Archive for June, 2012

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having it all.

June 26, 2012

The Atlantic article “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” has been making the rounds this past month.It’s interesting – and long. The first half discusses myths about how women can have it all, while the second half goes into what’s needed to make this change.

The first half of this article is great because it points out that not being able to hold down a high level career and be a very present parent is not because women aren’t trying hard enough. Obviously, you need to have some ambition to get to the top and you need a supportive spouse and you need to do some life planning. But there’s no magic formula. That’s huge – that women realize it’s not just that we’re not working hard enough to make it work.

But what I wish is that the article addressed that “having it all” as defined by work-life balance isn’t just a women’s issue. It’s mentioned, on the last page, only briefly that men are starting to be in the same boat. That it’ll be easier for women to balance work and family if top level men are doing the same. But why aren’t there articles about men having it all – or not? Because we still expect women to have families and be the primary caregiver, and it’s ok that fathers work long hours and miss a few school performances and are rarely home. Men in top positions are making similar choices between work and family – women need to start feeling that it’s ok for them to make those choices too.

Perhaps that’s why so many women in high powered positions don’t have a family. The NY Times had an interesting opinion piece on the decision to have children having a much broader impact than the immediate family.

In fact, people are still expected to provide reasons not to have children, but no reasons are required to have them. It’s assumed that if individuals do not have children it is because they are infertile, too selfish or have just not yet gotten around to it. In any case, they owe their interlocutor an explanation. On the other hand, no one says to the proud parents of a newborn, Why did you choose to have that child? What are your reasons? The choice to procreate is not regarded as needing any thought or justification.

For women who work long into the night and even on weekends and are fast-tracking up the ladder of success – do children need to factor into your game plan? I know there are people out there who refuse to get a pet because they’re never home and they would feel bad. Having a child is a similar, though much more important, decision. If you do not have time for a pet, you do not have time for a child. Being pregnant for 9 months and, often, breast-feeding for 6 months, women are going to feel an impact on their work – even if after the child is born, they are willing to have 24-hr nannies and day care and a stay at home husband. So in my mind, it makes a lot of sense for the women at the top to choose not to have kids. And that doesn’t mean they don’t have everything they want.

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bookworm.

June 7, 2012

It’s been a while and while my current reading has been going along somewhat slowly, I did go through a couple weeks where I read like crazy. My biggest problem is that I hate not finishing a book. Even if I hate it and it’s boring, I just can’t stop reading it. It means I read several books at once and the ones I don’t like are pretty slow.

I Want My MTV: Not so much a story as it’s an anthology of quotes. The chapters break down important events in MTV’s lifespan and is then told through the quotes of people involved. It ended up a little long, but it started out really interesting. When MTV started, music videos weren’t even a thing and the people involved really had no idea what they were doing. It’s completely different from how it is now. And I realized I’m too young to have been impacted by the rise of MTV (that and I never had cable). But it’s weird because most of the time I feel so old – but definitely, I am not this old.

Snow Crash: Ah, classic cyberpunk. Can you believe I haven’t read this book yet? I really liked it. Even though, it does just have a whole chapter that explains exactly what’s going on to you. But that’s ok, because otherwise, it would be Neuromancer all over again and I wouldn’t have a clue what actually happened.

The Night Circus: This is THE book to read. It made a lot of best seller lists last year; I think it’s already got film rights sold. It’s really great. It’s about two magicians who are locked in a battle of skill against each other. Their battleground is a traveling circus. Then, of course, they fall in love. The love part isn’t terribly exciting, but the battle is. Don’t expect your typical magic spells and bursts of energy fighting. It’s all about what crazy things they can create with their magic to make the circus amazing.

The Manual of Detection: This was a very interesting book. It seems like classic non-spy turned spy and needs to solve a mystery. Complete with classic arch nemesis, creepy henchmen, a girl whose both good and bad, and a lot of sneaking around. I liked it, but I don’t really know how much I liked it.

Bio of a Space Tyrant #2 & #3: Better than the first one. Book 2 focuses on the space tyrant as he moves up the ranks in the Jupiter Navy, building the best team and eventually working to exterminate a significant number of pirates. Book 3 focuses on his political rise in Jupiter – essentially how he goes from ex-military to tyrant. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of references to the first book, so I guess you have to read that first.

There were a whole bunch of books that don’t warrant much of a review and you can find them on Goodreads.

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planes.

June 1, 2012

In the last month, I’ve made a few trips: San Diego, New York, Philadelphia. It’s definitely weird to travel so much after a year of not going anywhere. But I guess I better start getting used to it. Here are my observations from my trips.

  • A surprising number of people use airplane bathrooms without shoes. This is gross to me. Though airplane bathrooms do constantly surprise me with how not gross they are.
  • AirTran charges you to select your seats before your flight. Really?
  • Non-stop flights from San Francisco to the East Coast are so long. I almost prefer having a layover than a straight six hour flight. Also, the time difference kills me – a whole 8-9 hours gone just to get there.
  • Traveling without a suitcase is pretty much the greatest thing ever. I think I’m the only person who actually likes to check bags.
  • San Francisco Terminal 2 looks so much cooler than Terminal 1. Is this because Virgin flies out of that terminal? Or something else?
  • Flew my first flight on Virgin. They have more male flight attendants than other airlines – at least that’s what it seemed. And they have a fancy computerized ordering system for snacks/drinks. This is not a more pleasant experience – at least not in coach.
  • Don’t buy nail polish in airports. Even in an emergency. It’s a total ripoff. Just wait til you get to your destination and then go to Walgreens.