Monday, March 21, 2011

Liu Bolin

Have you ever felt that you were invisible? Are you a wallflower? Liu Bolin has turned dematerialization into beautiful art.






Friday, March 18, 2011

and because it's been one of those weeks

What better way to end a long week than with something as uplifting as elephants in a kiddie pool

Get rid of Click and Clack

I had not known about Anthony Weiner until today but I am enjoying watching his rants on youtube.  I still consider myself to be moderate to conservative politically so I probably shouldn't enjoy him so much but he makes sense which seems to be abundantly missing these days in Congress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wow, seriously?

Last night SB and I took a friend to a dinner that SB labeled "the we're treating you to dinner because you are Japanese" meal.  We all try to meet up regularly anyway but this week we tried especially hard to make time because she is here alone and SB is an old friend with big ears and a small mouth.

We were relieved to find out that her immediate family was accounted for.  She told us that not a lot of her friends had contacted her, possibly because they didn't know what to say.  We told her that sometimes people deal with shock/tragedy in strange ways.  People laugh at funerals and cry at weddings.  My aunt spent the days after my uncle's passing talking about what to do with his shoes that had been custom made for him.  It was only when she drove me to the airport that she told me that she missed him.  SB's friend who was here visiting told us that his father did not phone him when the World Trade Center collapsed.  When he finally checked in, his father simply stated that there was nothing he could have done anyway and his son was either dead or alive.  Luckily his son had been on a low enough floor that most of his colleagues had been able to escape.

Our friend told us that one of her other friends had contacted her to see that she was okay and then immediately started talking about plans for the weekend.  But that wasn't the worst of it.  Our friend is a trader.  She has had to deal with a hedge fund manager who went ballistic because of the millions of dollars that he was losing.  Another Japanese colleague came into the office at 5am and later received a call from her mother informing her that he uncle had not survived.  Her manager was peeved that she left the floor to take a personal call and stated that he did not believe her because she had been fine when she came into work. Wow, seriously? 

I guess here in Hong Kong we still know our priorities. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Carl Sagan to the Explorer's Club

Carl Sagan's house was a source of interest and intrigue for many Cornellians including yours truly.  Since his passing his house has remained unoccupied and unvisited except for a time in 2007 when someone entered the property to install a better security system.  I know this because I passed the house every day during my evening run.

The house is located on the precipice of the Fall Creek gorge and from what I could discern, is built in a Greek style very much resembling a temple but with very few windows, thus adding to the intrigue.  I often wondered about a connection to the Delphic temple and Sagan's house.  He was a modern day oracle in many ways.  There was even a rumor that an adyton in the house led to the gorge below similar to the one at Delphi but I have trespassed hiked great portions of the gorge below and though I found Ezra Cornell's tunnel, I never found any opening that led to Sagan's house.

I want to share a letter that Sagan wrote to the Explorer's Club in 1981 requesting that women be admitted to the organization.  He reminded his club that Sacajewea guided Lewis and Clark to glory and that many women have since trial-blazed down the path of historic research and discovery as well as lifted off into space.

You may find the letter here:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

You've come a long way, baby

I will take a moment on this women's day to reflect on all that my foremothers accomplished so that I don't spend so much time thinking about myself compared to men.  Other than one sexist calculus teacher I never felt inadequate or ignored in school, even in the traditionally male classes.  To this day I still suspect that his sexism had more to do with an unhealthy interest in the strapping jocks in our class than any ill will toward women.

In university I had a physics professor corner me after class and declare that I needed to switch my major to physics because I was doing so well in his class (I also laughed at all of his nerdy jokes).  I don't think that I was conscious of being treated any differently than my male peers ever in university.  It seemed that the struggle had happened to women of a different generation.  When I think back of the badass women like Ellen H. Swallow Richards I can't even imagine what she had to go through to pave the way for me to be sitting inconspicuously at my desk at a formerly all-male university (we only started allowing women to work toward a degree in 1974).  By the way, I hope one of you Googles Ms. Swallow Richards because she deserves acknowledgement.

Fast forward to my first career oriented job.  This is when things started to change.  I worked in a small architecture firm and often accompanied my boss to construction sites.  I experienced many occasions when the contractor would ignore me and only talk to my boss even though my boss wasn't as involved with the minute details of the project like I was, and despite the fact that my boss repeatedly referred the contractor to me.  One day I went to a site alone to solve an easy dilemma and the contractor insisted on verifying that my boss had meant to send me.  I could hear my boss exploding over the phone at the guy (thanks, Alex).

