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I have decided that from this moment on personal entries will be here. Communities will be at LJ. I'll still follow my friends list there. I'm just so *used* to LJ. But the more I hear about LJ, the more it's clear that it's time to move on.

Since I created this account and moved over my journal in the beginning of Sept, I have since written stuff at LJ. Do you know if I can move over just stuff from the last 4 weeks, or if I do the merge things again, will it double up all the previous entries?

Also, I am going to start that public blog. But it'll be slow going I imagine. Gotta get a name, a URL, set up the template and write some stuff.

ETA: I wish I could make all my 1500+ entries private. I started going throw them and then.... doing each entry is not going to work. I sort of wish I hadn't transferred over my entire LJ. I wanted to keep those entries safe, but I also wanted more of a break with LJ. Oh well. In the end it doesn't really matter that much, does it?
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I went ahead and bit the bullet. I've started a Dreamwidth account. I even gave myself a new name. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet. I'm importing all of my LJ over there. Good for a back up. Not sure how I will distinguish the two. I think I may leave this one for communities and people that I love to follow (and there are many of you that I enjoy reading but don't comment often on) and keep the DW for personal posts, since the communities action over there is sad and depressing. Once everything is set up I'll let y'all know what the name is. It's time to retire Ewigweibliche and possibly all of my icons too.

For the time being, everything will stay as usual. I'll keep posting here and what not.
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This week Autumn has been making its descent. Last year had a bit of an indian summer. It was beautiful - uncharacteristically so, we were told. It is mid-August and getting colder and wetter by the day. In fact it is so cold today that I have worn two sweater. I just cannot bring myself to turn the heat on in August. Tonight the wind and rain and grey tap at the windows. It's a soothing sound that I love very much.

But pregnant me, living at the top of a hill, with a toddler, sighs heavily. It's interesting to me how having a child can change my perspective toward something I normally love.
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We are watching The Secret of Kells. It is absolutely spectacular. Pagan and Christian, mysterious and historical. It is visually rich, the music is beautiful. We only watched one hour of it (or so) before it was B's bedtime wind-down, and I'd gotten chills twice.
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Do we have an internal voice anymore? An interior world that is our own? How many of us edit what is in our own journals so that we might project our best image, or a certain type of image, or please others, or not offend them with our real thoughts? When we have constant information and input flowing in (status updates, advertisements, music or muzak, tv, etc) how can we filter and develop an interior world?

And as women particularly is our interior world valued? Is it only valuable if other people like it? If we get so many 'likes' on Facebook, or some one pays us for our memoir? Our bodies are certainly picked apart. All of our parts must be approved by some external gaze - be it male or female. If a magazine tells us curvy is in then we can breathe a sigh of relief. We can defend our figures based on whatever health fad is in. Do we get to like our selves just because?

How can we embrace our bodies, our embodiedness (flesh, earthiness, corporeality, etc) without being only our bodies? Finding this blade thin balance feels impossible on days when I engage in mainstream media, but is only slightly more possible when I read philosophic or theological texts. Any wisdom gleaned is still problematic - all theory, all big words. And how do we find the razor thin line between personal and physical autonomy, still so necessary in our world, and communal participation, still so necessary in our world? Women especially still struggle in these areas. How can we embrace our desires and hopes, aspirations and ambitions, and also serve and care for others in a meaningful way?

The greatest mystery in life to me is finding the place of balance in all these questions. I think it is one of feminism's biggest challenges in the world. How do we embrace the myriad contradictions that make up our lives? To serve and be served? To love and be loved? To embrace power (such a problematic word in feminism) and yet not be crushed by it? To attain equality with men, but elevate that equality to something that provides freedom for women and men, for all people regardless of class, size, religion, sex, gender, race?

Ultimately, how do we become whole human beings?

Religiously and theologically I think the rise in paganisms and New Age movements speaks to many of these questions. I waver inbetween mono- and poly-theism. My personal practice is FAR more pagan than Christian. And yet to be honest I think that established religions, among them Christianity, have more tools, language, depth and nuance to tackle a lot of the questions. There is so much in the Christian tradition alone that is liberatory and radical, but church feels dead. How do we/I/you find personal meaning and depth and also have community?

