Posts tagged People

Things about gender… and my anger

There’s a recent news story regarding the South African female runner who is being questioned about her sex due to the fact that she, well… looks like a boy.  And runs fast.

No, really.

It’s like being on the playground as a having someone call a little 4 year old girl a boy because she has short hair and likes to play with trucks.

NBC sports reports (emphasis mine):

Semenya dominated her rivals to win the 800 on Wednesday despite revelations that surfaced earlier in the day that she was undergoing a gender test. Her dramatic improvement in the 800 and 1,500, muscular build and deep voice sparked speculation about her gender.

“She was always rough and played with the boys. She liked soccer and she wore pants to school. She never wore a dress. It was only in Grade 11 that I realized she’s a girl,” Eric Modiba, head of the Nthema Secondary School, told the Beeld newspaper.

No.  No, really.


I get that there are a tiny number of incidents in sports where a male will pretend to be female in order to gain advantage.  I know it has happened.  But this is fucking ridiculous.

On top of the fact that this is an allegation based completely on rumors, therein lays a larger problem with this whole mess in that  you cannot. test. for. gender.


Gender is a societal construct. Yes, I’m aware that makes me sound like a complete flaming liberal (I have no idea why), but you cannot biologically test a person for gender.  No matter how many swabs you collect or doctors you see, you cannot test for gender.

Even Miriam Webster agrees with me, as it defines gender as:
b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

You cannot test for that.  YOU CANNOT TEST FOR GENDER.

So if you’re going to be ridiculous about this and put this person through international scrutiny… at least get the fucking term right. You are not. testing. for. gender.  Have I repeated myself enough yet?!

You are testing for her biological sex.

Which leads me to the fact that the topic of intersex athletes requires a whole separate rant which I do not have the energy for.


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Things that are about Rick Bayless

I might be about to make my national television debut.

In the past five or ten years, several of my coworkers have increasingly fallen in love with the cooking of Rick Bayless.  One particular coworker, who is Mexican herself and has oo’ed and ah’ed with her mom over Rick’s fantastic Mexican cooking since the days when he was on PBS, is bordering on an all-out love affair with the man.  Who she, naturally, has never met.

Rick is fairly well-known in the Chicago area, but lately with the burgeoning popularity of shows like Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters, Rick has apparently become quite a household name.

I say apparently because, well, I haven’t ever watched a cooking show.  Well, no, that’s not completely true – I used to watch The Frugal Gourmet on PBS back when it was on in between Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.  (It took me until I was about 13, by the way, to realize the phrase “Frugal Gourmet” wasn’t one gibberish word and had actual meaning.)  Despite my own inadequacies relating to cooking-show-spectating, the multitude of hubbub about Rick which has come about especially since Top Chef Masters leads me to believe he is bordering on all-out fame.

Fast forward to a semi-work outing for lunch at Frontera, when my coworkers and I were devouring our food (yes, it really is that good), when we notice a camera in the kitchen following the preparation of one dish.  Several yummy-noise filled minutes later (awkward adjective/noun there but deal with it), we looked back and saw… the camera pointed at us.

Apparently we were enjoying our food so much so that whatever film crew this was decided to tape us.

My friends decided the presence of cameras means that Rick will win Top Chef.  I decided it means I’m going to be famous for my yummy noises.

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Things that are a little mindtrippy.

My old friend from college, Tom, is half of the duo Dangerous Muse.  Since graduating , I check in on him/them a couple times a year via internet to see their status – which seems to be pretty well with the club/underground scene.  They had a break-out hit in 2006 (The Rejection) which grabbed the #2 download on iTunes on the dance charts, but have been quietish since 2007.

So imagine my surprise when about a month ago I happened upon the H&M website to find Tom’s face plastered all over the website as a part of the Fashion Against AIDS campaign:

Fashion Against AIDS - Dangerous Muse

Fashion Against AIDS - Dangerous Muse

I kind of find this incredibly awesome. My old friend has his face plastered all over subways and billboards across the world.  Really trippy.

