Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Contradictions: Egg Freezing

I came across this article today and wondered about how unthinking people can be about the personal situations of other people.

"Critics argue they are delaying motherhood for the wrong motives, such as climbing the career ladder or until they have more money."

This shows really backward thinking by men (and maybe some thoughtless women who are the worst enemies of other women) that women are breeding mares first and don't have the right to pursue a career in the same way that men do. Since when is it wrong to wait until you have more money to raise a child properly? It's a sensible thing to worry about. Do these critics really think it's better for women to go on welfare?

"Many of those women have been with commitment-phobic men or have not found Mr Right, or they are part of a couple that needs two salaries to get a mortgage.

"These are social issues but it is wrong to deprive women of this option, which many of them say is empowering."

This, I think is the reality when I think about all my female friends with careers. And the reality kind of gets me pissed off at men in general.

1. Men don't want to commit to a relationship

2. They don't like women taking their jobs

3. They expect women to have children anyway to populate the world

Also at the end of the day - relying on a man to take care of you is a very risky thing. Power corrupts people and makes people abusive. How many women have been abused because they were dependent on a man for a living?

I think that the issues of women's rights in the real sense has to be addressed if people want to see a change. In other words, they should have the right to make their own livelihood so that they can be economically independent, and if the state wants more women to have children they need to be given special rights that men don't have simply because men do not get pregnant and have babies.

And yes, I'm all for allowing women to freeze their eggs, but women also need to come to terms with making choices about their life. If it's very important to have a baby, then it's just more probable that they'll have a successful pregnancy if they do it when nature thinks it's optimal.

Absolut Vodka

Call me uninformed and lazy...but I didn't realize Absolut Vodka was a product of a state owned industry until this morning when I read this:

I guess it's because when we think of state owned businesses, we think of conservative and often boring advertising - and Absolut Vodka is a brand that is known for its 'cool' 'cutting-edge' advertising. It's a brand that is mentioned in books about thematic advertising where everything went right.

The company seems open minded and creative in their attitude about marketing including product placement in tv shows. I've seen funny references made to the brand in Swedish shows like 'Beck' or in American shows like 'Sex and the City' (, and I believe they have come out winners for their open mindedness in how to make their brand grow.

Upon closer examination of the Absolut Hunk however, I now realize I have worked with this male model. He didn't seem this muscular and well-built at the time so I didn't even recognize him. But now that I've taken a closer look at his face - it is indeed Jason Lewis - who featured in a 'Marui' commercial in Japan years ago, and I was one of the bilingual production managers. Some of the girls in the production crew made a big fuss about meeting him and I didn't understand what the big deal was but now that I'm in my 40s and am looking at this virtually naked photograph of him, it finally dawns on me what the big deal is. He's a good looking guy isn't he? It only took me a decade to realize this!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

What do to with life?

I think that there is so much propaganda around us that affects the minds of everyone that it makes it difficult to be happy at any given moment in life. If you dare to be happy a friend or relative will remind you what's lacking in your life and make you unhappy or doubt your happiness.

It's so easy to find something wrong with your life with all the demands that humanity make on you. Why can't we just sit back and enjoy life for what it offers?

Right now I'm pretty happy - or should be. I don't work. I have time to prepare slow food almost everyday. Should I wish to take a stroll the Mediterranean is only 1.5 km away. I have a partner to share life's small joys with.

Underneath it all is the pressure to achieve something noteworthy . But let's be realistic. How many people can do this even if they spend every waking hour of their life trying to do this?

Right now I'm trying to come to terms with being happy with what I can do right now, without being overly selfish and callous to the people around me.

I think it's possible to achieve some kind of a balance in life - where you can still be reasonably considerate toward others without sacrificing too much and keeping yourself in a happy state of mind.

I don't believe the utter selfishness with which some people singlemindedly pursue only their own happiness can help one be happy at the end of the day because there will be too many things to be unhappy about when you don't get your way.

There, I said it.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Potato Holiday

A friend from Denmark told me that the 'potato holiday' starts today or so. Traditionally, children had to take a break from school to help their parents dig up the potatoes at this time of the year. Now with child labor laws in place this doesn't happen, but instead of working, children are taken to holiday resorts courtesy of their parents.

