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One Truth For All

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April 24, 2006

I Think My Marriage MUST be in Trouble

Yes, I am being facetious, but I just read this article on the top ten reasons against same sex marriage, and I am offended. I am deeply offended, as somebody in what ought to be considered a completely mainstream marriage. The idea that somebody else's marriage will cause such trouble for my marriage is ridiculous, of course, but more painful to me is the implication that all my meaning as a person and as a wife is from the possibility of being a parent.

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For example, reasons 1-5 are all about children. But if you get married, say, in your mid-twenties, have children, and then live to ninety, less than half of your married life will be spent raising children, and less than a quarter with small children who are most affected by things like gender confusion and questions about their family. Or, if you are like me, you could have a faulty body and not be able to have children at all. In which case, none of these concerns matter to you. But what this list tells me is that half the reasons for marriage are centered around having children, instead of forming a partnership for life, and therefore my marriage, which is not centered on the production of children, is meaningless and bad for society. Thanks. I appreciate the support.

Reason number 6 has this little "fact": "for instance, women are happier when their husband earns the lion’s share of the household income." No. No, no, no. A-number-one, I would be overjoyed and delighted to be making more money than Noel. I would be even happier if I could make enough money that he didn't have to work. That's because being happy in your work and making money are not the same. And I really want my husband to be happy, because I love him and it gives me incredible joy to make him happy. Which, I think, is a far better basis for a marriage than fitting into some narrow social role.

Yes, people do tend to be happier when what makes them happy is to conform with a social pressure to conform. But people who are not made happy by such things are very unhappy and live under terrible stress that makes them ill and leads to early death. That doesn't sound good to me.

Reason 7: "One of the biggest threats that SSM [Same Sex Marriage] poses to marriage is that it would probably undercut the norm of sexual fidelity in marriage." Infidelity and sexual orientation are not the same thing. We have plenty of evidence of infidelity in heterosexual marriage: fidelity appears not to be the norm there, either. You cannot exert social control over human behaviour by assertion. And, to be frank, I don't think infidelity is as much a problem as some people make it out to be: marriages survive it all the time. What cuts right to the bone is the deception and dishonesty, the devaluing of the partnership. That happens whether gay people get married or not, and not letting gay people get married isn't going to help heterosexual couples any. I mean, can anybody honestly say that in states where gay marriage is not allowed, heterosexual couples are less likely to stray? Does that make sense at all?

Reason 8: we're back to the children. Apparently, these people are all about undermining the meaning of my marriage as well as any gay marriages. "Indeed, from a sociological perspective, the primary purpose that marriage serves is to secure a mother and father for each child who is born into a society." This statement is simply not true. Sociologically the primary and initial purpose of marriage was the formation of economic and political ties between tribes. Early marriages were peace contracts and commerce contracts, and were not formed in churches at all, though they might be witnessed by priests. Children were incidental and were assumed to be a natural consequence, not the intended result.

And gay marriage is not to blame for declining birth rates: prosperity and good health are. When only half your children are likely to make it to adulthood, and the children you have are required to earn enough money to survive, you need to have more children. But if children do not contribute economically to the household and are likely to survive, of course you will have fewer. That is why the birth rate is well below replacement in all industrialized nations, not just the ones with gay marriage. The lowest birthrate is in Japan, after all. No gay marriage there.

Reason 9: "SSM would make it even easier than it already is for men to rationalize their abandonment of their children." Give me a break. Tell me one young man who abandons his children because society tells him it is OK. Men will abandon their children because a biological drive to reproduce urges them to, and their (probably heterosexual) fathers did the same thing to them. All this happens without gay marriage in the equation.

And the kicker? Reason 10: "Women & marriage domesticate men." No: domesticated men (giggle) are more likely to get married. I resent the idea that somehow I made Noel settle down. I did help him with his wardrobe, and I showed him about buying flowers, but that was well before we got married and it was something he wanted to be better at, not something I did to him. He was already a great, well-socialized guy. Saying he was basically a wild animal before we married does my in-laws a great discredit in their work as parents.

# Posted by ayse on 04/24/06 at 8:36 PM | Comments (1)

April 21, 2006

Random Amusing Things

Sometimes a bunch of small interesting things happen that aren't really worth their own entry, so here's a group from the last few weeks.

One of my classmates referred to the Leaning Pine Arboretum as the "Arbitrarium," which delights me more than I thought possible.

The scene: a long hallway in the library, nine feet wide, no openings on either side. I am walking along the right side, maybe six inches from the wall, and a guy coming towards me is walking directly ahead of me. As he approaches he edges to my right until he finally squeezes between me and the wall rather than use the wide open space to my left.

I have recently changed radio stations from the big-band, easy listening station with the unfortunate call letters (KKJL, which sounds like KKKL in the jingle) to the local heavy metal station. It's all classic 1980's heavy metal, small town and very funny in an unintentional way. The best part is the advertisements, which are all, with no exceptions, aimed at the over-35 yuppie demographic. I find the morning show so fascinating that I've had to change my commuting habits so I have ten extra minutes to sit in the car to wait for the next station announcement. I mean, how can you not love "Live, local, and rockin' Pismo Beach"?

