Firebee Dispatch #3: Squash Every Week Into a Day

date2014-08-29
12 min read

I added a table of contents this week, so you can skip around. So fancy.

Table of Contents

What I’m Up To

Question of the Week

Sometimes I want to crowdsource some information or get advice. When that happens, I turn to my subscribers with the question of the week.

Question: Where is the best place to host my sites?

I currently host a bunch of my content on github pages using a static site generator named middleman. This is convenient and free, but also has a lot of limitations and depends on github. I would like to explore some alternatives. Below are things I care about.

  • Inexpensive (ideally $10-30/month overall cost).
  • Provides storage (I want to manage one service, not a handful).
  • Good uptime.
  • DDoS resistant (if none are a good fit, would CloudFlare fill this need well?).
  • Good security.
  • Easy to admin and keep up-to-date for security reasons.
  • Ideally gives me a linux instance I can ssh into and easily set up apache, ruby, and other various things I might want.

Do you know of services that fit this bill? If so, send me an email with “QOTW3” (short for question of the week 3) in the subject and details about why they are a good fit. Thanks in advance for your help!

  • Hidden dangers of team building rituals. by John Daniels. YES! A lot of “team building” rituals require pushing boundaries in ways irrelevant to team cohesion in the workplace. It is stressful, not fun, and the opposite of team building for many people. Please don’t do this.
  • Saturday Stat: 23% of U.S. Children Live in Poverty from Sociological Images. The post includes some charts with breakdowns of this information by race.
  • What I’ve Learned from Two Years Collecting Data on Police Killings via gawker. I hate linking to gawker, but this piece is interesting.
  • A killjoy in crisis by Sara Ahmed (note for readers: the author uses the term “transsexual,” which I am under the impression is a bit outdated and “transgender” is the preferred terminology unless someone has identified otherwise). So much of this piece hits me in my feminist core. I have been struggling a lot over the last year or so with being the feminist killjoy. It was helpful to see so much of that written down. To know I am not alone in that struggle.

A killjoy can be a crisis even for the one who has willingly accepted this assignment. Just because you have claimed her, it does not mean you are always ready or willing for her to appear.

Once you are a feminist killjoy, however, I think the only option is to become more of a feminist killjoy. […] You become wary of being worn. You know the energy it involves: you know that some battles are not worth your energy, because you just keep coming up against the same thing. At the same time, or maybe at another time, you also know that you can’t always choose your battles; battles can choose you. Sometimes the things you come to know seem to feel like another wall, another way of signalling that you have few places to go.

In the News

This Week in Sexism

Trigger warning: threats of violence against women, rape

Abrasive alone was used 17 times to describe 13 different women, but the word never appeared in men’s reviews. In fact, this type of character critique that was absent from men’s reviews showed up in 71 of the 94 critical reviews received by women.

  • Yet more products women are supposed to use to prevent sexual assault by detecting specific drugs in their drinks.

    • Yet more things on the list of what women are expected to do to prevent rape.
    • A relatively small number of sexual assaults happen as a result of so called “date rape” drugs, so why are so many redundant efforts being put into that? The most common drug used to facilitate rape is alcohol all by itself, particularly on college campuses.
    • Most of this effort is being put into products that people will be expected to buy. There is something deeply fucked up about profiting off convincing women they need your product to protect themselves from rape.
    • Wait, I looked for more details and the team of four men who made the nail polish have already raised $100k from an investor. I am going to throw up everywhere.
    • I really wish someone would disrupt this shit by teaching people (predominantly men) not to rape. I image $100k would pay for a decent amount of education about the fact that using alcohol to facilitate sex is rape (among other topics about consent and not raping people). RAGE.
  • Continued levels of awful and horrible in the gaming community. Following are some recent articles on the topic. The fact that both of the posts I linked to are written by men does not escape me.

What we’re seeing is the gamification of a social struggle. It’s not about making salient points for these people (not that they had any to begin with) - it’s about winning. It’s the result of decades of seeing everything as a win/lose scenario, only now the no-holds-barred competition of Street Fighter is being manifested in the real world. These people will do anything they can to win, regardless of whether it’s morally or even legally acceptable. And they get away with it!