The modern struggle of transience v permanence, individual v community, choice v duty, private and public, and so on. We never choose sides, it's always a negotiation. An ongoing negotiation until the day we die, I'm guessing.
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NOOOOOOO!!!!!!


The site I was (very very slowly) reading Full Metal Alchemist on changed their site and the series is no longer available. ACK!!

*SOB*

I might have to buy them now. That's a LOT of manga to purchase.
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Let's start our morning off a hot steaming cup of -ism.

I don't follow sports super closely, I don't regularly read sports publications, though I do enjoy some sports and follow loosely. Adam follows the NBA very closely and therefore I'm somewhat up on the whole NBA and LeBron thing. I have enjoyed watching LeBron play, though I've not been a huge Cavs fan. I respect LeBron: he gives a metric fuckton of money to charities, he's never whined about his team, and seems like a nice guy. For those of you not in the NBA loop, but wanting to follow my argument: LeBron is a young man, he's played for the Cleveland Caveliers for his entire professional career, in Ohio near his hometown, and he's been talked about as if he's God's gift to basketball. Recently his contract came up as free-agent (and this I don't fully understand and probably didn't phrase that correctly, basically he can trade himself) but LeBron (LBJ, from here on out) chose not to re-sign with the Cavs but instead moved to Miami. He announced his decision on a hugely hyped tv special, in which all the proceeds (somewhere around 2.5 million dollars) went to the Boys and Girls Club of America, a charity which serves mainly poor and urban youth. LBJ's one, very tacky mistake? He hadn't told his own team about his decision before announcing it on national television.

Ok. Who cares, you're probably asking. Some jack-ass NBA player is being all arrogant about moving teams. Whoopdeedo. Well, I'd like to be a dissenting voice and break down for you why this is entirely unjustified and inaccurate. Sadly, I don't have loads of facts or links. I wanted to link to the Sports Illustrated article I read yesterday, but can't and so you'll have to trust me that I'm not making this shit up.

There are several things happening here. First, there is a confusion with pride and arrogance. Secondly, there is a lack of consistency when discussing the NBA and the claims about players. Thirdly, there is some bald-ass racism going on. People have been crying foul - oh that selfish bastard LBJ! This is an emotional claim and while I think its misdirected at LBJ the only people who are justified in getting worked up like this are the Cavs fans in Cleveland. Again, they are misdirecting their anger, but they're the only ones with the emotional investment to warrant such wailing. It's especially disgusting when I read legitimate sports journalism perpetuating this nonsense.

Pride and arrogance are not the same thing. Pride is a good thing. We need pride in our work, efforts and selves to feel confident, to pursue our work when the going gets tough, to stand up for ourselves and our beliefs. Arrogance is rubbing it in people's faces, claiming to be better than everyone else, and making people feel smaller. When we all have pride in our work/efforts/selves, we all win, because there's enough pride to go around; we value everyone's efforts where they're at. When we're arrogant, it's a zero sum game with only one king of the hill winner. These are very different concepts but Americans (and maybe the British too, I think) don't have a grasp of the difference. LBJ is being told off for being arrogant, when really he's just taking pride in his work, skills, and using his fame to help others.

But let's break this down even further. In a sport composed of mainly young black men there is a generation of players who seem to be giving the stereotype of young black men as violent, ignorant, and playas the heave-ho. I have long been impressed with Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat player) and LBJ for always being gracious and articulate in their press conferences, for striving to be team players, for basically not being involved in any scandals (I'm sure they're not perfect). Sure, this is like congratulating someone for not being an asshole. Personally, I'm just always thrilled to hear gracious, articulate speakers - it seems rare in any profession, and dreadfully so in sports. Claims that LBJ is being selfish by leaving the Cavs - if he was really loyal and a team player he'd stick with his team through thick and thin - and that he's a failure as a basketball star because he's not winning championships on his own, like Larry Bird and Michael Jordan did are complete nonsense. and yet are the two most prevalent in the media that I've read. These criticisms are full of shit.

