This is a Man’s World (Still)

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The year is 2014, and at the halfway mark, I’m proud to say that the U.S. is opening it’s collective mind in the right direction at a faster pace than we ever have. Between 2010-present, we’ve made more positive and forward thinking changes to outdated, ass-backward policies than in all of the 2000’s put together.

We now have a total of 19 States that recognize same-sex marriage, 14 of which have all stepped up in the past 4 years. We still have a long way to go, but the pace is picking up.

There are 2 states that have successfully legalized recreational use of Marijuana, and a bundle of others that decriminalized it, and to the disappointment of ignoramuses and hypocritical politicians everywhere, that action has had both a positive effect on the crime rate and economy of both states. Colorado alone raked in $14 Million in the first month, and the first $40 Million that comes from the trade is earmarked to go towards education in the state. In a Country where Cigarettes and Alcohol, two things that can and will kill a person, statistically speaking, are both legal, taxed, and regulated, there’s no reason not to see the future of Marijuana legalization a win; remember, this is a substance with no recorded fatalities.

So why is it, with all of these good things under our belts and on the horizon, that women’s rights are going in exactly the wrong direction?

In the past two years, women who live in Tennessee, Arizona, and Texas, have all had their rights to preventative health care compromised.

Leading, in my opinion, the Train of narrow minded douche-baggery, is Texas Governor Rick Perry. Self proclaimed “Keeper of Women.” No, that’s not a misquote.

Back in 2013, when a judge called bullshit on some of the provisions in a very ridiculous set of restrictions for Planned Parenthood and Family Planning clinics spear-headed by Perry himself, he had this to say:

“We will continue fighting to implement the laws passed by the duly-elected officials of our state, laws that reflect the will and values of Texans. Yeakel’s decision is a threat to men’s rights as keepers of women and their role as family protectors,”

I’m going to let that sink in for a minute.

Men keep women. They’re our “keepers.” According to Perry, that is the right of anyone born with a penis.

I’m gonna break this down:

“…laws that reflect the will and values of Texans…”

No. No, no. Born and raised Texan right here. Lived here my whole life. Not my values as a Texan. Do not presume to issue such a polarizing and encompassing statement about a population you clearly know a whole lot of nothing about. Well, he at least knows about what poorly educated, ignorant, Republicans want. He should have said something to that effect, instead of misusing the word “Texans.”

“…threat to men’s rights…”

Rick, there is no threat to men’s rights. Saying that men’s rights are being infringed upon in this context is akin to saying that white’s rights were infringed when slaves were granted freedom. Nobody is trying to take anything away from men, that’s why this is ludicrous. They’re trying to take preventative health-care away from Women. From conception to birth, females are assuming the most physical and mental risk to their health by choosing whether or not to have a child; therefore, as a male, you have no rights to take away. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but they’re just not yours to take, until you grow a uterus and develop the ability to carry a child. Then, by all means, be my guest.

“…keepers of women…”

Excuse me, what? No, no, is…is this real life? What century is this again? What year does Governor Rick Perry think it is? Someone please ask him. I just want to be sure he hasn’t developed some form of dementia.

“…their role as family protectors…”

Again, what is he saying? Does he realize that he is trying to convince a generation largely raised by single and/or independent women and mothers that men still call all of the shots? Are there people who still subscribe to these archaic gender roles? Oh, right. Rick Perry does.

By putting these restrictions on targeted care providers, Perry and Co. are not only trying to take away the right to a safe and legal abortion for lower income women in Texas, they are also limiting these women’s access to contraceptives. You know, the things that can help prevent the need to utilize what they’re fighting against. I’m going to repeat that.

They want to limit access to birth control, in order to help prevent abortions. I’ll let you do the math on that one yourself, that way, you can know for sure that you are, in fact, smarter than a real, live, public representative.

If he’s so worried about terminating pregnancy and the death of innocent fetuses clusters of cells everywhere, why isn’t he trying to take away some reproductive rights from his own gender? All contraceptives, even emergency contraceptives, are made to prevent conception. So why then, isn’t he rallying against vasectomies or condoms? Is it because condoms aren’t just used for pregnancy avoidance, but also to protect us from the spread of harmful STD’s? Because female birth control also has other positive and practical applications.

