blacksquirrel: (Foods - Happy Cake)
Happy birthday and belated birthday to [ profile] arallara, [ profile] wickedwords, and [ profile] sherrold!
blacksquirrel: (Torchwood Lablz)
So, many of you may remember the blow-up a few weeks ago about medical research which surgically intervened to "normalize" the shape and size of the clitoris/"micro-penis" in underage girls, followed by the use of vibrators to measure the girls' level of retained genital sensation. There was tremendous outcry and disgust, followed by a few posts by people with medical credentials or background claiming that this wasn't any big deal because the children involved in the study were intersex and this treatment is considered medical best practice.

The moment for this post may have passed, or this may be a better time now that a rest has cooled tempers a bit. Either way, I feel like these are useful resources, and a topic that deserves to be talked about more openly and often.

I'm going to start by saying that I am not an expert, but someone with a combination of relevant personal and professional experience. Most of the classes I teach include a unit on intersex studies and activism, but I don't consider myself a specialist and I am not an intersexed person. This post attempts to do two things: first, to summarize and share autobiographical and scholarly resources on intersexed lives and issues, outside of f-lock where I've posted such resources before, and secondly, to provide some personal context because it's often most useful to think about social issues when there are names and faces and lives attached, but no individual intersexed person should be responsible for laying their life under the microscope so that other people can poke and prod and judge, and hopefully learn and grow.

So first, the story. )

Ok, so, resources. I'm not going to editorialize a lot because I think in this case the best course of action is to educate yourself by reading a variety of accounts. However, I would like to say a few things. )

So, the articles:

Intersex Scholarship and Activism - Just a few things I've used in class as a starter guide.

Third Gender Anthropology - This includes intersexed people as well as others who various cultures categorize as neither male nor female.

Some relevant queer theory as background and a philosophical foundation.

I am open to discussing these articles and interested if other people would like to share additional resources. I will happily further explain my thoughts and further talk through the issues I've raised here as long as the discussion remains respectful of the actual people involved. I hope that people find these articles useful.
blacksquirrel: (Adventure Ahead)
Has anyone been to Andorra? We have three days free later this week and we're thinking of going. Suggestions?
blacksquirrel: (Kitchen)
I have an intense adoration for tortilla soup. It's warm and comforting yet still spicy and exciting. It's smooth yet crunchy. When done right it's earthy, rich, and incredibly satisfying. This last trip to Mexico - which I will post pics for soon - I had the best tortilla soup I'd ever eaten and completely despaired of ever eating its like again.

Until today.

I took inspiration from Rick Bayliss and that transcendent bowl I ate in a tiny fishing/surfing village right on the beach.

Tortilla Soup )


Mar. 29th, 2010 07:54 pm
blacksquirrel: (Kitchen)
So I've never been happy with my pasta sauces - there's always just something lacking. Then I tried this. It's apparently a more classically European version of pasta sauce? IDK, but it's wonderful :) I like it with whole wheat pasta because the robust flavor of the sauce needs a robust pasta to properly stand up to it.

Bolognaise )
blacksquirrel: (Foods - Apple Peel)
So I said I haven't been cooking new foods, and that's largely true since I got back from break. But before that, last term I was having a wonderful time experimenting with homemade stuffings which I totally fell in love with, so much so that for New Years I made a bounteous trio of stuffings in both gluten and gluten-free versions with homemade bread. My family kept looking at them saying "Are you sure that's not too much?" And I was all, "You can never have too much stuffing!" But apparently you can have too much stuffing b/c we ate it for two weeks straight and I couldn't even think about more stuffing again until this week.

So here are my trio of new homemade stuffing recipes. They are all amazing and heartwarming.

All the cooking temps and times are approximate and can be fudged to cook several types at once - and any of these can be stuffed into a chicken or turkey (or probably other fowl carcasses as well). I'm sure these could be modified for vegetarians, but I'll leave that to those of you who know better how to go about that.

