Friday, February 25, 2011

I Think About Consent At 4 AM.

 As seems to be the case with everything I write lately, I want to be extra cautious and throw a trigger warning on here. I'm talking about consent and agency, and respect thereof. Also, there is discussion of sexytimes in a potentially sexy manner. Additionally, all persons and events in this blog post are composites of several case studies (because I think it's fun to call my hookups "case studies," shut up) and details have been changed to protect identities.

I have distinct memories of nearly every single time a person I was maybe-considering-doing-something-physical-with stopped when I said stop. Seriously, I don't have clear memories of every sexual encounter I've ever had, nor even every enjoyable one, but memories of every time in my life when I've been so much as kissing someone, and have decided that this is not something I can/want to do right now, and have voiced that, and that has been immediately respected? Those are permanently imprinted on my brain.

I can remember plenty of times when I have said "stop" or "wait" or "*incoherent mumbling that was supposed to be 'I am too drunk to make this decision'*" or "*safeword*" and the other person has kept touching me, or tried to talk me into continuing, or stopped and not really immediately said anything, but then gone on to make little comments about it in what seemed like an effort to wear me down. But there have been exactly five times (prior to my current relationship, in which I have always felt listened to and respected, thanks honey!) where I have said something similar and the other person has immediately stopped kissing me, touching me, whatever, moved out of my personal space, and either said nothing (as I continued talking) or asked "are you ok," or "do you need to talk about this" or hell, even "did I do something wrong?" Which is totally an ok thing to say when the person you are half-naked with is suddenly in full on panic mode, going rigid and starting to cry! Thanks for being so cool about that, guy that I was half naked with!

To put this into perspective, five occasions of respected non-consent may seem like a lot, if you've only had sex with a couple of people, or have so thoroughly thought through every single move before it happens and are so self-aware that you never have cause to second guess yourself. If such applies to you, I say hooray! Good for you, and your personal decision to not have sex with lots of people, and your self-awareness and sobriety. I mean that sincerely. However, that has not been my experience. I have been promiscuous for the majority of the last decade. I have had drunken hookups. I have started to fool around with friends and realised as I was unzipping their pants that maybe this is not the best move for the friendship. In terms of percentages, for me, five occasions where my lack of continuing consent was immediately respected is downright shitty.

Now, for those of you who may be reading this and thinking, "Maybe if you were less slutty/drank less/had more foresight, this wouldn't be an issue," on some level you are probably right. If I had only ever had sex with one person, while completely sober, under ideal conditions where everything was well-discussed before it happened, I would possibly (probably?) never have had cause to think about whether my continuing consent would ever be an important issue. You know, assuming that the other person was totally on board with the same definitions of consent that I use, and totally committed to establishing said consent. But that is not my point.

My point is that consent is not the absence of no, but the presence of an enthusiastic yes. And if you're saying to yourself, "but I don't want to have to get my partner to fill out paperwork before sex," or something similar, you should either stop being an idiot/smartass/rape apologist (if you are being sarcastic/thinking that I should stop being such a Humourless Feminist and bake you a pie while giving you a blowjob) or read on and maybe learn something fun (if you are genuinely unsure of what I mean and concerned that I may want sex to be less fun).

Consent is sexy. SO SEXY. Seriously, it's not about formal agreements and initialing Nipple Clauses (though if that's what turns your crank, I'm not here to judge). Some of the hottest sex I have ever had (and by "sex" I don't just mean intercourse, I'm using the term in a fairly broad sense, as I usually do) was when consent was obtained at nearly every step.

Okay, story time. Before I continue, I'd like to point out that none of what I say here is intended as ideal models of consent, or a script to which you should adhere. I'm just going to talk a bit about times when I felt that I honestly had the option to continue with the sex or not, that the other person would have accepted my answer either way, but continued "check-ins" were made as things progressed in a way that felt like it made the experience more pleasurable rather than making it weird and legalistic.