So, let me get this straight, adult men get to control whether or not they want to start a family, but adult women don’t…is that it? And when they want to, its infringing upon a man’s right to “keep” her?

“B-b-but, vasectomies and condoms don’t kill babies,” some may say.

Neither does emergency contraception, regular forms of birth control, or legal abortions, actually, and thanks to the law he signed into effect in 2013, over half of Texas’ abortion clinics have shut their doors to women in need of not only abortions, but also basic preventative reproductive health care. Low income, underprivileged women, and women who live in rural areas of the state (if you’re not familiar with the geography of Texas; there are a lot of those) need these clinics for not only family planning care, but also for STD and Cancer screenings. For example, the only Reproductive health clinic for a whopping 350 miles was just forced to close, leaving women in need in Beaumont, TX. In September, more still are likely to close when the rest of the law goes into effect. I guess their basic “rights” to good health don’t matter. Rick, if you really cared about protecting “all forms of life,” you wouldn’t be condemning women in the state you are so proud to be a part of, to a life without convenient health care, and exposing them these unnecessary risks, just to prove a moot point, and garner support from what you believe to be the majority of Texans, just by telling them what they want to hear: “I’m a righteous, Godly man who loves guns and doesn’t kill babies.” Too bad you hate women, and Good Riddance. Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out next year.

In any case, he’s not the only one who thinks he has business as a Male, calling the shots on what a Female can and can’t do with her own body.

Hobby Lobby CEO, David Green, thinks his religious rights should extend to his company, and therefore extricate said company from the obligation of covering contraception for their female employees, based in part on an erroneous belief that morning after pills cause abortions, or that utilizing certain forms of birth control is the same thing as having a full blown abortion.

Here’s an excerpt from David Green’s public statement on the now infamous lawsuit they filed to recognize their for-profit corporation as a person able to have its own religious beliefs :

“A new government health care mandate says that our family business must provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions. Which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs. It goes against the biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one.”

Companies, by law, have to provide their employees with health insurance. Now, the exact stipulations vary from place to place and whether or not associates work full or part time hours.

What a Woman, or what anyone legally chooses to do for their own health with said insurance, is none of a CEO’s business. It has, literally, nothing to do with them, their personal lives, or their religion.

The fact that David Green thinks it is ludicrous, compounded by his almost comical ignorance of how birth control even works, (from what I gather from his own quotes, his understanding is that when woman gets a shot/takes a pill/has an IUD implanted, it results in the death of an innocent baby every time) and apparently either has no idea, or doesn’t care about the fact that it actually has a myriad of uses greatly beneficial to a woman’s general health and well being outside of preventing unwanted pregnancy, and women are entitled to that. Its legal, its accessible. It is not in his power to tell them that they can’t use it, because his personal (ignorant and erroneous) beliefs conflict with that.

And you know what’s worse? The Supreme Court ruled in his favor today. Congratulations, businesses now have religious rights. That means that now not only Hobby Lobby, but any corporation can deny a woman access to certain forms of contraception.

Some folks argue that the government shouldn’t be able to tell anyone they have to do something they don’t want to if it conflicts with their morals; and that is arguable, however your high horse is not about to come in the way of my health. In addition to that, no one is telling David Green to personally advocate, manufacture, or distribute any contraceptives. He does have control of a for-profit corporation, though, and that corporation has to provide benefits to its associates.

Moving on, does anyone remember Todd Akin? Maybe that was the wrong question. Do you remember the “legitimate rape” guy? Yeah you do.

Back in 2012 when he was the Republican Senate nominee from Missouri, (he retired in 2013, and probably crawled back into whatever obscure, back water hole he came out of; Thank our lucky stars) he issued these comments in order to justify his radical “no tolerance” stance on abortion, even if the pregnancy resulted from rape.

“It seems to be, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, it’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

That really happened. An adult person actually said that. How? How do people with such large gaps in common reproductive knowledge, somehow get put in a position to make major decisions regarding them?! Especially ones that don’t even apply to their own bodies!

Now Todd, if a woman’s body could pick and choose when it wanted to “shut that whole thing down,” there would be a lot less unwanted, parent less children in this world.

Not only that, but he had the audacity to basically accuse every woman who has ever become pregnant as the result of being raped a liar. Because if her body didn’t “shut that whole thing down,” then obviously, she enjoyed it, and its not a “legitimate rape.” What a whore. Have any of these men ever spoken to a woman? Do they have female consultants?

