Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monthly Reads: Women Lack Confidence, Keep Rhinos as Pets

I wrote on Women's Web about how I got my new job (and social media played a big role in this).

I loved this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

I enjoyed reading this year-old obituary of Anna Merz, who started a sanctuary for black rhinos in Kenya. I especially loved reading about Samia:
Samia, an orphan rhino whom she raised from babyhood, even crawled into bed with Mrs. Merz — not entirely to her delight. Samia would follow her around like a dog, even after leaving Mrs. Merz’s immediate care and returning to the reserve, where she mated and had her own calf. If Mrs. Merz fell, Samia would extend her tail to help her up.         
Not realizing how big she had grown, Samia once tried to sneak back into the house where she had been nursed and became jammed in the dining room door. Mrs. Merz had to pour a gallon of cooking oil on her rough skin to ease her through.
I found this article in the Atlantic about women lacking confidence both interesting and frustrating. While I do agree that I see many more arrogant men than women, here are some of the things I found frustrating:
  1. The article seems to be set in a world where all men are self-assured or arrogant, and all women lack confidence. This is really annoying. I know some confident, even arrogant women (though I must admit I can't think of any quiet, self-effacing men I know).
  2. Many of the "differences between men and women" laid out in this article seem to me to be differences between extroverts and introverts. Introverts take notes and think before they speak. Extroverts are more comfortable speaking their thoughts. This isn't gendered.
  3. Thirdly, arrogant people are likeable? Really? Back at b-school (which was my last ground for observing a lot of peer-to-peer social behavior), everyone disliked, even mocked, the arrogant people, and respected those who knew their stuff. Maybe it's different in the US?
Anyway. I really liked this response to the article, though. Read this one.

Also, a couple of amusing tweets I agreed with, from personal experience: 

Monday, April 21, 2014

I Will Survive

I can survive this.
Nine years ago
I had my heart broken
and trampled over
bit by bit
By everyone I had given a piece to
and trusted to keep safe.
I came home from work one day
sat down on the floor
and burst into tears.
Work was easy and fun
I just couldn't face life anymore.
Watching a loved one die
slowly, while we waited
hadn't been enough.
But I am alive now
am loved more than I could hope.
Nothing will ever be so bad again.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Missing My Friend

I miss you, my friend.
Even though, in a way
I never had you.
I miss your home
and long to visit
It feels like it's mine too
though it's so far away
and I have never seen it.
(Remember to send pictures.)
I am not good at making friends
or keeping them. I found you
late, after I had almost stopped looking
for a friend of my soul.
And you  are so much more
river goddess, mountain sage
gentle conscience.
I miss talking to you for hours
seated around your table
laughing into the night.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


Does not simply walk into mordor Boromir  - ONE does not simply write fan fiction

It is so easy for them to sit and talk about taking the ring into Mordor. They have no idea, none, of how powerful the enemy is. Our men and women have dealt with him and his armies for long years. The unprovoked raids onto our territory. The cruel bloodthirsty orcs tearing our comrades apart limb from limb, or digging teeth into their flesh. The sudden appearance of an nazgul in the sky, with harsh screams that strike fear into the hearts of the bravest among us. And afterward, afterward... Having to tell a mother that her son wasn't coming home, though you did. Having another soldier step up to fill the place of the one who was lost. Making strategies for how we could hold our ground in the next battle, knowing full well that it is only a matter of time, as the enemy grows stronger and we grow weaker. Wishing we had the strength to storm their fortress, to stop them once and for all.

Do they think we wouldn't have gone into Mordor if we could?

One does not simply walk into Mordor, I say aloud. They have not heard the tales I have, of men who have wandered past the borders. They have not heard of the rocks that are so difficult to cross, of the bogs where strange things hide in the mist, of the dead who call to you. And worse, unnameable things that lie beyond. Orcs, even nazgul, are not the worst travelers to Mordor have to deal with.

I see the contempt in his eyes, the Ranger from the north. He dwells in the forests and fraternizes with the Elves -- what does he know of the horrors with which we deal?

He is the heir of Isildur, they say, this Ranger. How do we know that’s true? And what if it be true? He hasn't visited Gondor, at least not since I was a child, or I would have known. He has spent all his life up in the North, as far away from us as he could get, as safe a distance from Mordor as you like. He has never cared to find out how we survive, there in the shadow of the tower.