Mass Media Musings

Books

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander

  • I am still at the beginning of this one because I haven’t had much time to make progress this week.
  • Ta-Nehisi Coates is starting back up his reading group, focusing on mass incarceration, and beginning with this book. Check out the schedule if you want some people to read along with. My plan is to read along that schedule.

Television

True Blood

  • IT IS FINALLY OVER. THANK GOD.
  • What a shitty show finale. Granted, this whole season has been pretty awful.
  • I hate pretty much every character on this show at this point except Eric and Pam. Eric and Pam are perfect and wonderful and the only reason I kept watching the show for this long.
  • The io9 true blood recaps are part of what made the show for me. I hope it’s obvious this link contains spoilers.

My Writing

I violate geek social fallacies because the cost of not doing so is too high. I am selective about the company I keep and the friendships I maintain because that is what is healthy for me. You are not entitled to my time, attention, or friendship. If that makes me a “bad person” in some people’s eyes, so be it. I do not aspire to your definition of nice.

Organizing a conference is hard work. Nobody is denying that. Working on making your conference diverse should be part of that work. I just gave you some insight into how you can do that. If you don’t want to do the hard work, you may receive criticism or people may not want to attend your event. That’s not bullying. That is holding you accountable for failing to do your job well. Work hard and avoid falling into the trap of the homogeneous conference lineup.

Every time you send someone one of my posts because it covers what they are whining/ranting/complaining/asking about, a firebee gets its flame.

Firebees

No new content this week because I was busy with travel. I am in the process of putting together some wearable firebee swag through skreened. Stay tuned for more details, and let me know if there is anything you would like to see on a shirt.

Miscellany

  • They are apparently not making more women scientist lego minifigs despite great demand.

    • MY HEART IS BROKEN! BROKEN! DO YOU HEAR ME, LEGO?! ::weeps openly::
    • In all seriousness, this is incredibly disappointing. A lot of people were excited for these minifigs. Some little girls wanted these toys because they were disappointed in the gender essentialist “Friends” line Lego offered them. Hell, it would’ve been a good idea to sell these even from a capitalist standpoint. I am disappointed.
    • If you are the sort that believes petitions change things (I can generally be found straddling the fence on that one), there is one over at change.org.
  • To make up for all the depressing content in the dispatch, please let me direct you to this adorable baby sloth hanging out with mom.
  • The pumpkin spice is creeping. It’s not even decorative gourd season yet! Fall is my favorite season, but IT’S NOT FALL YET. LIES!
  • Dispatch title from “All We Ever Wanted Was Everything” by Bauhaus [youtube].

Promotion

In this section, I promote events, fundraisers, organizations, and other things that I think are worthwhile.

Upcoming Events

  • AlterConf - Upcoming events in Boston, MA (Sept 15) and New York, NY (October 4).

Our mission is in educating the greater tech and gaming communities about the different aspects of diversity and how marginalization becomes an impediment. In spotlighting initiatives and powerful voices, we hope to strengthen the community’s resolve to create safer, healthier spaces.

Donations Needed

If you have some disposable income, please consider donating to causes listed in this section. I have donated to all items listed here because I want to put my money where my mouth is when suggesting others do so.

Liberating Ourselves Locally is one of the few (if not only) people of color-led makerspaces/hackerspaces in the Bay Area. If you do a search for “people of color makerspace” on Google, we’re not just the first result, we fill the first page.

We’re not just for people of color — when we started the space in 2011, we wanted to create a place that was welcoming and comfortable space for many folks not part of the hacker culture, including immigrants, women, queer and trans folks, and poor people.

  • BGD Editor-In-Training Program & Get Free Program via youcaring. BGD is a grassroots project raising funds for our Editor-In-Training Program to bring more voices of marginalized people into indie media and our Get Free Program for Queer and Trans Youth of Color!

Black Girl Dangerous is a multi-faceted forum for the literary and artistic expression of queer and trans people of color. It was created in December of 2011 by award-winning writer and queer Black tomgirl nerd, Mia McKenzie. Since its inception, BGD has amplified the voices of over a hundred queer and trans writers of color writing about racism, queerness, gender, economic justice, disability justice and so much more, and reached an audience of over 4 million people from every populated continent on earth. BGD is the only website of its kind.