If the Cavs had been serious about winning championships the team owner would have built a team that could help LBJ win. Basketball is a team sport and no one wins 'all by themselves.' As Adam has pointed out to me, all the greats had other really good teammates to help them win. Larry Bird and Michael Jordan had other all-star players to support their awesomeness. LBJ had none. The fact that he stuck out his contract - he didn't demand a trade, he never publicly bad mouthed his team or owners, or laid blame on anyone - speaks volumes about exactly the what kind of team player LBJ is. LBJ, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade are all taking paycuts to play on a team where they can have fun, win championships as a team, and are wanted by the coaching and ownership teams. Isn't this what we all want professionally? To be wanted, have fun doing our jobs, have great colleagues, and have the support to do our best work? Why is this demonized in basketball players when millions of Americans make employment decisions based on these same criteria?

What this whole hullabaloo boils down to is straight up racism. LBJ is a young, black man who is taking initiative. Lil' black boy is stepping out of line. A team player is one who does the team owner's bidding. I will try to stay away from hyperbolic slavery metaphors, but perhaps you'll see it for yourself. Team owners own their players, buy them, trade them at will, etc. Once again, the majority of NBA players are young black men and the majority of team owners are white (in fact, Michael Jordan is the only black majority-owner of an NBA team, and according to Adam this happened only last year). So why are people so up in arms that LBJ, a scandal-free and indisputably gifted player, has moved teams? He sold himself. He has up-ended the 'way it is.' He defies the stereotypes of black men: he's not selling or being caught with drugs, he's not taking up with prostitutes, he's not beating people up, he's not inarticulately spewing nonsense in press conferences. He's articulately leaving one team for another of his choice and own volition. It's not about the money. It's about personal integrity.

LBJ -and all the black NBA players- are damned if they do, damned if they don't. If they live out the stereotypes of young black men, sports writers and watchers can shake their finger, but will gladly let them go on. But for a player to take the power and privilege that is given him and to further his own goals of being a team player and winning (the two things that basketball is all about), well, what a selfish fucking bastard.

Black boy better get back in line and do as he's told.
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Only mildly embarrassed to admit that I LOVED High School Musical 3. That's right. I loved it.

Why? Because I love a cheesy musical and this movie completely embraced the trope and form. There was more 'plot' but really it was about defining moments with strong characters, which is what a musical does. The adult characters were less stock and even the annoying glitter queen was toned down. The music was better, there was more dancing, and the singers had all matured and sounded so much better.

I didn't watch #2 and I have no desire to. It's set at a country club and I just couldn't care less. HSM 1 was a snooze fest, but HSM 3 was totally worth it and I will watch it again..... next time I'm ill. Or maybe even not.

HSM 1

Jul. 30th, 2010 08:02 pm
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Ok. Give it to me straight. Is High School Musical a cheesey, saccharine yet completely solid and enjoyable waste of an afternoon when you're ill? Or, like Twilight, will a part of my soul die if I watch it? I already think Zac Efron is hot (which is so so wrong) so it's got that going for it.
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We are ill. Me run down with a cold and threatening sore throat. B with a stomach bug. We've been up for not quite 90 minutes are we're on the third set of clothes.
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I'm feeling really disillusioned and a bit despairing this morning. Part of it is reading the news and following, even loosely, politics, particularly American politics. Part of it is the ongoing conversation with my cousin. It's like the conversation with my cousin is the microcosm of the macrocosm that is the news. Basically, people are stupid. People don't think. I'm pretty stupid and don't think in many areas of my life, so I'm not off the hook. My only saving grace is that I can think critically. I'm certainly no less judgmental than most, and maybe only a tad bit more compassionate, but this is a relatively recent development.