Sausage-Fennel-Apple Cornbread Stuffing )

Sourdough Stuffing with Pears and Sausage )

Artichoke Parmesan Sourdough Stuffing )
blacksquirrel: (Teyla Lights Up)
I'm in New Mexico at the moment, just done with a conference and about to fly home tomorrow, so I'll update for real later, but OMG, thank you to whoever sent me the adorable v-gift! Things are pretty stressed and crazed right now, so I totally needed that hug. Thank you!
blacksquirrel: (Scopophilia)
So, this is the first of what will be several installments of posts I've owed since last March. Cut for excuses )

First of all, enormous thanks to all the vidders who made this possible. )

The vidshow last Spring Semester at Prestigious Midwestern Liberal Arts College where I taught went so, *so* well!! I had 3 classes with a total of 18 students and they were all required to come, but we covered the campus in posters and cross-promoted at the Big 10 Midwestern University next door where I did my undergrad and still have contacts. Feeling enthusiastic, and always preferring to overproduce than let people go without, I printed up 70 programs. By the end of the night, not only had all 70 programs been taken, there were a number of people who didn't get one. So, major turnout!

The room was *gorgeous* with a giant, near-movie theater screen and wonderful projection. Thank goodness [ profile] revolutionaryjo and I did a run through the previous day, because it was just too tempting to sing along and dance across the stage with the *larger than lifesized* characters. Good thing we got that out of our systems so I could be all professional and stuff on the actual day ;)

And then the next day all my classes talked through their reactions and wow - I am so proud of them and of us because they were super impressed )

Also, they couldn't believe that Merlin really is that gay, or that Starbuck really is that awesome. There are at least a handful of new BSG and Merlin fangirls in the world :)

Here's the set list. The structure I attempted starts with history, then violence against women, heterosexual vids, critiques of racial politics, then slash and queer vids. Thanks again to every vidder here - I'm overwhelmed by the helpfulness and generosity of everyone I contacted. It renews my faith in what we can do and the kind of community we've built. We are beautiful, creative, and mighty.

Set List )

And, here is the new Vidshow Poster for Small Upstate NY College. The theme is slightly different this time in accordance with the topics of my new classes (Intro to Women & Gender Studies, Queer Film & TV, and Queer Theory), so I can't use the same set list, but many of you can expect to hear from me again very soon - and if any of you live in the area, I'd love to see you there! :)

blacksquirrel: (Scopophilia)
I'm putting together next term's syllabi, and one of the new courses I'm offering is Queer Film and TV. I have a preliminary list of media I'd like to show, but I'd like to get some other ideas and I thought I might try tapping into my f-list's collective intelligence. So, what are your favorte, most influential, and/or most noteworthy GLBTQ films and television series (or episodes)? Any type - any country or language, indie or mainstream. Whatever touches you or makes you think or makes you smile.

Here is my preliminary list: The Celluloid Closet, Tongues Untied, Queer as Folk (US and UK), The L-Word, Fire, Boys Don’t Cry, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Velvet Goldmine, The Wedding Banquet, Antonia’s Line, Pricilla: Queen of the Desert, Big Eden, Bedrooms and Hallways, High Art, Stonewall, Philadelphia, Borstal Boy, It’s in the Water, Maurice, Wilde, Better than Chocolate, Tales of the City

Please let me know if you think anything on this list would work particularly well/would be a horrible idea for a class of fairly sheltered but interested undergrads.

Thank you, mighty LJ folk!
blacksquirrel: (Holiday - Cake)
I will hopefully be asleep in about 5 minutes and tomorrow will be a rush of family obligations, possibly followed by Sherlock Holmes, so I probably won't get to read your wonderful gift until Saturday. I'll love it all the more because of the delay!
blacksquirrel: (Foods - Strawberry Pie)
I just finished baking for tomorrow: pumpkin (actually butternut squash), pecan (actually walnut and pinenut), and double-crust apple. I'll also assemble the banoffee pie in the morning, but the filling is made, so that's just a matter of pouring everything together. Wow - I can't believe how early I finished :) The house smells glorious


Sep. 3rd, 2009 12:06 pm
blacksquirrel: (Rodney Woah)
I'm swamped, so someday there will be a post about the tip and moving and the new job and so on, but for the moment, just go watch this clip of a flash mob of 200 coming out of the crowd, dancing to the Sound of Music in a Belgian train station.
blacksquirrel: (Got to B Kidding)
My e-mail was just flooded with a ton of delivery failure notices from spam supposedly sent from my account. None of it is listed in my sent mail, so I don't think anyone's hacked my account. Does anyone know what is going on? And more importantly what I can do to stop it?
blacksquirrel: (Appropriate Bond)
Dear Quantum of Solace )

Allow me to reiterate [ profile] mswyrr's recommendation of this Quantum of Solace trailer parody. Perfect! ITA!