I hope they get a boost from this. They’re great kids, and Tom is pretty brilliant with music, and he’s always been dedicated and driven.  Electropop isn’t precisely my genre of choice, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well for them.

And just because I can, here’s a totally shameless plug for their music video, The Rejection:

They’re apparently releasing another video soon, so [shameless plug #2] keep your eyes and ears open for it.

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Things that are hilarious and awful

I sort of hate drunk people.  I know it’s hypocrtical, because, well, I’ve totally been that drunk person who is so obnoxious all you can do is hope they stumble, hit their head on the side of the bar, and pass out, therein ceasing any emabarrassing debauchery (sidenote: to all the patrons of Tinkers that night sophomore year, let me extend a much-belated “Sorry“).

That aside, as a general rule, when you’re not drunk yourself, 87% of those who are serve only as a sad reminder of a) wasting money, b) alcoholism, c) social brainwashing, and d) unhealthy relationships.

Tonight, while walking home (sober) from a bar in Wrigleyville, within a short 10 minutes I was treated to a trifecta of drunken gloriousness.  The first moment of glory was a simple Girl-Walks-Into-Tree moment (better because the tree is 5 ft. off the sidewalk).  Drunken glory #2 includes a man dropping his cell phone and proceeding to kick said phone into the alley. Under a dumpster. Ew.

Drunken glory #3 was perhaps the most-cliched, yet most amazing of the three: the Intoxicated Fight. Stumbling Girl yells back half-way down the block and across the street, at Brutish Boy that she does NOT need help walking home (hint: her gait says she does).  Convo continues as such:

BB: Are you sure you’re okay? I could walk you home!

SG: You know what, Tom? FUCK YOU. No, FUCK YOU, TOM!  I hope you die!  I hope you fucking choke and die! [At this point she stomps back down the street towards ‘Tom’… awkwardly next to me.] FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU!

BB (aka Tom): What? No, fuck YOU. You’re fucking crazy.

SG: I hope you die. I hope you fucking die.

BB: You know you’re crazy, don’t you?  No, really, you know you’re crazy, right?

SG: Fucking die. Die die die. FUuuuUUuuucccckk!!!

It’s wonderful.  It’s actually like a guidebook of how to NOT have a conversation.  The antithesis of communication skills, all in one conversation: Yelling, not responding to what the other person is saying, speaking mostly in explatives, making incindiary comments with no possible beneficial outcome, blaming others.  It’s beautiful, really.

Moral: don’t drink and walk.  At least near me.

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Things that inspire me

My sister’s friend Matt started this Jesuit middle school at the age of twenty-six, based on the nativity model.

The faculty is made up of people who basically all have masters and four PhDs, and who choose to work insane hours 11 months a year for wages half of what they could be making at a public school.

This year, Chicago Jesuit Academy graduated their first class.  And this video gives me chills. And makes me want to cry. And figure out a way to save the world.  Because realizing Matt did all of this at twenty-six makes me feel like a twentysomething slacker.

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Things that are happy

My roommate and I apparently officially have a nickname at Subway.

Last week we had one of our semi-weekly dinner dates at the Subway near our house.  It’s about a 10 minute walk over, and is usually a nice break  for my roommate from being a walking, talking, full-on Study Nerd, and the break in the evening often results in lots of nonsensical chatter and general joviality.

I mean, we’re outside… we’re walking… we’re enjoying each other’s company… we’re about to treat ourselves and consume utter deliciousness that we didn’t prepare ourselves.  What’s not to like? It’s basically one of the best parts of my week.

We continue our goofy sarcastic banter as we walk into Subway, and begin to order our sandwiches when one of the sandwich-maker-guys notes, “Wow. You two are really happy, aren’t you?”

Naturally, we look at one another and laugh, because, well, we, um, laugh a lot around each other. I should interject here that I have a vivid memory of the first week I met my roommate where we were racing down a slippery mountain in pouring rain and soupy fog, wearing rain pants and hiking boots, falling every twenty feet, and laughing hysterically while doing so.  Apparently we convinced people we had ADHD.  And this sums up fairly well our relationship with each other. Also, we do things like this.

