May 28, 2010

Self Diagnosis

The internet is like an endless branching tree. Its grasping limbs suck me in and toss me around from one website to the next. Sometimes the leaps are related to one another but more often than not I am carried off to a totally different subject. Curiosity is a blessing and a curse.

I believe I have always had mild ADD. I've called it "absent mindedness" up to now.  But it's time to face facts.  The constant bombardment of information these days has worsened my distractedness to the point that I can barely focus when put in front of a computer.

What starts out as a quick search to find out more about “jarlsberg cheese” leads me down the path to “olives” then to “tapas” then on to “packing a picnic lunch” then to “good walking trails in Michigan” then to Coldwater Creek to see if they have anything good on sale (50% off…. I’m going to save so much money) then to my bank account to make sure my check was deposited….. it’s endless. I find myself forgetting what my original google intentions were.

Cryptic notes are scattered around my desk at work and home. Tiny scraps of paper in my purse with barely legible scribbles about something on a podcast. These notes are meant to remind me about books to evaluate, recipes to look up, topics of interest to researched. (OK research is a little bit of an overstatement).

Ever hear of the site Awesome (high pitched, sing-songy trill ---- annoying isn’t it?) They have information on EVERYTHING….. seriously. I discovered it because I am addicted to several of their podcasts. “Stuff You Missed in History Class” “The Coolest Stuff on Earth” “Stuff Mom Never Told You” and my all time favorite “Stuff You Should Know”. (Love you Josh & Chuck)

These podcasts are responsible for at least one note per day on stuff to look up. How stuff works has more podcasts I’m itching to dig into but I don’t think I can cram anymore information into my head. Gee, I wonder how the popularity of podcasting is changing over time. Is it threatening radio? How do free podcasts make money? What’s the ratio of podcasts that charge money? The questions are endless…..

Photographer Credit: Shawn Lea from Jackson, MS, US

May 24, 2010

Sayonara Friend

It's a sad day today. One of my co-workers returned to Japan. Reiko is an awesome HR manager, very funny and sweet but tough when she has to be. She is the first woman from our huge, parent company in Japan to take an overseas assignment. A trailblazer, if you will. You may pshaw me assigning her the title of trailblazer but you would only be demonstrating that you don’t know much about Japanese culture. They are about 30 years behind us when it comes to women in the workplace. Though, if my friend is any indication, Japan has seen some progress since I was there.

I visited Japan in 1997 as part of a big 100 year anniversary for my former employer, Sumitomo Electric. I attended factory & office tours, dinners, luncheons and presentations during my ten days there. I was shocked at how the company women were on the periphery everywhere I went. I mean it literally, the women would stand up against the back wall waiting for somebody to need something. In an office setting they are called “wallflowers”. None of them occupied any desks, at least not in any of the areas I visited. Just wall to wall "salary men" toiling away everywhere I looked.

After hours, in a bar in Tokyo, I had the chance to talk to one of the Japanese women employees. She was responsible for preparing assignees before they were transferred to the US. She spoke very good English. She explained that she enjoyed her job very much but understood that if she were to marry and have children she would be expected to quit her job. I was outraged on her behalf and shocked at how accepting she was of this sexist norm. Then I reminded myself I was in their country and acting like the typical egocentric American, measuring everybody by the way we do things.

The law is slowly changing in Japan. Big Japanese employers (Sumitomo included) are being taken to court by their women employees on charges of discrimination and they are losing. They are being forced to give women the same opportunites as men. They also have to be careful about shaming a woman into quitting once she's married. It still happens though, culture is slow to change. They, men and women both, just don't find it acceptable for women with young children to be working. Japanese women are postponing marriage longer and longer, knowing that they will have to give up their careers. I think this change, along with the more indpendent and progressive minded youth will open the door for working mothers in Japan. It’s just going to take some time.

For my friend to be sent to a strange country as an unmarried woman is rare indeed. Her mindset is the tide that will turn Japan. She is confiedent in her ability, she knows she faces bias from her male counerparts. She doesn't care. She just does her job and ignores their shock, hesitancy and wonder at having to deal with a woman in a senior manager position. Having worked for a Japanese company for so many years I’m used to having to say goodbye. Assignees come and go in three year intervals. This one is hard though. I will miss Reiko a lot. Not for all she's accomplished for equal rights in our company but because she's my friend.

Graphics courtesy of dryicons

May 20, 2010

Bumping and Grinding

Best trip to Vegas ever.... Good company, good food, a nice jackpot on the slots day one that subsidized my bad blackjack luck the rest of the week. The room was great with the best view of Vegas we've ever had. It was really hard to come home to the same old grind.

Speaking of grinds, when did dancing turn into bumping and grinding your behind into somebody's groin.    We went to the VooDoo club on the top of the Rio.  Got there before the crowds and chose the lower deck because it was a little quieter and had a great view.  By the time I needed to visit the ladies room the upper deck was packed with young hard bodies grinding away at each other.  I literally was propelled from one side of the deck to other by all the thrusting.  I felt like somebody owed me dinner afterwards.  And the dresses these girls are wearing.  Little black dress is not accurate.  It's more like miniscule black dress.  The reason these places don't have seats is these girls couldn't possibly sit down in those things.

Stayed at the Mirage, my favorite place to gamble and sleep and then gamble some more.   The dealers there are so friendly you hardly notice they are taking your money.  New favorite drink is the Lemon Drop martini and my new favorite bar scene is "Dueling Pianos".  Saw an awesome duo at Napolean's in Paris.  Great music and very funny.  

When can I go back?

May 5, 2010

Jack or Sawyer?

Only 3 episodes of Lost left and there will officially be nothing on TV to watch anymore. This has been one awesome season. I’ve been with them from the beginning, never waivered. Even during the rough seasons where the plot was all over the place leading you to believe the writers were making it up episode by episode with no idea how it all fit together. Even through the season I missed because of a certain spouse who erased four episodes forcing me to wait for the season release on DVD. Through thick and thin.

One sure fire hook for me and many women I think is that every week we are presented with two archetypes of male attractiveness that are, at least for me, irresistible. The All American handsome doctor vs. the Hardass, Hardbody Troubled Soul. And just like the lead female character, Kate, we go back and forth between the two. Jack or Sawyer? We know what we mean when we ask each other that question.

In a perfect world you would live in a matriarchal society where you could have them both. But who’s kidding who here? Matriarchal societies were done away with once organized religion found a way to marginalize anything feminine. I decided religion wasn’t for me when I heard a sermon about how the husband was like the head of the body and the wife was the neck, there to support him. Off track, off topic and sure to offend somebody so I’ll try to course correct here.

So, given that we must choose, who do you go for? Jack or Sawyer? I have to go with Sawyer. The bad boy has always held more appeal for me. They are more of a challenge, they argue better, and are less likely to leave you once you get older. I imagine the Jacks of the world spend a little too much time gazing at themselves in mirrors. They know they are breathtakingly handsome and never let you forget it.

My daughter sent me a link with pictures of the Lost actors before they were famous. The pictures of Jack and Sawyer were from their high school days. There was Jack in his football uniform looking all dreamy and unobtainable. And there was Sawyer, looking as if he was skipping school and headed out to find some trouble somewhere. That sealed the deal.. Sawyer, all the way.