Many moons ago, because I am SO OLD YOU GUYS, I was at a party at this guy's house. I was pretty sure he had actually invited me with the express purpose of getting me naked, which was cool with me because I had more or less accepted the invitation with the express purpose of getting him naked. We ended up alone in his room, under the pretense of me "looking at his guitar" or some shit (this is why musicians get laid, you can totally use "guitar" as a euphemism for "genitals") and were sitting next to each other on the bed, doing the semi-awkward sexual tension thing. Excuses were made to brush against each other, one thing led to another, and I was leaning in close to him with his arm around my waist. We looked each other in the eye, he nodded slightly with this sexy half smile, and we started kissing. Fast forward through much making out, including several half-hearted motions on both sides to return to the party which were swiftly terminated with "well, just one more kiss..." because we all know how that goes when you're young and horny. We were taking a smoke break, because making out is hard work or something. He was looking at me appreciatively, idly running a hand across my stomach, and "suddenly noticed" that my pants had laces on each side of the waistband, almost corset-style. (Hot damn I miss the wardrobe I had at 18, but anyway...) He said something terribly smooth like, "do these actually come apart?" while looking me in the eye, taking note of my reactions. I informed him that they did, and what's more, the similar lacing on my shirt (I like grommets, okay, don't be so judgy) also came unlaced quite neatly.

See what he did there? He asked "can I undo your pants" in a way that was still sexy (ish, shut up, we were young and awkward) and allowed me the opportunity to move things forward or not. I also took the opportunity to be an active participant in this sexual adventure rather than just lying there and getting fucked (see how passive that is?) by saying "why yes, and you may also take off my shirt." Once we had finished smoking and resumed our fevered mashing together of faces, I asked him in a semi-teasing voice if he should get back to his party. He replied with something to the effect of, "I maybe should, but I'd rather just spend the rest of the night in here." I said that I agreed, that staying in his bedroom sounded much more fun than going back out. Again, see what we did there? Gave each other a perfectly respectable "out" with mention of returning to the group in the living room. We both said that we would rather stay where we were and continue with the undressing.

Another story. Hot guy at an event, eye-humping the shit out of each other all night. (In fact, I think that is the exact phrase I used to explain to a friend why I was leaving Denny's in such a hurry... "That guy? The one I've been eye-humping the shit out of all night? Yeah, I might go get naked with him.") The actual physical contact between us began with a "goodnight hug" that turned into a kiss. A hot, spontaneous kiss with me backed up against the door of my car, hands all over each other.

Frequently the "consent is complicated, this is too hard" crowd worry that a model of enthusiastic consent will end spontaneity. It really doesn't have to! Here is an important thing-body language. If the other person is doing their best to wrap their legs around you while standing awkwardly on a curb, grabbing on to your belt loops and pulling you against them, they're probably into it. If you move in for a kiss and they go stiff, or are half-heartedly kissing back while turning their pelvis away from you and fiddling with their keys? Maybe not so much. In either case, if in doubt, ask. Seriously, just ask. Hot Spontaneous Kiss Guy said something to the effect of, "would you like to spend the night?" Asking something straight up does not have to be clinical, or weird, or a mood killer. Maybe try to avoid a Beavis and Butthead-esque, "Heh, heh, so, are we gonna like...do it?" unless that's what turns you and your partner on, in which case go nuts. But a simple "would you like to go somewhere more private?" or similar is HOT. And face it, if you can't discuss what you're about to do, you probably shouldn't be doing it.

Everything that happened that night was consensually hot. We both laid our boundaries right out from the get-go, with regard to specific things we were not willing to do. At every step, we were checking in with each other to be sure we were both still on board with the way things were going, and making the check-in part of the sexy fun. To paraphrase...

"Your legs are beautiful. I'd love to see them without your stockings on."
"I want to bite your neck."
"Would you please stroke my cock?"
"Do you like it when I lick you there?"

Always waiting for the other person to actually respond in the affirmative. That's sexy. "Yes" is a sexy word.

A model of enthusiastic consent, where "no means no" is not enough but must be accompanied by an understanding that "yes means yes," is only possible if every person is empowered to make their own sexual decisions. Each person must be free to learn and express what turns them on, what they don't like, what lines they absolutely will not cross. Women must be able to be active participants in their own sexuality, rather than passive objects of desire. The current cultural model of a woman who always appears to be available for sex, while only actually performing (I use that word for a reason) the act under certain conditions, who has effortless, vocal orgasms every time and finds no greater pleasure than when being penetrated with a penis, has to end. Slut shaming has to stop-in order to be able to fully enjoy and participate in their sexuality and that of their partner, women must not be demeaned for making decisions in this area. (I have a whole other blog post about what I call the "illusion of availability" which I'll save for another time.)