I am winding down the conversation with cousin. There's only so much a person can say. If a person doesn't have sound reasoning skills what can you do? And it's way too much work to read through his atrociously written responses. I am disappointed. Because my cousin is a Nice Guy, and I always liked him. But really, he's a sexist. Of course, he doesn't think he is, but he is. He doesn't see the consequences of his lines of reason. He has no excuse, either. It makes me think I'll never make it as a university professor. How do those of you who teach handle it? Do you cling to those students who are brilliant and/or really really try? I'm afraid my low bullshit tolerance will cause me to be rude and demeaning to the idiots. Teaching singing seems sooooo much easier.

I don't think that my cousin is all that unique. I think a lot of people are like him. For a variety of reasons. I recognize that I have a considerable position of privilege that I can sit around and study to such an advanced degree and challenge the status quo. There are a lot of people who have to work longer hours than I do, who have various other circumstances that prevent the navel-gazing I spend much of my time doing. But I also know that it's uncomfortable to challenge the status quo. The powers that be offer us tastes of power and privilege in hopes that we won't challenge them any further. I find this glaringly obvious in feminist politics (and I don't mean political politics only). If I am officially Sexy then I'll go a hell of lot further than if I am not. Sarah Palin is a great example of this.

And then there's just plain ol' politics. Not that I ever thought Obama was the second coming, but I am officially over his administration. We had loads of hope in the beginning, but I've seen no change at all. Just standard Democrat politics. And the recent hoo-ha over the Sherrod firing is disgusting. Instead of really discussing race, it was knee-jerk political correctness. I am no longer convinced that America as a nation can have a debate about anything. It is nothing but sound bites, sensationalism, and status quo rhethoric. Fox News and their hosts are the worst of the worst. I am embarrassed that those entertainers get airspace called 'news' and I am appalled that millions of people (some of them I know to be very nice!) consider that actual reasoning and debate. Where did our critical thinking skills go?? And the 'liberal' media is only a teeny-tiny fraction better. Their bias is veiled but its there. And most people don't seem to worry about this. Most people will eat up anything that's delivered from 'on high'.

I'm tired of xenophobia masquerading as patriotism. Britain, though more moderate than the US in many ways, definitely has its share of racist xenophobes running around. If I hear any more 'mosque at ground zero' nonsense I think I'll hurt some one. (It's not a mosque, it's not at ground zero.) I'm tired of people who don't question the justice system and assume that because 'justice' is in the title it is, actually, just. Basically, I don't think I can handle the masses anymore. Even though I'm getting a little bored here in bucolic west Wales, maybe I can just convince my thinking, creative friends to come join me in a commune?

I'm ready for the anarcho-feminist revolution now. Thanks.

(But not all is lost. It's not raining this morning and I found out this morning, thanks to [livejournal.com profile] bravenewcentury that Avatar:the Last Airbender is getting a series sequel. I will die of the squee and of anticipation. Gotta focus on the little things. Also, my son is deadly cute, and deadly whingey this morning, and covered in corn flakes.)

Win!

Jul. 20th, 2010 08:42 am
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I was so exhausted yesterday. I didn't do any cleaning. Nothing. In fact, last night's dinner is still out on the stove. I decided to go to bed with Bennett. We were in jammies at 7, reading stories in bed at 7.30, lights out and tussling at 8.00 and both of us passed out at 8.30. I feared that I would wake up three hours later ready to go, but no. I woke at 3.30 and laid awake for about 30 minutes and then.... back to sleep til 7 and I STILL lounged in bed for another hour while Bennett slept.

I had interesting dreams about 'spirit waters' - huge baths that allowed you to see spirits of people, both dead and alive.

And now I feel GOOD. On today's agenda: take B to the clinic to get a rash sorted, then Family Centre for a play, then home to CLEAN.
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Very very tired this morning. Busy morning ahead. B goes to Gwdihws today, staying an extra hour since I'm singing at a funeral. I've got a meeting with my adviser at 9am, rehearsal at 11.15, the funeral at 12 and picking B up at 1.30. Then I shall nap with B all afternoon.

