implying nothing seriously bad will ever happen to you.

And that all these messages have supposedly spoiled us and made us think life is perfect or that we’re good at things even when we’re not.

Speaking as someone whose schools and teams and such did have participation awards…


How stupid do you think we are?

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