I hate to make this clinical now, but in sex, as in medicine, informed consent is key. Accurate information must be available to allow risk assessment of sexual activity. People must be able to protect themselves from STIs and unwanted pregnancy. So-called "education" that teaches teenagers that condoms don't protect you from disease (rather than giving truthful information about failure rates and allowing people to make their own decisions about what percentage of risk is acceptable) will not help them make sensible decisions. Regardless of how often you tell your kids not to have sex, or how much you think they've internalised that message, there will always be a certain number of people who get caught up in the moment and decide to proceed with sexual activity anyway. If they have been taught that condoms won't do them any good, do you think they're likely to use them?

Anyway, it's late (early?) and I've been rambling for a while. I just wanted to get this down.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Which I Use Run-On Sentences

A close friend is going through a horrible divorce. The marriage has been over and they have been legally separated for...oh, I don't know, like two and a half years now? But the property division and child custody issues are just now being hashed out, and it is awful.

Here's the thing that gets me: if marital property has been divided equitably (assets sold and proceeds divided) and both parties agree that at this point, the main focus should be on providing the best life possible for their child, what is the point of dragging things out and trying to "get" as much as you can out of your former spouse? Really, there is no good reason for it.

I want to tell my friend's ex to stop being such a miserable person. If you still have any caring feelings for someone to whom you were married, it would make sense to just let go of the situation that has caused you both pain and hope that they can find peace and happiness in their life, because 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, morons, I'm pretty sure it says something that could apply here, and that you can both heal and grow from this.  Then get over yourselves and try your best to resolve the situation peacefully, for the sake of your child. If you are full of hate and anger toward your former partner and the end of the marriage has caused you immeasurable misery, it would make sense to try to get past the hurtful situation and heal and grow on your own terms, rather than clinging to every last scrap of connection to the other person and trying to exact your revenge by dragging out court proceedings and accusing them, with really no evidence, of violating various (really insignificant in the big picture) aspects of your separation agreement just so that you can get more money than the six figure sum you have already gotten from the sale of your combined assets, because regardless of whether every single detail has gone the way YOU wanted it to, you are both grownups and the end result of everything has been really pretty alright, so just deal and move on.

Also, there are other friends of this couple who I know have been not only taking sides (not gonna judge you there, I've totally picked my side) but "sneakily" trying to obtain information about one party to feed to the other to stoke the flames of hate and bitterness. Like asking mutual friends "oh what was that thing that I suddenly remembered you were saying six months ago about what Bob said to Susan?" in what they seem to think is a totally subtle way but is not at all. I am on to you, and IMO you should probably butt out. Seriously, this is a horrible enough experience without you "helping."

Really, regardless of how two people feel about each other at this point in time, isn't there something to be said for having once shared a deep love, and for trying to raise a child together without traumatizing them excessively? What is the actual purpose of dragging someone into court to say "I think that you probably did (x) two weeks before the date that was officially written in our separation agreement two years ago, and even though whether or not you did had absolutely no bearing on how anything was accomplished and I have no evidence, I am going to have your bank accounts frozen and try to get an extra twenty grand out of our shared assets because I am bitter and angry?" Is there any possible motivation for this other than hate, control issues and being a rotten, money grubbing asshole? Grow up, dood.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Terrible Things I Think About (TW for Everything Being Terrible)

If I could go back in time, would it be good or bad for me to tell Younger Me how I turn out?

13-year-old Me- "I'm totally gonna be a famous singer. Or maybe a writer. Or a psychologist. Anyway, I'm gonna do something AWESOME with my life because my scary family is really scary and treats me like crap, and I'm SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT, and then I'm gonna start a charity or something where I help girls who get raped by their mom's boyfriends and beaten up by their mom, because that happened to me but I'm gonna rise above it and be a shining example of awesome for the whole world!!!!" Wears ridiculous outfits and too much burgundy lipstick ALL THE TIME because there is nothing cooler than burgundy lipstick, because it is 1997. Awkward and full of body image issues, self-harm and suicidal thoughts, but pretty sure that there is something fantastic on the other side of all this horrible, because there HAS TO BE or it wouldn't be worth it.

26-year-old Me- Constantly terrified of human contact/the outside world. Usually wearing a coffee-stained tank top and granny panties, wrapped up in a blanket. Frequently sits in the bathtub with the shower running and the radio turned up, attempting to hide the sound of hysterical sobbing induced by everything being terrible. Has a ten year old son who wants nothing to do with his insane mother and would rather live in his grandparents' basement with his father, who he doesn't know is basically a horrible human being. Has accomplished nothing and is in fact barely recognisable as an adult human.

