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In which chili leads to starfish and civil unions and drugs. Welcome to my brain. - Tactical Ninja

Feb. 20th, 2013

10:25 am - In which chili leads to starfish and civil unions and drugs. Welcome to my brain.

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Last night I learned something about chilies. At least, I think I learned something, I'm just not sure what I learned. I made an experimental thing called masala mushroom and eggplant, because I'm always up for interesting new vegetarian recipes, especially ones I'm likely to be able to feed to my various food-allergy-afflicted friends. You see how it calls for a teaspoon of red chili powder? Well, we only had plain chili powder, and the label said "HOT". I don't know how we ended up with hot chili on our shelf tbh, but there you go. I only used half what the recipe asked for, thinking it better to err on the side of mild.

We still ended up breathing fire at the end. Seriously, I could have used about 1/4 of what I did and it would have been spicy but palatable. This one would have made your staunchest hardcore chili lover happy. Top tip: We are not staunch hardcore chili lovers, especially not me with my extra taste buds and all. I'm not sure what the allure is in eating food that hurts, eh? But I gritted my teeth and ate it, and came to the conclusion that red chili powder is not the same as hot chili powder, and it'd be nice to find a guide somewhere as to the relative levels of hotness in chili, so if you have to substitute you know how much to use.

Anyway, it was tasty, apart from the flames. I would recommend it, apart from the flames. Yep.


So the challenge for DoomBoy now that I can (usually) press from a headstand to a handstand, is to make the rest of my body catch up in support of my strong-but-not-brawny* arms. Specifically, all the core muscles. Trying to do handstands has made me realise that I'm really not all that flash in core strength, and that if I don't do something about that, I'll never be able to maintain my form well enough to achieve what I want.

I thought I was strong, till I tried to do handbalancing. *sigh*

Anyway, he's quite good at coming up with challenging things for me to do, and yesterday was no exception. First he had me planking on one of those wobbly ball things:



While he pushed at my shoulders and hips and basically tried to make me fall over. Then I had to do 'mountain climbers' in the same position. Then I turned around and planked on elbows with my feet on the wobbly ball thing and he pushed me around some more. Rinse repeat. Once the sweat was dripping off my nose, we went to normal plank on the floor, and he'd call out random arms and legs, and I'd have to move that one out as far as I could and hold it there for five seconds. Then an arm and a leg, both parallel and diagonal. Then all of them at once. *is ded*

That last one? Easier than it sounds, and kind of fun in a 'hope I don't faceplant' kind of way.

So while all this was going on, I was trying to explain why a heterosexual couple might choose to have a civil union instead of getting married. It's true that last week whenever I mentioned I was going to a civil union celebration, the most common response was "Oh, are they women, or men?" To which I'd reply "One of each", which seemed to engender surprise. Apparently the common perception is that civil unions are something homosexual couples do, and heterosexual couples get married. DoomBoy was no exception to this.

I said that in this case, the couple had stated they didn't want to do anything that all of their friends couldn't do, and the fact that in NZ homosexual couples are not yet permitted to marry means that marriage is not an option for them either. Now, in New Zealand the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill is currently passing through parliament (it's at the Select Committee stage), and if everything goes well, marriage will become available to everyone as an option in May. So DoomBoy's question was "If same sex marriage becomes legal, won't their gay friends get married instead?" Which kind of misses the point. Fact is, even if it gets passed here, there are still places in the world where homosexual acts carry the death penalty - so even if all kiwi couples can get married, homosexual people are still not universally afforded basic human rights. So in my opinion, the gesture of not utilising privilege is a relevant one even in the fairly progressive situation we have here.

But it got me thinking, what will happen when same sex marriage becomes legal? DoomBoy's response that homosexual couples will most likely choose to get married rather than civilised carries with it a tacit assumption that marriage is somehow better and the likely choice for most people. Does this mean that when marriage is available to all, civil unions will cease to exist? Or will some people want to retain the option of being civilised instead of married?

Never mind that if marriage is assumed to better (more recognised? more official? more traditional? define 'better'), that people would all get married if they could, it suggests the public views civil union as a less valid option? Because the implications of that are that those who think civil unions are 'good enough' for homosexual couples, must think that homosexual relationships are less valid. And I bet a lot of those people don't consider themselves homophobic.

Anyway, I hope that civil unions are retained as an option. For me the fact that marriage had its origins in property transaction and the oppression of women is enough to make me not want to do it, never mind the religious overtones. I recognise that it doesn't have to be like that nowadays, but I have no desire to support an institution with so much baggage when I could have the same recognition of my commitment to a relationship, free of any archaic implications, you know? And yes, I know I said above that it seems that civil unions don't have the same recognition in public perception as marriage. But I believe that the only way for that perception to change is for marriage or civil union to be truly an equal choice for everyone, not for civil union to be a poor second choice for those denied the right to marry.

Gosh, clearly I have feelings about this. O.o


* Women who fear getting overly muscular from doing weights take note. Unless you're that one in a thousand person with super-muscly genes or on steroids, lifting weights will make your muscles stronger and more defined but not huge. It's a bullshit myth that women who lift weights turn into She-Hulk, one that is perpetuated by those with the incorrect belief that women shouldn't be strong. I can press my own bodyweight over my head, but my bicep circumference hasn't changed at all in the last year. Also, strong muscles are sexy, on any gender. /minirant


Meanwhile, this is an interesting read - a short article about the trade in 'research chemicals' - compounds that are being developed as recreational substances to get around drug laws, and ordered over the internet. It gets points for mentioning that the moral panic over the Florida Zombie was bullshit scaremongering and that bath salts were not involved. However it loses points for this:

"One of the most common reasons people give for staying off psychoactives is that they don’t want to lose their sense of self-control. And surely all this online scholasticism is on some level an attempt to wrest some of that control back."

