Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Dilemma and Sarah Palin

Yup: two separate things.

Have you ever seen the film The Dilemma? It's awful, but that's beside the point. There's a scene at the end, when the two best friends are fighting and one says to the other, pointing in his face and full of anger:
"It must have been really difficult for you, I can't even imagine, but don't ever keep a secret from me again."
And you realise: that's a very mature and reasonable response, and it just doesn't make for great TV.

Which brings me to Palin: why do you think everyone over here in the old world likes to talk about Palin and those crazy Americans that just might elect her? Because the "crazy Americans" won't elect her but the serious contenders just don't make for great TV. Why focus on a well-reasoned and intelligent Ron Paul when you can focus on Palin and get a laugh out of it.

By the way: look up Ron Paul.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Plié, Relevé, Tendu, Fondue

My very first adult ballet class
Not quite what my mind had pictur'd it as
Black Swan wasn't there
No twirls or jumps in th'air
I guess that's how Hollywood plays with us

Yes, you heard me: I went to a ballet class yesterday. Before going I checked the school's website a dozen times to confirm these classes were for adults; I kept picturing myself turning up into a room of twenty 9 year olds in tutus.

But I was ok, this was an absolute beginner ballet class. And I am that: a beginner, in absolute terms. My motivation is not the desire to become a prima ballerina, nor relive my childhood (ballet in Switzerland with an Uruguayan/English friend, what a childhood). I just need to do more exercise and I don't enjoy yoga or pilates, tennis in London is a nightmare and gymns don't match value for money IMHO.

So I spent an hour and a half plié-ing, relevé-ing, tendu-ing and trying to hold my arm in arabesque without looking like a fascist salute. You don't move around a lot for this sort of thing, but it is still quite a lot of work.

Ballet was followed by dinner in an Ethiopian restaurant in King's Cross. Eating Ethiopian food apparently looks like this.

Some foods taste better when eaten with your hands (ever tried to use a knife and fork on a burger people?)

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Lessons learned the hard way

In Italian the words "bar" and "Caffe'" are pretty much interchangeable. The place where you go get your espresso in the morning, or your 3pm cappuccino, is called a "bar".

I moved to the US when I was 18, for university and spent a couple of months suggesting to new friends that we go to "a bar" at all hours of the day.

No wonder people took time to get used to me.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

I love what I do

A friend recently told me I am the only person she knows who likes her job. Which was a little depressing.

I know a lot of people don't like their jobs, or don't like the daily activity of their jobs, but I was surprised to hear I am so rare. My problem is not enough time to do more jobs.

I work at Linex Systems, as well as, and yes I love both of those jobs (and the daily activities each requires). The work is fun, the goal is motivating, the companies are ones with which I am glad to be associated. And for each I can point to my influence and outcome and know this day has taught me something new.

But then, living this way was never really an option selected from several. I mean: it always seemed quite obvious.

Looking back I realise I grew up in a home where my parents didn't complain about work. Or about anything really. In retrospect I realise sometimes things didn't go their way, but their attitude never faltered.

Anyway all this to say that it was always normal for me that you liked your job. And if you don't, you change it. This isn't separate from your own commitment to making it fun, nobody is going to do it for you. But then, I think people just like complaining. Somehow a lot of people seem to think that that is the greatest aspiration in life: to have a life about which you can complain. A lot.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Whatever you do, do it for me

Two young women on the telly, participating in some "home vote" show for something or other, are asked why the public should [spend money to] vote for them.

"Because this is what I have always wanted to do, from a very young age."

"Because I love doing this and I have had a lot of fun."

My money: what's in it for me?

Friday, 3 June 2011

Feminism v. Femininity

Because I could not have put it better myself:

"I can't find feminism -- at least not if feminism includes independence, liberty, and power for women. Instead I find femininity -- the assumption that women are incapable of fending for themselves in the marketplace of epithets or ideas, the belief that women are rendered helpless by misogynist speech and the sexist tantrums of their male peers."

From Sexual Harassment and the Loneliness of the Civil Libertarian Feminist, by Wendy Kaminer.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Dagny Isn't Real...

... but she is still my hero.

Why she is, is summed up well in these words:
They realize that life is about achievement, that happiness is the norm, that suffering is unnatural, and that tragedy is the exception.

From Edward Younkin's piece in Rebirth of Reason.