Author Archive - evilbunnytoo

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Iowa Honors Student Required to Prove Ability to Read and Write English

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Here’s the question – if you have a 3.9 GPA and are a member of the National Honor Society, should you be required to take a test to prove your proficiency in English.
If your parents are Laotian immigrants, apparently you do.
Meet Lori Phanachone. Because of her racial, immigrant, and ethnic origins, Storm Lake High School (in Iowa) has determined that she needs to prove her ability to speak English despite the fact that she is an honors student.
Why? Because she indicated that at home, she and her parents do not speak English.
Lori Phanachone is protesting this action. She finds the requirement that she do so is motivated by prejudice on behalf of the school system.
All her accomplishments do not matter to Iowa school officials, only her ethnicity and immigrant status.
Because of her refusal to conform, they are threatening her very future (threatening the scholarships she has been offered by colleges).
Just another example of racism and prejudice rearing its ugly head in America .

Did Jimmy Fallon Bite Sarah Haskins?

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

Remember the Sarah Haskin’s show “Target Women,” which I posted about around Christmas time?
Sarah has been a subversive feminist comedic take on ads targeted at women (for a while) and is very funny, and, at least in the blogosphere, has a following.
So, why does Jimmy Fallon’s “Target Demographic” routine seem to be an imitation of Sarah’s “Target Women” current_tv show?
The presentation, the name, the subject (women) – everything seems so eerily familiar?
Are the writers for the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon show seem to be so out of ideas the first week in that they have to imitate Sarah Haskins (and imitate her badly)?
Here’s Jimmy’s “oh so original” late night comedy segment:

and here’s Sarah’s take on skin care ads:

Aziz Ansari follow-up review

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

I enjoyed seeing Aziz Ansari at the Punchline in SF this January (yes, this review is way late).
The Punchline is a much better venue in which to enjoy comedy than Cobbs – the seating is more comfortable, the food is better (though the service is slow), and you don’t feel like you are packed into a room like sardines.
Ansari was pretty funny, though his act was uneven and didn’t flow as well as it could have. This was, I think, due to the fact that our show was being recorded since he was putting together a CD and (as he explained) at each show they were recording different bits so that they had a wide choice for the CD. I think my perception of the “unevenness” was also due to my personal preference – he tried out some comedy for an upcoming Judd Apatow file, Funny People, in which he would be playing a (somewhat misogynistic) comedian called Rodney (to his credit, he did include a warning first).
I didn’t find most of the “Rodney” humor funny as it consisted mainly of “Rodney” talking about receiving blow jobs at various locations and a DJ uttering quips about the location, except that I did find the DJ quips for the location of the White House and Toys ‘R Us hilarious. I have to say that this bit will be forever linked with the Obama campaign slogan for me.
I enjoyed the second half of the show (where part of his act included discussing how he messes with his 17 year old cousin on Facebook) and found it funnier than the first half.
After the show, we bought some of his t-shirts (and got them signed), and in the brief, 5 minute interaction we had with him and watching him interact with other fans, he came across as a genuinely nice person. A word to the wise – the Punchline does not have an ATM machine and we couldn’t use a credit card to purchase his items. So anyone who wants to purchase stuff from the comedian afterwards should be warned to go to the ATMs downstairs first (and spare yourself the trouble of having to send a party member for cash).
Even when he is uneven, Ansari is still funny, and one day I hope to see him in a group performance with the other members of Human Giant.

Nightlife in SF – Aziz Ansari and Patton Oswald

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

I bought two tickets to see Aziz Ansari (of Human Giant) when he comes to the Punchline in SF this month. Woo-hoo!! He’s pretty funny. Look for a review of his show at the end of this month.

In Sept. we got to see Patton Oswald at Cobbs, it was great. Patton had a whole bunch of new material, and then he riffed on the audience. He was pretty quick on his feet.
We parked at the BART parking lot and took the train in to SF and a taxi to the club because we couldn’t figure out where the bus stop was. As far as the venue for comedy goes, you do have to arrive at Cobbs at least a half hour before the show (we were a half-hour early and the room was pretty full). Ticket were around $25, plus a handling fee, and there was a two drink minimum (which seems to be a standard). We hadn’t had dinner so we ordered a hor d’oeuvre at Cobbs. A word to the wise – this place does comedy well, but not the food. The hummus plate I ordered was pretty bare, and pretty bland.

