Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-28

Sex Ed Everywhere: Because We Learn More Than What They Teach

On Valentine’s day, May and I went to the movies. May asked a question, we had a conversation. I had a realization, which May turned into an idea. We went to brunch, and we told our idea to some friends. They gave their opinions. We went home, wrote up a proposal, and submitted it to the International Women’s Health Coalition Young Visionaries competition. If we win, we will have $1000 USD of grant money to fund the idea that came from a question and a realization.

The question May asked was: Why can’t somebody do for sex education what the “truth” information campaign did for education about smoking and big tobacco?

The realization I had was: Most of what I learned about sex, I did not learn in a classroom. I learned from my sister in her room, from my friends on the school bus. I learned from men who were good to me or bad to me. I learned from stories online, and from conversations online, and from sex online.

And not all of what I learned was quite accurate. It took me a long time to figure out that “sex” didn’t to refer to any meeting of male and female genitalia. I had this idea that nudist colonies must involve quite a bit of accidental sex when coming around corners.

It took me a long time to learn about the penetration part of intercourse. I can’t actually recall anybody sitting me down and telling me I was wrong – and if anybody did, I’m sure it was my older sister, not my health class teacher.

While having a shaky grasp of the mechanics of sex is unfortunate, it’s pretty benign. But a lot of young people “learn” more dangerous inaccuracies about sex. Like that you can’t get pregnant your first time (or if you stand up or do jumping jacks afterwards), or that barrier methods are more effective if you double up on them, or that if someone takes advantage of you while you’re too intoxicated to do anything about it it’s your fault for being so intoxicated, or that it’s not ok to say no to sex with someone you’re dating.

Many of us learn the truth about these misconceptions eventually, but have few opportunities to pass what we’ve learned on to other people still suffering from confusion, ignorance, or fear. So many more of us never learn, or learn one of a thousand different Hard Ways.

The proposal we submitted was: An online sexual and reproductive health information campaign, based around an educational video competition and an opportunity for people, and especially young people, to share what they know about sex.

Here is an excerpt from that proposal:

With the $1000 grant from the IWHC Young Visionaries contest we will fund a sexual health education and empowerment video campaign that highlights the reality that we learn about sex from disparate sources in many locations. The heart of this campaign, which we call SexEdEverywhere (“SEE”), will begin with a competition calling for submissions of 30 to 90 second videos that will be reviewed and featured on a network of 5 (or more) microsites over time. The campaign will be based at, a website that will actively engage the people to whom it will speak: women and youth across the globe.

Each microsite will portray a scene in which real-life sexuality education happens, such as a doctor’s office, the back of a school bus, a mobile phone conversation, and many more recognizable places. We would subdivide the $1,000 grant into funding and prize money for the best 5 videos as based on creativity and educational impact, among other criteria. The winning videos would receive $100 and be posted on one of the first 5 microsites along with other vetted entries. There will also be a second phase, in which all entries are tracked over a set period of time. The video with the most views during that period will receive a $150 award for “going viral.”

I believe in frank and open discussion of sexual pleasure and sexual and reproductive health. I believe we should share information and talk to each other. We all have a lot to learn about our, and other people’s, bodies and as we navigate and explore there are a lot of decisions to be made. We need to be empowered, and to empower each other and our youth, to make these decisions wisely and based on sound information. We need to learn what is right, and good, and fun for ourselves and for others. I believe that Sex Ed Everywhere is an opportunity to share our information and spread truths, and I will do whatever it takes to help this project succeed.

And you can help. Please, vote for SexEdEverywhere, and spread the word to all of your supportive friends an acquaintances – help take control of sex education, and make something vital into something vibrant.