After an understandable negative backlash from pretty much everyone; because, and this is pure speculation, but assumedly even someone silly enough to support his incredibly sexist and polarizing stance on abortion have to draw the line at miraculous anti-conception, Akin recanted his idiot-vomit and stated,

“I believe deeply in the protection of all life, and I do not believe that harming another innocent victim is the right course of action…

Again, Todd, honey, if you, or Rick Perry, or David Green actually were good, honest, Men of God, as you like to call yourselves, and you actually did care about the women in question and not just how many votes you can get by pretending you care about unborn children, you would not be trying to rip our hard won rights out from under us in the name of fear of women, slut shaming, and proving you can.

If all of that didn’t have you convinced that we have our work cut out for us as far as equal rights for women are concerned, let’s throw in the kitchen sink with your age-old earnings argument.

In 2012, full-time, year-round, women workers earned a whopping 76.5% of men, up from 62.1% in 1969…not a very big jump, is it?

Aside from earnings, women are taken less seriously in the workplace than their male counterparts as a whole. Ask any female manager at a retail store, and she can tell you all about it.

Even when a woman tries to break the mold and enters a male dominated industry, she’s still not taken seriously. Or if she is, she receives backhanded compliments like, “You’re good at this, for a girl.”

When are we going to learn that women still aren’t treated as equals, and nothing is being done about it; in fact, more is being done to make sure they “stay in the kitchen and make babies,” as Rick Perry, Todd Akin, and today’s ruling for Hobby Lobby so achingly prove.

TL;DR: I’m done with this horseshit.


Related Links:

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jason-stanford/we-need-a-personhood-move_b_1365608.html

http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/02/03/thanks_contraception_the_u_s_abortion_rate_hits_an_all_time_low_mostly_because.html

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/hobby-lobby-retirement-plan-invested-emergency-contraception-and-abortion-drug-makers

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/rick-perry-abortion-bill/

http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-Texas/2014/06/04/Another-Texas-Abortion-Clinic-Closes-After-Passage-of-Pro-Life-Legislation

http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/17-08-2011/118771-women_society-0/

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Tomodachi Life: Nintendo’s Original Life Simulator

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I recently went out and purchased Tomodachi Life, for the Nintendo 3DS. The title was very anticipated, advertised, and hyped by life sim lovers everywhere. Initially, it seemed like a game I would enjoy. I’m a big fan of “regular” games, like RPG’s, FPS’s, and the like, but Life Simulators have been and will always probably be my favorite type of game. I’ve always been in love with Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing, The Sims, Sim City, etc. They are my most beloved franchises. So of course, a Nintendo Original Life Sim falls into the category of games I would like, by nature.

I don’t know if I missed the boat with advertising and hype, (everyone on all social media sites were raving about it,) but I didn’t pick it up immediately, just kind of put it on the back burner as something I might like to try later. It wasn’t until I saw PeanutButterGamer’s review of Tomodachi Life on YouTube, that I decided I definitely needed to have the game in my life.

I went to the Nintendo E-Shop on my 3DS, hoping to download it and avoid going to the store, (plus, its a few bucks cheaper for the digital copy,) but there were warnings about the game taking up quite a bit of space in that form, so I hauled myself out and picked it up.

I was not dissapoint!

After naming your Tomodachi Island, you create your own personal character, or your “look-alike,” as characters in the game will call it. You enter your name and information, including birth-date, so that the game can ascertain whether you’re a “kid” or a “grown up.” You can skip the former if need be, and just tell it the latter if you wish, however.

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I was pleasantly surprised about the personality options, they’re quite varied, and actually end up resulting in a character that is virtually a mini you, if you know yourself well enough. This is especially fun when making “look-alikes” of your friends and family; the little characters end up saying phrases and doing things these people would actually do, at least in my experience.

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I found this out through more favored foods (yes, you feed them!) and gifts you can give your islanders during the game. In fact, these actions drive the reward system for the player.

Tomodachi Life is akin to Animal Crossing in the way that it goes by real time. You put in the actual date and time in when you begin. I started well into the evening, which is a bit of a bummer, because some of the islanders I created were asleep, and I was unable to interact with them initially. This would be a turn off for me if not for the fact that it actually gave me a reason to pick up the game later, so I could see what they were up to, and also because it makes it a game you can pick up pretty much any time, and put down without feeling pressured to finish a quest or mission. Perfect for car rides, waiting in line, or lunch breaks!