Gondor has no king. Gondor needs no king.

We have kept Gondor safe, my father and my brother, who even now fights off marauding orcs, my men who have fought so bravely alongside us, and I. All of us inside the city have leapt to its defense, have rebuilt walls and healed the wounded and carried the dead on our shoulders.

These men and elves, this wizard and dwarf, these hobbits, they have not cared about the evil of Mordor as long as we were containing it. No one sent aid or thanks, arms or medicine. But now that the evil is growing and their corners of the world are not safe, they want to fight it. They do not even want to listen to me, who lives closest to the enemy and knows most about fighting him, who knows most about the ways into Mordor.

Give the ring to me, I say. They clearly have no idea what to do with it. These fools who cower so far away and do nothing but talk. We have guarded the borders of Mordor for so long, have stopped the evil from spilling out and claiming all the land. And we can't do this much longer. If this Ring makes the enemy powerful, do we not have the right to use it against them?

But no, of course they won’t. It doesn't matter that I know more about this than anyone else. I am too strong, and I am not one of them. I am not an Elf, or a King. I am but a leader of soldiers, a general who can fight. I am but the son of a Steward.

Monday, April 07, 2014

To Be Sung to the Tune of My Favorite Things

Reporrrts and paperrrs and borrring old jourrrnals
Emails and memos and process documents
all of these digital
docs clutter my mind
making it boring and heavy and slow!

Monday, March 31, 2014


You pin your hopes on something big
something that will prove
that you can.
You put in everything you have
and wish you had more.
But the ship doesn't make it
you return to shore
not far from where you started.
Home, yet not home.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

End-Month Reads

... since I didn't put this up even remotely near the middle of the month.

I recommended ink-splotch last month too, but read it regularly, especially if you're a Harry Potter or Hunger Games fan. Check out this excellent piece of fan fic. And this about Wendy Darling from Peter Pan. Really, read everything she writes! (Hat tip: Ana Mardoll's Ramblings)

I loved the latest issue of the Caravan (though I'm not quite done going through it yet). Arundhati Roy's essay on Gandhi and Ambedkar was beautifully scathing in the way only Roy can be, and extremely interesting. I also loved this account of the queer right movement in Nepal.

Women's Web tells you why rapists aren't monsters.

Here are ten things only lousy managers say.

I loved this beautiful contemplation on mortality -- brought on by a box of staples.

I have written about how much I loved Susan Cain's Quiet -- read this essay too.
Introverts, thanks to their tendency to speak quietly and reasonably, to ask questions, and to listen to the answers, can make unusually strong negotiators.
And before you go, remember: you're not as busy as you say you are.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vacation, Again

Will you come with me
to the seashore, my love
where in the roar of the ocean
we can hear our hearts again?
Where everything changes, every moment.
Or will you come to the high lonely rock
and we will sit and watch
as the skies grow grey
and feel we could grow old
just sitting here?

Monday, March 17, 2014


Where do you want to go, my love?
Up, up train tracks and winding roads
where two shaggy dogs
a grinning goddess
and a stranger await us?
Or down to the seaside
in a crowd but totally
with each other
and alone
watching the blue ocean dance
at our feet?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Technological Challenges

A couple of months ago, I scheduled all the little poemy things I had been writing and scheduled them as weekly blog posts. And I’m so glad I did, because I haven’t been blogging here otherwise, have I? So here’s a quick bunch of reasons.

We’ve settled very well into our new home and the new city, but we can’t seem to get our handle on having our online communication stuff figured out. We couldn’t get broadband at home – none of the standard providers agreed to come to our building, and we don’t want to go with the local cable provider (especially since we don’t use cable TV).
We do have Tata Photon and the Guy’s phone that can dole out wireless internet, but it’s not quite the same thing. We keep having to recharge them and it’s not quite the effortless seamless wireless connectivity we used to have (well, it wasn’t quite effortless or seamless, but at least we had it).

On top of that, our devices seem to be giving up on us. The Guy got himself a new phone, which is good. But my phone keeps running out of battery. And I dropped this same old heavy phone on the Guy’s iPad and broke it. It’s still usable, but it definitely needs fixing, and neither of us have had the energy to go get it done.