Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I am really curious about this, and have been for ages.

I am actually surprised that I haven't tackled this topic earlier.

As someone whose capabilities of 'multi-tasking' extend no further than talking and driving at the same time, I admit that I feel incredibly inadequate sometimes.


Because women are supposed to be these queens of multi-tasking.
And I am not.

So naturally, to appease my hamster, I have to ask two questions:

1. Is multi-tasking not simply a myth created by people with a vested interest? (I'll explain!)

2. Is multi-tasking actually necessary?

Yes, I am knocking something I am no good at.

But...jokes aside, I am really interested in this.

What is actually meant by multi-tasking?
Men can also drive and talk, so does that mean that men can multi-task too?
(I am not being intentionally dense - I honestly do not understand this term very well).

In one sense, I can see that (in answer to question 2) it is useful for carers of small children to 'have eyes at the back of their heads', so to speak. This is one realm where I think 'multi-tasking' is indeed a necessary evil.
And given that in most cases, the care of small children is a task of women (mothers, nannies, elementary school teachers, au pairs, etc.), I can see that one needs to be able to somehow give attention to several things at once, including keeping a watchful eye.

'It only takes a second'...where small children are concerned...

The case of 3 year old Jamie Bulger who was kidnepped and later tortured and killed by two ten year olds many years ago. The biggest and scariest lesson I learned from that case was....It only takes a second.

A child drowning in the family swimming pool. A frantic mother repeating over and over again: my back was turned for literally one second...

And so on...

But aside from dealing with (unpredictable) small children, what are the other benefits of 'multi-tasking'?

And now I am back to question 1.

Why has multi-tasking in the last few decades become such a big deal?
Is this a sideways attempt at re-inforcing the notion that 'women can do it all, have it all'?
Forgive me if this is a bit of a stretch. I have grown predictably suspicious of anything that might have 'feminism' associated with it.

As I build towards formulating my own thoughts on the evoltuion of feminism, as commissioned by PVW, I am learning to recognise certain lamp-posts and red flags along the way.

'What a man can do, a woman can do better'. I grew up with this phrase in mainstream media.
Is muti-tasking a cousin of this statement?

But something else bothers me.

If multi-tasking is so necessary, why aren't men clamouring to contest the idea that women can multi-task better than them?

Are men not bothered?
Or do men accept this as 'women's work' and therefore not contesting this notion?
Is this a form of chivalry that says, 'let them have this one'?

I really don't know.
But I am curious enough about it.

There is some science to suggest that multi-tasking could indeed be 'women's work'.
Men may have bigger brains per square metre of body surface area, but women have more 'connections' or synapses which ensure that several activities can be performed all at the same time.
I don't contest this.

But...is it necessary to do several things at once? Indeed, is it desirable other than for the above - care of small children at risk of coming to grief if someone does not have their eye on them?

Wouldn't it be better to concentrate on one thing at a time?
In the case of driving, I guess it would, if we were talking about driving and texting, for instance...

Also, is there a benefit to the 'multi-tasker'?
Or just stress and hassle as the picture below seems to suggest?

Is this whole post just sour grapes on my part because I can't do two things at once?

Enlighten me.

Friday, January 18, 2013


We have yet to reach the end of the first month of the new year, and already, I am embracing my geeky side :-)

Yes, that didn't take long, did it...

'Déception' is the French word for 'disappointment'.
Having tackled the etymology of 'pity' and 'mercy' to death, I now turn my geeky attentions to 'disappointment'.

I get it. The French see 'disappointment' as a kind of deception.
This feels about right. I see their point.
In fact, I might go so far as to declare that disappointment feels sometimes like a lance has been driven though one's heart.
Exaggeration? Of course!
But we all resort to exaggeration when we feel pain, don't we...


Endurance sports have always been one of my geeky 'things'. There have been times when I have done some nutty stuff whilst under the influence of 'two-wheel craze'.

To this day, I own a bike which costs more than my old banger of a car. (No joke).

One of my (as yet unfulfilled) aspirations is to do a stage of the Tour de France just once before I die. Preferably a mountain stage :-)
When the Tour came to Britain for the first time a few years ago, I was there...

I wonder - is one of my beefs against feminism due to my dismay at the slogan 'A fish needs a bicycle like....'??

This fish rather digs a bike, lol.
(I know, I know, they were talking about something else...)

My love of cycling has always been there, as far back as I can remember.
But it didn't quite 'go into orbit' until one man's meteoric rise to fame.


Around the time that Lance Armstrong won his first Tour, I knew a group of men. They were mostly young (under 40), mostly bald, sick all the time, ghostly pale and were missing a double-appendage that most men would rather keep.

Yep, what these men all had in common was testicular cancer. And at the time I encountered them, they were all intra- or post-chemo.