My only concern about it all is finding time to eat. I need my elevenses these days.

Also having internet/computer issues.

Catch you later.
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I just unfriended a load of people I either know are no longer using LJ or haven't posted in a long long time. This place is becoming a ghost town, people. But I stick around because I like the set up, the virtual anonymity, and am very attached to many of you. There are several people who have dropped off here that I miss quite a bit. Alas.
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I write like....

I put in three different entries with vastly different content and got: James Joyce, Isaac Assimov, and Chuck Pahalanuik. I can't say I'm inspired there. Let's see: heavy themes with bad punctuation and ham fisted writing?
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Today is CRAZY weather-wise. It's been raining like the flood is coming off and on all day. Then it'll heat up and be warm for 20 minutes. Then cold. Now, it's back to lashing rains - with thunder and flash lightning! Woo-hoo!

In the last 24 hours I have written just over 2000 words (actually took me 2 hours, plus an hour of revision) and mailed it off to my advisor. Neat. The essay is on Margaret Barker's ideas, which, if true in any way would totally throw conventional Christianity for a loop. Maybe I'll post my essay under a filter.

I also read, in the last 24 hours, a book about Taoist sexual practices that I found used. While I do not doubt there can be spiritual and physical benefits from various forms of Eastern sexual practices, a dude wrote the book and his tone plus the content (heavily centered on how fellatio has physically restorative and spiritual benefits) makes me think: yer a douchebag.

Adam leaves for the US tomorrow. He does the dishes. It dawned on me today that I now have to do the dishes too while he's gone. Ack! Come mid to late afternoons I am *wiped out* and just want to watch tv. I feel like the worst parent ever because I know B and I are going to watch copious amounts of cartoons, movies and whatnot. Ah well. I'm pregnant. So there.

In more 'awesome parenting and domesticity' we are having left over tuna casserole. Don't all rush over for dinner, now.
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In order.

1. My roasted beet, goat cheese, and cranberry salad for lunch. I roasted some beets this morning and walked down the hill to get lettuces for it. But of course, pregnant lady is pregnant and right now I am thoroughly enjoying my chemical laden Cool Ranch Doritos. Serious tasty yuck. I was actually craving the chemicals. Shhh, don't tell anyone.

2. Adam returning from his 2.5 week trip to the US (he doesn't leave til next Thursday). Mostly because I'm exhausted just thinking about taking care of B for that long all by myself. I've been so queasy and tired. I really hope it passes soon. But Adam is also going to bring me back some special loot from the States.

3. I keep forgetting to mention this. Adam, B and I are going to Paris for a week in a November! We'll be spending the Thanksgiving holiday there with Adam's parents. Adam's parents went there last Thanksgiving and totally fell in love with Paris. They don't speak French know anything about art beyond Monet's flowers and definitely know nothing about French food. Such a very very unlikely match! And yet: love. So they are going back. And it only costs £50 round trip per person for us to get there. WIN! I've never been to Paris and I am *so excited*.

4. Having a baby. It still feels quite abstract. And February is a long way off. I'm scared about what this is going to do to my studies. But I'm thrilled to have another child.

5. The Twig is coming to visit me next summer! She and I talked via Skype yesterday and she said she had enough miles for a free trip to the UK. Yay!
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I've been reading Wind in the Willows to Bennett. It seems far too advanced to be considered a children's book - the language is complex and the plot is not quite what I'm used to in kids' literature. But we're both enjoying it.

However, I am beginning to see far too much of Mr Toad in me for my liking. Yet some how he manages to keep a close band of loyal friends about him, so perhaps it'll be alright in the end.
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I've been having a long and interesting discussion about religion with a distant cousin. I make no claims to have any of the answers, though I do spend damn near all my waking hours engaged in religious thinking in some capacity or another. What's KILLING me is his inability to reason, while all the time trying to convince me that he's too logical and I'm too emotional. Now, I am very emotional: I get passionate, yes, sir. But in my engagement with him I've been very even handed, perhaps too even. But his refusal to understand that in the world of religion X *and* Y need to be considered not incompatible Truths but simultaneous truths, has me coming off as emotional to him. It's not out of some namby-pamby love-fest that I say this. It's because after practicing and studying religions and spending time with people who believe differently than I do, to assume that only Jesus is THE God is to basically tell 4.5 billion other people to fuck off and die. It's not saying Jesus is MY God, but Jesus is THE God. I know the vast majority of Christians don't see it that way, but that's how it is.