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Christmas, Jewelry, and Target Women

Friday, December 19th, 2008

By now you may have seen one of the delightful breakdowns of the way women are targeted in the media by Sarah Haskins in her delightfully skewed Target Women analysis.
She covers everthing from Twilight to Disney princesses to yogurt and cleaning products.
I was particularly struck by her irreverent analysis of jewelry commercials because during this holiday seasons it seems that jewelers are striking particularly hard at consumers and I can’t go 15 minutes without hearing a jewelry commercial on either the tv or radio.

The phrases “he went to Jared” and “every kiss begins with k” are making me grind my teeth together.

Cheap and Tasty Breakfast for the Grad Student on the Go

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Now that school has started, if you’re like me, you find yourself on a limited budget with limited time to prepare breakfast in the morning.
My solution – oatmeal!
Now before you say “yuck!” hear me out. As a kid, my parents believed in a hot, nutritious breakfast, and oatmeal was a staple. Unfortunately, and my parents also believed that sweetener, especially white sugar, was bad as well. This means that many a morning bowl of oatmeal was bland, sprinkled with cinnamon and the occasional raisin and augmented by a small drizzle of honey. Yuck! Because of this, I’ve always found oatmeal a bit bland and the flavors that go with it (cinnamon and sugar, apple cinnamon, ect.) less than exciting.
One word – cranberries. Cranberries, and occasionally some nuts (like, say almonds) add a nice zing to an otherwise dull food.
If you make oatmeal yourself, you can find yourself eating a healthy, tasty, easy and quick to prepare meal in the morning, low in sodium, high in fiber, and one that will stick with you until lunch.
What you need –
quick cooking oatmeal (you can buy this pretty cheaply by the pound at Country Sun)
dried cranberries (I got at Trader Joes and keep in the freezer so they won’t spoil)
dried nuts (ditto)
sugar (or some kind of sweetener)
a microwavable bowl
a microwave
measuring cups
5 minutes
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Knitting – A Diversion from the Dissertation

Monday, August 11th, 2008

In between writing this summer I’ve been knitting. In particular, I’ve been knitting scarves. It’s an activity which lets me be creative, yet gives me an “output” rather fast.
I’m rather pleased with myself because after a bit of screwing around I’ve figured out how to embed beads in my scarf and using a variation on the “cheater’s lace” pattern, I’ve created what I’m calling my “sea scarf.” I chose the colors and beads to evoke the nets fishermen use.

I just need to finish the scarf by weaving the yarn tails back into the scarf before snipping them, and am still deciding what I’m going to do with the scarf (I give away the majority of the scarves I make to friends and family).


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While it doesn’t look that big, the scarf is 5 1/2 feet long. I like to make my scarves that way so that you can wind them around your throat and still have play.

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When Everyone Converts to Something Different – Why I Believe in the Necessity of the Separation of Church and State

Monday, July 14th, 2008

I’ve always been a firm believer in the separation of Church and state. Even as a young child, I intuitively understood then necessity of keeping religion out of public discourse, even though my parents were evangelical fundamentalists.
I’m a believer in the firm separation of church and state because I’ve had the necessity modeled to me in both my parents family. You see, a couple years before I was born quiet a few of my aunts and uncles converted – to different religions and branches of Christianity.
My parents converted to a Protestant Fundamentalist sect, another couple of uncle’s became a Jehovah’s Witnesses, other became just plain Protestant, a whole branch of my Mom’s family became Mormon, along with one of my Dad’s brothers, while other aunt became a practicing Pagan. On my father’s side his parents were nominally Mexican Catholic while my mother’s mother and stepfather were agnostics.
Fired up with the zeal of their new found beliefs family members began immediately trying to save each other and those who took the live and let live approach. Protestant’s fought with each other and with the Catholics (some declared Catholics weren’t really Christians), then ganged up on the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons (whom they considered to be a different religion). Family gatherings became small religious wars in which each participant was determined to prove the others’ religions false. Individuals (such as my parents) began insisting on prayers over meals, which raised the question – whose prayer would be said. Relationships became strained.
Independently, each set of grandparents arrived at the only set of rules which would keep the peace – there would be no discussion of religion at family gatherings, at all. Those who did so would be asked to stop or to leave.