They were courageous and exquisitely interesting men. With a (dark) sense of humour to boot. Dealing with a condition that ensures you lose your fertility is not funny. But these men were hell-bent on forcing one another to confront their predicament in the most brutal way possible.

In a manner similar to Black men calling each other by a prohibitive word that no-one else is allowed to use, these men called each other names I cannot possibly repeat on this blog...
The fact that one of the chemotherapy regimes (for some of them) had the acronym 'CHOP' did not help matters in this regard. You get the idea...

Testicular cancer is one of the best prognosis male cancers. But like its cruel cousin, breast cancer, it hurts the sufferer where it hurts.
Some of these men were as young as 18. 'Cryotechnology' mitigates the hopelessness of infertility somewhat, I imagine, but knowing you would never become a parent the 'natural' way has its own unique drawbacks. Of that I am pretty sure...

I had not much in common with these men, of course.
Except for a shared love of cycling with (some of) them.

So when a young man (just like them) who had lost his 'crown jewels' (just like them) showed the whole world that he had the biggest ones of all when he won the most prestigious prize of one of the most prestigious sports in the universe, again and again, seven times, these men found a new inspiration that medical technology, in the form of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery could never offer them.

Quite honestly, to these men, and to the rest of us mortal 'groupies' in the world of cycling, Mr. Armstrong was a demi-god.
His book 'It's not about the bike' takes pride of place on my bookshelf.

So, of course, many people are going to be disappointed with this week's news.
Many of us will be feeling deceived right about now.

But, hey, that's life. We'll get over it, somehow, someday.
Perhaps it will help to think of him as simply a young man who beat cancer.

And, perhaps we might even trust that the next guy who gets to wear the 'maillot jaune' at the end of a gruelling three weeks in July, will have won it on merit, and in honour, without the aid of performance-enhancing drugs...

As ever, on this blog, my thoughts always come to rest on the SMP, no matter how far away from this topic I began :-)

I think one of the problems of the current SMP is that everybody is simply disappointed. Everyone feels cheated by the other.

There is a 'marriage strike' because men feel they have been duped out of the option of having at least a 'critical mass' of marriageable women to choose from.
Women, even the few marriageable ones left, feel disappointed by the men who seem to have passed judgment on all women.

It all feels like one big hoax.

Blood, sweat and tears?
Or just... drugs.
PS: I like this video, so I keep it. But I just notice the lyrics are rather...um... colourful in places. Excuse this, please! 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are introverts born or created?

It wasn't just the return of Flirtyintrovert back to The Sanctuary that got me thinking about introverts in general :-)

No, it was this film:

Beasts of the southern wild.
Delightful film.
Not least because the lead role is played by a nine year old who is also the youngest ever Oscar nominee.
One can certainly see why she has been nominated, when one sees the film.
And her name - Quvenzhané...never heard it before. Is it French? Creole? Cajun? Where does it come from? Unusual and lovely name.
Anyhow, she plays a five year old who lives in a rather backward (technologically-speaking) community in a village nicknamed 'The Bathtub' as it lies in a flood plain.
This community is a bit of a utopia, but only if you think the absence of modern technology is a good thing.
Different races live in harmony. All the kids are mothered by all the women, and fathered by all the men.
The kid in question, Hushpuppy, is the quintessential introvert, I think.
She is brought up by her father as a boy (he calls her 'boss', teaches her to flex her biceps often, dresses her in trousers all the time, such that in a solitary scene where we see her in a dress, one does a double-take to check it is really her, and doesn't want any 'girl stuff' in his house, lol).
Hushpuppy is motherless, and like Louisa Godwin, she makes up a fantasy world involving her absent mother.
She lives (alone) in a separate house from her father (so it's not so much 'Go to your room!' as 'Go to your house!' for this unusual family).
Indeed, she only goes to his house when he rings the bell announcing 'feed up time'!
'Food' is usually a simple affair. A chicken shoved unceremoniously on a fire, or a fish that he caught and she was trained to knock unconscious with her fist.
When her father gets sick from a mystery disease (alcohol-related liver cirrhosis, methinks) that he wants to hide from her, she is upset (naturally) that she is not allowed in his house at a time she wants to go there.
Burn down her house, so she gets to move in with Dad.
Logical enough :-)
Hushpuppy kind of lives in a fantasy world of her own making for much of her young life. She is introspective about everything, startlingly so for a five year old - including (spoiler alert!) the eventual death of her father. 
But I wonder...are introverted people born or made?
Hushpuppy's environment was certaily conducive to introversion. Not much else to do in The Bathtub other than drink alcohol (yes, she was already her father's drinking buddy) or reflect.
But...would she have been so if she were in a different environment?
There are more extroverts in this world than introverts, according to Myers-Briggs and other personality indicators.
But the numbers of introverts are rising because of smaller family sizes and isolating technology, I heard.
Also, in general, as people get older, they become more introverted, even if they were extroverts to begin with.
Is there such a thing as an introvert, born and bred?
Can one inherit personality?

