Women as Commodities

In yet another day of stellar BC news we are informed that, yet again, the RCMP have fucked up. This on the heel of news yesterday that sexual assaults in Vancouver are up 21%. Yet again women are victims of crimes that completely and utterly change their lives by being exploited by men. I am completely and utterly disgusted. You will note, however, that I am not surprised.

Let’s take the first incident. Apparently some RCMP officers and some civilian employees decided to watch two women having sex in the drunk tank. Given the possibility that they may have a medical crisis requiring assistance they were being watched on CCTV (closed-circuit television). The last time I checked monitoring for ill heath effects did not include watching people have sex.

What kinds of beliefs about women would allow these men, in positions of authority, to watch two women having sex? Clearly they needed to objectify these women. Women are treated as commodities in our society. Often used in advertisements, women are the purveyors of sex used to sell so many products. We are also inundated with images of women in popular culture where women are portrayed in all sorts of roles: wife and mother, slut and whore.* Women are viewed as incompetent. If a woman is in a position of power she must be a bitch, emasculating or a shrew. Women cannot express any strong opinions without being suspected of having ulterior motives. Strong intelligent women are not allowed to simply exist and be successful. Instead women ‘go under the radar’ by being good wives and mothers and staying within proscribed roles.

Women who are not viewed as successful have a much worse experience. Likely women who end up in the drunk tank are not women from the upper classes who drank a little too much wine. These women enjoy privilege safely in their warm houses. If statistics hold, the women were likely Aboriginal and/or women of colour, came from abusive backgrounds and may have been survival sex trade workers. Of course I am generalizing here but traditionally these are the women who get picked up by police for being on the streets drunk and causing a disturbance. These are likely the same women that Robert Pickton targeted and we all know how important those women are to police and society in general.

So how does all this tie in with the 2 women having sex in the drunk tank? For many men, lesbians and lesbian sex is the ultimate threat. Lesbians don’t need men which some men find insulting and the flip side is that every frat boys’ dream is to watch 2 women having sex. So here we have 2, most likely disenfranchised, women having sex. I find it somewhat insulting that the RCMP are bringing up issues of consent given that both women have been released without charges. Is it not possible that these women might have been lesbian? Maybe they were seeking comfort with each other in a world that provides very little of it for them. Perhaps they felt valued with each other. They may have even known each other. I think the whole thing about consent is a bit of a ruse to deflect from the fact that seven men watched these women have sex for several minutes. In those moments what was going through their heads? One does not need to speculate too much. Clearly no one was thinking they needed to stop it.

It is no wonder that these kinds of things happen. After all the day before Jim Chu, Chief Constable of the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) announced a 21% increase in sexual assaults. Chu then goes on to ‘reassure’ people that the increase is not in violent  sexual assaults. Instead the increase is in ‘groping.’ Somehow ‘groping’ is less traumatic than straight on sexual assault. All I have to say is ask a woman how sexual assault has impacted her life. Chances are you won’t have to go too far out of your living room for an answer. Flash back to the incident in Kamloops and you have to wonder if the comments about consent were specious. Clearly, if something looks consensual it just might be. I am sure they are throwing the ‘consent’ issue up as a way to deflect from the fact that RCMP and city employees watched the video. Now, apparently, the tape will be “reviewed,” no doubt by more men, to determine how long each employee watched. At some point the women stopped it is unclear if the staff stopped them or they finished? At what point does the exploitation stop? Will the people tasked with reviewing this video do it from a respectful place or will it be just another round of free lesbian pornography.

I am angry about this situation. I have been angry for a very long time. I am sick and tired of the acceptance and the making excuses for men’s behaviour towards women. Almost all violence perpetrated against women is committed by men. I know that not all men are rapists. There are many good men in the world who are amazing fathers, brothers, sons and husbands. However there are still far too many men who rape and assault women. We must do better for the next generation.

*Interestingly, our discourse does not have similar words for men with the same connotations.

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Published in: on August 31, 2010 at 9:20 pm  Comments (2)  
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A month with the iPad

The beautiful iPad

I read an article in the September issue of Macworld (another good article here). The article had several people discuss how the iPad had changed their lives. Like me, many of them could not see a use for the iPad, that is until they had one. At first pass if you have an iMac, a laptop and an iPhone what on earth could you do with an iPad that you can’t already do with those other devices. I also wondered how I would fit the iPad into my day when I was already using so many other devices. Within a month the iPad has become completely ensconced in my life – I don’t leave home without it.

