Friday, March 24, 2006

On mergers

There has been a lot on the news, in Portugal and elsewhere, on mergers, buy-offs, takeovers, etc. I had all these terms explained to me on Wed evening, but after only 4 hours sleep on the previous night and a stressful journey to London, I'm afraid I didn't memorize all the definitions (sorry, Roy). But I just found out the awful news yesterday: Body Shop has been bought off by L'Oreal! Despite assurances that The Body Shop is going to be run independently, this is nothing short of a calamity. No more guilt-free buying of beauty products - I remind you that L'Oreal was one of the main animal testers before the law forbidding animal tests for cosmetics was passed and that it has very brazen and vulgar PR tactics (I have mentioned elsewhere the L'Oreal Women in Science prize). I have bought one or two of the new L'Oreal products, but it is nothing compared with the warm glow when I buy Body Shop, knowing the products are ethically sourced, tested, actually work and smell nice as well.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Yesterday had one of those important "touch-base" conversations with two of my girlfriends. These are where you check that everything is ok, what major emotional events are going through our lives and, at least for me, renew our amazement that these wonderful people are actually your friends.
And, I have said it before but I will say it again, it astonishes me more and more that with such amazing and beautiful women in the world, some men still go out with bimbos. So, to belatedly celebrate Women's Day (8th of March), two quotes:

- From a radio program on the day, after listing the various reasons why women are more perfect than men, my favourite:
"Because they can do everything that men can, and in high heels"

- And from one of these little books, a pearl of wisdom that some of you may recognize and that summarizes my recent conclusions on the issue. Also has a lot to do with some conversations I've been having. One lives and learns:
"I know it's an infuriating concept - that men like to chase and you have to let us chase you. I know. It's insulting. It's frustrating. It's unfortunatley the truth[...]Men, for most part, like to pursue women. We like not knowing if we can catch you. We feel rewarded when we do. Especially when the chase is a long one. We know there was a sexual revolution. (We loved it.) We know women are capable of running governments, heading multinational corporations, and raising loving children - sometimes all at the same time. That, however, doesn't make men different."

And to finish on a higher note, this lovely link which most of you must know:

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

And another update

I know, I know… haven’t written for a long time. News for the future first:

I’m going to be in London from the 22nd to the 28th of March. Have started contacting friends individually, but won’t have time to e-mail everyone with meeting-up suggestions, so if you are in London and want to meet up just e-mail or text!

Am also hatching a plan to invest my savings in spending the whole month of April in London working on my thesis. If I manage to follow this through will let everyone know. (As any plan hatched by me could obviously never involve going into hiding for a month – I feel that a 1000pounds and not having pretexts not to write for eight hours a day are enough of a sacrifice). The reasons I haven’t been writing so well here in Porto are (past news now): buying my brother’s half of our apartment, which entailed at least ten visits each to the bank, the inland revenue services, the land registry, the mayor’s office, the estate managers…(and several other sundry public departments). Each of these visits takes at least an hour, usually more, plus the time to get there. Refurbishments in my flat – plumbing, carpentry, kitchen and floors. Nuff said. Buying furniture, tidying the house and finding tenants for the rooms. Trying to find some way of doing exercise here in Porto and digging up friends who are not in couples so actually do still socialize (once you’re a in a couple in Portugal you stop going out. Don’t ask me why). This is what I have spent most of my time on since November.
If you are getting bored reading this, imagine how I feel wasting my time in these things instead of something meaningful like saving the world (in an indirect way I suppose you could include finishing my PhD in this) or making loads if money. It is DRIVING ME UP THE WALL.

On a more cheerful note:
The weather here is GORGEOUS, over 20 degrees, balmy, sunny. The kind of weather you get in England on a really good summer’s day. But here you know that it’s just going to stay like this or get warmer until October. It’s kind of reassuring, you know?
Had a splendid Indian-theme weekend in the beginning of March, starting of with an Indian dance lesson (mostly Kathak on that occasion), following on with an Indian carnival party and then a Bollywood film (Devdas, the modern version). Also managed to see some films of Fantasporto, and had a good conversation with a Portuguese friend who has lived in London on and off for the past 7 years. Guess what: he finds English women as complicated as I find English men! So maybe it isn’t just me…
The last two weekends were quieter and I actually spent most of the last one sleeping, or at least in bed…

And although I don’t get a lot of work done here, I have been getting something done on my thesis, don’t worry (this for all of my conscientious friends who by now are probably tearing their hair of with worry on my behalf).