Slut

This morning I read that several fraternities at Swarthmore College are closing down due to “rape rooms.” College has long been a traditional place for rape culture, slut shaming, sexism, and general bad behavior. Some colleges are worse than others.

My daughter, whom I’m proud to say was just accepted into three of the University of California campuses, is accepting at at a campus which is known for not having a large Greek presence. That particular school is also known for not having a huge “party culture” which is fine for me. My son Garrett DID go to a school with a large party culture and survived and thrived. Like I always say, you have to talk to your children about these things long before they start college or high school – start before puberty.

So in light of all of this, I’m posting a story you might have read before about double standards, college, and general bad behavior. People might behave badly but it does not mean you, or your kids, have to put up with it.

Slut

My children are in college now which is sometimes even more scary than elementary or high school. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change. 

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole and tell him that Beth and Bart say hello.

~ end

 

Remember to always talk to your kids about these things. Also tell them to support, respect, and have compassion for others as well. In other words tell them not to be entitled judgmental assholes.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

A Day of Sorrow. Thoughts of Paris, and Thoughts of the Titanic

Each year I post about the Titanic. April 14, 2012 is the day I started writing the blog Vampire Maman. It is also the same day the Titanic hit an iceberg and started to sink – April 14, 1912.

Today is April 15, 2019 and we are all witness to another great tragedy. Notre Dame cathedral in Paris is burning. As with the Titanic, it is one of those events we can hardly believe. Maybe even more so with Notre Dame. The first thing I thought of was the beautiful glass windows, and how long they and the building that housed them had survived. It is a tragedy that I have no words for. My heart goes out to the people of France.

SONY DSC

Below is my past post about what would have happened if the Titanic had not sank, and landed on April 16, 2012. What if it had docked? Would we have remembered it at all? 

 

titanic

This morning my eldest brother Max gave my son Garrett his Patek Philippe & Cie Gold Chronometro Gondolo Pocket Watch. The watch isn’t working, even though it is a magnificent time piece. The time had stopped at 2:48. That was when the icy waters of the Atlantic finally got to the inside pocket of Max’s jacket after the Titanic sank. There were seven Vampires on the ship. They all survived in the water like death, but not dead. Five women and two men. They stayed together, but it isn’t a story Max likes to tell. Garrett turned twenty-one on April 1st. Max told him that they could have the watch fixed. In the box was also the jacket Max had worn. Even after all of these years it is a story that fascinates us, and horrifies us. There is nothing like mismanagement and bad communication, and inflated egos to make something go so wrong.

 

April 16, 2012 would have been the 100st anniversary of the docking of the Titanic in New York City, if the Titanic had docked.

I have in my possession a curious bit of history. This one is real. Not fiction. It gave me the chills to read this and copy it for this post.

In a scrap book is a press release that would have gone out if the Titanic had landed safely in New York.

Rather than throwing it out an executive employee of the White Star line put it in his scrap book. And that is where it still is. And here it is…copied exactly word for word from the White Star Line.

______________________

To be released for Publication after arrival of ship, April 16th.

The latest Ocean Marvel White Star’s “Titanic”

Largest Vessel in the World Arrives in New York.

THE ACEM OF LUXURY AND COMFORT – SOME STRIKING INNOVATIONS.

The largest steamer in the world arrived in New York today (April 16) from Southampton and Cherbourg and Plymouth. Larger even than the giantess “OLYMPIC” the new White Star Line leviathan “TITANIC” began her maiden trip under the most auspicious circumstances.

Many wonderful innovations have been made part of this newest of transatlantic wonders. The “TITANIC’S” 66,000 tons of displacement and 46,328 tons gross register are not her sole claim to distinction as the most elaborate handiwork of shipwrights. The “TITANIC” is the first steamer to be built with private promenades in connection with some of her splendid suites. Heretofore the floating apartment hotels, but fall to the “TITANIC” to provide the transatlantic traveler with an actual private residence, even to the exclusive promenade deck without encroachment upon the hundreds of first-cabin voyagers.

