Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The RH John Kreepy's new twist on Dirty Politics

(Who can I credit for this?)
[The scene - a popular Antipodean cafe. Somewhere important people go. Middle-aged Kreeyp and his first wife are regulars here.]

J Kreepy: I'm bored. I'm So Booored! When is that coffee coming? Do I have to talk to my wife to pass the time? Bored, bored, bored....Oh Look! A young perky waitress. And she has hair. I like hair. I like hair a lot. Especially long silky hair in ponytails like That Hair. I'd be so not bored if I could touch that hair. How can I touch that hair?

I know! I'm a jolly important guy who's lots of fun. I bet that woman would love it if I went and played with her hair. Who wouldn't like me playing with her hair? I'm just playing, and playing is fun.

Look! I did it! I pulled her hair (not hard of course, cause I'm just playing). I was right, that was fun.

Bet she liked it as much as I did. Hope I see her again.

[The scene - the same cafe, a few days later.]

J Kreepy: This is totes my favourite cafe now. I can get coffee and play with that really fun waitress who loves it when I pull her ponytail. Oh look, there she is!

That's so cool. I pulled her ponytail again - still really fun. She looks a bit grumpy; how cute! Bet that attention from an important guy like me made her feel happier. She knows I'm only playing. Smile, honey!

[The scene - you guessed it.]

J Kreepy:  About to make my favourite girl's day again. Sorry, no, that's not you, wifey. Where's that tantalising ponytailed charmer of mine? Looking, looking...just like an Easter Egg hunt. Can't see...oh, there she is, over on the other side of the cafe. That's OK, I've got time to go over to her - she'll appreciate that I remembered our game.

Got her! Woohoo! Whoa, she looks a bit mad. She must be having a bad day with her customers.  Hey, hon, it wasn't me, it was...my wife who pulled your hair. Yeah, my wife, isn't that hilarious! Cheer up, it's not that bad. I will see YOU later. Ciao!

[The scene - I bet we're all wishing we were somewhere else by now, but no, the same cafe.]

J Kreepy:  Where's my waitress? I...I mean, my wife wants to pull her hair again. We all have such a lovely relationship - just like family! Looks like the ponytail is serving someone else. I'll just sneak up, slowly, slowly...TUG! HAHAHAHAHA! My wife loves pulling your hair and just can't stop!

Oops, my wife seems embarrassed. She says I should stop. Sweetie, where's your sense of humour? Actually, nobody really cares about having their hair pulled.

[The scene - seriously? How long can this go on in the same cafe?]

J Kreepy:  Do you think she sees me coming? Funny how she never serves us anymore. Oh well, it's a small cafe; she can't run forever, the little minx. Look, she's backed against the wall, that's quite exciting actually.  Aaaaaaand....gotcha!

Wow, what's with all the NOs? And what's security got to do with this?

Wifey says I should leave the poor girl alone? Self-righteous jealous moo. Why doesn't she grow a ponytail?

Hey, you over there, she really doesn't like me pulling her ponytail? What's that about? I'm a really nice guy and lots of fun! Everyone says so. Who do you think you are anyway?

Here, have some wine. Maybe it'll help you relax.

[Seriously, for the record and for when the headlines fade. This is the story involved. Key's hair stroking habit may very well be a fetish, but that can only be speculation. Without doubt, Key is abusing his position as a public figure to create an artificial intimacy he hopes to benefit from, in a manner which does not request permission or allow avoidance from his target.]

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Bee my Valentine!

Don't bee shy! (the camera loves ya)
This post will be short and sweet, like its main characters. But it won't bee a quickie.

On our driveway, two bumblebees are celebrating Valentine's Day in the best way they know how: making the bee with two backs.

So as naturally nosy primates, we took some photos. (Also available on video.)

Try another angle - beeautiful.
While Valentine's Day in New Zealand was yesterday, I prefer to beelieve there may have been extended courting - some special nectar and pollen, perhaps - and foreplay.

Clearly they have adopted the theme song "Why don't we do it the road", by the Beetles. A bit of research shows bumblebees mating on the ground is normal, but they can continue for 10 to 80 minutes!  One observer reported mating bumblebees can bee moved, so I did.

While much of the public concern over bee populations highlights honeybees, we need all pollinators much more urgently than honey.

