Thursday, August 31, 2006


"Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands - and then eat just one of the pieces." Judith Viors

Judging by my performance given the glorious dark chocolate my friend brought back for me from Xocoa, my favourite shop in BCN, I am not a strong person. I would also add that strength can be defined by resistance of chips and/or bread and garlic butter at Le Monde. I also failed miserably in that task.

I did, however, complete ten burpees yesterday and do some weird horrible jumping exercises at footie training. So am weak and a masochist and unfit.

Happy Happy Joy Joy

Friends - those good, good friends with whom you can be mean, pointless, spiteful, ridiculous, OTT, i.e. yourself - are the best things in the entire world. How does it work? That you end up with these wonderful people who don't mind - even, embrace - your foibles and accept you regardless and yet are the funniest, kindest, most generous and fabulous people in the entire galaxy. They make the world so much better, your life so much richer and RELAXED because you can just be yourself. They are glorious things that we really should appreciate and realise that they make us the luckiest people in the world.

I am tipsy, it must be said. But why? Because I shared several glasses of red wine with that sort of friend. The sort of friend that I will be getting drunk with when I'm fifty and we embarrass the life out of our children.

FURTHERMORE: England DIDN'T lose a one-day match today AND I got to scoff a ton of Spanish chocolate.

Life is good.

PLUS: only one more day of classes. I'm tired. Reading is much harder than I'd remembered. It hurts my brain.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Diplomacy as a careerpath

I am not a generally tactful person, sadly - on average it's a couple of times a day I make an inappropriate remark - but still get annoyed when others are utterly tactless. I think I am particularly sensitive due to my overwhelmingly strong English nature in this area... Here, many people just say what they think and that's all there is to it, regardless of how it may affect others - if it's THE TRUTH then that's all that matters. Forthrightness - appreciated in many ways, in others really, really not... But how do you judge when is the right time? In Costa Rica, it was the same - comments on just how horrendously bitten my legs were, that enormous spot on my forehead.

There are times when the elephant should just be left there in the room.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Every woman and man should read this fabulous article on career woman, marriage and quite frankly, misogyny. I shall be sending it to you forthwith so you may as well read it now, friends, and comment to me independently on its wonderful accuracy, wit and insight.


I am exhausted.

After one, ninety minute class. Still, it was a day of frustration - wrong address of a building meant I couldn't do a task this morning, the bank closes at four so I couldn't get a statement from them... all annoying bitty things that didn't go right.

However, I did run two miles this morning. So it can't all be bad.

Also not doing too well with my renewed attempts at productivity - don't seem to be happening yet.

And I must leave 1Ls alone and let them muddle along; it worked for me (with the help of my unbelievably amazing study group, it must be said, without whom I would have been horribly, horribly mediocre. At least I have study group peeps back together for Corporations tomorrow - my hardest class, so it makes sense, non?

Sunday, August 27, 2006


I have a new phone.

I think I am in love.

However, I am NOT in love with Pareto nor Kaldor-Hicks efficiency, nor even the Coase theorem on the nature of firms/transaction costs.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Stadium...

I hope my father, brother, and extended paternal family will forgive me for this, but it's rare in this life that I have to cling onto an affiliation with Aston Villa in order to have some level of sporting happiness during the weekend. Nevertheless, that is what I have been reduced to, with Spurs losing to a team with ten men at home, Wednesday losing to Dirty Leeds (and getting one of their mere two keepers suspended for three games in the process), and Carlisle, despite having about twenty shots on goal, failing to beat ten man Oldham. In doing so, Villa won two games in a row for the first time in nine months. That's how unlikely this situation is, and yet here we are. Luckily, the Mets won yesterday, so things could be even stranger.

I am getting old. This morning has been spent cleaning the flat, doing the washing, sorting out my wardrobe (hanging things, rearranging drawers, that sort of stuff) and listening to sport (via t'internet, so I'm still technologically friendly rather than phobic) and I have really, really enjoyed it. I have also been planning what soft furnishings etc. are needed for the house.

When did this happen? And when did I give permission for it to happen?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Where The Air Is Still

Everyone has harped on about the summers in NYC - how utterly great they are.

