The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for October, 2010

Sadly, Good-Bye to Biking to Work, too

Posted by thearrow on October 29, 2010

After Odysseys that lasted on average 2 hours and which culminated with my 3-hour commute home last night, I decided to give up on biking to work during the winter. It’s an enormous hassle to put the bike on the bus AND change two buses. The trip on the first bus lasted one full hour because of crawling traffic. I got at the end of that route at 7 p.m. Then I biked 15 minutes to the other bus stop, only to see two of them just leaving as I was getting closer. I had to wait for 15 minutes.

And that was not the end of it. The bus wasn’t going all the way, it stopped about halfway from home, so I had to bike some more. I had left work at 5:40 and I got home at 8:45. That’s just insane.

I have only one option left, and that is to bike all the way to the second bus, which would definitely take me probably 50 minutes, so I could catch earlier buses which are more frequent. That said, I would have to do this when it’s dark and cold, and on a very steep hill for the most part; I would still not get home before 7:30 p.m. It’s just not worth it.

Now I’m glad I stocked up on winter biking clothes this summer, when I thought all it took to bike year-round was determination. That might be true in general, but not when you have a 13-mile commute. No way.



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Good-Bye Facebook

Posted by thearrow on October 28, 2010

And good riddance!

As of today, I’m no longer on Facebook and I wonder what took me so long to do this after I made the mistake to join it (which took me a year after a friend invited me). I’m grateful a few people with whom I had lost touch have found me and now we’re friends. But besides them there are a ton of others that I really don’t want to be in touch with and I had to say yes to connecting with them. I can’t tell you how much I hate that.

After I got married, a (not-too-close) friend pointed out that I had not changed my status on Facebook. I don’t need that kind of sh**. I don’t want to update anything and I don’t need people from my past, with whom I don’t have anything in common, if I ever had, to comment on my life. Not necessarily this particular friend, but people I haven’t talked to in 10 years or more. There’s always email and phone calls if I want to keep in touch.

But I only have myself to blame for disregarding the fact that I’m someone who likes very close friendships and not weak links (see Gladwell’s The Tipping Point).

In one word, WHEW!

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No Economist Guilt

Posted by thearrow on October 22, 2010

My subscription to The Economist, which was a very much appreciated gift from a very dear friend, has expired and I breathed a sigh of relief. I will not renew it because I cannot deal with the guilt ensuing from not getting to read ever-growing piles of magazines through. Whenever Saturday rolled around, my blood pressure went up at the thought of having one more great magazine I’ll only skim.

Also, I read news constantly, so it’s not like I’m not going to be up to speed with what’s happening.  I couldn’t deal with being hooked to the news on weekends, too. Plus, when I read a paper magazine I like to take it easy, I think of it as relaxation, I want to take my time to delve into it. With The Economist I was always, OMG, OMG, the world is going to the crapper, or darn, there’s so much I don’t know. Kind of like when I started watching CNN when I came to the States and had to turn it off after half an hour, especially if I watched “The Situation Room” because my heart rate was up. Now I think CNN is slow compared to Keith Olbermann’s show on MSNBC, which is OMG all the time but which I watch almost every evening.

So I’m going to relax with The New Yorker, whose stories and writing are so engrossing that they help you disconnect from the world and transport you to a completely different place. To be even more guilt-free, maybe I’ll even be able to catch up on old issues, which I’m keeping.

I’m also hoping to catch up on Wired, which offers the most incredible reading experience I’ve seen. It’s dazzling graphic layout and super compressed writing on thoroughly researched things is hard to describe. It sure makes me feel exactly like its title, wired, wound up, and ready to bounce around. I don’t recommend reading it before going to bed or your head will spin until dawn.

Now, if I could only wean myself of reading the newspapers online for hours every weekend…

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L’Etat C’est Toi

Posted by thearrow on October 19, 2010

The French have now turned violent in their protest against raising the retirement age from the age of 60 to the frail age of 62.

Even high school kids and students protested, completely oblivious to the fact that they would pay heftily for years for a whole generation of retirees before they can even think of retiring themselves. How crazy is that?

But the adults should know better (you’d think). The state is not an abstract entity whose role is to provide a nice life to everyone. I’m definitely not siding with American conservatives here, who think the government shouldn’t even exist (other than give tax cuts to the rich, perhaps). But the French are out of their mind. All their social welfare perks do cost money, and that money comes from their own pockets. Sure, France has a nice, equitable income redistribution system; you pay quite a bit into it and you also get a lot out of it.

They’re in total denial that what goes out will soon (if it hasn’t already) balloon way over what goes in, though. Who’s going to dole out the difference? Their children and grandchildren? One might not agree with Sarkozy on a lot of things (like the expulsion of the Roma) but he sure got this one right. And the French are behaving like toddlers digging their heels in and screaming “non.”

How pathetic.

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My Halloween Costume

Posted by thearrow on October 11, 2010

… will be Christine O’Donnell dressed demurely (pearls and all) and repeating “I am not a witch.” This couldn’t have been timed any better, seriously.

For those outside the U.S., Christine O’Donnell won the Republican primary for the senate race in Delaware as a Tea Party favorite. The Tea Party is this movement of angry, white, mostly middle-aged folks who think Obama is a socialist (and also a Muslim and sometimes even a Nazi, all at the same time presumably) because of managing to pass an historic health care reform bill that will extend coverage to some 15 million people (out of the 50 million that have no health insurance whatsoever). It’s an achievement that eluded presidents for the past 70 years if not more. They also hate  the bank bailouts (actually initiated by Bush) and the stimulus bill, both of which helped prevent the economy from falling off a cliff. Yes, I know we still have very high unemployment and I agree the administration should have done more about that.

But if you listen to Tea Partiers, government (a.k.a. spending) should be eliminated and taxes cut. That doesn’t prevent them from being upset that the government hasn’t done anything to create jobs. To that, all I have to say is, go to Somalia, people. That’s a country without a government. You can’t have your homeland security, Social Security, Medicare and your taxes, too.

So anyway, the whole Tea Party thing is a bunch of confused people with contradictory policy wishes. And along comes Christine O’Donnell, in Delaware, who, in an 90’s interview on Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect” show, said that she dabbled in witchcraft when she was young. If anything, that’s a minor, funny distraction from what should be the election issues.

However, she felt compelled to dispel the myth, with this great ad:

Posted in American Politics, fun | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Kitty Ritual

Posted by thearrow on October 8, 2010

Whether in the morning or evening, if I stretch my legs on the sofa Mr. Jinks will promptly come to stretch himself on them. I LOVE it that he wants to snooze on me like that, one time for 40 minutes and he even snored.

I took the pic with my phone, so it’s not that crisp, but you get the idea. One morning this week he was in the same position when I really had to go to the bathroom, so I gently took the front part of his body in my hands and moved it on the couch. His butt was still on my legs. He was sleepy and confused, and stayed there with his butt on my legs for a while until he woke up to the harsh reality that he had to go.

Steve has now resigned himself to the fact that Jinks and I have a love words can’t describe. He said, “you have replaced me as the object of his affection while I finance his lifestyle.” LOL. You can imagine Mr. Jinks being chauffeured around town in a black limousine.


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Transformers 3 Shot in DC

Posted by thearrow on October 8, 2010

At least parts of it. I’ve just been alerted at work about road closures related to scene shootings. Cool! I’ll see if I can squeeze nearby to take a few pics. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Posted in American culture, fun | Tagged: | 3 Comments »