The “TITANIC”, like its sister ship, the “OLYMPIC”, possesses the great length of 882 feet, 6 inches, and a beam of 92 feet, 6 inches. Over the boat deck, the “TITANIC’S” beam spans 94 feet even, from rail to rail.

Four great funnels rise 81 ½ feet above the uppermost deck with a total distance of 175 feet from the top of the funnels to the keel.

Fifteen watertight bulkheads divide the great vessel, making her unsinkable even though half of her compartments should be filled with water. Eleven steel decks add to the “TITANIC’S” staunchness while an ideal of the vast promenading space may best be had when it is noted that the main promenade deck alone has an unbroken sweep of 190 yards on either side of the ship.

A Parisian Café and Palm Room are but some of the features of this remarkable vessel which will now enter regularly in the Plymouth-Cherbourg-Southampton-New York service with the “OLYMPIC.”

Besides the main dining salon, which has seating capacity for nearly 600 passengers, there is an a la carte restaurant, French service, which seats 200 passengers. The restaurant features will be especially appreciated by those who do not have the desire to be held to regular hours for dining, for night suppers, dinner parties, etc.

The size of the staterooms is also one of the remarkable features of the new giantess “TITANIC.” Varying from 8 feet to 9 feet, 6 inches in height, they are all roomy. Some of the 2-berth cabins are 17 x 10 feet, 6 inches in size. There are no 4-berth rooms, and a great number of single-berth rooms, 8 ½ by 10 ½ feet, have been provided.

A great swimming pool, squash racket course, gymnasium and the Turkish baths are all closely together on the lower deck, from which elevators carry the passengers to the various upper decks.

As in her sister ship, the “OLYMPIC,” passengers on the “TITANIC” will descent the grand staircase to the main reception room, which, in turn, leads into the great dining salon, from which it is separated by glass. Stretching the full width of the vessel amidships, the main dining salon is light and cheerful, and at night, with its myriads of electric lights, it presents a veritable fairyland.

Describing the gathering of the voyages in the reception room, awaiting the dinner hour, a writer has aptly remarked:

“Upon a dark, richly colored carpet, which will further emphasize the delicacy and refinement of the paneling and act as a foil to the light dresses of the ladies, this company will assemble – the apotheosis surely, of ocean-going luxury and comfort. What more appropriate setting than this dignified Jacobean room, redolent of the time when the Pilgrim Fathers set forth from Plymouth on their rude bark to brave the perils of the deep!”

There screws, propelled by turbine and reciprocating engines, furnished the motive power of the great “TITANIC.” Leaving Southampton and calling at Cherbourg and Plymouth for continental passengers on Wednesdays, she is expected to reach New York on the following Tuesday evening. The two ships will maintain an ocean ferry with regularity of other ferries across a river, for their immense tonnage displacement makes them practically impervious to the elements, no matter how adverse these may be.

The “TITANIC” and the “OLYMPIC,” as instruments of commerce, represent the highest skill and perfection yet reached in naval architecture; and in the struggle for supremacy they will easily hold the place of honor and the historic names that have been given them.

 

_________________

It makes you think. It also makes me feel kind of cold as if the icy waters are calling out with voices of the ghosts of those who did not survive.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

What we’re talking about this morning over coffee.

My children and I used to talk about everything from laundry to politics on the way to school in the mornings. Now that one is out of the house, and the other has her own car and doesn’t need a ride to school or work, we talk over coffee, or over the phone, or just text each other.

School admissions. My daughter and many of her friends are transfer students. A transfer student is one who goes to a community college and then transfers to a four year university.

The graduation rate in the California State University system is less than 50%. For some schools it is less than 20% for students to finish in four years. Most students drop out before they ever graduate (from what we’ve read and heard.)

So WHY do transfer students who make great grades, do everything right, and work hard get rejected or put on wait lists while students who have no intention of ever graduating get places? I don’t mean to be judgmental but a lot of students go to college without a clue of what they want to do with that education. They go because they don’t have anything else to do or because someone else tells them to. After a year or two they drop out. In the meantime students who have a plan and want to graduate don’t in?