Well, right now, I'm in my flat wondering how to leave with all the thunder, pouring rain and so forth. It's incredibly dark outside.

This is not "great" in my opinion.

Luckily, it means that I don't have to wear a skirt because it's cooler now, and the mosquito-ravaged legs can remain under wraps. YAY!

It's nice to be back - two friends got married over the summer (one expectedly, the other not so much!) so have been viewing lots of photos of them looking gorgeous and happy - that's been great. Seeing people, relaxing, it's just been fun. And now interviews are over, I am even happier. Although more to come, hence need to get me a badass suit next week when "tax free" starts... huzzzzzah!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

There's no place like home

My happy place is on the sofa with my beloved with a gin & tonic watching a favourite episode of scrubs with my mac on my lap and my new timeout with jamie bufalino's sex column yet to read...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Kittens and rainbows and ponies

I'm needing to think about pretty, harmless, nice things because I have been in the logistical hell and emotionally draining nightmare that is... early interview week. It's hardcore. We have to speak to a million people, schmooze up to them and tell them why they want us as associates, and why we want them as colleagues/bosses/employers.

It's hard.

I've enjoyed it, finding out from firms about their ethos and atmosphere. I've also not enjoyed it, such as agonizing over an interview that I think I messed up today. In fact, talking it over with others, I definitely messed it up. And I was excited about getting that interview, and the firm. And I should have known the answer to the question, been prepared for it. But I wasn't, and now I'm going to pay for it.


Still. Not Bitter. Or Angry at Myself. Oh no.

I may not be telling the truth there...

Saturday, August 19, 2006

This Week In Grace

Back in the good ol' US of A, where I have done my good deed for the week (low, i.e. realistic, standards) by translating for a Peruvian lady at immigration and waiting until the very end of the baggage stuff to find hers (but, seriously, how can you have NO IDEA what your suitcase looks like? She said it was black - it was dark blue) and by not shouting at the extraordinarily fat white US customs official who was extremely hostile to the spanish speaking passengers at two in the morning who maybe didn't understand everything he said...

This week in Grace's rage/humour buttons (and you have to read my rants before getting to the photos from Panamá - ha!):

This gawker piece taking apart The New Republic's defence of Ann Coulter (what's that about the indefensible...?) is fab.

Achtung! Bono and an article I couldn't agree with more. Seriously.

This NY Times editorial I'm just going to put in full because it's important, and a good way to see this for the gung ho people who say we need to see it from the perspective of the "boys" abroad (always the "boys" in Britain, at least in the US they say "troops") and the US shouldn't join the ICC...

Rewriting the Geneva Conventions

Published: August 14, 2006
In January 2002, when the Bush administration created the camp at Guantánamo Bay for prisoners from the war in Afghanistan, President Bush said he would be “adhering to the spirit of the Geneva Convention” in handling the detainees.

Unfortunately, like many of the things the administration said about Guantánamo Bay, this was not true. The president did not intend to follow the Geneva Conventions, and in some vital respects, he still doesn’t, despite a Supreme Court ruling that the prisoners merit those protections.

To everyone’s relief, the White House is now working with Congress on one major violation of the conventions found by the court — the military tribunals Mr. Bush invented for Guantánamo Bay. But the president remains determined to have his way on the other big issue — how jailers treat prisoners.

He wants Congress to make the United States the first country to repudiate the language of the Geneva Conventions. The only discernible reason is to allow interrogators — intelligence agents and private contractors — to continue abusive practices plainly banned by the conventions and to make sure they cannot be held accountable.

The Bush administration objects to the clause in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that prohibits “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment.”

This standard has been followed for more than a half-century by almost 190 countries, including the United States. The War Crimes Act of 1996, passed by a Republican Congress, makes it a felony to violate the Geneva Conventions. But the Bush administration authorized techniques to handle and interrogate prisoners that clearly break the rules — like prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures, long periods in stress positions, strapping prisoners to metal contraptions and force-feeding them.

The rational response to the court’s decision would be to ban those practices and bring America in line with the rest of the civilized world. But that’s not how this administration works. It asked Congress to change the law — to amend the War Crimes Act to redefine the standards of Common Article 3.