So I hope you'll join me in wishing the happy couple a much longer and fruitful...coupling...beefore they buzz off.

Further bee puns may bee left in the comments.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obesity: Supporting satisfaction instead of surgery

Hot news from down under - a couple of surgeons who perform bariatric (stomach-stapling) operations would like to perform more of them on us, and would like tax money to fund their work. The media is running their advertisement as if it were a public health statement.

I've battled weight problems for my adult life, and I know there is no magic bullet for maintaining a healthy weight. Neither is there a magic scalpel. Cutting open your body to reduce your stomach capacity and all that could mean for your future is not a tenable general treatment.

Battling obesity en masse

New Zealand is, like most developed countries, guilty of more reporting than acting on the growing obesity problem. While this is always a sensitive subject, a recent longterm study showed that while there are obese healthy people, they are much less likely to remain healthy over the years.

So is it true that "Surgery still remains the most capable strategy for inducing robust and long-term weight loss"? May I see the source please? The (US) National Weight Control Registry research does not mention surgery at all in their summary of how most of their participants lost long-term weight.

But I am even more interested that New Zealand's tax money supports industries that support obesity. Fatty cholesterol-rich foods like beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy. "Added-value" processed foods, which take natural raw foods and package them for the highest profit and shelf life instead of fiber and nutrients. Food technology trumps food quality.

Calorie density

Why does this matter? Jeff Novick, RD, MS explains in this article and this video presentation, but in short, calorie density reigns supreme in how much people eat.

Steak doesn't fill you up like oatmeal. Potato chips won't fill you up like potatoes.

Where the money goes

So if we're going to tweak our economic contribution to solve the obesity epidemic, let's not psych everyone into thinking we have to catch up with the Aussies in dangerous life-altering surgery rates.

Let's at least stop being part of the problem, and remove tax funding from those industries harming our national health. Restrict their advertising which often reports positive health benefits or just plain fun...and often arrives in our schools to advertise to our children.

Help make healthy food cheaper, more available, and more acceptable instead.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Secondhand Smarts - community works!

I haven't posted a Secondhand Smarts update for a while, but rest assured I get so many bargains from secondhand shops, TradeMe, etc, that I can hardly keep up.

An extra special nod must go to the bargains I got at last year's school fair. OK, I put in a lot of hours at the White Elephant sale where I got the goodies, but it was a great community event and raised much needed funds for the kids' school. And hundreds of people went away happy with their bargain finds!

Community and charity work can seem thankless at times, but as well as the reality of the help you're providing, you are also making connections that can sometimes reap more tangible rewards. Sometimes you need something and someone else already has exactly what you need. Like these...

Stepping out...

The boy needed some shoes. Look what I found!

Tevas. Good as new. In the right size. For a couple of dollars!

Yeah, this attachment!
I love making frozen banana ice cream. It is pretty hard work for the S-blade on the food processor though, and we've heard that juicers and mincers do an even better job on the frozen bananas. I don't want another whole gizmo in my kitchen, but I have idly considered buying the mincer attachment for our mixer.

I almost let this amazing coincidence at the White Elephant Sale pass me by. I'd even shelved this box and moved it around a couple of times. But it wasn't until a customer said "there are bits missing from this" that we both realised it was an attachment, not a standalone machine. Just exactly what I needed for the machine we have at home, and luckily the customer didn't! $5, for an attachment retailing new for £38.

I can confirm that the banana ice cream product from the mincer is far superior - it can take the totally frozen banana chunks without strain and produce a really really cold treat instead of one that melts almost as served.

The icing on the cake

And cookies, and vegan cupcakes for the Vegan Society stall, and...

My sister's a decorating ace with all the equipment, but sometimes there's no chance to go borrowing. There were a couple of icing sets in the sale, and I knew I wanted to go home with one.

This one was pretty and compact, so it won the toss, and at $4 was quite the bargain. Especially when later at home, I found this was a collector tin retailing for $70.

Yes, there were even more bargains we got at the fair, but enough already! Secondhand is totally smart shopping.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Faking maturity on Facebook: underage accounts

What I've always wanted to know but been afraid to ask. So I'll risk general offense in the hope of getting some answers.

Why the fake account for your kid who is legally too young to be on Facebook? I know you know it's there, because s/he's in your friend list.

