Archive for November, 2012

November 30, 2012

the best part of the week

defining moments 8

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November 28, 2012

portrait of a beginner blogger: please ‘like’ me

Tuesday 27.11.2012

As soon as you wake up you check your email to see if anyone has ‘liked’ your latest blog post. Your mood for the rest of the day depends on a) whether anybody has noticed you posted, b) how many people have ‘liked’ it, and c) who they are –  are they just ‘liking’ you in order to drive traffic to their blog, or might they actually have looked at your post? You spend all day constantly checking your email in the hope that you’ve received more ‘likes’.

You care so little about the self-promotional side of blogging – you are above that sort of thing, of course – that you don’t actually know why or how your posts get seen by the random people in the blogosphere who seem to ‘like’ your posts.

You don’t actually read other people’s blogs, or only the well-established ones, by people who actually know how to write. Your time is far too precious to waste reading people’s rambling, poorly-articulated efforts.

Gosh, 10 people are ‘following’ your blog. What does that mean? Who are they? According to WordPress they think your latest post was ‘awesome!’ WordPress is suggesting you click on links to ‘awesome’ things these people have posted because you might like them. Ok. Who’s this? Oh, this takes you to pictures of scantily-dressed young women. You’re clearly not part of this blog’s demographic. You don’t think you’d like this person who ‘liked’ you. Ok, who’s this? A self-styled, self-help guru on achieving mindfulness, fulfillment and inner peace through a macrobiotic diet. You don’t believe for a second they read your post about wine tasting. You don’t ‘like’ them back. The next one sends you to a post about being a missionary in an African country. What could you possibly have in common? And the one after that links to a post about eliminating swearing from his writing, and your posts are full of what he calls ‘f-bombs’. You are beginning to suspect that WordPress pays people to sit in front of a screen all day watching blogs being updated and randomly ‘liking’ posts. They’re like drug pushers, getting you hooked on being ‘liked’.

Look at this guy’s posts. Quite well-written, but no way are you going to read to the end. You toy with the idea of making a helpful suggestion in the ‘comments’ section about keeping posts short to ensure they’ll be read. But then you remember that you are not in this for the self-promotion, all that sordid, mutual back-scratching. You will attract readers to your blog because of the quality of your art.

You haven’t told anyone you know about your blog because it’s not ‘ready.’ When you’re satisfied that you’ve achieved a sufficient level of excellence in your art you’ll notify them. You’re not sure how. You’ve tried dropping hints to a couple of friends and family members about what you’ve been spending all your time doing but they’ve shown no interest in finding out the address of your blog. You long to belong to a community of mutually-supportive quality bloggers, who always read and comment on each other’s work.

In the mean time you guess you’ll settle for being ‘liked.’

November 26, 2012

Autumn, doing its thing

26.11.2012 – a rainy Monday in Milan, on my way to work, a rare opportunity to see leaves on the ground before the park keepers clean up the ‘mess’

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November 26, 2012

personality tests I have failed

14.04.2009

There’s a website, Authentic Happiness,  that really annoys me and which inspired this cartoon:

Since publishing this cartoon on my blog [now defunct], I have been asked things like ‘Did you actually take those personality tests?’ and ‘Why don’t you like that website? You should try harder to join.’ (This, from my partner.) Also, ‘That cartoon shows a lot of self-awareness.’

So the answer to the first question is, no, I didn’t do the questionnaires. Also, just to be clear, since I have obviously failed in the purpose of this cartoon, which was to make fun of the Authentic Happiness people in their relentless pursuit of positive thinking, you don’t actually have to pass these tests to join some kind of happiness club, they are for self-awareness/development purposes only.

I dislike personality, psychological and aptitude tests, as I have a long history of failing them. For my statistics class at University, we did a lot of these tests to generate data to analyse. I was always an outlier – at the ‘educationally sub-normal’ or ‘uh-oh, mental!’ end of the normal distribution.