Yeah...the inside of my head is a terrifying place.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saskatoon's Tequila Nightclub is the Body Police.

Trigger warning for fat hatred, sensations related to eating disorders, and male entitlement.

Tonight I went to Taboo with Chris and some friends. It was "masquerade night," according to their advertising, so I put together mask/headpiece setups for me and my friend Amie. I figured, hey, in addition to being pretty and crafty and fun, wearing a mask will help with that whole "if I go out in public I might barf on myself" issue. I was right-with my face covered the whole thing was surprisingly easy.

While we were at the show, we found out that there was body painting being done by Ace Angels International. Amie and I both decided to get torso paintings done to match our masks. This meant, of course, that we were topless except for pasties/tape over our nipples. I would like to say that I was thrilled with the professionalism and skill of the Ace Angels team. The artists, photographer and informational team made everyone feel very comfortable and were supportive of anyone who wanted to get involved with this sensual, artistic endeavor. Additionally, the paint jobs themselves were excellent, and we got countless compliments on them, as well as our masks and general attitudes of bravery and fun. Being a public event, of course there were some creepy people, some lecherous types, and some disapproving glances from a few random passers by, but overall the atmosphere at the event itself was very positive, and none of the organizers or vendors were in any way negative or gross.

I got painted first while Amie was at another booth, and she came over and got hers done a bit later. While I was getting my paint job, two women came to the booth and were discussing with the booth operators and artists that they were from Tequila Nightclub and were getting painted for the event, and going back to work after the show closed at midnight. It probably goes without saying, but I'll mention the fact that these women were both conventionally beautiful. They both got torso pieces done-one kept her bra on, the other was completely topless. The Ace Angels photographer also mentioned to me that they were hosting a VIP lounge at Tequila, and that all their body painting customers were welcome. He said that "Miss Taboo" (the winner of a mini-pageant specifically for event staff) would be there in her "winning outfit" (which consisted of torso paint and boy short panties). Basically, the premise seemed to be "hey, topless painted women, come to this bar where there will be more topless painted women and we'll all have fun." I was vaguely disinterested, thinking I'd wait and see how the rest of the night went, but filed the information away.

After we had both gotten our paint jobs, Amie and I were in line at the bar with our boyfriends when we were approached by a man representing Tequila. He gave us some more detailed information about the VIP party, including the fact that we had to arrive before midnight and give a password at the door. Very cheesy stuff, but hey, it's a nightclub. Anyway, the group of us discussed it and decided that we'd go for a little while. If you're all dressed up (or painted up) and have the opportunity to go dancing, you may as well take it, right?

When we arrived at the club, Chris and I went inside while Amie and her boyfriend went to the Tim Horton's next door to meet up with the rest of our group. They were going to meet us inside once they'd gotten everyone together. After getting past the bouncer at the entrance, the coat check, and a second bouncer just inside the club, all of whom saw exactly what I was wearing, Chris and I were standing in line at the ATM, and I was getting "looks." One woman gave me a thumbs-up from a couple of metres away and mouthed, "you look awesome," a few people just looked me up and down either appreciatively or disgustedly but made no comment, and I heard one woman from behind me yelling, "OH MY GOD she's not wearing a shirt!!!" At that I turned around and replied, "Nope, just the paint" with a big smile on my face. Apparently she had nothing to say to me, just about me, because she turned back to her group with a look of disbelief on her face. Most of them were laughing, and one man said, "She could have at least painted that gut to hide it." Naturally, this bit of comedic genius was met with guffaws and giggles from the assembled elite. I shook my head and turned back in the direction I had been facing.

Within about 60 seconds of that, my arm was grabbed and I jerked away, then turned to find a very muscular man in a suit standing to my left. He proceeded to call me "sweetie" (because coming up in my blind spot and touching me just wasn't quite violating enough) and tell me that I needed to put a shirt on. I was kind of confused at this, not to mention having no clue who this dude was, and tried to explain to him that I had just been at Taboo and been told that there was a VIP lounge related to the event and that I had been told by event organisers and representatives of Tequila Nightclub (I didn't say it quite so pretentiously, just wanted to make sure that I mention Tequila Nightclub enough times that Google will pick up on how disgusting and anti-woman Tequila Nightclub is) that I should show up exactly as I was. His response was, and I quote:

"I really don't care what you were told. I'm the head of security here, and the owner of this club just asked me to come tell you that you need to put a shirt on. We're getting complaints. You can't be in here looking like that." (Emphasis original.)