I knew someone who once worked in college admissions. She worked part-time to go over applications. Her attitude was so flippant about who did or did not get accepted. It absolutely disgusted me. I wanted to yell at her and explain that she was fucking with the lives of these potential students. She didn’t give a shit. She was just in it for the extra cash. Wow, sound familiar?

We need more

For the past few years we’ve been talking about politics but now we’re weary. The young folks are politically active. They’re not protesting in the streets, but they’re planning, and volunteering, and voting. They aren’t going to let a lot of backwards old men decide their future (who aren’t all really old, but act like they’re ass backwards in all respects.)

Sweaters. There is still a chill in the air. Everyone loves sweaters. We’ll wear sweaters as long as we can. My kids wear them all year. That is why they decided to go to colleges near the ocean.

Most Vampires can eat avocados. Don’t shame us for it and call us insufferable hipster assholes. Avacados grow here (California.) Avacados are good. Nuff said.

US. They said mom and dad need to go see US.

We talk about art a lot. We just do.

Our dog barks. Let me go back a bit…our three year old German Shepard is now getting protective and barks a lot of things, including, but not exclusively, other dogs, coyotes, deer, turkeys, the neighbor’s gardeners, and anything she sees as a threat or especially interesting. It seems like a lot because we’ve never had a dog who barks. It is kind of different. I think she (the dog) enjoys barking. I’d enjoy barking if I could bark like a dog.

I’ve been told that I drink shitty coffee. That is an overstatement. I drink OK coffee most of the time, and good coffee a lot. I grind my own beans. I use my own reusable coffee pods, or a French Press. My children are coffee snobs. That is OK. One even goes to coffee classes and seminars. That is OK too. I am committed to support small local coffee roasters and local coffee shops.

Spring is here. We’re enjoying the flowers, and the green fields and hills. My son said it means fewer sweaters which means an easier time for Vampires. I guess, as a Vampire, talking about what we do with donors is kind of like talking about what we do in the bathroom. Some people love to talk about it. Some don’t.

We talk a lot about everything. My mantra to everyone is to talk with your children. Not at them – but with them. Listen to them too. Have lively discussions. Have quiet thoughtful talks. Have silly talks that make you laugh out loud. Share what you did during the day, or what you’re planning, or what you saw. Sure they might be technically adults but they’re still your children. They’re still your heart and soul.

So that is kind of it for today. Hugs.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Wild Coffee

Adventure in a Cup

 

 

 

SHAME ON YOU. College Admissions Cheating.

I’m sure by now you’ve all heard or read about the dozens of wealthy parents who have been caught in a nationwide cheating/fraud. In order to get their brats into a hard to get into college such as Stanford, Yale, USC, and UCLA, these parents bribed coaches to say their children were star athletes, and they paid a college prep organization to take SAT and other tests on behalf of the students, or correct their answers.

This included famous parents such as actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin.

In 2012 when I started this blog most of the posts were about Middle School and High School happenings.

Over the past few years it has been about college. That includes college admissions.

I’ve watched about a dozen kids, including my own, work hard to get into Colleges and Universities. They’ve busted their butts to get good grades. They’ve worked hard and smart in their extracurricular activities. They’ve put their hearts and souls, and everything else they have into getting into their chosen school.

I’ve also heard heartbreaking stories of amazing kids, with great grades and impressive achievements get rejection letters from all of their top choices. There is absolutely no logic or reason these kids should not have been accepted. My heart just broke every time I heard about another unreasonable rejection letter.

Maybe now we know at least part of the story. Douchebag parents with a shit load more money than your average middle class family are bribing and cheating to get their little lazy ass darlings into good schools.

Is this jealously of the rich and famous? No, because I could have afforded to cheat to get my child into a fine university, but the price would have been too high. The price of losing my child’s respect and knowing I’d done a bad thing would have been too high.

There is no room for cheating when it comes to parenting. There is no room for cheating when it comes to life.