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Paleontology Scandals and Alleged Theft from Grad Students

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

While perusing PZ Meyers’ blog I read an interesting entry about a brouhaha brewing up in the paleontological world over alleged theft of naming rights to specimens.
In Summary
A graduate student, Bill Parker, completed his master’s thesis using a New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science specimen
He argued that the specimen was unique enough to warrant its own name and submitted a paper to the Journal of Systematic Paleontology in which he bestowed a new name on the specimen.
The rules of paleontology apparently state that whoever publishes first gets naming rights. I’m not a paleontologist, but apparently naming a new specimen is very important and can make a Paleontologist’s career.
Parker’s article to the Journal of Systematic Paleontology was reviewed by Spencer Lucas.
Here comes the murky and alleged parts:
Lucas then published a paper in an New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science’s in-house publication (which is not peer reviewed) two-weeks prior to the January 2007 publication date of Parker’s article.
Parker is alleging that Lucas used his position in the Museum and as journal reviewer to steal the naming rights away from Parker.
Given the timeline presented, Parker’s allegations have a lot of merit

after the break – the allegations mount

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CA Supreme Court – Gay Marriage Ban Discriminatory

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

I’m on my way to class, but read this and just had to post the article I read in the LA Times –
The California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage ruling that the state marriage laws are discriminatory! The right to marry the person you love should be a basic human right.

First Ever Food Stamp Challenge on Campus

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

STOP (Students Taking on Poverty) wrapped up its awareness campaigns for the year this week with Food Stamp Awareness Week. Today, the first ever Food Stamp Challenge to take place on a college campus happened here at Stanford.


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What is a Food Stamp Challenge? It’s the agreement to spend only the amount of money that food stamp recipients receive per week on food – basically, to live off $21 for the week or $3.00 for the day. This movement engages in the Challenge in order to raise awareness of the inadequacy of the average food stamp budget, which has remained the
same since the 1970s.
According to a STOP member Debbie Warshawsky, over 200 people have registered online, pledging to spend no more than $3.00 on food today. STOP provided lunch and dinner to participants in the lobby Old Union today, taking the opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of hunger here in the U.S.

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Cool Unity Image Found By Meyer Library

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

I found this small image hidden in the corner of the Meyer library stairwell facing the education building (or alternately the clock tower).
from a distance (given that its about 4 inches by 4 inches) I thought I was seeing some sort of abstract flower/lotus design.
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Academic Lessons from P. Z. Myers and Expelled?

Friday, April 25th, 2008

The fact that the creationist “documentary” Expelled used more than questionable interview tactics to try to interview Eugenie Scott, P. Z. Myers, Michael Shermer, Hector Avalos, and Richard Dawkin has been circulating around the internet for a couple of months.
By representing themselves as another movie production company (Rampant Film) which was producing a documentary called Crossroads: The Intersection of Science and Religion, Expelled producers (Premise) were able to obtain a couple of interviews with scientists like P.Z. Myers.
Expelled was able to use the interviews because the scientists had signed a release which states the footage can be used for “the feature length documentary tentatively entitled Crossroads (the ‘Documentary’) and/or any other production.”
The questionable interview tactics of Expelled, reflect those used in Borat andthe Ali G Show. These tactics seem to be a more and more prevalent tactic for either groups interviewing someone they think are controversial, or “spoof interviews” a la the Daily Show.
As a grad student who hopes to go on to research and teach in a university, this has made me think about what I want to do if I’m ever asked to be interviewed, to help members of the press, to go on a show (radio, tv, or otherwise), or to participate in a documentary. While the odds of appearing in a film are pretty low, it might be easy get suckered into participating in a podcast, interview for a newspaper, journal, etc. with a group you object to or know will misrepresent your work. This is particularly difficult to avoid if they use the tactic that the Premise production team did, and set up shell identities (including fake webpages).
While academics want their viewpoints disseminated and are often willing to participate in documentaries, be interviewed for articles and news stories, and help journalists, maybe, they also need to start thinking about how to protect themselves from this kind of exploitation.
For starters, scholars need to closely look at the release forms they sign and decide if the standard “any other production” is ok with them. Maybe a modification, in which they need to give permission for each new use of their interview is something some scholars should start considering adding to the release forms. Maybe even crossing out the phrase (and initialing and dating it) is as far as they want to go (also making a photocopy of the document).
Another tool that universities could develop is a contract that faculty members can use which production companies will need to sign if they want to interview the faculty member.
The contract could contain provisions (translated into legalese) which state:
– the production company is not misrepresenting itself to the scholar
– the production company is not misrepresenting the film to the scholar
– if the scholar is participating without being paid, that the film is not a for profit enterprise (aka Borat)
– the production company will pay some sort of compensation if it has misrepresented itself or the film to the scholar
– the production company will pay for the legal fees of the scholar to enforce this contract
Not being interview is a chance that scholars will take, if they adopt this kind of tactic, but given the fact that “spoof interviews” and misrepresentations are occurring, maybe not being interviewed by someone sketchy is a good thing. Each scholar needs to gauge their own preferences. On the other hand, your area of study can dictate the types of interviews you get asked to do.
If a production company refuses to change the “any other production” language or sign the interview contract, scholars need to make sure they know who they are dealing with, particularly famous and/or controversial scholars.
As for myself, I’m only a grad student, but I’ve already been volunteered once by the university institute to talk to, and help, a member of the press under the mistaken assumption that I did research in a particular area. The poor researcher got a, “I study a completely unrelated area, and I’m not sure who studies this, but I think X does…” from me.
The experience got me thinking about this whole thing in the first place, particularly as I had just read about P.Z. Myer’s expulsion from Expelled.

