Sunday, September 30, 2007

Battle of the Sexes

I don't seem to write as often as I used to. Ah, I guess it's just cycles in my life. This is one of those busy periods, which will hopefully be followed by an extremely chilled-out couple of months.

I breezed through some of the Sunday papers this afternoon and the Battle of the Sexes column in Guardian's Life magazine caught my eye. The first time I saw it, I just thought "What the hell?"

Basically each week the column poses a question to a group of young men and women (most of them seem to be in university, which might partially explain the high level of inane responses). Men respond, I suppose giving the "male" perspective, while the women respond with the "female" perspective.

First off, I hate, hate, hate things that pitch men against women. It's totally unnecessary and pointless. Secondly, the questions are always incendiary, leading to usually ignorant statements and generalisations. Today's topic questioned whether we really live in a man's world.

Some choice responses from the men include:

"Who wants to compete that it's a man's world. Women are just tools in our hands. They occupy a loop hole that wasn't meant to be there in the first place....."

"If the women have a world, it's certainly underneath the men. Apart from there, I don't see any other space for them in the world."

"It's a man's world, no doubt. We rule in all ramifications and after we're all made and done, we buy up a woman. Well, they call it dowry but in its orginal truth, we just buy them to keep company."

some of the women had this to say:
"The woman is wiser, smarter and more intelligent; plus we've got 'bottom power'"

"Take a look at the world and tell me who you think rules. No musical video makes sense if no babe shakes her buddy (I guess supposed to read 'booty')."

I suppose it's supposed to be a light-hearted debate between the sexes, but the ignorance and chauvinism behind many of the statements (and sorry to say it, but especially the men's) makes it hard to chuckle over. Instead I'm hissing non-stop until I get tired and flip the page.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All in a Weekend's Work

This weekend I have been reminded why I use computers for so long. For a few months now, I've known that I needed to get a new laptop because mine had become excrutiatingly slow. I didn't feel that it was really worth buying more memory for it, especially since it had so many cracks in that people gasped whenever I brought it out in public.

Setting-up a new laptop with all the programs and settings of my old one, while sometimes fun, is not always something I look forward to. This time turned out not to be too painful though. I transferred all my files from my external hard-drive, which I used to back-up my old laptop. I connected my Netcom modem to my my new laptop and my settings were retrieved and I was online in an instant. That meant I could get on with downloading Firefox. I was pleased.

Then I opened iTunes to see all my music displayed, but to my incredible horror, NONE of my playlists!!! This was a travesty. I could not imagine spending hours re-creating the playlists that I had lovingly and thoughtfully put together over several months. In this day and age, there had to be an easier way, I thought. I searched online for possible solutions. On various discussion boards and websites, I found long-winded suggestions. One proposed exporting the source iTunes library as an XML file, replacing the file paths in the XML file with the destination paths, and deleting redundant files. Too long and tedious! There has to be an easier way. Some suggested using your iPod as a hard drive to move all the files. This made sense, but I already had an external drive so why would I want to use my iPod as one.

When I figured it out, it was so easy and obvious. I had moved all my music files from my external hard drive to my new laptop. However on my old laptop, the files were in the My Music folder. On the external drive they were kept in My Documents. By simply moving the files into the corresponding My Music file on my new computer, all my playlists were kept intact.

The next thing I had to tackle was my bookmarks. I love to bookmark and I have so many. I don't really use any of the social bookmarking tools out there - amazing given how I love to track bits of knowledge. I discovered a Firefox add-on that allows you to transfer your bookmarks to a server and synchronise these bookmarks on multiple computers. Lovely! I had problems synching from my old laptop and nearly pulled my hair out figuring what was wrong, until I realised that it was my highly effective (read: annoying) anti-virus software, Norton. Once I switched it off, I was able to upload my bookmarks, after which I switched Norton back on again.

Ah, I can sigh in relief. This was certainly a productive weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ore in La-La Land

It's definitely nice to be back. A good break leaves you feeling very well rested and ready for more work. Monday was so deceiving. There were no ceiling-high piles of papers on my desk and all seemed to have gone really smoothly while I was out. By Tuesday, forget it! I was snowed under like I typically am. I cannot even complain. As one just returning from a vacation, the thinking is that I would have loads of energy and be raring to go. I think I need another break. Better still, during my next vacation I think I will stay at home and sleep.