There’s a horrible personality test called the Big 5, which evaluates you along 5 dimensions: Openness (intellect), Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism. What I learned about myself from this test was that I was naïve, feckless, an introvert (which apparently means ‘more likely to turn out to be a serial killer’), high-maintenance and emotionally unstable, i.e. destined to end up an unemployable spinster.

For the next couple of decades, I adopted a strategy of minimizing self-awareness, of refusing to recognise what the tests had revealed about me. This worked quite well, and I managed to earn a living and have relationships by convincing potential employers, boyfriends and sometimes myself that I was outgoing, easygoing and completely committed to whatever it was they were proposing. However, this was exhausting, and I just couldn’t keep it up. My true nature always asserted itself eventually.

Then I did the Myers-Briggs Type Inventory, which unlike the Big 5 test, isn’t arranged in terms of positive and negative ends of a spectrum, but goes from good to … differently good. According to this test I’m an intuitive introvert, who prioritises human factors over objective logic, with a high tolerance for uncertainty. In other words, an independently-minded woman who is better suited to self-employment. That I can live with.

25.11.2012

Today I read a review of this book, and was inspired to dig up my old cartoon:

November 25, 2012

how to deal with figures before you can count

11.05.2009

November 25, 2012

how to play

110402 – watching A. play basketball in Casalecchio

Yesterday we were out of milk, and I asked A., nearly 6, to come and buy some with me. He had just opened one of those little juice boxes, so I thought I’d wait until he’d finished drinking. I distracted myself for a couple of minutes, and when I looked back to see if he’d finished, he a) hadn’t, and b) was playing with the juice box rather than drinking. I took a deep breath and suppressed my natural urge to bark at him to hurry up, and, instead, observed him.

A. announced he didn’t like the drink – “organic blueberry” – but that he liked sucking the droplets from the straw when he took it out of the box. I resisted grinding my teeth, contented myself with a martyred sigh and kept watching. He started pulling the straw out and sucking the juice from it; then he wanted to see what would happen if he put the straw back in up-side down with the short part in the box (it still worked) ; then he noticed that he’d put some kinks in the bendy part of the straw and wanted to see if he could get them out by pressing with his teeth (more or less). After about five minutes of this, he finally handed me the almost undrunk drink, saying he didn’t want it any more. I couldn’t resist muttering something about “wasteful!” but otherwise kept my hair on. I was impressed by how absorbed he’d been in his ‘messing around.’

Later. A.’s skateboarding process:

  1. Get auntie to carry skateboard downstairs.
  2. Pause to consider skateboarding across the flower-bed. Decide against.
  3. Complain that the skateboard keeps stopping and won’t go in the direction I want it to; when auntie points out all the cracks and pot-holes in the pavement, get auntie to carry skateboard until the next bit of smooth pavement.
  4. Wonder what kneeling on skateboard and pushing yourself along with your hands is like. Ignore auntie telling you to stand on it, or you’ll never learn.
  5. Scrape thumb painfully on tarmac. Ignore auntie telling you not to put thumb in mouth. Decide to try sticks. First stick breaks immediately.
  6. At the park the tarmac path slopes down. Find a bigger stick. Discover that the stick won’t slow down the skateboard without endangering fingers. Rolling off the path and onto the grass will. Also the tips of my shoes dragging on the ground will. Get auntie to carry skateboard back up hill. Again and again. Have not given up on sticks.
  7. Notice path through the grass, decide to try and skateboard across it. There are a lot of stones in the earth along the path. I must dig them out or I can’t get across. Where’s my stick? Oops, it broke. Here’s another bigger one. Scrape, scrape, poke, poke, there goes the first stone. This one’s big. Scrape, scrape, scrape…
  8. Here are some more good sticks. I’m a caveman. Look, I’m rubbing two sticks together to make a fire.

Lessons learned:

Shoes are better than sticks for steering and stopping.

You can ride down the hill with a friend if you’re both kneeling.

