Archives for August 2005

My Experience as a Woman

No, I am not a transvestite, transexual or tran anything, but back in the day I did learn a little bit about what it could be like to be a woman in the online world.

I first went online around 1993 or so. At that time I was part of the AOL crowd and I spent time in their chatrooms and a couple of BB around the net.

I used my fraternity nickname as my handle because I didn’t want to give up my anonymity. I quickly learned that for some reason a number of men thought that I was female and consequently I’d get these interesting messages which skipped over the normal intro which went:

A/S/L

For the uninitiated that refers to age/sex/location.

Instead I’d find these men trying to email or private message me with all sorts of questions. The smoother men generally were smart enough not to start with something overtly sexual, but in time it almost always got there.

Some of you are probably wondering how it got there, didn’t I tell them I was a man. And the answer is that I generally tried to, but if I didn’t respond right away many of these guys just assumed that I was female and kept on going.

And sometimes I didn’t even realize that they thought I was a woman because the conversation had started so innocuously with basic questions that had assumed that they were just being friendly.

But I quickly learned that from behind a keyboard men were willing to say anything. I remember one conversation in particular.

Me: Do you like oral sex? Do you swallow?
Him: Only on me. I don’t swallow until I finish chewing.

Him: I bet that you are really hot.
Me: I don’t think that I am who you are looking for.

Him: I want to stick my head in your chest and play motor boat.
Me: Didn’t you hear me, I don’t think that I am who you are looking for.

Him: Baby, I have been watching you and you are so smart and it is so obvious that you are a hot chick.
Me: I am not a chick. I am a man and I am as straight as they come.

Him: He goes off on a tirade accusing me of being gay and tries to smear my name around the chat room.

A short time goes by and I am contacted by someone else. He is convinced that I am a woman pretending to be a man and begs to exchange pictures.

Him: Honey, I can make you feel really good.
Me: I am male and I really have no interest in you.

Him: Don’t play me like that. My girlfriend always pretends to be a man when she is online.
Me: You sound like a real winner. Go away.

Him: Baby, please give me a a chance.
Me: Dude, I told you once that I am a man. Just go away.

Him: It is ok, I like hairy women.
Me: How do you infer that? What the hell makes you think that I am a hairy woman. There is something distinctly wrong with you.

Him: I knew that you were a dike. Bitch!

I admit to being very surprised by this. I never lied about who I was or made a secret of it. And I haven’t even brought up the emails I received. Some of these guys wrote things that I was just shocked by. What the hell were they thinking?

All I know is that if this is indicative of how men treat women then someone needs to apologize for us because it was just so over the top. Ouch.

Stories from the Hurricane

CNN has an interesting roundup of their reporters perspectives. Here is a link and a couple of blurbs.

“Shreveport hospital in dire need

Posted: 12:36 p.m. ET
CNN’s Deborah Feyerick in Shreveport, Louisiana

We had a conversation with one family who had left New Orleans. They are desperately trying to get in touch with their sister. She is a college nurse at the Memorial Medical Hospital on Napoleon Street. The story they told us of what is going on at that hospital is quite dramatic.

According to their sister, looters are trying to get into the hospital. There’s no electricity. The nurses, the doctors and their families have virtually locked themselves into the medical center and they don’t know when they are going to be able to get out.

The story they were telling us is that the hospital administration was telling the staff there it would be five days until they might be able to be rescued. They are telling us that people in the hospital are dying because there’s no electricity.

One nurse walked outside to get a breath of fresh air. She was robbed at gunpoint. There were National Guard that was around the hospital, but apparently we are told they pulled out in order to help with the prisoner uprising that happened yesterday.

And according to the story they are telling the people who are in that hospital simply don’t know how they are going to get out. They want their sister to try to meet them in Shreveport. Right now they can’t get in touch with her. We tried to call her. We can’t get in touch with the hospital either. It’s a desperate situation.”

“In New Orleans, there’s no sanitation any longer. The knee-deep water in the hotel lobby is just full of stench. It is a miserable, deteriorating situation in the city and it is growing worse by the hour and the water is rising.

The fact of the matter is this bowl, as they call it, is filling up. The estimates of time that it’s going to take to get the water out of the bowl are three to six months. You could be sitting there in absolutely untenable conditions, in water that is filled with disease and germs, for months to come, walking through it, slogging through it.

With the looting that’s going on and with the deteriorating sanitation conditions, it is a situation where you can’t cover the story because you can’t venture out from the hotel. It’s so dangerous, one, because the water is getting higher, and two, because of the disease factor that is beginning. There’s no food, there’s no water.”

“We have seen looting all day long. We actually went right up to a Walgreens where people were trying on shoes to get the correct size. They were picking out whatever it is they wanted — televisions, just anything they could get. The police have definitely been trying to keep it to a minimum. The police are in boats but there’s really nothing they can do. I don’t know where they would even take anybody. They are taking all the looted material and they are trying to keep the chaos to a minimum.”

New Orleans, Biloxi, Katrina Etc

I am transfixed by everything that is going on in relation to Hurricane Katrina. It is another sign about how small we are in relationship to the earth. Mother Nature burps and we go running for the hills.

Some of the clips I have read have just held my attention.

A million people fled the New Orleans area before Katrina arrived. But former Mayor Sidney Barthelemy estimated 80,000 were trapped in the flooded city and urged U.S. President George W. Bush to send more troops.

“We have to send the army to stop this or we will lose New Orleans and we will lose 80,000 people,” Barthelemy told CNN. “If we can spend the monies that we are spending to help the people in Iraq, then we can do the same thing for New Orleans.”