Allover, customizationis superb; just varied enough, but not too complicated. The physical options for characters are the same as the ones you’ll find for Mii’s on the Nintendo Wii, with a few newer, cooler options. You can also customize clothes and apartment decor later into the game; I found it fun picking out outfits, accessories, and living spaces I thought were tailored to each of my friends’ tastes.

Not all of the locations on your island with be unlocked, all of them open triggered by events that take place on your is land and between your characters. This is genius, because it gives the player incentive to keep picking the game back up, and driving them to unlock those places and further their progress in the game, eliminating some of the soon to automatic monotony and boredom that some Life Sims will fall victim to. In fact, that is one of my only complaints about Life Sims; I have a very short attention span. I put down games and books as soon as I pick them up, or play/read several at once if they don’t manage to maintain my attention for long periods of time.

That being said, I’m not very far into the game, and whether or not it continues to be engaging remains to be seen.

Tomodachi Life hints that as characters form their own relationships, they will sometimes get married, and even have children! Spoilers: No same-sex relationships. (Shame on you, still, Nintendo.) I found this to be another fun addition, because it saves the player from getting bored with the same old characters. Plus, the kids are a crap-shoot! The player has no way of knowing how they will turn out, and can only guess by the attitudes and appearances of its parents.

At the end of the day, Tomodachi Life is probably most alike with The Sims games in that, you experience the lives of the people you created and watch their relationships grow as opposed to actively playing the game, with one distinguishing factor; that being, it is much less maintenance! Like Animal Crossing, life goes on in your Island when you’re not actively present, however, if Sims games were like this, every time you came back to your game, your main sim will have cheated on their spouse with the maid, the house will have burned to the ground, the plants would be dead, and your dog will have probably been abducted by aliens. Congratulations, you’re now the proud owner of a family of angry ghosts! (And maybe a few aliens.)

In fact, I find Tomodachi’s gameplay most similar to a few early online games that circa early 2000’s where you could control a high school or town and populate it with people from your real life and just watch them go, creating their own relationships with only a little interaction from the player. With very limited and dated customization, of course.

I digress. The only thing I can forsee being an issue in the future is that, like stated earlier about Life Sims, I will get bored. As open ended games, however, its okay to get bored with Life Sims, because you can always come back fresh at a later date, and experience the initial joy all over again with a new perspective.

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There are also some Wario Ware-esque mini-games you can play with your islanders, and they’re actually quite engaging.

One more fun tidbit before I wrap up: one of the main points advertised about this game when it was released was that you could “party on your island with your favorite celebrities,” and you can! (To an extent.)

If the person of interest in question owns Tomodachi Life, you can capture a QR code for their character, and have them move directly into your Island!

I wouldn’t say there are many “famous” people I would be interested in having on my island, because its kind of more fun to have people in your actual life to “play” with, but I’m kind of a YouTube nerd, so I ended up moving the whole Game Grumps crew into my island. (So far, Ross wants to be friends with EVERYONE, and Barry only gets along with Danny, really. #ilovedanny)

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This is also a time saver if you have real friends who own the game; instead of wasting 5-10 minutes making their “look-alike” you are a QR code away from hauling them right in with no fuss.

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Tomodachi Life for Nintendo 3DS:

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8.5/10 Cat Bugs!

Loot Crate: Nerd Culture’s Best Subscription Box? (June 2014 Box)

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Subscription services have been around for a long time. Early, traditional manifestations being Newspapers, Magazines, Book, Shoe, and Wine Clubs, etc, but how many people did you know that actually had a subscription to any of those aside from the first two? Probably not an impressive figure.

In the past two or three years, Subscription Boxes have soared in popularity, and you can now find a service that caters to just about any hobby or interest. Makeup, (Birch Box) Jewelry, (Bijoux Box) Pets, (Bark Box) and Health Food, (Nature Box) to name a few.

Now it seems that another type of Subscription Box has emerged; that being, Geek and Nerd culture boxes.

I had been looking to maybe try a Subscription Box ever since watching Suzy Hanson (Mortem3r) unveil her monthly Birch Boxes on her YouTube Channel. It seemed like fun! Pay a set amount of money up front, and receive presents in the mail once a month! I love presents.