[NB. Interesting post here about playing and Aspergers]

November 23, 2012

the house mum grew up in

05.05.2008

November 22, 2012

the point of journalling

110309 Wednesday

I’ve just spent the morning harvesting my ideas from my recent journalling. I realized that the purpose of journalling, or rather, what I get out of it, is ‘braingasms’ – and I had one when I came up with that thought, a little shot of dopamine from my brain, rewarding me for my efforts.

There are days when I write pages and pages of crap and nothing happens, but then things start to percolate and float to the top in subsequent days. I wonder if I could graph the relationship between the number of ideas I have and the amount I write, to see if quantity really is more important than quality.

Finding ideas in amongst all the crap is like panning for gold – except far more unpleasant, and I don’t know if I can compare what I find to gold. The main gratification is the braingasms, and you get those whether the ideas and images are good or not. There’s no quality control in the brain department responsible for rewarding ideas.

November 22, 2012

a good way to start the day

23.03.11 Wednesday

Signs of Spring: yesterday morning, my taxi driver, about 79, practically wolf-whistled at me when he picked me up. He said, ‘what a beautiful nordic woman. Where are you from?’ I told him I was English. At one point he said I had ‘the body of a thiry-year-old’ – obviously not the face, then (I had been up since 4.45 am) – I think that made me laugh out loud with embarrassment, although I was pleased as well. He asked if I had trouble with ‘latin lovers’ – I think he said this in English. I said no, I should have added, not any more. I’ve been thinking recently, admitting to myself that I like living in Italy because I still stand out in a crowd, whereas in England I look the same as anybody else.

November 21, 2012

from the ridiculous to the morbid

05.03.2011  Saturday

I wonder if I have an alter ego? If so I wish she’d come out and show herself.

My life feels like a bad story that no one wants to read. There’s no beginning or middle or end. Or rather, the middle is just one gigantic boring bit.

If the experience of working at XXXXcompany was like being at war, then I was plagued with captains who would lead me to my certain death.

What if the doodles I’m doing, the scribbles which I then carefully colour in, are some sort of reflection of the state of my circulatory system and I’m going to die of an aneurism, like dad? Then people can look at my paintings and say “she knew she was going to die and didn’t tell anyone.”

November 20, 2012

The joy of mindlessness

12.03.2011 Sunday – from my journal

At some point yesterday I was reading about mindfulness. Being mindful is about paying attention to things, about really listening, really noticing. That’s what I’ve been paid all these years to do on behalf of other people. It’s exhausting. It’s just so much easier being mindless. Isn’t it easier to not think about things, just react as they happen? But then there’s that business about needing to keep body and soul together.

A lot of jobs require you to be mindful, on behalf of other people. Because you can’t be mindful about everything. No-one has that kind of attention, that’s why you need doctors, shrinks, consultants, lawyers, accountants. The irony is, the more time you spend being mindful, the more you have to spend on people being mindful on your behalf.

November 15, 2012

points for effort

20.01.2008

November 14, 2012

braingasm

24.02.2011 Thursday

I woke up this morning and had a vision of a world in which I was doing completely different work. In my vision I was setting up centres for old people which offer assisted living services, day-care centres, and basically great places for old people to pass their final years. There should be the option to be sociable or not. It should be a fantastic place to work for, especially for entrepreneurial people. Old people should be enabled to feel like useful members of society if they want to. They should be afforded whatever level of privacy they want. It should be an opportunity for workers to learn all sorts of different skills, from building management to counseling, from plumbing and carpentry to management, there should be crèches for the workers, and ways for the old people to interact with the young. There would be weekly anecdote circles, and creative writing workshops open to everyone, especially writers researching memories and experiences of living in different times and different places. It would be a place of integration and cultural exchange. I’ve no idea how I’d make any of this happen. The first idea I had was to try and do some voluntary work in an old people’s home and see what conditions are like.

Anyway it was a nice vision. Will I ever do anything like it? Probably not. It was a nice way to wake up though, and whatever the brain does to reward itself for having ideas, even stupid ones, it was doing it, giving me a nice buzz.