First off I use the iPad as my calendar. It has an awesome, almost beautiful interface. In landscape mode it looks like a typical agenda. With push notifications turned on, anything I enter into my iPad is quickly synced to my computers. I find that I use it first thing in the morning to check my email. Sometimes I get emails that I need to act on or that my impact my day. Having access to them as soon as I get up is great. I could have used the iPhone for this but the battery drains so quickly I would be constantly charging it. The iPad, on the other hand, has a great battery that lasts for a long time.

To me, the iPad shines as a media delivery tool. Creating media is definitely not its strong point. I have been reading the blogs to which I subscribe. I am not much of commenter so reading them on the iPad works really well for me. It has taken me a while to find a reader that I like. Some of them emulate google reader. One, Reeder, uses stacks and takes advantage the pinch in and out features of the iPad.

Whenever we go away I take my laptop. The next time we go somewhere I don’t think I will need it. As long as there is wireless internet at the hotel there is no reason. If we were staying in a place where the internet was wired I would need the laptop and my extra router to set up a network. Even though I had my laptop with me last weekend and set up, I still blogged on the iPad. This was a surprise to me.

I love reading books on it too! The nice thing is that you don’t need a light on. The iPad may settle many marriage bed battles when one wants to go to sleep and the other wants to read. You can adjust the font and the point size. You can also make the background sepia. You can also download other readers so you are not stuck with Apple’s iBooks. I have the Kindle reader which I like too. It is great to be able to carry books with you to read especially when you are stuck waiting.

The great thing about the iPad is its portability. It seems to go everywhere with me. I now play Qrank every morning in the bathroom after checking my email.

My favourite thing about the iPad is the games. I have been completely addicted to Plants vs Zombies. I have also spread the addiction. There are also iPad versions of perennial favourites such as Civilization and SimCity. The iPad versions don’t really offer anything more than the computer versions that I have seen. It seems to me that games designed for the iPad are the best.

In a very short amount of time the iPad has completely taken over my life. It goes with me everywhere I go. I take it to work and to other places where I might have to wait. For me, the iPad is primarily a media consumption tool. I don’t think I would use it for anything much more intense than replying to an email or writing the odd blog. I do think that the iPad is the beginning of computers being so portable and accessible that they will change our lives. It is an exciting time indeed.

Do you have an iPad? If so how is it fitting into your life? If you are into it I would love to have more people to play Qrank with everyday! You can play on an iPhone, iPad or through facebook! Let me know if you want to play!

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 7:29 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Nice to be home

While I really enjoyed our time away I have to say that I love being home too. Today has been the ideal day. I slept in late. When I got up I had a leisurely shower and played with Piper. I came downstairs and made pancakes for everyone. Then we watched some tv with the dogs and played plants vs zombies. We watched Sienna and Sawyer play tug for about half an hour. I am now just waiting for the chicken to be cooked and we will eat dinner. Nice relaxing day.

Published in: on August 28, 2010 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dispatches from the Swamp – the Sockeye Edition

All week we have been hearing about sockeye salmon. Besides the fact that the ‘officials’ cannot count, by all reports this is the biggest sockeye run in over a century. Anyway, we decided to have salmon on the barbecue. Today on our local CBC lunch show, BC Almanac, had a chef on today who was giving advice on cooking salmon. I called in and actually got on. I asked how to cook a salmon on a plank. Both the guest and the host went on about how they wanted to come for dinner. I reverted to my usual way of cooking salmon in tin foil. I did take his advice about using salt to season. I also added some butter because everything is better with butter! It took only 20 minutes on our awesome propane barbecue. I thought it would take longer so I am glad I checked as overcooked salmon sucks. Deb made roasted veggies: corn, carrots, zucchini, onions, potatoes etc. She also made acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. Everything was so good!

Little dogs have this skill, innate ability to concentrate all of their weight on one paw and stand on you. How do they do this?