Because it's not possible that people can be geeky about drugs in the same way they can be geeky about anything else, right? It must be a desperate attempt to cling onto control of their brains which are slowly being taken over by evil drugs. Of course, why did I not think of that? It also loses points for failing to point out that this trade in experimental (and potentially dangerous) research chemicals exists because almost all of the known, studied and researched recreational substances are banned, and in many cases (LSD, BZP, 2C-B and MDMA for example) were banned and classified as dangerous without evidence to support the claim.

*cough* Anyway, worth reading just the same, for an interesting take on the topic.

PS I am getting a haircut on Friday. *trepidation*

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2013 10:37 pm (UTC)
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Ah, so that's what they are called!

Also, I am not sure that touching your knee to the opposite elbow repeatedly is an effective way of climbing a mountain. It reminds me way more of a dog trying to have a scratch.

Remind me never to try naming exercises..
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From:tatjna
Date:February 19th, 2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
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I am currently doing a lot of Skull Crushers (which make me feel way hardcore) and Cable Swims (which don't involve any swimming). Exercise is confusing.
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:February 19th, 2013 11:17 pm (UTC)
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As to what the point to eating something that hurts: endorphin rush. Like, a big one. I can't eat truly hot stuff for much the same reason as you, but my husband can and does, and the mood elevation is palpable, visible, and lasting for many hours.

Drugs, yo.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
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Wow. I can think of more fun ways of getting an endorphin rush, but I guess to each their own.
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From:polychrome_baby
Date:February 20th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)
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Right. But since he was raised in Spicy Central (New Orleans), he has come to expect as much from his meals.
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From:Will Marshall
Date:February 20th, 2013 03:31 am (UTC)
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It stops hurting once you get used to it.
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From:richaarde
Date:February 20th, 2013 01:06 am (UTC)
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We still ended up breathing fire at the end. I'll be over in 10 minutes. Have a plate ready...

Here in the USA, New Jersey had (and still has) a Domestic Partnership law. At the time it was passed, it was one of the first laws at the state level which made it possible to recognize same-sex unions. That said, the law did not specify gender, and a number of opposite-sex couples took advantage of the law as a weaker version of a marriage. Some of these opposite-sex couples were older retired couples that found they could be unified under the law and not lose their pensions. (New Jersey now has a civil union bill, which provides "everything but the name." Same-sex marriages and/or civil unions are not recognized by the Federal government as of yet.)

I wonder if the couple you knew opted for the civil union because they were trying to avoid a religious stigma, or something like that...
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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2013 01:18 am (UTC)
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They explicitly didn't want to do something that some of their friends were excluded from doing. That was their stated reason.

Prior to civil unions, NZ had laws around cohabitation and division of property for what was known as 'de facto marriages' - that is, couples that had lived together for more than 2 years. I think these laws still exist.

Meanwhile, you are most welcome to all the chili.

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From:rivet
Date:February 20th, 2013 02:35 am (UTC)

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1. Americans don't always distinguish between powdered chilies (which is what you've added) and chili powder, which is often chilies blended with other things for tex-mex food (referred to here as "chili powder blend".

2. Marriage has historical trappings that I'm not crazy about. Civil union is simply a legal contract to make you more legible to the system. If I were to do it again, I'd definitely go civil union.

3. De facto rules in Australia and NZ are such that you're virtually the same as married except that it's not recognised internationally and it's simpler to dissolve. But there are still property implications, which is why my house is owned by a trust rather than me as an individual. Keeps things tidier for present and future relationships...
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From:caycos
Date:February 20th, 2013 07:57 am (UTC)
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My understanding of the Marriage Equality bill is that, if enacted, it would mean that same sex couples currently in a civil union could change to a marriage if they wanted and (I think) vice versa still.
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From:helianthas
Date:February 20th, 2013 09:31 am (UTC)
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A lot of the marriage / civil union / domestic partnership stuff seems like semantics to me, depending on where it occurs and what rights are conferred. The degree of actual (vs rhetorical) "separation of church and state" seems to be a heavy factor...</p>

My experience in Spain was pretty interesting. The majority of people I met were actually quite homophobic, even going so far as saying they believed homosexuality was a sin against God, yet at the same time these same people were adamant that same-sex couples have the right to marry-- because State is one thing and God is another.

Turns out that Spain has civil marriages and religious marriages; civil marriages trump religious marriages (to get married in church in Spain, you first must have a civil / state marriage.) Most Spaniards I met believe civil marriage is a fundamental human right, regardless of sexual orientation. Getting married in the church, "in front of God", is a different story-- but that has no legal bearing, just a religious one.

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From:tatjna
Date:February 20th, 2013 07:11 pm (UTC)
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That sounds like an altogether more sensible approach.
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From:tatjna
Date:February 21st, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
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True, and that's another thing I can't see any logical reason for.
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From:wildilocks
Date:March 2nd, 2013 10:32 pm (UTC)
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We had originally planned to have a Civil Union either in NZ or AU. But... we have also been really attracted to the idea of getting married in Thailand and this is looking to be the most attractive of our location preferences currently, for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately Civil Unions are not yet an option there - but they are the first country in SE Asia to be agitating for Civil Unions and there is currently a bill in progress - appropriate really as Thailand does have very strong gay and trans* acceptance. It's probably still a while away to actually being passed there, but the fact that Thailand is also Buddhist in philosophy rather than defaultly Xtian, also makes the idea of a wedding there more appealing even if it is not our preference of a Civil Union. If I lived in a country where gay marriage was recognised - I honestly don't know which I'd choose - I think we'd probably still go for a Civil Union though. It should just be marriage, period.
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