Oh, yeah, and we had a fire today. The building my studio is in also has the support shop, and the dust collector caught fire and they had to call the fire department. It's Open House, so there are like 40,000 visitors on campus. Amusingly, a few years ago the same building caught fire during open house weekend because of a mechanical model gone wrong. I guess it's a tradition. Anyway, I'm sitting out on the lawn in the sunshine (despite predicted rain) and waiting for them to get it under control so I can go back to studio. I'm guessing maybe we won't have much of a crit today.


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# Posted by ayse on 04/21/06 at 12:56 PM | Comments (0)

April 20, 2006

Designing a Sweater (or a Dozen)

One of my classmates was wearing a neat sweater the other day that got me thinking about possibly knitting a sweater, which either means dealing with a pattern or designing one myself.

My experience with patterns so far suggests that I am better off just designing the pattern myself because I'd have to modify any published one so much that it would not save me any time or effort. I don't tend to knit a lot of sweaters, mainly because I don't tend to wear a lot of sweaters, mainly because I live in a temperate climate where it rarely gets really cold. And I have a few really nice sweaters already, some knitted by my mother, some knitted by me, and some purchased, so there's not much call for additional sweaters in my life.

The sweaters I have knit are my own designs, and I like them well enough, though I can't wear them any more because they are wool. So I thought I might make a sweater along the lines of what my classmate was wearing, a monochrome scoop neck with ribbing that came up the body to an empire waist and stockinette above, and ribbing up the sleeves to the same line.

Well, I hate scoop necks, but maybe a square neck? I doodled some designs in my sketchbook, but none of them seems quite right. I present them here for your amusement.


I think this version would look better actually knit, when the ribbing would not be as contrasty.

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I tried redrawing without the lines for ribbing, and came up with this variation, with a colour stripe that goes from arm to arm across the body.


Maybe make the stripe ribbing?


How about just a subtle row of garter or something, to make the empire waist but not be so bold. Also, another type of neckline.


A little too princessy.


Star Trek. Actually, this would make a nice sweater in a good yarn. Sometimes a simple pattern is best.


Back to an earlier design and change the neckline to a boatneck. A bit 1983 for me.


I tried experimenting with drawing cables on there, and got a bit carried away. In general I like simple cable patterns.


This could be good with a better neck/cuff than just ribbing.


Like the original sweater, only with a turtleneck. Promising.


An easy way to get washboard abs. Heh.


Anyway, I'm still playing around with it. My next major step is to get some yarn and knit swatches to try some of these ideas out. But I can't knit right now, because my hand is recovering from a minor RSI issue. So for now it's just little drawings.

# Posted by ayse on 04/20/06 at 12:56 AM | Comments (0)

April 18, 2006

A Walk in the Arboretum

Up in the hill behind the Dairy Unit at Cal Poly is the Leaning Pine Arboretum. I went up there today after practise and had a little walk around (the gates theoretically get closed at five, so I curtailed my walk, but they were not closed when I did leave at five fifteen, plus I found what appears to be a pedestrian entrance).

Like everything else at Cal Poly, the arboretum is a learning project in progress, which means that there are sections which are looking a trifle experimental as well as mature, evolved designs.

Here's an example: a section of the garden had a swath of this drivable lawn paving material in it. You lay the pavers down and plant grass in the pockets, and it fills in and looks like a lawn while still having the structural integrity to support, say, a firetruck or ambulance in case of an emergency. A nice way to have your emergency access and reduce your overall paved area.

drivable lawn

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One of the things they have done very nicely is frame views down over the campus. I mean, barns full of cows are not exactly the most exciting thing to look at, but with this little vignette, they look romantic, peeking up from the landscape below.

I also like how the bench is in the middle of the flower bed, making the plantings less sacred and bringing you into the garden to sit.

A framed view

Here's a subtle way to make a transition area: frame it with rocks that are a staircase, and that mentally act like a gateway. I think too often we assume garden structures need to be tall and block views or take up space, but something very subtle can keep space open and still create a feeling of transition.

A subtle gateway

A nice little planting of Lavandula stoechas 'Alba,' white Spanish lavender. I love how the white version of Lavandula stoechas looks like little plant bunnies.

Lavandula stoechas Alba

Here's a flower on Teucrium fruticans 'Azureum.' A nice, salvia-shaped shrub, but the flowers are large and showy. It's a Mediterranean plant, also known as Germander.

Teucrium fruticans Azureum

The South African area was wild with blooms. Here's a large Leucospermum cordifolium, a red-orange variety, with blooms three inches across on a plant around four feet tall.

Leucospermum cordifolium

Leucospermum cordifolium is commonly called "Pincushion Flower" for obvious reasons. A very dramatic flower. I don't know how it would work in a Californian garden, though, with all our subtle little wildflowers and Mediterranean plants.