On a related note, as I was leaving to get to the theater I was in a bit of a rush, and I backed my car out of the garage too fast, catching the top of my hatchback on the underside of the still rising garage door, causing a cascade of wood shards which rained down on my roof and twisting the little rear windshield fluid nozzle all out of whack (although, luckily, it pushed back in and still works just fine). So, I had a slightly skewed perspective, watching the film. As all manner of car parts flew every which way on the screen, I was thinking, "I'll just bet I have a scratch on my roof." And indeed, I do. Sadly, I did not get it by narrowly escaping capture in a heated cross-country chase. Instead, I lost a very daring and macho game of chicken with my garage.

ETA: If you have a post up about Quantum of Solace, please link me. I can read them now.
blacksquirrel: (Default)
I found this interview with Maya Angelou about Obama's election particularly poignant. She is amazingly impressive to watch, and she has a knack for putting her finger directly on the emotional heart of the matter - the place that both hurts and rejoices.
blacksquirrel: (Constant Vigilance!)
After filing a formal complaint letter last week, we just received a letter in the mail from the county attorney which states that they have "declined prosecution" of my brother's charges, without admitting any wrongdoing on their behalf, and maintaining that my brother did violate the law. Over a month after the incident, this is the first formal acknowledgement we've received officially stating the charges - "presence at an unlawful assembly." The absurdity of the assertion that walking *alone* through St. Paul during the RNC amounted to an "unlawful assembly" of such seriousness that it warranted arrest still makes us all incredibly angry.

We are, of course, relieved that my brother won't actually have to face charges in court or be put through any kind of delinquency restitution, although we're concerned that there may still be a record which could affect his future employability (not to mention possible federal files with the FBI, since the secret service and FBI were involved in the RNC security). But thank goodness that this is no longer a criminal matter.

Now, it's a civil matter, and we are still exploring possibilities for legal redress. This will likely be a very long process, but how ever we choose to proceed, we all feel that there should be a public record of police wrongdoing. We feel a certain sense of responsibility to make sure that this can't be swept under the carpet.


Sep. 2nd, 2008 12:07 pm
blacksquirrel: (Constant Vigilance!)
My brother was released at 3:30am yesterday. He was home by 4am and in a haze of exhaustion I hugged him like he had returned from the dead. He woke up again at 7am to go to the first day of his senior year, because he didn't want to miss it.

He still had not been given a phone call. 8 other minors had been arrested with him and of them only one other was released because his father also made numerous calls. The police who answered that boy's phone then proceeded to impersonate him until the father demanded that they give the name of the boy's grandmother, and the police hung up. The rest of those minors have no way of contacting their parents or guardians. There are 7 families who may still think their child is dead or missing.

My brother was held in handcuffs in 88 degree heat for 3 hours without water. He asked for water several times and was refused.

He was patted down numerous times.

He asked to answer his cell, explained that his parents expected him home, and asked for his phone call over and over, and was refused.

They took his mug shots, fingerprints, and intake information twice because they "lost" the first set.

His paperwork says he was arrested at 5:30, but my brother says that it was actually 4:30 and they falsified the paperwork.

This is being reported as the arrest of 280 "violent anarchists." This is patently untrue. Yes, some people did smash windows and throw rocks yesterday, but the number of arrests is grossly inflated. My brother said that they surrounded a grassy area the size of a city block and arrested everyone who was there at the time. Everyone. I am furious. Not only is this an incredible infringement of basic rights, but it's horrendously lazy. We pay the police to find out which people committed the crime, not to arrest everyone in the vicinity and let the courts sort it out later. It's sloppy, authoritarian, and inhumane.

This was not the only mass arrest yesterday.

There is a picture of my brother in handcuffs attached to an article about the arrest of "violent anarchists."

Being an anarchist is not a crime. Neither is going to a concert.

When my parents arrived at juvenile detention they were turned away, supposedly because my brother wasn't there. They ended up scouring the city for hours, bounced from one police station or holding center to another, including one policeman who gave them directions to a station that closed ten years ago. In the end, they returned to juvenile detention and the clerk said that my brother was there.

When they finally found him, they were told that they couldn't see him, but the clerk said she would let him know that they were there. She did not tell him. My 17 year old brother was left to believe that no one knew what had happened to him, and that he was alone.