Do two introverts produce an introverted child necessarily? Do two extroverts produce another extrovert?
Are there studies on this?
If so, could anyone point me in the right direction?
Such is where my latest curiosity quest takes me :-)
In any case, I think this is a pertinent question, given that statistically speaking, most internet surfers are thought to be introverts.
That means, you and me :-)
I hope Quvenzhané Wallis wins the Oscar. She seems unusually articulate and adorable to boot.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

The diverse faces of modern motherhood

First the funny side.

This video had me laughing so hard I may have ruptured something :-)

All this to advertise a car? :-)

Well at least this is one contraceptive The Church will not disapprove of :-)

It seems not too long ago we were ringing in a brand new year.
And already, I am back to asking questions.

No longer just why, but also nowadays how?

Like...how can these women be women?
Yes, South Africa has 'special' problems, but can this ever be explained by socio-political unrest?

Crass fatherhood is never to be excused, of course. And it takes many forms.
But I don't think I have ever come across a tale like this one before...

Children whose parents break up often blame themselves to some degree.
This poor child will one day know that she is indeed the reason her parents divorced.
For being 'ugly'. And she isn't even ugly at all!

But the first man in her life thinks so.
So she will always believe this.

This father has ruined the life of his daughter before it has begun.
Every young woman needs to know that she is pretty. Especially to her father or his substitute.
This doesn't mean she has to flash her bosom on Facebook.
But she has to know in her soul that she is attractive to someone important to her.
Daddy is the most important man until someone else takes over :-)

This is a highly dangerous woman.
Other than to share her ideas, I shan't discuss her further.

Let's hope she never has a son.
But even so, she is still dangerous to society.

With her ideas, she is condemning her daughters to pain and solitude.
Unless they choose not to listen to her.

Has it always been this diverse?
Or is this a relatively new phenomenon...

Friday, January 4, 2013



Yes I get it.

In the context of a new year (Happy New Year to all, by the way!) the title of this post may easily be misconstrued.

No problem. I shall explain.

I don't mean New Year's resolutions.

Although...speaking of which, I do have an important one.
Not too private to share, so I will.

I shall learn to dance this year :-)
Though, not quite like that in the video accompanying this post, one might be relieved to hear :-)

And... in bowing to popular demand, I shall try to keep posts shorter henceforth.
This New Year resolution may be harder to keep, but I shall try.

I fully rely on you guys to give me a little rap on the knuckles if I exceed acceptable limits :-)

With regards to the SMP, I have alternated (quite schizophrenically) between optimistic and pessimistic.
Now I arrive at the gates of 'neutral'.

Here's how I arrived here.

I had always liked this particular song but not necessarily the pop group, a British girl band known as 'The Sugababes'. I like the 'rhythm' of the underlying beat of this song.
I had also never seen this video until very recently.

It is generally 'raunchy' as one would expect of a pop music video.

But I see something else.

It seems quite apocalyptic to me, for some reason. It also seems incredibly tragic. I find it a particularly joyless song, with my new frame of mind recently, whereas I always liked it before without the 'visual' and not paying much attention to the lyrics.

Women in a ring, men apparently excluded, a metal barricade separating the two genders until the very end.

The lyrics start with this:

Round, round baby
Round, round
Spinning out on me
I don't need no man
Got my kicks for free

And somewhere in the middle we have this...

Explanations - no you don't need one
Having a good time
Getting down to the fun
And it's your time
Just tonight he'll be mine
And he's gone

Which seems to describe a 'round and round situation' known as a 'carousel' rather well...

And we end up with...

Does it hurt, when you see
How I've done
Without you
Thought that I couldn't belong
Never thought that you could be so cruel
All you need is some friends
Won't be by yourself
Let's go round and round and round and round and r-o-u-nd

There's certainly a touch of 'you hate how I succeed without you' here.

And so on.

This reminds me of the post about angry men and women.

Men and women angry at each other and chasing each other round and round an empty rink of some sort.
Except in this picture drawn by the Sugababes, the women are secluded in a secure area - presumably for their own safety.

How is this all going to end?

The resolution will come, for sure.
But in what form?

What will happen to these angry men and women of the SMP when they are in their 80s and 90s?

Would it be the 'decline' predicted by some?
Or a miraculous recovery by all concerned?

I suddenly had the thought that it would be more like a peaceful resolution.
A contentment which may well be unexpected by all concerned.

But good enough.

I guess everyone has something to be angry about to some extent.
But as Bellita once said, perhaps it is women who will have to blink first.
Remarkable insight.

But not every woman wants to blink first.

Does anyone else have a different ending in mind?
If so, why not share?