Leucospermum cordifolium

Up the hill was this lovely blooming tree, Psoralea pinnata.

Psoralea pinnata

The flowers look like pea flowers, and the tree is called "Blue Pea Shrub." It's very pretty, and was completely covered in pollinating insects and birds.

Psoralea pinnata

Here's another quiet little sitting area. I like how the hill curves around to hug the space, and the wall is a retaining wall instead of being freestanding. It makes the space feel more protected.

Little sitting area

All over the California section of the arboretum there are California Poppies, Eschscholzia californica. This looks like a variety called 'Alba.' I have some 'Alba' planted in front of the house in Alameda.

Eschscholzia californica

# Posted by ayse on 04/18/06 at 6:28 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2006

Dog Emotions

Some people think dogs don't have emotions like us: love, hate, jealousy, affection. I can't imagine they've ever spent time with dogs when they say or write things like that.

Rosie and Goldie have gotten much closer in the last few months. I think Goldie thinks of Rosie as her puppy, because she will often throw Rosie to the floor (she outweighs her by nearly ten pounds) and groom her the way she would a puppy. Especially cleaning inside her ears, which elicits little groans of happiness from Rosie.

At first when we brought Goldie into the household, we were worried that they would never be friends. But time and a return of Goldie's pre-puppy energy has made a big difference, and now they like each other quite a bit.

Snuggled up

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Sometimes the little grooming festivals get really involved, with lots of horrible sucking sounds and rolling around. So far it's just Goldie grooming Rosie. If Rosie ever reciprocates, we will have a real breakthrough.

Ear cleaning

Usually, Rosie just play-bites Goldie on the head (play-biting doesn't involve chomping down). Goldie is very tolerant, and soon returns to her mothering.

Head biting

Goldie also seems to have a real affection for stuffed toys. I know she didn't have any or many in the kennel, but she has taken to them like a natural. She carries them around, grooms them, and squeaks them. She prefers toys around the size and shape of a 2-week-old puppy, with intact squeakers. I don't know what that means in Freudian terms.

Sleeping with a toy

She likes to curl up and hug the toys. It's very sweet.


Yeah, I know I already posted about the dogs today, but when I was getting the charette photos off the camera I found the grooming/biting photos and then Goldie lay down next to me with the white goose toy. So I could not help it.

# Posted by ayse on 04/13/06 at 11:37 PM | Comments (0)

Another Bus Stop

The last 24 hours we have been doing a charette (an old tradition from the Academie des Beaux Arts in Paris, in which everybody works on one fast design problem; the name comes from the little cart that went by all the ateliers to collect the finished work). The program was a bus stop on campus, and this is one of my screenshots of my computer model of my design:

Bus Stop Charette

I really don't care for the charettes; they tend to be very competitive and I think they don't really bring out the best in a lot of people. But whatever: the work was assigned for class and I did it.

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The assignment was to submit a board for hanging that was one by two feet, with a 1/2" scale model of the shelter.

Finished submission

I'm a really terrible model builder, so my model kind of looks like it is about to fall apart, which it may be. I liked my computer model better and the rendering I did for it came out nicer, too. I guess when I go into practise I will be hiring out my model-building.

Ugly model

(The askew angles are intentional, but given my over all "level of craft," they kind of just look bad.)

# Posted by ayse on 04/13/06 at 11:26 PM | Comments (0)

Good Dog!

The people next door in SLO have a dog named Mac who they are trying to train. Rosie and Goldie are spending the week at the beach, and it was warm today, so we are all sitting around reading about California water law listening to Mac's training session. And every command Mac gets, the girls obey, even when Mac doesn't. So they have done "sit" and "down" and "stay" over and over for the last half hour, each time hopefully looking at me, as if to say, "See, we know this stuff. Where're our cookies?"

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# Posted by ayse on 04/13/06 at 7:24 PM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2006

Old or Stupid?

I wrenched my back yesterday, and sometime this afternoon, while I was perched on my uncomfortable drafting stool in studio making maniacal notes about how to move a fire truck around a building (don't ask), it came home to me right proper. Yow.

Now, you may ask, how on earth did you manage to do that to yourself? Is it not the case that you merely walk around campus all day, occasionally cutting off appendages with an Exacto knife? Those are reasonable questions and reasonable summaries of my daily activities. I spend half my day walking and half my day sitting, but neither of these is an activity known for wrenching backs horribly. I do sometimes stay up too late reading novels in bed in an uncomfortable position, but that usually just aggravates my RSI.

I will tell you how I wrenched my back so badly that I am contemplating dipping into the emergency supply of Vicodin: I wrenched my back carrying a heavy box of architectural reference books across campus in a driving rain with an umbrella clutched in my teeth.

See? No matter what stupid things you have done to injure yourself, with that one sentence I made everything seem all OK.

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# Posted by ayse on 04/05/06 at 8:03 PM | Comments (0)