I just had to decide what kind of box I wanted. I thought about Birch Box, or another makeup/beauty related service, but there was a Sub. Box that I’d kept seeing advertised everywhere, and decided to give a try; that Sub. Box was Loot Crate.

What drew me to Loot Crate over other Nerd/Geek culture boxes, was that it has a very successful and positive following behind it. The company actually encourages users to share what they got in their monthly boxes with each other on the LC website and social media sites. This made it so much easier to see if LC would be something I was interested in.

They also have a section on the website where you can take a look at their past crates; and that’s what really got me! I didn’t see one that didn’t have things in it that I wouldn’t be in love with. Each box is advertised at having at least $40 worth of goodies in it, and two or so weeks before you receive your box, they send you an email containing the monthly theme, which can give you an idea of the types of things you’re going to get.

The sign up process was pretty straightforward and the prices were reasonable: A 1 month sub cost $19.37 including shipping, 3 months is $18.37 for each box, and 6 months is $17.67 for each box. Now, you pay for every box you are signing up to receive at checkout, which is why I was only able to sign up for the 3 month plan, which comes to $55.11 total. They usually have promo codes on the site every month that will save you a few bucks when you sign up.

Be warned: When you sign up, you will be charged the total amount every cycle, depending on which plan you signed up for, because this is a recurring subscription, which I did not like. I feel like its not trusting your fan base, and tricking them a little bit.

That leads into the one thing I wasn’t a huge fan of other than being charged for every box all at once; though I understand the need to do so, and that is that they make it a pretty convoluted process if you want to cancel your sub. You have to send a request at least 48 hours before your next charge date, and the help center is buried in the website. (In my opinion.)

In any case, I decided to try it for three months, and if I’m not hooked after that, I will contact them to cancel. If I’m in love, I will probably upgrade to a 6 month plan.

Now, on to my June 2014 Crate!

Theme: TRANSFORM!

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Pretty straightforward packaging. Nice, clean, pleasing to look at. So far, so good! I was a tad surprised at the size, I was expecting it to be bigger.

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Everything as packaged very neatly!

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June’s LC exclusive pin.

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A Series One, The Loyal Subjects X The Transformers Action Vinyl. I ended up getting Bumblebee.

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This is a Transformers HexBug nano, and from what I understand, its some kind of small toy that moves using “vibration technology.” Hmmm…I also got a Bumblebee HexBug.

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This is an MLG wristband, which I later found out through the cute little Zine they include in the box, stands for Major League Gaming. Its apparently an online broadcasting network for competitive gaming. The more you know.

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Some MLG stickers. There was also a 1 month Game Battles access code.

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Decepticon car decal! Probably the first thing I’ve been legitimately excited about. #teambadguys

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At first I thought the candy was cheesy, but it’s actually pretty cute.

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Transformer Name Generator! This was at the back of June’s Zine, and I thought it was pretty cute. #SteelSlinger

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Definitely my favorite item so far. Super cute/clever LC limited edition shirt. Only LC subscribers who received the June 2014 box have access to this neat shirt.

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Fits perfect! I have to admit I was a little worried when I gave LC my shirt size when i signed up. I chose Women’s Medium, and it’s a bit baggy, but I’d rather have that problem than have it be too small.

Now I will admit I was pretty darn disappointed with this month’s theme, especially since the last few months all had things in them that I would love: Bravest Warriors and Adventure Time stuff, Cat Bug Bow, (Heavy Breathing) Attack on Titan merch, Zelda shirt, Bat Man wallet, to name a few. So when I got the email releasing the Transform theme, I kind of had a defeated sigh moment. I had been a little reluctant to sign up for a recurring sub. box in the first place, (because I’m sporadically poor and consistently terrified of long-term commitment. To anything,) and the fact that the first one I was supposed to receive, and on my birthday month, no less, was going to be Transformers related was a bit of a let down.

That being said, I believe I got my money’s worth. I enjoyed the goodies and the shirt, in spite of not being a Transformers fan.

All in all, I was pleased, and I can’t wait for next month’s box!

LC JUNE 2014: “TRANSFORM”

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5/10 Cat Bugs


 

Related Links:

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaXZUkje800EISlsWkOFXQQ

https://www.lootcrate.com/