At this point I was feeling a bit triggered, to say the least. I wanted out of there. While I was getting my coat from the coat check, he was hovering behind me and trying to usher me out a side door. Trying not to fall to pieces, I asked Chris to go outside, where I could see the rest of our group standing in line, and tell them what was going on. Suddenly Mr. "Head of Security" said, "Oh, there are people meeting you right now?" and disappeared from my side. By the time I actually got outside, apparently the rest of the group had been told that either due to a miscommunication or "something," the dress code was not what we had been told.

Apparently all of this was communicated politely enough that when I tried to tell everyone what had been said while they were outside, their responses made me feel like I was being brushed off as paranoid.

So, right now I'm a big pile of "triggered" and am going to bed. I am typing this only with the aid of Lorazepam and staying upright with sheer force of rage. I have that lovely sensation that I haven't missed at all since I've been dealing with my disordered eating, where I'm hungry and know I should eat something, but the thought of food makes me panic and twists my stomach into knots, and I know if I try to eat anything it won't stay down.

Tomorrow I'm going to write down the bare-bones details of the events (basically this blog post without personal commentary) and this will be Dealt With.

Regardless of whether there really was some grand scale miscommunication wherein everyone I spoke to at the original event was somehow misled, the way that bouncer handled the situation was Not Okay. And seeing as how their freaking waitresses were at the body paint booth at the same time I was, I'm inclined to think that the only miscommunication was the weight limit in their dress code.

At best, this situation is an epic marketing and PR failure. At worst, it's exactly what it looks like.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Colour Me Not At All Shocked.

Via the always awesome Shakesville, I found this little gem. After today's events, I am too drugged up to articulate a real response to it. Maybe later I'll have something useful to say in comments.


For now, discuss.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I Am Uneducated!!

Dear Friend of Chris' With Whom I Argued on Facebook,

I understand that you have Important Opinions, which you gained while Studying! For Four Years! To obtain A Degree! Good for you.

I also have Important Opinions, though since mine have only been developed through Living In The Current Society, Being Conscious Of My Experiences, and occasionally Reading Something, they are likely not as exciting as yours.

Also, apparently I have a Utopian Utilitarian worldview. You told me this today. As an ignorant savage-one who votes NDP no less!-I would like to thank you for teaching me about myself. If it weren't for "Realists" like you, where could I turn for Valuable Information? I am humbled by the revelation that my expectation of decent treatment for all humans is "utopian."

Sincerely,
Me.


P.S. I apologise if this letter takes overly long to reach you. Sometimes the postal service here in my Magical Fairy Queendom is slow.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Insanity And Dessert

As some of you know, I am having a wild adventure with psychiatric medications, or rather the lack thereof. The stuff I had been on for over three years has stopped providing enough benefits to justify the level of side effects, so my doctor thinks there is something better for me. The fun part is that before I can start on anything new, I have to get the old stuff completely out of my system. I am currently down to the 37.5 mg dosage of Effexor once a day, which is really not much at all. I take this dosage for two more days. Then I am officially unmedicated for the first time since the era some of you may recall as "the drunk and naked years," during which I did a lot of exactly what that sounds like, as well as being unable to do much of anything without having insane crying fits.

Well, I guess I won't be *completely* unmedicated. I have Lorazepam! Yay! Or something! So basically, I still can't really do anything, but it's because I'm unconscious. It's like I'm a crying baby, and my doctor was like, "here, have some scotch" and BAM it's quiet time for the next few hours.

This has basically led to me being a complete failure at everything. I sit around my house and have panic attacks, then take a pill and nap for like seventeen hours, then do it all over again. I can't keep plans made with anyone, I can't have Ronin around, I can barely shower. Apologies to anyone who has been subject to my "hey that sounds awesome, I'll totally leave my house and do stuff with you...oh wait I'm insane and I can't."