These days I work in a schizophrenic office.  My director seems to prefer hiring women because he thinks we work harder and think more creatively but after discussion with my male colleagues I know that the women get paid much less.  Like 15% less.  One of my supervisors loves to parade me into meetings so that he can point out that I'm an Ivy League graduate but then he hands me his papers to carry behind him like some sort of servant.  The first time he did this I was confused as to why he had just handed me a large binder of his crap.  "Here," he said, shoving it at me and then he walked out of the room carrying only his ipad like the tool that he is.

After I finish taking this moment to thank the women who paved the way for me to get two master's degrees so that I can carry papers while following behind some useless idiot who thinks he looks cool bringing his little ipad to meetings, who I am certain would not be a supervisor without riding the backs of women like me, I will take another moment to drink myself to oblivion for Fat Tuesday.  It cannot possibly be a coincidence that these holidays occur at the same time. 

Gawd I need to figure out some way to get out from under his long shadow.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Charlie Sheen v Muammar Gaddafi: whose line is it anyway?

It was difficult to tell the difference between the rantings of a coked up, ego-maniacal, Hollywood (read: living in a bubble) actor and the ravings of tyrannical, murderous dictator.  See if you can score better than my 7/10.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

things that make you go hmm part 2

I was watching a video of a priest who was pulled over in Ohio for drunk driving and proceeded to swear, rant and rave ("I'll give YOU the sermon on the mount").  It was akin to Mel Gibson's Jew hating, sugar tits rant.  Although it had me giggling I was also shocked.  Some of this was due to the nature of the rant but I was also uneasy with why the police are able to release these videos to the public.  I guess we could argue that somehow releasing a video of some hammered moron embarrassing himself is good for society.  There are enough crafty practitioners of the law who can argue convincingly that almost any scintillating detail of celebrity gossip or personal failing can somehow be taken as a cautionary lesson for the greater good of society.

Here are my questions: if contracts are declared void because the signer was intoxicated and if intoxicated people are also considered to be impaired from being able to consent to sex, then why is it okay to release videos of intoxicated people who are handcuffed in your jail cell and no longer in the public domain?  Can/should a police officer arrest someone for being a danger to himself or others due to intoxication and then benefit from releasing a video of the person while in custody while he is still intoxicated?

Are there any legal eagles who want to break this down for me?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Spear and magic helmet

Yesterday SB sang to me the whole What's Opera, Doc with amazingly accurate depictions of both Bugs and Elmer.  This was after I caught him watching the reel on Youtube instead of writing a business plan that is due in two days. 

That is a section of my life with him.  Welcome to life with ADHD boy.  Of course an episode of ADHD boy wouldn't be complete without Type A girl.   In our own weird way we are two complements to each other.  He is often running about, engaged in adventures while I am more than happy to be his mini-me sidekick.  I am a problem solver and he is a, er, problem creator.  Without him my life would not be as rich, nor my stories as colorful.  Without me he would never arrive at anywhere that he wanted to go.

I still get a good laugh when I think about his sister telling me that when SB was born he was deprived of oxygen for a few minutes and his family thought that it may have been the reason for his short attention span.  "Did you ever think that maybe he has ADHD?" I asked.  He's damn smart so I imagined that his "issues" were less to do with brain injury and more to do with being the only boy in the enitire United States who wasn't diagnosed with ADHD and go figure, he was the poster child for it.

I looked up a list of questions and using my online shrink license I gave SB a quiz.  He answered yes for all but one question.  We had a winner.

We don't use any medications for him though I sometimes wish that I could dart him with a tranquilizer when he is busy making a mess.  So far, knowledge has been our most powerful tool.  Knowing that he has a harder time than most concentrating, remembering, etc. helps me to be more understanding and able to manage him.  Yes, I know that these descriptions sound like every other man but trust me, it's different.  He procrastinated so long that he ended up doing nothing for three years of my birthdays and two Christmases.  I have bought all of his plane tickets (last minute) and booked all of our vacations (last minute) since we have been together.  Ditto for any presents that he gives.  He is adamant of being measured by his intentions and not his accomplishments in our relationship.

The trade off is that my life feels blessed in many other ways.  He is almost always interested in my little projects.  He shows genuine interest when I explain art to him.  He accompanies me to my rugby matches as well as the book store.  In fact, he follows me everywhere and can keep himself entertained.  Despite a lack of attention in general subject matters he is riveted by operas and most shows on the Discovery package. You can leave animals and children in his care and he will play with them until they drop and then he will go on to find himself a snack or poke around on a new adventure.

Our night ended with him singing to me: oh Brunhilde, you are so wuvwy!
And I responded: yes I know it; I can't help it.

We compliment complement each other nicely.