Los Angeles was really great. It was my second time visiting. This time I stayed with my friend Funke. She has a really cute apartment in a city?/suburb? of LA called Torrance. There's nothing really special about Torrance, just that it's about 20 minutes from downtown LA (with no traffic). It's also clean and peaceful, which I liked.

The traffic in LA is legendary. I thought NOTHING can be as bad as Lagos traffic and truly LA traffic is nothing like Lagos. Lagos roads are narrow and over-congested. LA freeways are wide and over-congested. Everyone it seems owns a car. Almost no one takes public transport. Everyone drives everywhere - even to a place that is 5 minutes down the road! The freeway typically has 4 lanes: 1 car-pool lane i.e. for cars with more than 1 person inside; the other 3 lanes are for everyone else i.e. for people driving by themselves. Would you believe that with all this space, the usual scenario is that all 3 lanes are chock-full of cars for as far as the eye can see while the car-pool lane is near empty. Those Angelenos love their cars!

My flight into LA arrived late and it took me even longer to clear through immigration, so naturally I expected Funke to be out waiting by the time I got out. I was even half-expecting to see her waving a "Welcome to LA, Ore!" sign. I should be so lucky! The girl wasn't even there when I got out. I switched on my phone and called her. After hurried greetings, she told me that she couldn't find the terminal.

- "What terminal are you at?", she asked.

- How the hell would I know? "Errrr.. arrivals?"

-"I've been looking for the British Airways terminal and driving around and around."

- Okay, whatever! Just get here soon!

Then she checked "What airport are you at?"

Little butterflies of panic started fluttering in my belly.

- LAX. Why? How many airports are there in LA?

- "Like 3! Phew! Okay, I'm at LAX too."

I bought the September issue of Essence magazine (with Jill Scott on the cover) and settled down to read it. Funke got there soon enough. It was great to see her. From the way she'd been going on about how much weight she had put on since moving to the States, I thought she'd be fat, but the girl wasn't exaggerating when she said that she has been seriously working out.

We caught-up on the drive to her apartment. By the time we got to her house I was pretty tired. By the next day however, I was totally wiped out. I couldn't believe it! I planned on going out to get my nails done but it was so hot that I decided to wait until the sun went down a little first. In the meantime, I swanned on the couch watching cable and eating. I found that I just couldn't stop eating or sleeping. When Funke got back from work, she found me in much the same position that she'd left me - on the couch. I managed to drag myself out for dinner. However the next day, the fatigue lingered on.

"What's going on? Why am I so tired?" Well, figuring that I couldn't spend my entire time in LA prostrated on the couch, I hauled my ass (literally) to Hollywood Boulevard.

I probably should have rented a car, but I wanted a laid-back vacation. To get downtown I took a cab. It had always seemed to me that people in LA don't take cabs as frequently as people in New York take cabs. Aside from the fact that everyone in LA owns a car, the traffic means that you are stuck in the cab for a while and the meter keeps ticking away.

Hollywood Boulevard was somewhat of a let-down - kind of less shiny and glamorous than I was expecting. Of course, you do get to see (and walk all over) the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I took a bus tour, which took me down the rest of the Boulevard, into Beverly Hills (through Rodeo Drive), past Paramount and CBS Studios (where many favourite TV shows are filmed). The tour-bus recording (nope, nothing as exotic as an actual tour guide on these buses) pointed out places featured in some famous movies; we also got to see some famous hotels, some famous designer shops; some famous ..... well, you get the idea.

As physically tired (and I guess jet-lagged as I was), I dozed off on the bus. It wasn't a boring tour! I did say that I was tired! And besides, being on a moving vehicle does that to me. I'm actually amazed that I stayed awake for almost the whole thing.

I was slightly worried about driving. After having had to get used to manic Lagos driving, I was anxious about driving in a sane environment. I took the bull by the horns and drove Funke's car to the mall one afternoon and was pleasantly surprised. I only cut-off 1 driver. Her shocked expression quickly reminded me that I wasn't in Lagos anymore.

Okay, this post is getting too long and I don't like overly long posts. Will continue the story of Ore in La-La Land later in another post.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back Home!

Today was my first day back at work after my much-needed vacation. It was great! It's amazing how a good break can fill you with so much energy. I had started feeling very lethargic (not to mention exhausted) for a minute there. I woke-up this morning well before my alarm went off and was very excited to be returning to work.