Yesterday was in all honesty the worst day I have had in a long time. I woke up from an incredibly bizarre and frightening dream in a panic, feeling this deep sense of hopelessness. Honestly, the only coherent thought I could formulate was "I am going to die before ever being ok again." (To clarify- I am not feeling at all suicidal, thankfully. I do not *want* to die, and have no intention of speeding up the process. I just felt that I would never get better.) I can't even fully express how awful it was. The panic, the sadness, the hopelessness...I just really don't have words for it. It was like floating through space, being pulled closer and closer to a black hole and knowing there was nothing I could do to stop it. I ended up spending almost the entire day in bed. I just couldn't face consciousness.

Today I feel a tiny bit better. I'm still in a near-constant frightened state, but it's a low-grade "everything is terrible and scary" rather than a full-fledged panic. I can't really see colours like normal, and I kind of feel like I'm covered in bubble wrap and can't really interact with the world. But in retrospect, that's pretty much how my life feels when I'm unmedicated.

On a slightly  more cheerful note, dessert! I had been seeing pictures all over the place of these delightful, pretty little cookie things. I did some clicking, and discovered that they're called macarons. I did some more clicking and found a recipe, and said to myself, "hey, those are basically the meringue cookies I sometimes make when I'm feeling fancy. Except they are even more fancy, seeing as how the batter stuff is delicately piped onto baking sheets instead of just slopped on with a spoon, and also they have lovely filling." So sometime soon maybe I'll try to make the extra-fancy filled version. Lemon and raspberry, perhaps.

For now though, I have a family-sized package of croissants and some squeezable jam.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

CRTC Feedback!!!

CBC News - Technology & Science - CRTC seeks internet billing feedback

Comment there!!

EVERYONE STOP EATING RIGHT NOW OMG.

CBC News - Health - Diabetes diagnoses expected to surge: report


OMG THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA.

*headdesk*

I Am Baking!!

Cupcakes. There will be delicious cupcakes.

At least I hope there will be...it was one of those, "hm, what's in the cupboards that could potentially turn into deliciousness?" moments.

True Fact: I am not a Food Blogger. Ulla, Pixee, Barbie, and everyone else who writes wonderful things about food, with precise measurements and actual ingredients and stuff-I love what you do. I am just not well equipped to do it. Because as I said, I am not a Food Blogger. I am a Kind-Of-Fat, Ineffectual-Rage-Filled Feminist, Yeah-I-Am-A-Mom-But-That-Is-A-Touchy-Subject-Right-Now, I-Have-Many-Opinions-But-If-You-Disagree-That's-Totally-Rad-As-Long-As-You-Afford-Me-The-Same-Respect, Lazy Blogger. And I cook like I blog. In that, hey, here's a link/ingredient/concept that seems like it would be great, so let's throw it in there and see what happens. Having said that, here is my cupcake recipe.

 You will need:

  • Some dry stuff. I used flour, baking powder (because science), sugar, cocoa (because chocolate) and fairy dust.
  • Some wet stuff. I used half a pot of cold coffee, some dark rum, about an ounce of chocolate almond nondairy creamer, some olive oil, and a couple of eggs. This is stuff I happened to have around that I thought would make good cupcakes.
  • A big bowl. Mine is pink.
  • A cupcake baking tray doodad.
  • Cupcake paper things. Today I happened to have white ones on hand, but I usually enjoy the multicoloured kind. Because, well, bright colours.
  • A mixing/scooping device, if you're not into using your hands.
  • A heat source. I prefer an oven.

Procedure:


  1. Put the dry stuff in your big bowl and mix it up, to avoid random clumps in the batter. If you are tempted to not mix it, remember that while a random chocolate clump may sound delicious, a random baking powder clump will probably make you barf.
  2. Add the wet stuff. Mix it all really well. You can use a traditional mixing device, like a stick or your hands, or a spoon, or if you're feeling really classy, one of those electric mixing things.
  3. Get your heat source ready. I heated my oven to about 325 F. YMMV, depending on your heat source.
  4. Line your cupcake tray thing with your cupcake paper whatsits. Use your scooping device (hands, spoon, whatever) to fill them about halfway with the batter.
  5. Bake them. You will know they are cupcakes when they look cupcakey and also don't get goo all over the toothpick you stick into the middle of one to test it.
  6. Take them out of the oven and cool them at least enough so that you don't burn yourself by taking a bite. Nothing takes the joy out of baking like a trip to the emergency room. Okay, a lot of things probably take the joy out of baking in a severe manner, but I am here to be happy about cupcakes, so shut your negative facehole.
  7. Decorate your cupcakes if you want, or just put them in your face and eat.