Why am I mentioning this?

Just thought it was a cute fact to know about the origins of a certain holiday.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Something is wrong...

I saw three headlines of news articles side by side telling me that something is wrong. Can you figure it out?

"Torrential rain causes problems in much of Andalucía"

Threat of water restrictions looms after third year of drought"

"Magdalena Álvarez Minister for PUBLIC WORKS"
“We have fulfilled our promises to Malaga, and a lot more besides”

With no regrets for decisions made, Magdalena Álvarez believes that her ministry’s investment of 946 million euros in Malaga is fully justified

Monday, October 8, 2007

Ghost Story

Reading about the Japanese journalist who got shot at close range in Burma reminded me of my friend Shoko's husband, Akihiro Nonaka who has been leading a free minded group of journalists called Asia Press International for many years.

I don't believe in ghosts even though I used to read a lot of horror stories, but her husband's story from Cambodia really sent shivers up my spine.

I don't remember what or where exactly the journalists visited that day but it was some site were there had been a very bloody massacre. One of the journalists was very much affected by this, feeling strong waves of sympathy for those who died there, and was warned by one of the locals that it was not good to let yourself feel that way because the earth bound spirits might follow him back.

Anyhow Akihiro and the other journalist didn't really think much of this and went back to their hotel. Everything seemed quite normal until there was a power failure at around 2am or so in the morning and then there was a loud rapping at the window of the hotel.

I don't remember the details of this story as Akihiro told me this more than a decade ago, but I think the hotel staff told them not to ever open the window when this happened.

This happened again the following night and so they decided something had to be done.

I think they went and had some Buddhist monks say some prayers and make some offerings. I don't remember exactly what they did, but they did this and they shortly left the country.

The Cambodians seemed to believe that the earth bound spirits had followed the sympathetic journalist back to his hotel and were rapping his window asking to be let inside.

I really don't know what to make of this story. It could be that even seasoned war zone journalists become nervous when visiting massacre sites and that the words spoken out loud have the power to cast some kind of spell on your mind if said by the right person at the right time....and well, your imagination makes things that seem supernatural happen.

Many other explanations can be explored but I found this story frightening because more than one person seemed to witness it at the same time.

Anyhow it's not a story one wants to remember in the middle of the night if one lives alone. I think that's why I'd put this away in the back of mind for years...

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Glamorous Life of Semi-Retired People

Well, today I've been reading about how to unclog bathtub drains. I've also had to plaster up holes in the wall where a carpenter's assistant managed to drill holes in the wrong place...yes, it's very glamorous!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Spaghetti with Smoked Swordfish, Peperoncino, Garlic, Lemon Zest and Fresh Rucola

I haven't posted any recipes here because I'm too lazy to figure out the exact amount of ingredients I use. So if you'll just look at my experimental dishes as 'cooking ideas' instead of 'recipes' and use your own good judgement for how much of each you want to use - my notes might even be useful!

Ingredients for 1 person:

Fresh Rucola (enough to garnish the plate of pasta)
Smoked Swordfish
Grated Zest of 1 Lemon (preferably the small green variety)
Lemon juice (1/2 - 1 lemon, depends on how sour you want it to be)
Coarse Sea Salt
Freshly Grated Black Pepper
2 Garlic Cloves, Sliced
2 Dried Peperoncino (Seeded)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1. Start boiling the water first and throw in a generous amount of salt when it comes to a boil.

2. While waiting for the water to boil prepare the grated lemon zest and make thin strips of the smoked swordfish (as much as you want). Slice the garlic cloves thinly. Seed the peperoncino. Remember to cut the lemon in half so you can squeeze it into the sauce when the time comes.

3. Start boiling the pasta. This will take 7-10 minutes depending on the type and brand.

4. Start the heat in the frying pan and throw in the slices of garlic, peperoncino and heat it up. Let the heat release the flavours! Then turn off the heat and throw in the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, pepper and smoked salmon strips (you don't want these to cook - just get them a bit warm).

5. Drain the cooked pasta and toss the spaghetti in the frying pan (don't heat it!).

6. Put everything on a plate and garnish with a generous amout of fresh rucola.