November 13, 2012

true math trauma

20.01.2008 – How I learned about the law of diminishing returns

November 13, 2012

Italian leave-taking rituals

20.10.12 journal while in Morgex

I can think of only two aspects of living in Italy that I find intolerable: Italian TV, and Italian leave-taking rituals, which take between 20-30 minutes during which everyone seems to talk to each another more than they have done all evening. Objectively this is quite a sweet ritual, left over from the days when Northern Italians were care-free individuals who took siestas and weren’t slaves to schedules like the rest of Northern Europe. In practice, I get horrifically bored and it’s just not that practical in Milan in winter to stand around nattering for twenty minutes in the freezing cold outside the nice warm restaurant you’ve just vacated. Me I’m all for god’s sake, you’ve just spent ALL EVENING with these people, let’s GO, for fuck’s sake!

Fabrizio made me laugh the other day when we were talking about national communication styles, and said that whenever Lucia had to tell him something she “began in the Paleolithic era,” confirming that Italians like to give exhaustive amounts of detail when exchanging information. English communication is much more about “need to know,” which I’ve always felt I was on the wrong end of, deemed “not necessary to tell,” “Not required to know.”

November 12, 2012

unreliable memories much more interesting than facts

15.03.2011 – from my journal

When I was a teenager I distinctly remember mum telling me that at school she had a classmate whose weight would yo-yo up and down. Every so often, when this girl got too chubby, her parents would whisk her away to a clinic, where she would be ‘put to sleep’ for a week, sedated or anaesthetized and fed through a drip. She would come back to school with concave cheeks and a flat stomach and be the envy of her classmates. This was the same clinic my mother’s father would check into when his stomach ulcers got so bad he would be vomiting blood. The treatment was the same: he would be ‘put to sleep’ for a week, then come back good as new.

I never questioned my memory of these gothic-sounding practices, even after I did my degree in psychology. This was Italy, and different rules apply. Also, although it sounded physiologically dodgy, I found the idea of a clinic where you were put to sleep for a while to solve all your problems incredibly appealing, much more restful than dieting or therapy.

When I asked mum about this recently she denied ever telling me anything so mad-sounding, and said that her schoolmate probably had anorexia or bulimia, not conditions which were recognized at the time, and she was removed from school when she got too thin, not for being too fat. But the part about her father being put to sleep in this clinic was true, except that it was when he got depressed, not for his ulcers.

For the record, she tells me a lot of mad-sounding things, so my memory is probably correct even though her revisionist explanation is likely to be a more accurate description of the facts. And the mad-sounding version is so much more interesting than the facts.

November 11, 2012

and the connection between totalitarian regimes and The Accidental Tourist is…

03.03.2011 Thursday – from my journal

At the gallery I wasn’t particularly inspired by any of the art, except for the 4th Estate, and I was sad to learn that Volpedo committed suicide after his painting was deemed too controversial to be accepted by any museums during his lifetime. It’s a shame he didn’t hang around to see what an emblem of revolution his painting became.

I got particularly fed up with the modern art, all the stuff from the 50’s and 60’s, the slashed canvases and lumps of lead. It all looks like a joke that I don’t get, and no one will explain to me. Sometimes I completely understand those totalitarian regimes that want to do away with the intelligentsia and middle classes.

There was a TED talk I was watching the other day, a woman who was working with Cambodian women, the last nine in the country who had some memory of Cambodia’s dance heritage, and they were starting to teach the youngest generation. She talked about the importance of preserving what was beautiful from the past.

All my parents wanted to do was distance themselves from their pasts. Mum, specifically, adopted the belief that the past has to be “discharged”, eradicated somehow, before we can function properly. Is that why she behaves like such a Martian so much of the time? S., too, she’ll hear a word, a cultural reference that someone of her background and education should be perfectly familiar with and claim to never have heard it. It drives me crazy. She’ll say things like, “a ‘milkman’…  what’s that?” For God’s sake, she reads and watches TV. She must have picked up something.