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-21

  • RT @KinkOnTap: Sadly, @maymaym & @helio_girl must cancel tonight's broadcast for personal reasons. We'd appreciate help informing chatters. #
  • RT @KinkOnTap: Is sex for the #disabled the last taboo? The Sexual Health & Disability Alliance thinks it shouldn't be. #
  • I am missing several very important pieces. My assumption is that I can still function if I just fill those spots up with work. #worldchange #
  • @pledgemistress I have some AmeriCorps buds who work at Progresso Latino. It seems to be a very happy place! in reply to pledgemistress #
  • @maymaym That sounds really complicated. I noticed the rise in #spam, though. What do you make of it? in reply to maymaym #
  • Dear Internet: Apparently #Work =/= #Love. I will fight for success with this #strange #alchemy. #
  • It may be madness or optimism, but I swear there's a hint of #spring in the air today. Even #February has moments of #kindness. #
  • Sorry for broken link – New blog post up: "He Belonged to Me: Loss, Optimism, and KinkForAll" is here #kfapvd #
  • @svtdragon Thank you. in reply to svtdragon #
  • @Adisson89 You remind me of a brilliant boy I know. Keep fighting the good fight, Sweets. All together, we'll conquer the world. cc @maymaym in reply to Adisson89 #
  • @tylerthepup I can do that! in reply to tylerthepup #
  • RT @maymaym: tech issues still preventing us from getting our Young Visionaries contest proposal in. Emailed, but waiting on reply. #
  • RT @maymaym: I need your votes to fund helping every person on Earth SEE their #sexual #rights. Pls RT and vote daily! #
  • RT @KinkForAll: There's lots to do on KinkForAll that's not about specific events. Check out some community project ideas #
  • What would a world look like if every person on Earth could SEE their #sexual #freedoms? With your help, it WILL happen: #
  • RT @maymaym: #Iowa House Reps introduce bill striking anti-harassment protection frm #GLBT #students! via @SchoolSurvival #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-14

  • Psyched for @KinkOnTap tonight @TheCSPH with @HiOhMegan & @pledgemistress!! We will be in front of a #LIVE #AUDIENCE – 1st 10 ppl in are it! #
  • Ready for @KinkOnTap w/ @HiOhMegan & @pledgemistress! We'll talk about #KFAPVD, @TheCSPH, and more!! Come chat w/ us #
  • Turns out, feelings. Or, not feelings – just a sensation that all my walls are thin right now, that things can get in at me, I'm undefended. #
  • You know what it is? It's like I'm made of glass. I move slowly, I take it easy. I know I could shatter if I'm not careful. #
  • Has FetLife. Friend me if you wanna,. I am, predictably helio_girl. ( #
  • @viviane212 Are people who sell mood rings bipolar disorder enablers? #DSM5 hypersexual disorder = fail. in reply to viviane212 #
  • @Adisson89 Bugs don't learn. Also what the hell, it's winter? Shouldn't they all be dead? Also I miss you & your video blog brings much joy. in reply to Adisson89 #
  • @Adisson89 Smite them with your holy wrath! They shall not stand against you! Your will is strong! in reply to Adisson89 #
  • @Adisson89 You're king of the castle. Track them to their home. Make them pay. (PS I love ever living thing) #
  • @writingdirty @Adisson89 DO NOT SAY SHIT LIKE THAT ON THE INTERNET. Period. in reply to writingdirty #
  • Spent all afternoon feeling sick to my stomach. Feeling sicker. Feeling like either squeezing into a small space or moving without stopping. #