I have spend considerable time in Jewish communities and developing friendships with both cultural and religious Jews (which doesn't make me an expert, merely informed to some degree), I have never ever had a Jew tell me that their God was THE God and boy I'd be a lot better off if I argreed. If I want to join their party, many would welcome me (many would not, since I'm not ethnically Jewish), but the Jewish people are content to worship their god and go on their merry way. They don't need to convince the rest of the world of their religious superiority. I would love to know if the Jewish world sees their God as THE God, or merely as THEIR God - that's a huge difference.

I'm really fed up with the mainstream idea that logic means there can only be one big-T Truth. I fear that modern Western schooling has ruined the brains of generations who were taught to find Right Answers - there can be only One! - rather than to develop arguments and think critically. Unless you are in the hard sciences, there is rarely One Answer. I think this is why academics are stereotyped as elitists: because it's very difficult to talk with people for whom there is only One Right Answer. If I had to talk with people like my cousin (who's a Nice Guy) regularly I think my head would explode. This is why people like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin give America/politics/conservatives/Christianity such a bad name, because they don't reason. At all. Cuz reasoning and arguing is some Lefty Agenda out to confuse the Average Joe. Of course it confuses the Average Joe - because they went to school where there was only one right answer!! (Excuse me while I go stab out my eyes in the corner.)

I'm starting to wonder if there isn't some religious causation here. In the Protestant Christian world (which makes up the vast majority of America) there is one sacred text - the Bible. It is entirely correct. It is The Right Answer. Everything must be squared with it. There is One God. The Bible says X, so X it is. There is no tradition of critical engagement. No tradition of wrestling or questioning. No understanding that the Bible is a sacred text that grew up in certain times and places and is relevant to certain people. One billion Hindus grew up in a different time, place and culture with different sacred texts? Well, fuck them. They're Wrong. How mind-bogglingly ignorant and arrogant is it that?? Oh, says my cousin, truth is truth. Gahhhhh! Religion is not a hard science! The same rules do not apply as when we determine, say, that the earth rotates around sun.

I wonder too if perhaps (stereotypically) more Jews go into academia because of their tradition with engaging with texts. The Jewish tradition has a long and rich tradition of arguing and engaging with their sacred texts and teachers - Midrash and Talmud come immediately to mind. Perhaps there is less of a need for One Right Answer, and therefore the world of academia, where it's not about Right Answers but more about better and worse arguments, comes more naturally?*

I don't know. All I know right now is that mainstream reasoning seems to be dying a slow, disgraced death. Many people considered themselves religiously well educated if they made it through 5 years of Sunday school. It makes me want to hide under the bed and weep. Or just hole up with other people who can think, like the elitist I am.

*[livejournal.com profile] hraffntinna and [livejournal.com profile] msmidge please smack me upside the head if I'm full of shit.
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I am pregnant. Yes, you already knew that. What you may not be aware of is that I can already sense the pregnancy hormones coursing through my veins. And what that means is that my tact is even more diminished than normal. I read a one page article in the Economist and one paragraph set me off fuming. Now, all the thoughts I had were thoughts I would agree with on a non-pregnant day, but it's the *intensity* of it that is rather surprising.

However, I kind of like it. It's nice to just be in a Fuck All Y'all place. Or a place where I can freely cry. God, I wish I could cry normally, so relieving! The next 7.5 months would be an extremely bad time to try to convince me that feminism is a form of mind-control by the lesbian separatists. Or that Obama is really a socialist. Or basically to disagree with me on anything.

Please note that you have been warned.

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