History is full of people who have cheated to get into the right college and get where they are right now, including some who hold extremely high offices. They threaten to sue those who uncover their dishonesty. They brush it off. Some die with their secrets.

The same kids who cheat to get into a school are the same ones who get money from mommy and daddy to hire someone to write their papers. They’re the same parents who will pad their children’s resumes with fake jobs. The list goes on and on.

Felicity Huffman and her husband William H. Macy are acting as bad, or even worse than the characters on his show Shameless.

Families who are involved from admissions cheating should be banned from any respectable College or University, public or private.

For those of you who say the students should not be punished, only the parent: I say bullshit.

Most kids I know don’t even let their parents help with applications, writing admissions essays, helping with their SAT, or anything else that has to do with the actual admissions process.

As parents we are allowed to go with them on school tours, listen to their concerns, pay for anything we can, and give them moral support. The young people in my life would be absolutely horrified if they knew we’d cheated on their behalf. None of these kids would want to ever talk to their parents again. They’d say NO.

But you know what? I am sure the pampered children of the rich and famous cheaters were fine with this. They never say “NO MOM.” Cheating and paying to get everything they want is normal for them. They don’t know what it means to work hard.

The children I feel sorry for are the ones who did not know what their parents did. They will suffer in the fall out of their parent’s bad actions.

Money can buy a lot. I have no problems with money. I have problems with cheaters and bad parents. I have no problems with parents who help their kids get jobs and educational opportunities HONESTLY and above board. I have problems with cheaters and liars.

I have problems with people who STEAL university spots from hard working deserving kids.

  • Don’t cheat.
  • Don’t be a douche.
  • Support your kids in their dreams without doing it all for them.
  • Talk with your kids.
  • Encourage your kids to be independent.
  • Be a person that your child will look up to, or at least love and respect.

 ~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

Unknown-2

This looks like how I feel about the subject of you cheating to get your child into the university of your choice.

 

For more information go to slate.com, npr.com, cnn.com or your favorite news source. Read all about it.

 

 

 

 

 

Fire

The air is thick with smoke.

My eyes burn.

My heart is heavy.

Ninety miles north of here is the Camp Fire. An entire town have been wiped out. More homes are burning. Over 40 people have died and many more are missing. In Southern California the fires still burn.

Now is the time for our leaders to be leaders and show compassion and caring for those involved. It is time to support those who have lost their homes and loved ones. Now is the time to support those who have rescued, and continue to rescue both people and animals.

Now is the time to thank those who are having fund drives, providing shelter, taking in people and pets, cooking for rescue teams, and helping in so many other ways.

It baffles me that some people can even THINK of making this political because this is California. Fires have always happened here, just like tornadoes and floods happen in other parts of the country. It is worse because there are now more people. Just like there are more people where hurricanes hit.

Now is time for love.

Now is time for support.

We are California. Despite what anyone says we will survive and thrive. It is what we do. We will also stand by others outside of our state when disasters strike – because that is what we do.

As soon as I can get the information together I’ll post a page of helpers who need donations and of those in need. Hospitals have been burned. Schools have been lost. Homes have been lost. Animals have been separated from their people. People have lost loved ones. They need our help both in Northern and Southern California.

I have already seen a great outpouring of love and support for every fire we’ve had this year, and last season. I have seen people do amazing things to help others.

My heart breaks for California. This is, and always be my home, my heart, and my soul.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Slut (and a few additional thoughts)

A story from my friend Bart. He’ll tell you all about it (you might have heard this before but it is a story well worth repeating – I’m sure a lot of you can relate.) At the end I will have a few more thoughts of my own.

Slut

A lot of us have kids in college, or starting college in the next year or two. One of the big things everyone is talking about is sexual assault on campus or in college towns. I’ve talked about it with my two kids who are in college. Everyone has, at least everyone who is a decent parent.

So I get this call from Hodge Williams. Yes, that Hodge Williams. Everyone remembers him.

“Bart, how are you?” As soon as he spoke I wondered what he wanted.