They never took a statement from him. This is both good and bad, because they didn't attempt to interrogate him coercively, but they also absolutely didn't care why those 280 people were on that hill at that time.

When he was finally released the clerk told my parents that they let him go because "he scored low on the test." My parents asked my brother what the test was and he said the only thing they asked him was whether or not he is Somali. We have one of the largest Somalian populations in the country. This was absolutely not an ok question to ask given the circumstances and sounds like the clerk using her discretionary powers to exercise her racism. But also, it was an incredibly weird question because my brother is a very pale Caucasian with hazel eyes and light brown hair, so the likelihood of him being from Somalia is slim. I wonder if he would still be there if he had dark skin or if he'd said yes.

My aunt is a very good corporate lawyer and she happened to be in town this weekend (she lives and practices in DC). We called her right after the police picked up my brother's cell at 11 last night and she's been helping us since. The other boy who was released because the police picked up his cell as well is the son of an extremely prominent lawyer here in the cities. My parents exchanged information with him as they all waited at the detention facility. The first thing my brother said to my parents was that they had arrested him illegally and that he wants to sue. I want justice for what they put our family through. I want this to be public because this isn't just about us and our hours of terror. This is fundamentally about our rights as citizens, and the kind of country we want to live in.

PS - Thanks to everyone who wrote with support and to everyone who has kept us in their thoughts. I'll aswer comments individually now that he's out and I've slept. I'll update as more information becoms available.

ETA: They're now refusing to provide us with a copy of the arrest record, or even to state what the charge was. They're saying that they can only give us that information in a week. A lot can happen in a week.

ETA 2: There's video of the arrests On this Page - click to launch "Delegates Harassed." It includes a few seconds of my brother's hat, but nothing of his face, so I feel comfortable circulating it.

ETA 3: My brother's picture has come down off the CNN article and they've revised to emphasize the police's over-aggression and continued brutality, so I'll link to it now. Police fire chemical agents, projectiles at RNC protesters
Unfortunately numerous aggregators are still using the original text and photo which make him seem like he was involved in violent crime - an implication which is so far off the mark as to be painful. There are several places where his picture is followed by some truly hateful diatribes against liberals (which is hugely ironic since he isn't old enough to vote and didn't have any particular political consciousness [until now}).

[ profile] mecurtin's post about this and other similar events is up at DailyKos here: Young arrestee's story; pictures around town

And a first-hand account by another person unlawfully detained in the same enclosure as my brother, but released without charges, is also up on DailyKos. Unfortunately my brother was in the very first group handcuffed, so amnesty wasn't a possibility at that point. xxx-789-0443

ETA 4: [ profile] nicocoer has an extensive compilation of related news coverage, as well as first-hand accounts and video, in a post here.
blacksquirrel: (Constant Vigilance!)
So, I live in the city unfortunate enough to be hosting the RNC, and the police and FBI's brutal intimidation tactics have been well documented by now. I was outraged as a proud resident of this state to see my police force behaving so outrageously. That was intellectual. This is personal.

My brother was just arrested.

Supposedly for "unlawful assembly" - in reality, he was walking back to his car after being turned away from a sold-out union-sponsored public concert.

He is 17 and he is being charged with a gross misdemeanor. He was arrested at 5:30 and he didn't have access to his phone call to let us know. We found out because we panicked when he wasn't home by 9 - his curfew on a school night since tomorrow is the first day of school. After frantically calling his cell over and over to no response we were left to wrack our brains to find some other way to track him down in a large city as we imagined him dead or disappeared forever. Finally, at 11 - fully 5 and a half hours after my *minor* brother had been arrested, a policeman answered the cell they had confiscated from him.

Outrage does not begin to cover it. He is not political. He is not involved in any organization. Even if he were, that is no excuse.

He was a kid walking to his car in broad daylight, and he has now been unlawfully detained for the last 5 and a half hours. He may not be released tonight. My god, he must be scared.
blacksquirrel: (Foods - Sangria)
The Omnivore's Hundred is an eclectic and entirely subjective list of 100 items that Andrew Wheeler, co-author of the British food blog Very Good Taste, thinks every omnivore should try at least once in his life.

He offered this list as the starting point for a game, along the following rules:
1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten (add an asterisk for the items you're particularly fond of).
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: post a comment on Very Good Taste, linking to your results.

The Omnivore's Hundred - My Results )
blacksquirrel: (Rave Atlantis)
Back late Monday
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