The U.S. military was sending a hospital ship and two helicopter-carriers to assist two other Navy ships already conducting rescues in the area. Governors of the afflicted states mobilized 8,000 National Guard troops.

Amid the looting, gun-toting citizens took to the streets in some areas to try to restore order in New Orleans. Where it was still dry, some store owners sat in front of their businesses, guns in hand.

One had put up a sign reading: “You loot, I shoot.”

I am so curious how the former mayor arrived at that number. I have to imagine that the evacuation created the worlds biggest traffic jam. It must have been so hard to leave not knowing if there was anything to come back to.

And the looters, what the hell are they thinking. Talk about making a bid situation worse. This does not help with my opinion of the general public.

“New Orleans at first appeared to have received a glancing blow from Katrina, but the raging waters of Lake Pontchartrain tore holes in the levees that protect the low-lying city, then slowly filled it up.

Mayor Ray Nagin said 80 percent of the city was submerged in water that was in places 20 feet (6 metres) deep.

Attempts failed on Tuesday to plug a 200-foot gap (60-metre-) in the levee system with 3,000-pound (1,360-kg) sandbags and concrete barriers, but officials said they would keep trying.

“The National Guard has been dropping sandbags into it, but it’s like dropping it into a black hole,” Blanco said.

The lake should return to normal levels within about 36 hours, and the water now flooding New Orleans would begin to drain, said U.S. Army Corps of Engineers senior project engineer Al Naomi.

CARJACKINGS

He said the historic French Quarter, the main draw for New Orleans’ huge tourist industry, should escape with only minor flooding because it sits 5 feet (1.5 metres) above sea level.

But Nagin estimated it would be 12 to 16 weeks before residents could return. The floods knocked out electricity, contaminated the water supply and cut off most highway routes into New Orleans.

In hard-hit Jefferson Parish, parish president Aaron Broussard said, “Jefferson Parish as we knew it is gone forever.”

Police said there were dozens of carjackings overnight, by desperate survivors trying to leave town or obtain supplies. Somebody fired at a rescue helicopter Tuesday night, forcing its crew to abandon efforts to evacuate patients from a hospital, a state official said.

Authorities were so intent on rescuing flood victims that at first they let the looting go unstopped, Nagin said.

But he told CNN the situation had escalated and authorities were “bringing it under control as we speak.”

He said 3,500 National Guard troops were being sent to New Orleans. Louisiana state police were sending 40 troopers and two armored personnel carriers.”

I understand desperate situations. I survived the LA Riots and the Northridge earthquake. That picture is of a parking structure at the university I attended. Eleven years later there are still some places that were never rebuilt,homes and businesses that were lost, perhaps forever.

But this is different. The size of the storm and the number of people affected is vast. I expect that New Orleans will be rebuilt, but some of the smaller towns that were hit, what will become of them.

Some of the long time fixtures are now just gone and I don’t know if they will ever be replaced.

When my grandfather was a much younger man he worked in the carnival business. They used to spend the winters in New Orleans. I grew up hearing some amazing stories about that city. And from what I heard from people who lived/visited there it sounded like some of the haunts he used to frequent were still there.

I had wanted to visit and to have a drink or two in some of the places I heard about. I thought that it would be kind of cool for me to hang out there 70 some odd years later. Now I wonder if that will even be possible.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not bemoaning the opportunity to share a beer. The tragedy of this far outweighs and overwhelms my small desire.

As I said, I cannot help but be amazed by all of this. My best wishes go out to those who were most severely impacted. I hope that the repair, return and recovery is as fast as possible.

My Favorite Food Fight

Yes ladies and gents, the world renowned Tomatina has just been completed. Although I should say that I have a burning desire to participate in a large pie fight. You can blame that upon the Three Stooges.

BUNOL, Spain (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of people armed with 100 tonnes of plum tomatoes took part in the “Tomatina” on Wednesday, joyously splattering each other in the Spanish town of Bunol.

The town hall of Bunol, which lies just inland from Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, spent 24,960 euros on the fruit and dumped it the streets for the chanting masses.

Five truckloads of vitamin C and fiber were soon pureed on El Cid Street, the ripe redness smeared over walls and people.

“I feel like I connected with a lot of people today,” said Karina Evans, 21, of Australia.

Frenzy erupted around the dump trucks and competition for the edible missiles was fierce. Whole tomatoes on the ground were treasured like ruby Easter eggs.

Kate Monroe, 28, and Ryan Altman, 31, both of San Diego, California, reflected the general lack of inhibition by rubbing their barely clad, pulp-slathered bodies against each other.

Some gave a moment’s thought for the less fortunate.

“We were just talking about (famine in Africa). We thought we should get some garlic, make pizza and send it off,” Altman said.

The origin of the tomato fight is disputed — everyone in Bunol seems to have a favorite story — but most agree it started around 1940, in the early years of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

“There are several versions, but the most important thing is that it was started by the people,” said Eusebio Carrascosa, 66, a member of the Tomatina commission.

Like the weeklong celebrations held throughout Spain in the summer, the Tomatina encourages all-night public revelry and behavior that’s frowned on for the rest of the year.

“This is even better than the running of the bulls in Pamplona,” said Australian Sandy Koch, 25, referring to another one of Spain’s famous events.

Not everyone in Bunol joins the party.

“These are human degenerates. This isn’t culture,” said Pilar Masmano, 81, peeking out on the messy aftermath from her front door. “I’m going back inside.”

Why Do I mess with my Template

You probably cannot tell, but there a few things that are missing here and they are starting to aggravate me. These are not major issues, but little nagging details that just prick me hard enough to sting.

But sooner or later I’ll figure it out and Blogger will have to concede defeat.