Sawyer has been embracing his inner puppy lately. For most of his puppyhood it was like he wasn’t even a puppy. Every once in a while he would do some puppy like thing to remind us all that he is, after all, a puppy. Lately though it is like he is a puppy on steroids and nothing is safe. Seriously, nothing is safe. The other day I hear him chewing something. I get up to investigate and discover that he was chewing a phone. He took it off the table. Nothing is safe. We can’t leave anything on the table or he will take it and chew it. He seems to have gained some length as he can now stretch himself up to get things. I hope this does not last for long!

Published in: on August 27, 2010 at 8:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Yet another driving rant

I am really beginning to hate driving. Let me re-phase, I like driving I just hate sharing the road with all of the assholes on it. From the aggressive to the ambivalent to the downright stupid it really just gets to be too much.

Today, as I was waiting at a light to get on to the Mary Hill Bypass this SUV cuts in front of the vehicle in front of me. The guy driving was quite annoyed. Then the interloper SUV goes way less than the speed limit in the left-hand lane? Why do people do this? Newsflash – the left-hand lane is for passing! What is even stranger is that after 10 cars have gone past and around her she was completely oblivious! After I changed lanes to pass, I looked over and she was engaged in conversation and didn’t even notice that so many cars had passed her on the right.

Then on the same part of the drive a seriously fucked up asshole threw a lit cigarette butt out of the window. Does he not realize that the grass and forest on the Mary Hill Bypass are still tinder dry in spite of a little bit of rain? Why do smokers think they can use the world as their ashtray? Cigarette filters are full of toxic chemicals and fibre glass which will then leach into the environment. Smoking is a disgusting habit why can’t they keep their butts to themselves?

Published in: on August 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Prison Farms

Canada Corrections, in its ‘infinte wisdom,’ has decided to close Canada’s prison farms. Their reason? Apparently the farms cost too much to maintain and very few prisoners who worked on the farms went on to get jobs in agricultural. Sadly, the government’s short-sighted view will compromise the ability of Corrections Canada to rehabilitate inmates.

Working in agricultural is about so much more than getting a job out of prison. Some of these farms had livestock. Anyone who has been around farm animals in any capacity would know the healing power of animals. Looking after the animals gives people a sense of responsibility and pride in their accomplishments. They would need to approach the work calmly and kindly to be effective. Inmates would be able to see the effects of their behaviour on other live beings – this is serious rehabilitation that could not be replicated. Forming caring relationships, even with animals is a key element in any rehabilitation.

Growing crops may not seem like a skill set needed in our technical society. Starting something, setting goals and seeing something through to the finish are invaluable, transferable skills. Many people who commit crimes do so because either they do not have other skills or they do not believe that they do. Agriculture is hard work. Inmates who have been successful doing hard work have a much better chance at integrating into back into society.

Corrections Canada is responsible for incarcerating and rehabilitating convicted criminals. While the prison farms may not have turned a profit, they certainly provided locally grown food and rehabilitation opportunities to inmates. Providing skills and a sense of pride and accomplishment gives a great deal to the inmates. In doing their work on the farms they would learn patience and perseverance. They would need to work together so that the farm was both safe and successful. The government has yet to announce a replacement for the prison farms beyond ‘decommissioning’ the farms. What a sad outcome.

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Our Vacation Weekend at Harrison Hot Springs

We were so desperate and so stressed and so needed to get away. It has been a year since we got away so we were overdue. It has been a long hot summer and we needed to not have to go out in the heat unless we wanted. Plus we were totally looking forward to a weekend of room service and Season 4 of Dexter.

We decided not to go to the Harrison Resort. In the past we have found it loud and crowded with too many children. We decided to try the Executive Inn. The price was better and while they did not have a swimming they did have a jacuzzi. There was room service with 3 breakfasts and 1 dinner included. We also got passes to the public pool across the street from the hotel.

When we arrived on Saturday, the room was large, with a couch and chair. There was also a desk for a computer and free wi-fi. We settled in and started thinking about dinner. We looked at the room service menu and it was not very robust. So we went down to the restaurant instead. We should have known when we walked in because the place was a disaster. Odd seating with a similarly odd layout. It took us about 2 minutes to decide where to sit. We looked at the menu and there seemed to be an odd emphasis on potato chips – fish encrusted in potato chips (which seemed to be a Harrison theme). I ordered some prawn and scallop thing and Deb had fish and chips. We also ordered chicken wings (which were a disaster) and home-made potato chips which were ok when they were crispy but most of them were just soggy vehicles for grease. My dinner was ok and Deb’s was not great. We decided we would not return for dinner and were glad that we had brought the $40 dinner gift card to use.