“Hodge. Fine. Great. Life is good. What’s up?”

“I’m writing a story on the history of sexual harassment and violence at universities in the US. I tried to contact your sister but she wouldn’t return my calls.”

“Beth?”

“Yes, Beth. She kind of got around so I was thinking she might have experienced first hand, you know, she was at risk.”

“What do you mean by at risk?”

“Oh come on, your sister was a slut. Everyone knew it.”

I sat there with the phone a bit stunned. He just called my sister a slut.

“Hodge, you’re an asshole. In fact you’ve always been an asshole.” I hung up the phone. What an asshole.

After sitting for a few minutes and collecting my thoughts I called my sister and told her about the conversation.

“What an asshole,” she said. “Sure I was sleeping with his best friend without the benefit of being his best friend’s official girlfriend. OK I also slept with another one of his friends but we were in college. We were young.”

“Did you ever sleep with Hodge?”

“No. Hell no. He was always making passes at me and grabbing me. Hodges had that Madonna/Whore things going on in his head. A girl was either a virgin until marriage or a whore. Plus we’re not like him, you know the religion thing, so he just assumed I was a whore.”

“But you didn’t have sex with him.”

“I know. That makes me a whore. He called any girl who wouldn’t have sex with him a whore.”

“What an asshole.”

“I know. Believe me, I know. I mean, if the guy had asked me to go see a movie or go for a walk or just spent time talking that would have been different but he was just all over me like…yuck. He really called you? I can’t believe he’d have the gall to do that. Asshole.”

After we got off the phone with the promise of a lunch date later in the week I got to thinking about my own kids.

I’d spoken with both my daughter and son about sexual predators. I’ve done the best to teach them not to be bully bait. I’ve taught them to stand up for themselves and for others.

From experience I knew that bullies never grow up and most don’t change.

Hodge never got the answer he wanted. Over the years Beth had a few close calls with sexual predators but she always ended up safe either by being with friends or using physical force to get out of it (exactly twice as she told me.) That didn’t include unwanted advances by guys like Hodge. And even though Hodge didn’t use force it still hurt emotionally that he’d think so little of her or of any girl.

I wanted to pound the crap out of him. Then I thought about how many other women out there who thought the guy was an asshole. That made me smile. Spread the word ladies, spread the word.

That evening after work I talked to my wife about it. She shook her head and said she’d had similar experiences. More anger surged through my brain, then sadness deep in my soul.

We all judge others. We all make assumptions. We all call names even if it isn’t out loud. We all talk behind the backs of others. Maybe we need to stop. It isn’t easy. It isn’t even practical.

Anyway, if you see Hodge Williams call him and an asshole, and tell him that Beth and Bart don’t say hello.

~ end

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Since the day I became a mom I’ve thought of telling my kids about sexual predators. I’ve told them that more often than not sexual predators are people they know. It will be their word against yours. More often than not they already know how to hack the physical, emotional, legal, and social systems so that you won’t win. But always fight back. Never believe their lies. Tell your parents or someone else you trust.

Parents: LISTEN to your kids. Talk to them. Don’t judge. Don’t yell. Listen. Help. BELIEVE THEM. Kids and teens don’t lie about these things.

College Kids: RED CUPS. Don’t drink out of a drink anyone else gave you. That sweet punch in the big red cups will SLAM you hard. There will be a blog post about it and a quiz in a day or two.

In light of everything going on in the news this week I have a story. A friend posted something on FaceBook about men and boys behaving badly. She claimed if women flashed their boobs at Mardi Gras and other drunken events like concerts etc., then why did we all have a problem with men flashing their dicks.  I thought I’d quote my 19 year old daughter:

“When a woman flashes her boobs she is being silly and using bad judgement. It is insanely tacky and rude but not threatening anyone. When a man exposes his penis to someone it is a power and control thing. He is doing it as a threat. He is doing it with the purpose to make someone else intentionally uncomfortable. You can’t compare the two.”

That is all for today. Be safe. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Believe them.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman