The Move.

Tomorrow I move to Toronto. This is how the move has gone so far.

9 AM: Take out piles of recycling that have built up while packing. I realize that my PhD certificate thing was in the pile of recycling. I rummage through recycling to retrieve it. Woman from a laundromat yells at me for going through her recycling. I give up and concede that I no longer have a PhD. What a waste of 6 years.

10:30 AM: Call moving company to confirm that they are coming tomorrow morning. They were supposed to come Monday but then kept changing the date. Tomorrow is the last day they can come before I’m evicted. They say they are probably coming tomorrow and hang up. I cry.

Noonish: I’ve been putting things that I’m not taking with me on the side of the street with a “Free” sign. I’ve been impressed with how quickly things go so I decide to see how far I can take it. I put out a set of dishes, four broken chairs, and a poem that I wrote with rose petals taped onto it.

12:15 PM: The plates are gone. The poem has been crumpled into a ball.

2 PM: A Tupperware lid that I put in my “free” box is gone. There was no container. Someone just took a lid.

3 PM: I try to carry a computer monitor home from my office. I drop it twice.

4 PM: I call the moving company again. They don’t answer.

5-7 PM: I have several beers.

8 PM: I try to disassemble my bed. I drop a piece of wood on my foot and am now missing a toenail. If I find the toenail I’ll put it in my “free” box.

 

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You will not spontaneously combust if you work with a woman.

This blog has three purposes:
1) Talk about things that don’t matter because everything that happens is serious and I think there is value in thinking about non-serious things. Also I have the emotional intelligence of a young ant.
2) Dirty up the internet with pro-Canadian propaganda
3) Get more followers than my blog nemesis, who has since quit blogging but still has 450x more followers than I have

But really the main purpose is #1. As such, I don’t often talk about serious things. But I’ve become annoyed by some talk I’ve heard surrounding the recent increase in sexual harassment/assault allegations, the #MeToo movement, etc etc.

I’m not going to talk about my stance on the #MeToo movement, but I am going to take a stance on one of the reactions to it. I’ve heard a lot of “well, I guess you can’t hire/work with/talk to women because they will accuse you of harassing them!”

There are many things I’d like to say about this, but today I focus on one, which is WHAT DO YOU THINK WOMEN HAVE BEEN GOING THROUGH THIS WHOLE TIME?! [sidenote: the following is very gender binary, mostly to get a point across, but obviously this can apply to all genders]

The logical equivalent of “I can’t be around women because they might get me in trouble when I ‘do not’ harass them” is “I can’t be around men because there is a minority that will harass/assault/rape me”. And by that I of course mean that it isn’t the equivalent at all because 25% of women (in the U.S.) have reported being assaulted and 1% of men (also in the U.S.) WHO COMMIT RAPE have been found guilty. So really the odds are stacked in one way.

Why is it that when there was some fraction of men who were attacking women it was like “well most men are good” but when some fraction of women speak out about this it is “all women are vindictive therefore don’t talk to them”?

Also inherent in this claim is that women are completely unreasonable and don’t understand when they are being assaulted and/or harassed. Which basically means women are terrible people and/or stupid. So just know that this is what you’re saying.

But really, if someone asks you to stop doing something, you can just stop. Even if you didn’t know it was wrong. If you stop, chances are you’ll be fine. I mean, even if you don’t stop, chances are you’ll be fine (cry), but hopefully that is changing.

In closing, you CAN hire/work with/talk to women (or anyone for that matter). What you CAN’T do is harass/assault them. “But isn’t the line between flirting and harassment very thin?” You might think it is, but a few guidelines: if you hit on a woman and she says she isn’t interested, stop. I suspect it is extremely unlikely that she will take you to court for harassment. I don’t think people fully understand the mental, emotional, and financial burden of filing an allegation. People don’t take you seriously; people talk about you; you spend hours (weeks? months?) filling out reports, talking to people; etc. This is not something people want to go through just for fun.

If you are falsely accused, I also suspect there is a zero percent chance that you will be found guilty given that people who, you know, actually rape women are not found guilty. Sure, times are changing. After all, it only took 60 women accusing Bill Cosby of drugging them to get him in trouble. But you’ll probably be ok.

The power structure of society is such that as soon as women gain the ability to credibly file allegations, men state that this is reason not to hire/promote them, thereby weakening women’s economic position and their credibility. Please don’t do that. Women have never been in the position to say “I’m not going to hire men because they might harass or assault me”. This is your privilege.

Also the fact that the discussion is all about whether men can hire women says something more about where society is still at.

The delicate dance.

In June I moved into an apartment with a temperamental refrigerator. It makes noises like this:

nnnnnnnnnnnn ssssKKKKRRRRRsssggggzzzz KawEEEEEEEEEEEE

I continue to live in this apartment at great peril to myself. I suspect the refrigerator will explode at any moment. I try to appease it by not overloading it with stuff or asking it to be too cold. In fact, I let it not be cold and have had food poisoning 4 times. Apparently “chicken” is supposed to be kept “cold”. Anyway, it is a delicate dance (see what I did there?!) between not having the refrigerator explode and having foodstuffs that don’t make me vomit.

I like that I write these things just to entertain myself, but sometimes other people read them. This is what the internet was made for.

The vacuum and related events.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been fortunate to receive much wisdom from various people in the past couple of weeks. So I’ve decided to pay it forward by writing about some things I’ve learned in my own life. I begin with the story of the vacuum.

Once my older brother dropped a vacuum on my face. He was standing on a balcony, holding a large vacuum cleaner (as kids do), and told me to look up. He then pushed the vacuum over the balcony and onto my face. From this incident, I learned not to vacuum. Better to live in filth than to have a fat lip. This is my piece of advice #1.

The second piece of advice is that looks come and go, but paper bags are forever. When I went to school with a balloon-like face (due to falling vacuums), many other kids made fun of me. My dad said “soon, the swelling will go away to reveal a beautiful face and you just need to ignore those other kids for now! You are learning who your real friends are!”

The swelling went away, but my dad said “ah, guess I was wrong. Here is a paper bag.”

As such, buy a good paper bag.

You’re welcome. Pay it forward.

Suits.

Having been unemployed for 30 years, the time has come for me to get a job. I was told that the suit I fashioned for myself out of spoons and elastic bands is “not a suit” so today I set out to buy a “real” one.

It was not easy. I learned a lot about my body proportions at the first place I went. All of the suits were either too short in the arms but fit elsewhere or the right size in the arms but too big elsewhere. The salesperson commented that “we rarely have this problem” and “you almost need a man’s suit”.

Feeling discouraged by the fact that I have gorilla arms but encouraged by the fact that I resemble Tom Hanks (obviously), I visited another shop. Now I started having a problem with pants. Sure they fit in the moment but what about after eating an entire pie?

Then I struck gold. I found an entire rack of suit pants with elastic-y waists. I was so happy. I took the entire rack to the fitting room. It was at that moment that the salesperson mentioned that a lot of women try to buy things ahead of time but sometimes it’s best to wait until you’re showing so that you know what will fit. Ah, I thought, I should come back when I’ve eaten an entire pie and my belly is showing. Good thinking. She later asked me when I was due and it was at THAT moment that I realized they were maternity pants.

Needless to say, I bought 3 pairs. Pregnant women are geniuses.

Repost: An Alphabetized Tribute to Canada

Tomorrow is Canada’s 150th birthday and I have never been happier for my beautiful country. Nobody deserves it more than you, Canada. Some years ago I wrote this poem for my one true love and I share it again now. Bonne fête, Canada!

 

An Alphabetized Tribute to Canada

A is for arctic, it’s damn cold all the time
B is for Bluenose, the ship on our dime.

C is for Canadarm that helped with the space quest
D is for donut, Tim Hortons is best

E is for Elizabeth, she’s our head of state
Americans may laugh, but haters will hate.

F is for Ford, the mayor who smokes crack
G is for goose, our bird that fights back

H is for heist, our syrup was stolen
I is for ice hockey, the sport we get gold in.

J is for John; A. Macdonald, that is
Who got the job done while poppin’ some crys

K is for Klondike, where we searched for some gold
L is for the love that I feel for my home

M is for maple, moose, maritimes, and Mountie.
Also for McCullough and his stem cell discovery.

N is for Nanaimo bar, haven’t tried it? A pity.
O is for Ottawa, our capital city.

P is for Pemmican, a First Nations dish
Q is for Quebec, separate? They wish.

R is for Riel, for the Metis he fought
S is for snowfall. It’s June, please stop.

T is for Trans-Canada, it connects all of us
BC to Newfoundland, certainly a plus

U is for universal, education and healthcare
V is for Vancouver, and the dim sum you have there

W is for walkie talkie, it made our lives better
X is for x-ray, who came up with this letter?

Y is for YAHTZEE!*

Z is for zed, yes we say it right
Oh Canada, I miss you tonight.

* invented in Canada

D.C.

I am in D.C., living life, eating popsicles. Flying over the White House and thinking about who is currently occupying it felt similar to the time a window fell on my head. Not good, and surprised that you’re still alive given the circumstances.

I was giving a presentation today and wanted to fit in with all the movers and shakers so I wore my sole grown-up outfit. It’s easy to confuse graduate students with old mops, given our dress, hygiene, and (lack of) social skills. Today, though, I dressed like a real person. I felt very Michelle Obama-y until a homeless man on the street told me I should wash my shoes.

After the talk I explored a bit but apparently kept trying to enter “secure areas” like the “Oval Office”. “You’ll never silence Canada!” I yelled, as I fled the scene. I guess I’m on some kind of list now.

Sometimes when I’m alone visiting a city I try to make friends by finding a park and chatting with people but today a bird bit me.

This is my life now.