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May 26 ricaroo commented on Savage Love Letter of the Day: Help Me Out, Sloggers.
You are old enough to hit the basement dance floor at Neighbors. Is that not a thing 18-to-20-year-olds do anymore?
Jan 9 ricaroo commented on The Movies to Look Forward to in 2016.
Aw, you left out The 5th Wave, premiering in 6 days. Preview: another teen adventure flick based on a teen adventure book trilogy. Given the source material, could be good or just awful, depending on how they handle the bad inner-narrative thing.
Dec 10, 2014 ricaroo commented on An Epic Mac 'n' Cheese Taste Test.
If you're going for plain mac, use sour cream in the same volume as the butter plus the milk (and add neither of those) - it's better tasting and lower fat. Plain yogurt is also superior to milk and butter, and even healthier than sour cream, but not quite as good. Both options give the sauce a lot more tang and body. We also like to add in a little real cheese, but not too much.

If you are going WAY over-the-top with it: fry some bacon in a large saucepan, take the bacon out and add chopped onions and minced garlic to fry in the bacon grease. When the onions and garlic are cooked, add a can of black beans, a little can of mushrooms, a can of diced tomatoes, and maybe a leaf like kale or spinach if you're feeling it (add a lot if you do because it cooks down to nothing). Stir in about 3 ounces of grated cheese of your choice. Stir in the cheese powder and sour cream/yogurt from the original mac recipe, plus tbsp each of cooking sherry and basil, tsp of thyme, and maybe a dash of sage or minced rosemary. And then stir in the noodles when they are done and strained. You can substitute costco salmon patties or ham slices for the bacon/grease if you want to feel like you didn't just brick up your arteries for good - each one is different but almost as good as bacon. Vegetarians just skip step one and use a tbsp olive oil to fry the onions/garlic. Last note: this dish looks terrible (the black beans turn everything gray) but it tastes great. Using white or kidney or pinto beans would look nicer, but I've never tried it with them, as I generally like the flavor of black beans best and always have them on hand.
Oct 8, 2014 ricaroo commented on Brush With Danger: White Men Want to Get into the Pants of Asian Women.
Jeez. I really regret reading these comments. Saw Brush With Danger myself - it was definitely an unpolished thing, with awkward segues and some stilted writing and wide yawning plot/logic holes, but there was some real vision in it. It was a decent first try. As for the weird (in this context) race-pairing thing: Asian men and Black women are simply the two least likely groups to date outside of their ethnicity, so the chances of the two ending up together are doubly-low. And the "Asian-girl" thing is a stupid fucking stereotype. My brother mostly dates Asian, specifically Chinese, women, but every one he's ever brought home has been confident, out-going, and ambitious, and certainly on equal footing with my goofy brother. Number one tip for dating Asian women: leave your shitty racist assumptions at the door, jackass, and treat them like the normal adult women they are. Actually, take a page from Brush With Danger: the main character is a brilliant ambitious painter AND a better martial artist than her brother AND she's damn well going to make and sell her original art in America, since she had to leave home anyway to get away from the rich family of an attempted rapist that she beat the shit out of. How's that for your demure Asian girl stereotype?
Jul 4, 2014 ricaroo commented on Your Favorite Indie Shop Is Out of Business if $15-an-Hour Happens.
This article also overlooks the fact that not all paid hours are created equal. For example: Costco's costs per employee are twice Walmart's costs. But because Costco treats their employees well, they actually get more than twice the productivity per employee per hour than Walmart. Costco turns a profit, doesn't cost taxpayers a dime, and even creates many new taxpayers. Walmart turns a profit specifically by costing taxpayers millions in welfare. Right now everyone assumes that you should default to the Walmart style of business, but the Costco model proves that it's entirely reasonable and sensible to value your labor force because, for a myriad of reasons, it saves you a lot of other costs and reduces the overall number of employee hours required. Now, it's true that smaller businesses can cut people only so far - they've often got several vital roles that need to be performed simultaneously - but your employees will very probably work harder and stay with you longer and be generally more reliable and proactive if they feel like they are getting fairly compensated. Like any other relationship, what you get out of it is based on what you put into it.
Jun 4, 2014 ricaroo commented on 15 Won, But the Fight's Not Done.
@25 See. This is the kind of logic that creates "Programmes to Civilise the Negro" and that kind of bullshit. The point is that a CEO has no frame of reference for what the people at the foundation of his organization NEED, but thinks he knows so much more about everything that he doesn't have to actually ASK THEM. Well, now minimum wage workers have basically TOLD him, loudly and clearly, that what they need is a fucking raise. Wages in America have stagnated for decades, but hopefully setting a reasonable price on the value of unskilled labor will propagate "upwards" and stimulate demand (money means buying power), and maybe even allow working-class families to begin accumulating at least a small measure of intergenerational wealth/assets (education, property, and/or modest retirement funds), replacing the niche lost during the collapse of manufacturing with that created during the expansion of service-sector in America. Obviously there is no absolute guarantee that this is a good idea - but we made bigger, deeper changes to this entire country during the huge failure that was neo-liberalism (which is the school of thought that "educated" our previously-mentioned clueless CEO), so maybe a few experiments are what we need to start dismantling that ugly zombie machine and get going on the next big idea.
Apr 2, 2014 ricaroo commented on Savage Love.
It isn't deceiving anyone for a man (trans or otherwise) to present himself as a man. And obviously, this woman was attracted to him - she stayed with him for three months and was happy to accept some sexual intimacy. Since there was no penis in play so far, there weren't any promises made about the status of his cock (flesh or synthetic, big or small or optional). She is totally allowed to say "Huh, not what I pictured. Sorry," and move on - jut like people could be turned off by scarring or tattoos or even just noticing someone's knees are "weird". No one is saying you're not allowed to change your mind when new body parts are revealed. Did the girl with weird knees deceive me by failing to disclose that her knees were weird? Of course not. It just wasn't something I thought about until her pants came off and I just wasn't into her anymore. (And no, I didn't tell her that her knees were weird - I'm not cruel and it's my problem, not hers, that I didn't like them.) Likewise with the genitalia - it's perfectly normal to assume that you won't mind whatever's down there and it can feel awkward when you are disappointed and that's legitimate. But it is in no way a betrayal, because transmen aren't lying when they call themselves men. The only difference between his atypical genitals and her atypical knees is that we worry SO FREAKING MUCH about penises and who has a "real" one and how big it is. Because of that, when we *are* disappointed by someone's genitalia, we owe it to our partners to examine our chain of thought and determine how deep-seated the preference really is. Then, regardless of whether or not their genitalia are ultimately a dealbreaker, it's still totally reasonable to wonder how much of your preference came from transphobic cultural programming - but it's not a question anyone can answer until we at least start getting to a place where people stop thinking that pussy=woman and cock=man.