We’re not super-cool dorks at all.

Fast forward a week later, and it’s time for Subway again.

We walk into Subway, say “Hi!” and are immediately greeted by the same guy who notes, “Oh. You’re those happy girls, aren’t you?”

So this guy has probably served several hundred people by now, and yet, he is still able identify us as “The Happy Girls,” from one word we say.

When we walked out, he told the Happy Girls to come back and visit them again.

Hee, we have a collective nickname.

At first I was thinking maybe we should work on being morose when we go on our Subway date nights, but on second thought, I’m a total dork, so… no.

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Things that are both creepy and embarrassing

As previously discussed, my computer/internet is not what one would call “top of the line.”  For this reason, when I know I will need to use a computer for personal use for a lengthy amount of time, I will often stay late at work and utilize the privileges of fast internet and large hard-drive space.

Tonight, I decided to abuse said privileges to register for my Grad School classes and listen to one more painful Cubs loss. As per usual, my meandering takes much longer than I’d expect and at one point I look outside and realize, to my shock, that it is in fact pitch dark.

With further use of my high intelligence (and inspection of a clock), I discover it is actually 9:30pm. My automatic “Oh, crap” mode snaps in, and I attempt to finish what I can before total patheticness sets in, when all the sudden, things get creepy.

See, now, at work,we often have people over inspecting the roof for various reasons: leaks, HVAC stuff, solar panels, etc. Therefore, I am well versed in what it sounds like when someone is walking on our roof.

And tonight, my brain abruptly registers this dull sound.



Ba-bum thump.

I pseudo-ignore it for a few minutes while I clean up, trying to imagine it’s thunder, the wind, my overactive brain, whatever.


Ba-dum bum. Thump.


That is SO not the wind.

Okay, so sometimes people break into our office building, steal some shit. Whatever. It’s petty shit, right? We’re not in the greatest area, but it’s not terrible… at least it’s better than it used to be when we had a prostitution ring semi-regularly use our parking lot for transactions. It’s probably some kids, who somehow scaled the wall to the roof. They’ll leave, right? They see there’s lights on, right? I’m not in any danger, right? RIGHT?





Okay.  Shit. My brain is going into overdrive, so I might as well call 311, and see if they’ll do a welfare check on the building. Then again, maybe I’m overreacting.

Ba-dum-bum-bum thump.



Okay, fine, I’m not overreacting. I dial.  311 decides my call IS an emergency and puts me through to police dispatch. I explain my situation, and pretend I’m not as freaked out as my brain is, and ask ever-so-nicely if they’d just possibly send someone over to check out the roof of the building. They agree, and after I hang up I have to decide whether or not I’m leaving or staying put until the cops get here.  After all, it’s just a welfare check, and this IS Chicago – it could take hours for them to arrive.


Thump. Thump Thump.

Ba-thump. Thud.

Right. Okay.
Staying put. Check.

I call a couple of people from work to keep myself calm and inform them of the situation, and, much to my surprise, after only about 5 minutes, three Chicago Police Officers show up.

On bicycles.

I graciously unlock and open the front door and talk to one of them while the other two circle the building. I 30-second sum up the past petty crime, the walking sounds on the roof, the fact that I’m in the building by myself when normally no one is at work this late. Mr. Police officer looks at me, and very kindly says:

“Oh. That does sound creepy, but are you sure it wasn’t the fireworks?”





It’s a Wednesday night. In Chicago. And there are fireworks at Navy Pier in the summer at 9:30pm. Every Wednesday.

That’s why the footsteps sounded so constant. And started so suddenly.



Mr. Police Men are very kind and not insulting at all as they offer to wait until I go inside, lock up, and get in one of the work trucks to drive home.

So. Um.  Thank you Police Sirs, for indulging my extraordinarily overactive brain for Things That Go Bump In The Dark.  Also, I think you’re pretty awesome for riding bikes while fighting crime.

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