Now, some of you may be all like, "But Becca, those are not cupcakes! They are at best, chocolatey muffins! You said decorating was optional! Those are MUFFINS, which are basically lazy and ugly cupcakes!!" And to you I say, "My cupcakes don't have to fit your baking beauty standards. If I want them to be all unadorned, they are no less cupcakey in their cupcakeyness! Stop pigeonholing delicious beauty!" And then you look at me kind of funny and start slowly backing away, and I vehemently insist that I TOTALLY DID NOT drink most of that rum before I added the last bit to the cupcakes, and GOD WHY ARE YOU ALL SO JUDGY.

Ahem. Ok, if you want to decorate your cupcakes, which should be done as an extra thing because it is fun, not as a mandatory practice to conform to the unrealistic standards perpetuated by the Food Network, then here's how you can do it, the Crazy Person Super Fun Becca Way.

You will need:
  • A big bowl. This time I'm using a blue one.
  • A mixing device
  • Icing sugar.
  • Something gooey, like butter, cream cheese, or mayonnaise. Today I'm using a mixture of mayo and peanut butter, because shut up and try something new.
  • Maybe some vanilla or something? Or essence of whatever the heck flavour you want? I dunno, it's your tastebuds.
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Smaller bowls to make different colours of icing (optional)

How to do it:
  1. Mix the gooey stuff, flavour and icing sugar in the big bowl. It should look and taste like icing. Figure it out. This is not the Food Network, and I am not Rachael Ray.  
  2. If you want to make it all one pretty colour, add some food colouring. If you want multiple colours, divide the mixture into as many bowls as you want colours and add food colouring appropriately. Today I'm just doing it all a really bright teal-ish green sort of colour.
  3. Spread it on the cupcakes.

There, now you have cupcakes. Nom them.

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Ok, so mine turned out...meh. The cupcakes themselves were yummy, though they maybe could have used a bit more wet stuff. The frosting was excessively oily and weird looking, but delicious. But once they sat in the fridge for a bit, everything set up nicely and now I have yay cupcakes. I would take a picture, but my camera batteries died and I can't find the spares, so you'll just have to take my word for it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

About that whole abortion thing...

I was going to say something articulate and wordy and brilliant, but I'm too fucking tired and heartbroken after everything I've read lately. So I'll just say this: anti-choice is anti-woman. There's no way around it anymore. Even if we leave out "minor" reasons for choosing abortion and focus only on keeping women alive,  this is a medical procedure that must be legal and available. I am so blessed to live in Canada, but I die a little every time I read about what women in America are facing right now.

Seriously, the US government is currently looking at a bill that would not only further restrict abortion in most situations, but would allow doctors the legal power to use their personal morals to decide whether a woman lives or dies. If an abortion will save her life but the doctor thinks abortion is wrong, under this law they could refuse to perform the procedure or refer the patient to someone who would-and there would be no consequences for them. If a woman presents with a tubal pregnancy which will kill her within days or hours, the doctor can shoot her up with morphine for the pain and let her die on the fucking table. If she has congestive heart failure that will kill her within weeks, he can send her home to die in front of her family, including any living children. If she has kidney failure that will kill her within the year, he can wash his hands of the whole situation and leave the woman to give birth to a baby that will grow up without a mother.

You know what, fuck your conscience clauses. Whose conscience, the conscience of the Judeo-Christian men who will never be pregnant?

Separation of church and state my ass. Dying to bring new life into the world is great if that's what you want to do. And it helps if your existing, breathing children will be well cared for in your absence. What about someone who has no other family, whose children would be given up to the state and an uncertain future? And who's going to explain to the hypothetical other children that their mother cared more about her religious ideals than about caring for them for the rest of their lives? If you CHOOSE to sacrifice yourself for your fetus, I respect that. I also respect the CHOICE to sacrifice that fetus for the family you already have.

Here's the thing. I think that  life is sacred, and the hearts and minds we were given by our creator are there for a reason. We can make these choices. Motherhood and pregnancy can be sacred, and that's why I don't believe they should be forced on anyone. Would you tie someone down and pour sacramental wine down their throat? Then why force someone to go through an unwanted pregnancy?

It's been said many times, if you're against abortion, don't have one. No one is out here trying to legislate that you HAVE to terminate a pregnancy that will cause inconvenience, health problems or death. Like I said, that's your choice. Legislating morality is just not ok.