Response to “Bathroom Wall” Art Project

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I saw this in front of Meyer yesterday. It is a response to the exposure of bathroom graffiti that occurred last week.
Here are some images:
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Art? Intolerance? Banality?

Thursday, March 6th, 2008

Update:
aw:
I noticed this the other day, too.
To add a new spin to this, has anyone drawn the connection between the sidewalk writings and the graffiti on the back of the stall door on the first floor men’s bathroom?
The writings are pretty much exactly the same. This was probably a project to replicate what was on the door.

Now the piece makes sense. I’m a girl, I don’t use the men’s bathroom. The project seems to be about replicating the hidden and making it public. It seems to be about asking what the impact of the statements on the bathroom walls would be if it was made public.
Note to authors/artists: it would have been nice to know that. My understanding, from an informal poll, is that the men’s and women’s bathroom are vastly different here at Stanford. For example, not a lot of writing on the bathroom walls going on, so the reference to writing on the bathroom walls slipped past me. Also apparently, women’s bathrooms have more private stalls. Without the context I though the content expressed your views. Maybe next time say what your referencing more explicitly? The comments were offensive and without the context of what you were doing it seemed like a bunch of random comments with some offensive speech thrown in.
Also, to those who say I’m calling for censorship. I was pointing out that, as I perceived it, the art project wasn’t art but merely banality due to its reliance on offensive speech . Never in my writing did I call for censorship. Calling something banal and offensive or sexist, racist, or homophobic is not censorship. Calling a piece of art offensive can lead to a discussion, particularly about art (since this seemed to be an art project) about whether the community feels the art should stay in place or be removed. Also, questioning whether or not something is art (and I originally felt it wasn’t art) is good.
The writing on the men’s bathroom wall – not art, and also offensive. The words and expressions written down are homophobic, racist, and sexist. The replication of the bathroom wall, to, I’m supposing, reveal and expose, this hidden sentiment of vitriol seems to be art (again I would say to the artists, give a context so people know what your intention is). And is actually kinda scary.
These comments are written in anonymity (kinda like internet comments). People writing on the bathroom walls can express their sentiments without fear of being exposed as the author. In the men’s restroom, you can even suppose the authors can write without fear of a fellow female student seeing the comments and jokes.
The writings have been exposed, but the authors are still anonymous.
I apologize to the artists for thinking that the content expressed their views.
Original Post
I’m used to walking through campus and seeing random bits of shout outs written in chalk on the pavement. For instance, today, ROHO is out in force (with a website to boot).
However, what I saw yesterday morning has me wondering about the line between provocation, art, sexism, racism, and banality. When does an attempt at art become vitriol? Are random sexist and racist statements really art?
As I was walking to Meyer from Escondido I encountered the following:
Hungry (with arrow pointing to)
Talk to me
Brandi hearts Justin
My husband flicks his tongue like a dyke

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Right there, out in the middle of the walkway, a word often used to silence women and dismiss them. A way of disenfranchising lesbians. An ugly word without context. Was this part of a poem, then which poem? Part of a larger statement somewhere? I had no context in which to judge the statement. “My husband flicks his tongue like a dyke.” Dyke, a lesbian who is noticeably masculine. A woman who has transgressed social gender norms. A way of othering both lesbians and women. A word often used to silence them
As I continued towards Meyer a mangled references to the sound of silence by Paul Simon “the words of the prophet are written on the bathroom stalls.” It sounded like someone was trying to be deep, but the prior chalk outlines (with the arrows pointing me to Meyer) made it just banal. Pompous. Mental masturbation. Someone thinking they were deep because they used offensive language.
As I looked at the writing to I saw references to Andrew Jackson Pollock as a blind guardian of culture and words “ see my face on a $20 Bill Smallpox, genocidal American quilts, etc.” There was an arrow with salad written inside. It looked as if several individuals had been writing quotes and then writing to each other and quotes and responses cover the walkway.
I know this shit isn’t great but what exactly do you get when griffens and Cardinals mate
Babies
UGLY OVEREDUCATED ONES
Well, the bitches at this place are that’s for sure
(arrow pointing to overeducated)

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