There’s a bit in The Accidental Tourist I find hilarious and I’m not sure why: “When Macon was small, he used to worry that his mother was teaching him the wrong names for things.  ‘They call this corduroy,’ she’d said, buttoning his new coat, and he had thought, But do they really?” Is it because Macon has a mother with the same “I’m not from here” act I grew up with? NB. Mum disguised her extraterrestrialness behind a “being an uprooted Italian” act for a long time, until I realised she is just as much of an alien in Italy.

November 10, 2012

communication, Italian-style

Journal 11.02.12

Communication in M.’s family: everyone engages in a kind of stream-of-consciousness commentary on what they’re doing, what they’ve done,  what they’re going to do, and constantly judges and comments on each other – all of this simultaneously, so they are often talking over each other. I think this is what dad meant by “Italian” communication.

It used to drive dad crazy, when, at the dinner table in Italy, he’d just have finished telling a story, and my grandfather, who’d been talking to my uncle, would say, “Who? What did they do?” and expect dad to start all over again. Then when he’d finish telling it again, my uncle, who’d been talking to my mother would say, “Who? What did they do?” This would go on, until every member of the family was sure they’d heard the story.

Dad dismissed this as crazy and chaotic, with no-one ever listening to each other but when it works, a lot of information is exchanged very effectively. It can also become pathologically critical, competitive and “invasivo” – the Italian  for ‘invasive’, a term that’s used for behaviour as well as for surgery.

In my English-dominant-culture family, communication was very top-down, i.e. dad-down, one-on-one, and there wasn’t very much of it. English children should be seen and not heard. Italian children need to be emitting a high-piched racket all the time so their mothers can always tell where they are.

November 8, 2012

tramp dread

28.02.11 – from my journal

Just read Michael Neill’s Monday post. Here’s a nice thought: “When you don’t know what to do, don’t do it.” So he’s saying don’t change. If you don’t know what to do, do nothing. That’s subversive. M. was looking yesterday at exhibitions we could go and see this afternoon. That would be in the spirit of doing nothing, I suppose. It’s hard doing nothing, especially if you’re feeling scared, scared of being judged, scared that opportunities are passing you by, scared that there are all sorts of pro-survival things that I should be doing, that normal people would do, that I’m not and am therefore going to join my homeless friends in their sleeping bags in the street downstairs. Why does “homeless tramp” seem to be the logical conclusion of my behavior? I’m hardly reckless. The chances of me doing something that will really turn me into an outcast are almost slim to none. I’m not likely to murder or steal from someone. I’m quite a good person. I have relatives who wouldn’t allow anything really bad to happen to me.

November 7, 2012

when my mind takes a break from all the worrying

27.02.2011 Sunday – from my journal

Thought: If I looked like my personality I would look like Brezhnev, all totalitarian, beetle-browed, and responsible for an era of economic stagnation.

02.03.2011 Wednesday evening – from my journal

My hair clip has just sprung open, whacking me on the back of the head. I wonder who I can sue?

Today I updated my status on facebook a few times. I said that M. told me I looked like trailer trash, but I think I look more “Silicon Valley” or dot com.

I also reported that M. has become “mayor” of our local kebab shop, supermarket, and wine bar.

November 7, 2012

it’s all part of the process

01.03.11 – from my journal

This morning E. is coming around. When things aren’t great we have a tendency to depress each other. Or maybe it’s that I bring her down. She’s never been unemployed and the thought terrifies her. How can I not bring her down?

I just don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to do. I wonder if I wrote this 100 times, I’d feel better?

So far today I’ve watched 2 and a half TED talks, and it didn’t help. I did a search on innovation in Milan and got to a couple of interesting-looking websites. I looked up networking events in Milan and have put Toastmasters, British Chamber of Commerce and PWA in my diary. It made me feel terrible. I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to. I don’t want to go to these things with the express purpose of meeting people.