The restaurant disasters continued with breakfast the next morning. We were told the kitchen was open until 11:30 am for breakfast. We both ordered the Monte Cristo –which is a ham and cheese sandwich dipped in egg and fried. Well, Rockamole’s version was to take french toast bread with cinnamon. Who the hell thinks that cinnamon goes with cheese and ham? It was disgusting to say the least.

The next morning I went to order breakfast at 11:15 am and I was told the restaurant was closed. I could not believe it. I was so annoyed! However, we were saved from yet another Rockamole’s culinary crime. Instead we went to Cookin’ Kim’s Country Cafe. Deb had what she described as the best ‘Chef’s Salad’ ever! It did look pretty good! I had a grilled cheese which was underwhelming but we did have the best cauliflower cheese soup!

For dinner the last night we went to the Crazy Fish Bistro. I was hoping for a fish and chips dish but they didn’t have that. Instead Deb and I shared the ribs and we had a fish appetizer that was breaded in, you guessed it, potato chips. Unlike the other dish with fish and chips this was fabulous. It would be enough to make a meal. The ribs were good but they had that taste ribs get when they are frozen after they have been cooked. I hate that taste. The stand out for this meal for me was the corn on the cob. I shouldn’t eat it but it is something I have real trouble leaving alone. This corn was divine. The right crispness and sweetness. I was in heaven. It was so good Deb let me eat her small cob too!

This morning we had to go back to the hotel restaurant. We got room service and it went to new depths of badness. Deb had a breakfast skillet that was supposed to have eggs. I even told them how to cook her eggs. The breakfast skillet was disgusting. Overcooked green peppers and canned mushrooms. The smell almost made me lose it! I asked for pancakes instead of hash browns and toast. I asked for for pancakes with extra butter. I got the pancakes, no butter and no syrup. Great. I did get my sunny side up eggs but no salt and pepper.

Food was not the purpose of our trip. We wanted rest and relaxation. We wanted a chance to re-connect and relax together, to focus on each other. We definitely got that. We completely enjoyed ourselves. We come back feeling good and ready to carry on. It is so nice to get away with your spouse and have some uninterrupted time together. We have also decided to do this again in 6 months rather than a year.

On another note, I totally noticed the HST. It seemed like restaurant bills were $6 – 8 higher than I expected. So that even if you have a $20 gift card that does not cover 2 entrees under $10 and one beverage. Add on the room service cost and tip and it is almost an additional $15. This starts to add up very quickly. When we go again we may consider taking more of our own food.

Published in: on August 24, 2010 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Last day

It was our last full day in Harrison. We head home tomorrow and back to work. Time went by very quickly. We had a great time, except for a few glitches.

Published in: on August 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Good Day

We are still on vacation so this will will be a short post.

We went to the hotel restaurant yesterday, Rockamoles, and it sucked so we went off in search of somewhere else. Anyway, the Settlers Pub was good except for the clientele. There was a straight couple on a first date. He never shut up the whole time. We will call this couple #1. Couple #2 came in a little later and, according to Deb, they continually stared at us until their beer arrived. I didn’t notice but that is not a big surprise as I don’t usually see that kind of thing. Then there was couple #3. They awhile after us. They began holding hands intensely, staring at each other and using their combined 4 hands. Then they started to kiss. Then they started to almost make out in the middle of the restaurant! After a bit, the guy from couple #1 got up to go to the bathroom and there was this large silence and then couple #3 started to laugh with the woman from couple #1 about him. That was how I found out it was their first date.

What really pissed me off was the overt PDAs (public display of affection). It would be ok if they were a little more discreet. What really gets me though is that if Deb and I were to do that our personal safety could be at risk. I hope that one day we live in a world where a same-sex couple can hold hands in public somewhere other than the Davie Village.

Published in: on August 22, 2010 at 9:36 pm  Comments (1)  
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Vacation

Deb and I are on vacation at Harrison Hot Springs. We decided not to stay at the resort and we are at the Executive Inn instead. Much nicer room that is much larger than the resort. It also seems much quieter. That’s it for today.

Published in: on August 21, 2010 at 8:13 pm  Comments (1)