Lastly, stop saying "I'm not transphobic." If you had enough damage to your brain to erase your transphobia, you probably wouldn't actually be able to say "I'm not transphobic" anymore. Even if you "know" some trans people and you aren't terrible to them and you *totally* see them as the gender they identify with, and would at least consider dating one, you are still very probably transphobic. My own half-sisters are mixed race while I am white and that doesn't make me not racist - it makes me all the more aware of how racist we all really are, and it makes me think twice about racial context much more often than most white people. But if you live in a prejudiced culture and claim not to have that prejudice, you are lazily deceiving yourself rather than exercising vigilance. Your prejudice isn't your fault, but it *is* your problem and if you don't own it then you are contributing to it, no matter how nice you are to trans people.

Pro tip: NEVER EVER SAY "I'm not [insert prejudice]." It is a lie. It will always be a lie. You will never ever not be prejudiced. The only good and decent and responsible thing to do is accept that policing your prejudice is a lifelong commitment and accept that you will fuck it up. A lot. And that's totally awesome - seriously, gold stars! - as long as you never make the mistake of thinking you are done, either with the policing or with the fucking up.
Jan 21, 2014 ricaroo commented on "I Need Some Pretty Things".
The beach stretching around South Magnolia is really cool - the crumbling bluffs, the shattered remains of fallen mansions, and the industrial litter from a bygone age. The view out over the sound is nice too, but it's the beach itself that really makes it.
Sep 21, 2013 ricaroo commented on The Teenagers Took the Pictures.
These are really beautiful pictures and showcase the diversity of experiences and aesthetic sensibilities among teenagers, based on their home and ethnic background. One city or state can have several different sides to it, but regional and cultural themes show through each. It's especially interesting to pay attention to the names of the photographers alongside the subject they choose.
Aug 31, 2013 ricaroo commented on Gold Star Comment of the Day: Service Industry Work Isn't for the Lazy or Weak.
So this is late, but:
@12 - My fiance looked at going to law school after his degree in English rhetoric and technical writing wasn't panning out (he graduated in the second dip of the recession and was unemployed for over a year) but currently law schools are making *way* too many lawyers - less than half of law students land a job with a salary worthwhile for what they took out in loans. Many never actually practice law. My fiance is completely *fascinated* with intellectual property law, but because pursuing his primary interest burned him so badly with his English degree, he went into computer programming instead. Is it more lucrative? Maybe. Was it safer? Yes. Was it what he really wanted? Not really. Law school is no longer the fallback for liberal arts majors that it used to be. If you aren't a super committed type-A person, it probably won't pan out, and will saddle you with an unthinkable amount of debt pretty much forever.

@y'all: I got ridiculously lucky - a part-time job at Costco. Costco is the retail equivalent of the Care Bears - they seem too nice to win, but they do anyway. They get bashed on Wall Street all the time for how much they take care of their employees. As a part-time employee, I had full health and dental insurance with a generous voucher for corrective eyeware, seven sick calls (adjacent work days count as one call) with nine paid sick days that I would still be paid for if I *didn't* use them, two weeks paid vacations, and five paid holidays a year after my first six months working there. I had the luxury of knowing that after a little while, I couldn't be fired "on-the-spot." I was also guaranteed at least 25 hours a week (usually more like 30-36) and I made several dollars over minimum wage to start with fairly frequent raises. Costco even matched contributions I made to my 401k. Costco is also one of the only retailers that grew during the recession. The reason is simple - Costco gets their money's worth from the benefits they offer. Their employees are will to work extremely hard and they are loyal and keep the company's best interests in mind. They also stick around - having low turnover reduces training costs, maintains standards, and creates a generous pool of loyal long-term employees to draw management from. I had the security of knowing that if I stayed at Costco, I had options in management track or other departments (or both) because Costco promotes from within and encourages expanding your skills. This is what working a "low-wage" job should be - a stable place you can stay or jump higher from. Even if you don't climb the ladder, you could get a full-time job eventually making $21/hr, with several weeks of paid vacation and an annual bonus (since you don't get hourly pay raises anymore). It's not plush by middle class standards (except the vacation), but it's a living. You can be healthy and happy and save up a very modest late retirement. That's what a low-wage job should be - stable and affordable, hitting the bottom edge of middle class if you decide to stick with it. And the striking workers aren't even asking for *that* much. Anyway, I've (almost) officially left since I am entering the last year of my engineering degree, but I'll always be thankful for the safety and stability they provided while I sorted my early twenties out, and they've proven time and again that their business model is effective, even during recessions, and it *doesn't* rely on welfare programs (lookin' at you, WALMART). So that's that.