All these things make me feel like such a freak. Ok I’m in a relationship, but I own nothing, I don’t have children, a mortgage, a pension plan. How dare I be a consultant, who am I to tell anyone anything? I feel like I’m going mental. This isn’t helping. I’m giving free reign to my demons and they’re setting the tone, taking over. God, I’m so scared. I’m so scared. I’m so scared. Is this helping? So the refrains of today – and it’s only morning, 9.51 to be precise, are: I don’t know what to do, I don’t want to, I’m scared. My brain is in “flight” mode.

Why did Toastmasters work for me? Because there is a point to the public speaking thing. It’s challenging – in a real way. I’m not sure I ever “sold” myself, but it does force me to show myself, even to myself. Ok, I need to start doing it again.

What would my future me tell me? Don’t worry it will all sort itself out. I mean, it has done in the past, always, something’s happened, I’ve made things happen, things have improved, dramatically. But, honestly, I don’t know what to do. I really don’t.

November 6, 2012

non-verbal communication breakdown

20.10.12 – journal in Morgex

Is my frustration with being talked at for hours another symptom of my misanthropy/ undiagnosed Asperger’s or is M.’s family really annoying? I assume that if I’m sitting there reading, or typing on my computer that this will be taken as a strong signal that I don’t want to be disturbed. This is obviously one of my remaining British pre-conceptions, as reading is considered vaguely anti-social over here, and of course you’d prefer real human interaction to that.  Still, I have not yet worked out how to extricate myself from my mother-in-law’s hour-long monologues about stuff she must remember she’s told me before. Sometimes I see it as a kind of payment for the hospitality and affection she has always extended towards me.

Two carpenters are staying here to do various jobs around the house. The two of them on Friday had been up since 4.00 am, and were only released from company at 10.30 p.m. Yesterday we had dinner downstairs, and G. & L. were holding forth until nearly 11.00. The older guy didn’t seem to mind, the younger guy, like me, seemed desperate for some peace and quiet. Finally, I put my jacket on and started giving very hard-to-miss leaving signals, and ended up waiting for 10 minutes outside for the others to come up and let me in. The younger guy, kept disappearing for a smoke and to make phonecalls. The older guy excused his rude behavior, saying he’s a bit “rozzo” – uncouth. God, what does that make me?

November 6, 2012

will I do whatever it takes?

28.02.11 – from my journal

My biggest problem at the moment is that I don’t want to do whatever it takes, I’m just not willing to. I don’t want to rent out all my brain energy for someone else’s benefit. I suppose if there was a social benefit I would feel better about it, but to further the interest of the insurance industry – I can’t see the point. There must be one.

I once said to Julia in a coaching session that I wanted “more interesting problems” – but did they really get more interesting, the more money and the less time I had? What are interesting problems? Surely it doesn’t get more interesting than “how to earn a living”? How to earn a living and not turn into a zombie? How to earn a living and be free, feel free, be you? What does that mean and why is that so important to me? Why am I not interested in furthering the human race? Why am I so unbelievably self-centred? Just as well my genes aren’t going to be passed on, although I suppose I have enough nephews and nieces to ensure that will happen. For most people it’s sufficient to do whatever it takes to raise your family and to feel like you’re doing a better job than your parents did, to get a sense of progress. Why has that never been enough for me? Why does this feel like a good use of my time? I have no idea why I’m writing, I have no idea about writing for other people, this is entirely for me, no audience, so why on earth does this feel like a good use of my time?

November 6, 2012

one of my inner censors

28.02.11  from journal

What if I took my book-writing aspirations seriously? What would I even write about? I’ve been ploughing through my coaching journals, which is a bit excruciating, but sometimes I seem to have stuff to say. The most boring bits are where I’m focusing on work, on trying to think in ways that don’t come naturally to me. I keep thinking things like “stop trying so hard, love” – I feel like I’ve got some kind of misogynistic Northerner in my head, shaking his head pityingly at my attempts to be a businesswoman, since business is something I clearly have no understanding about or feeling for. Actually this is totally true. I’d love to not bother my pretty head about things like this but sadly I have to provide for myself and my feckless young man. I wish I could be feckless. No I don’t. I just wish I had some non-demanding, rent-paying work so I wouldn’t have to worry about this aspect of my life.