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-02-07

  • @Adisson89 Dear hear? in reply to Adisson89 #
  • RT @KinkForAll: Coming to #KFAPVD? There's still time to sign up at to get free Wi-Fi for the day from @BrownUniversity! #
  • @writingdirty AMAZING!!! in reply to writingdirty #
  • @Adisson89 WE WILL MISS YOU. I already miss you. Boo this sucks visit later plz? in reply to Adisson89 #
  • RT @viviane212: LAST day to sign up for guest access to Wi-Fi Internet for free during #KFAPVD: Join us on Feb 6 in #RI! #
  • @katebornstein I talk to people who aren't with me, when my feelings are more than I want to show. Get out the angry to talk sanity later. in reply to katebornstein #
  • @writingdirty There are buses that run a few times a day for under 30 dollars. Fung Wah bus is good. in reply to writingdirty #
  • @writingdirty So join us for the afternoon? Or maybe that is a good point. We'd miss you though!!! in reply to writingdirty #
  • #kfapvd – A preponderence of technology. #
  • Watching @zacmakes talk about #ritual #objects & #kink. Very interesting! Stuff I never knew! #
  • Aw, thanks @seraglioletters! #kfapvd #
  • Have seldom been so proud of @zacmakes, so pleased to know him. Great talk! #kfapvd #
  • Oh right, we ran #raves! Thanks for the reminder, @zacmakes! #kfapvd #
  • Now @zacmakes is showing us well-made tools we can emulate. #Kfapvd #
  • #kfapvd is unsurprisingly full of #feelings. Also unsurprisingly ful of #awesome! #
  • Learning about #sexual #freedom from @hiomegan. She hands out items & we guess what freedom they represent. She has a #gspot plushy! #
  • Pleased that we have talked about so many of @hiohmegan's #sexual #freedoms on #kinkontap. #kfapvd #
  • Learning abt #sexual #freedom from @hiohmegan. She hands out items & we guess what freedom they represent. She's got #gspot toy #kfapvd #
  • @viviane212 I know! I think it's cause I'm tweeting from my phone? #kfapvd #
  • @viviane212 I guess it's hit or miss? #kfapvd #
  • Excited to hear @maymaym's #kfapvd presentation. For once I don't know it in advance! #
  • I am learning so much! Thanks, @maymaym! #kfapvd #
  • Jens Bjornboe is my new #hero! @maymaym taught me this. #kfapvd #
  • As if that weren't enough, I turned 13. And then I put my toothbrush in my but … and I liked it! – @maymaym, #kfapvd #
  • Now @saraeileen is teaching us how to #change the #world, #mainstream-style. #kfapvd #
  • @writingdirty Thanks! We miss you! Glad you're watching! #kfapvd #
  • I learn from @SaraEileen that it's easier to #improve the #mainstream if you're within the mainstream. #kfapvd #
  • A commenter reminds us that #lookism goes in both directions. We are all judged for how we look, and for looking. #kfapvd #
  • @writingdirty I love how you dress too! #kfapvd #
  • @maymaym You both look super hot OUT of leathers! #kfapvd #
  • Learning some very cool things about #gender & #transitioning. Once again I learn not to trust my own #dichotomies. #kfapvd #
  • So glad that I can actually sit in #presentatios. #Learning so much! Who's heard of #madpride? Sounds #awesome! #kfapvd #
  • Grandmothers & gender dysphoria are a tricky mix! #kfapvd #
  • 'Who needs lawyers more than gay people, trans people & kinky people?' Marty, on why he's going to lawschool. I love this guy! #kfapvd #
  • 'One reason I have chosen to out myself is to legitimize my identity & those of others like me.'- Marty, from his law school app. #kfapvd #
  • 'It's hard to talk to your #parents about #relationships, #money, & #sex. '- Marty's girlfriend. She's smart! #kfapvd #
  • @bewareleopard I will be talking in the streaming room! #kfapvd #
  • Yeah, @Rikakulon – Why ARE #nerds so #kinky?! #kfapvd #
  • Excited to know that Eduardo is tackling some #race / #sex issues. Sad to miss that one! #kfapvd #
  • Ridicule is less threatening when you're having fun. #kfapvd #
  • Maybe nerds are just more likely to recognize their kink? Perhaps because we're used to not fitting in. #kfapvd #
  • Funny, @skottyD, my #frat talked about #sex all the time! #kfapvd #
  • @SaraEileen So true. #kfapvd #
  • Stick around in quiet presentations & you might just see a #violet #wand! #kfapvd #
  • Is #Stargate super #gay? Did not know! #kfapvd #
  • @nightshrill what makes that horrifying? #kfapvd #

Food Manifesto 3: Starting Out In The Kitchen

It is my firm belief that, with a few exceptions, everyone can learn to cook decent food, for not too much money, without going insane. This is not the same as believing that everyone can cook – in fact, I believe that many people who think they can cook, can’t, and maybe people who think they can’t cook, probably could, if they just relaxed and gave it a whirl, starting with something simple.*

Because really good food doesn’t have to take five hours, doesn’t have to drive you crazy, doesn’t have to dirty every dish in the kitchen and leave you too exhausted to eat. It takes a few pieces of equipment, a certain amount of forethought, and a willingness to get back in the saddle after you fuck it up. Because you’re going to fuck it up, throw it away, and order pizza (or eat ramen) at least once. No matter how disheartening this is (and it’s brought me to the verge of tears before), learn from your mistakes and try again, or you will never get anywhere. So, general tenants:

  1. Recipes are your friend, not your enemy or your master. Find recipes you like and buy the ingredients listed if you want to cook them. READ THE WHOLE RECIPE BEFORE YOU START COOKING. Follow it, but switch things up a bit if you like – change out a vegetable, add some cheese or a different spice. You’ll get the hang of it later. But DON’T think that if you use a recipe you’re not really cooking, and don’t think that if you stray from the recipe a bit everything will go horribly awry. Have fun.
  2. READ THE WHOLE RECIPE BEFORE YOU START COOKING. I’m putting this in twice, because while some recipes will work if you carry-out each instruction before you read the next one, a lot are not that well written. You must read the recipe to know what equipment you have to have ready, and all the things that need to be chopped before hand. If you want to have dinner ready in a hour, and you discover when everything’s already started that you need to marinate your steak over night, you’re S.O.L. It’s really good to have an idea of everything you’re going to need to do before you get started. So if you’re not cooking from a recipe, take a second to think the whole thing through. And if you are, read the whole recipe before you start cooking.
  3. If you’re going to keep to a budget, you need to plan. This one could actually be re-written as “read the whole recipe before you go shopping.” I plan in two ways: I have some staples I always keep around, and I plan a few meals (or a week’s worth) before I do my shopping, so that I can be sure to get all the ingredients. If you do not have a plan, you will not be able to create meals, or you will go over budget, or both. And it’s fun! The internet is full of recipes; pick ones that look easy and appealing, get the stuff and try them out.
  4. If you’re trying to learn to cook, stick around and look at what’s happening!** Observe what you do, how you do it, what happens to different ingredients under different conditions. If you walk away, not only will things burn or overcook or boil-over, but you won’t know why.
  5. Anyone can cook. You can cook. You will make mistakes. You will burn things, or discover that food is underdone and in an attempt to fix it wind up with something that is either soggy (vegetables) or dry (meat) and definitely overcooked. When this happens, pay attention. That’s where you learn. What did you do? What can you do differently? Food is just chemistry. Was it the heat? Too high or too low? Too much liquid or too little? Too much spice/acid/sweet? If you pay attention to your mistakes, you’ll get better and better. But don’t give up on cooking because it hasn’t always gone well for you, and also don’t give up on the specific dish. Try again next time and it will be better. Messing up is how you learn, both generally and in specific.***
  6. Pay attention to what you like. Do you love mint and lemon as a combination? Ginger and garlic? Cumin and cardamom? You have as much a right to eat what you like as anybody you’re cooking for, and it’s good to be able to develop a style and know what sorts of recipes will be not only within your taste preferences but within your abilities.

Here are some things that you might need to watch out for:

  1. Pay attention to how high your flame/electric-burner heat is. This is MUCH harder on electric stoves than gas. If things look like they’re cooking too fast, don’t hesitate to turn down the heat a bit, and if you’re cooking with electric, just pick the pan right up and move it. You can always cook things longer without too many ill effects. It’s impossible to go back once things are burned or overcooked.
  2. Taste-as-you-go. Once things are cooked to the point where they aren’t dangerous (do not, for instance, taste chicken before it’s cooked all the way through), taste as you go. Especially as you add spices and other strong flavorings. As usual, it’s always easier to add more than to take away.
  3. Pay attention to measurements! Especially starting out, keep a close eye on those Big T’s (tablespoons), Little t’s (teaspoons) and the like.  When you are just starting, measure everything. Once you know what a tablespoon of oil in the pan looks like, then you can forgo this step, but you need that mental guideline before you start guessing. Remember: there are THREE teaspoons in a tablespoon. If you get that one wrong on something intense, you will seriously change the flavor of a dish. That said, if you add your teaspoon of ginger and you find you just want more, go ahead and add some more. But slowly – careful not to overshoot the mark.
  4. Onions will make you cry. Be careful with you knife.
  5. Cook things of similar size and density. For stove top cooking (which is most of what I do, being a control-freak who likes to be able to keep fussing with things the whole way through) these are the two main factors in how quickly things cook. Garlic will cook MUCH more quickly than anything else, because it’s usually chopped very small and is also not very dense. Carrots are very dense, and so will cook slowly. Try to make sure you put things of about the same density in pieces about the same size into the pan at the same time, because they will have similar cooking times.
  6. When you buy too much stuff, cook it anyway. If you are in danger of letting produce or meat go to waste, there are three answers: esoteric salad combinations, pantry pastas, and oddball stir fries.  Cozy up to one or all of these, and you’ll throw out a lot less stuff.

* I MEAN IT. You will not succeed if you start out with creme brulee, or with hollaindaise sauce, or with guinea hens stuffed with skinned green grapes and sage leaves, wrapped in bacon and roasted in a slow oven. EASY FOOD IS GOOD FOOD. If you get ahead of yourself, you will be discouraged and miserable. I know this from exprience, and it sucks BALLS to look at a ruined amalgamation of incredibly expensive ingredients and know you’re gonna spend even more money on the take-out you’ll be eating instead.

** Unless you’re waiting for a  big ole pot of water to boil, and don’t have anything else to prep. Then don’t watch. Really.

***A handy hint – especially with tricky stuff, try it out on yourself (or somebody you trust to keep loving you even if things go awry) before you try it out on a fancy dinner part of Very Important People you desperately want to impress.