Why I haven't and I wish you wouldn't

  1. It's fraudulent. Here's lesson 1 on "it's OK to fake your age to get in where you shouldn't;" what could possibly go wrong...?
  2. It exposes your child randomly to inappropriate material, messages and ads. Facebook's only parental control setting is requiring your child to be 13 - why blow that?
  3. It allows your child to send private messages to other Facebook users.
  4. If I'm your friend on Facebook, your underage child will see our interactions and could potentially participate. Which could mean all THEIR underage friends might see it. Sorry, but ewww. My young adult nieces and my parents are in my network, and that cramps my style enough.
If you wouldn't invite your children to your pub crawl, why invite them illegally onto a worldwide social network?

Is 13 just forever to wait, when all of their friends already have one? 

Is it never too early to start putting yourself out there, counting how many friends and likes you get, with the added bonus of cyberbullying?

Are they growing up too slowly?

I'm only seeing the downside here - please supply some balance!


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fun with Feminist Hacker Barbie!

If you haven't yet heard about Kathleen Tuite, Feminist Hacker Barbie and her awesome backlash against Mattel's book “Barbie: I Can be a Computer Engineer,” this Wired article is a great place to start.

Then visit the site, view the original pages, and rewrite the book for all our sakes.

(And btw, her mom and my mom are friends, so I'm pretty sure that makes me cool too.)

Here's my bit of fun....

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Pin the sexist shirt on the comet's tail

The amazing news of the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission landing on the comet has burst onto the scene. Even more colourfully, so has the shirt of Mike Taylor, the talented Rosetta scientist who appeared in the media.

(Will we now have the "Rosetta Shirt" to go along with the famed "Rosetta Stone?")

What's the big deal?

I studied tech and worked in tech industries for more than 10 years. Then, as now, the techier it got, the more men worked there, and the more casual the dress code. Not suit and tie, but T-shirts and cycling gear. New Zealand is pretty relaxed. They were not the most politically careful people around.

But not one of those men would have worn a shirt like that to work. If they had actually made such a bad call, they wouldn't have made it down the hall before somebody responsible would have gently but firmly reminded them how inappropriate it was.

If I interviewed for a company where I saw someone wearing such a shirt unchallenged, I would have known there were problems.

So scientist dude Mike Taylor put on a shirt covered in fantasy cartoon body babes, went to work, and made it onscreen without anybody around him noticing a problem. This is a workplace with an ingrained sexism problem. This is a classic real life illustration of this gender-divide study in technical fields. In a way, Mike Taylor has done us a favour by showing how invisible sexism is to him and his field. And I salute him for apologising for his mistake.

Mike Taylor's response is more enlightened than the people who have blamed the feminists for the problem. Apparently the shirt was not the distraction from the major scientific accomplishment - it was those who complained about it.

On the world stage

Like it or not, ready or not, Mike Taylor just appeared on the world stage. In a recent show I was in, the director asked one of the supporting actors to remove a hat supplied by wardrobe. Obviously wardrobe loved the hat, and the actor also loved the hat, and it looked dramatic, so what was the problem?

Well, the hat was so big that you couldn't stop looking at it and pay full attention to the scene. It was like, there were three on stage: the main actor and the supporting actor and her hat, and the scene only called for two. When a piece of clothing, like that hat or that shirt, has its own personality, handle with care.

We should only have been hearing the awesome space message. Some director just had an epic fail.

Copyright Looney Tunes
Reframing the stereotype

What if the white guy's shirt had jolly drawings of black people in rags pickin' cotton? Would objectors have been labelled bullies, as the feminists have been? Would that have been "not actual racism"? Would anyone say, "If black people let something like this put them off, they shouldn't work in the STEM fields."

News flash. Black people are also largely underrepresented in STEM fields. Perhaps secretly white men prefer them in the cotton fields. It's no secret that too many still prefer barely dressed fantasy women to real women challenging them in the real world. Is this an offensive stereotype? Yes. No fun, is it?

Basically, what that says is, "If you can't handle that STEM fields are sexist/racist, you shouldn't work there. Don't complain!"

Even Star Trek changed their motto to "boldly go where no one has gone before." Little by little, oppression could become invisible because it doesn't exist anymore. But it won't happen if we ignore it.