November 5, 2012

how it feels to be unemployed

Journal 28.02.11

That makes 4 months that I’ve done virtually no paid work. I’m feeling scared. Yesterday evening I ended up eating half a loaf of bread and watching back to back episodes of The Big Bang Theory to try and not feel scared, but I went to bed feeling scared, I went to sleep feeling scared and I woke up feeling scared. I’ve decided to stay here this week and face my demons. It may turn out that this involves eating entire loaves of bread and watching series 3 of Damages back to back, that I’ve been saving for just such an occasion when I don’t want to feel anything.

Maybe that can be what I do on Wednesday. I read somewhere that Wednesday is the worst day of the week, the day in which you’re likely to have the lowest energy, to have lost hope of either achieving anything or that the weekend will ever come. The last two Wednesdays I have spent watching In Treatment. Maybe the first of those two Wednesdays I might even have done some journaling and gone running but things fell apart after that.

It’s no fun feeling scared. I certainly can’t be creative while I’m scared. It’s good to have something routine to do, to occupy all of my attention, that doesn’t require any kind of emotional or intellectual energy to do when I’m scared. Otherwise, it’s all about dulling the sensation, blocking it out with TV. Sometimes really good books or movies help. Sometimes the desire to stop feeling like this galvanizes me into action.

November 4, 2012

first world problems: 3 haikus about living in Milan

21.10.2012

 

Drink up, pay up and

Leave. Milanese cafés don’t

Like you to linger.

 

My cappuccino,

Tepid, just as it should be.

But, please, in winter?

 

Lindt, I can’t find your

Caramel à la Pointe de

Sel in Italy

November 1, 2012

forced to spend time alone with my thoughts

24.10.12 – journal

A thought I had while running in the park today was I don’t want to be alone with my thoughts (I forgot to charge my ipod, so was forced to entertain myself). It’s like being stuck with a relative you don’t get on with, who presses all your buttons, who drives you crazy, who as an adult you only see at weddings and funerals.

November 1, 2012

blogs I have spent entire days reading

01.11.2012

An analysis of my blog-reading habits. And when I say “days on end reading,” I mean that, literally. In my pyjamas, becoming progressively more feral.

1. These are blogs I spent days on end reading when I discovered them, and the only 3 blogs I keep up with. The two main things they have in common is that they post regularly, and the posts are short, which is good, given my goldfish-like attention span.

2. Below are blogs I spent days on end reading when I discovered them. Blogs 1-4 I admire for their brilliant story-telling, humour and quality of writing. Blogs 8-10 are cartoon blogs. Dude, I’m an Aspie, in addition to being a clever, minimalist cartoon, taught me a lot about what it means to have Asperger Syndrome. As did blogs 11 and 12.

  1. parma violet tea
  2. tired dad
  3. belgian waffle
  4. defective yeti
  5. the trephine – the most interesting blog I’ve yet read about writing, being a woman, and trying to have integrity
  6. the idler – specifically, Tom Hodgkinson’s ‘a country diary’
  7. scott adams – I get Dilbert mailed to me daily as well
  8. indexed
  9. cartoon church – I am not religious, but I love this blog
  10. dude, I’m an aspie
  11. aspie strategy
  12. asperger’s diary

3. Blogs I regret spending days on end reading: blogs 1 and 2 are highly addictive if you’re feeling lazy and inadequate. They don’t stop you being lazy and inadequate, but while you’re reading them, they give you the illusion you are doing something useful.

  1. 4 hour work week
  2. lifehack

4. Blogs I have not spent any time reading, in spite of a nagging feeling that I should:

Anything to do with consultancy, more specifically, creativity, innovation and  change management, with the possible exception of creative think. Maybe it’s because the blogs in this field are written by desperate, self-employed people like me, and the overall tone is one of forced self-aggrandizement.

My theory is that in this field you cannot be good at what you do AND be good at marketing yourself. That’s what I tell myself every time I force myself to re-read anything I have ever written about work.