The White House wants to apply an American legal principle, used to prohibit cruel and unusual punishment, that bars treatment that “shocks the conscience.” Mr. Bush wants Americans to believe that the language in Common Article 3 is too vague and makes fighting terrorism impossible.

In fact, the Geneva standard is more specific than the shocks-the-conscience standard. And a vast majority of Guantánamo inmates are not terrorists. In fact, many do not appear guilty of anything, not even fighting United States troops in Afghanistan.

The administration’s real aim is to keep on using abusive interrogation techniques at the secret prisons run by the Central Intelligence Agency. And it wants to make interrogators — and those who give their orders — immune from prosecution.

Finally, the administration wants Congress to ban the use of the Geneva Conventions as the direct or indirect basis for a legal case in American courts. This would seal off the route that a prisoner used in the case on which the Supreme Court ruled in June.

The Geneva Conventions protect Americans. If this country changes the rules, it’s changing the rules for Americans taken prisoner abroad. That is far too high a price to pay so this administration can hang on to its misbegotten policies.
I think John Regis is basically talking out of his arse in this beeb article. Darren Campbell did protest at the time of forming the team, did all he did in his power, but why should he have to give up his place running for GB - particularly as there have never been any positive drugs tests for him, as far as we know - for someone who is a known drugs cheat? I think this was a powerful way to express his contempt for the GB team and he was perfectly dignified in choosing this particular manner.

And finally, on a sweeter note, please meet My new judicial hero. We shouldn't make fun of mental illness but what I do love is that he defended it so thoroughly, very sweet. And three mystic dwarves - at least Pedro's are real.

I really, really loved Ciudad de Panamá - really thought it was amazing. I don't know why, but I took to it in a way that I just didn't with San José... will ponder on that and get back to you. Here, in the meantime, are some photoyograffs...

The Ciudad de Panamá skyline - slightly different from San José. One of those rascacielos was my hotel, one towards the left but dunno which one. Sorry!

The old town in CDP. I will be reflecting more seriously on this, because I went there twice - this was on sunny Thursday afternoon, but went back on Friday and have a slightly different perspective. However, what I can say is that it was beautiful.

An amazing building in the Plaza Simón Bolivar.

The Plaza de Independencia.

This is the lock we visited at the Panamá canal - which is an incredible construction, although I think it'd be even more impressive if you traversed the journey... Something for next time.

Friday, August 18, 2006


I have to lose 5 kilos before heading to the airport. Don't break out the laxatives - it's not me, but my luggage.

What to jettison? Difficult. However, that bottle of guaro can go, it's revolting, and probably my Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe seeing as Salamander failed to print about 20 of the versos so I missed out on important plot development. Good thing I'd read it in English first, eh readers? Plus a couple of rubbish books that I have no intention of reading/using ever again, that utterly pointless insect repellent, shampoo/conditioner, but everything else has to stay. And I'll just have to pack my rucksack strategically... hmm. This is annoying.

My summer is nearly over. Very strange indeed. But good, in many, many ways - I cannot believe I'm looking forward to going back to school, but there you go. September always fills me with optimism, and as my dear JKS says, the beauty of academic life is that you get to make TWO sets of resolutions every year, if you don't count those made on your birthday (and I also make resolutions then...)... This is the year I'll get fit, I won't leave everything (outlining!!!) to the last minute, I'll be more prepared, I'll read more thoroughly, I won't work on Sundays, I won't piss around on IM or the internet during classes. Yeah, right.

But my new worry is that I have to choose the next bookclub book and, honestly, I am fretting about it like you would not believe. I want to choose a good one, that people will love, etc etc, and think of me as a genius. AAARGH.

So I have narrowed it down to a couple of choices, I think, from the Orange Shortlists from the last couple of years. Why? Because I think reading books by women is great, essentially, and the Orange list is a way to keep track of the genuinely good books out there. Furthermore, I have read some glorious books thanks to that - Purple Hibiscus (which made me bawl), Property (an incredible illustration of failure to walk in another's shoes, not realising one's own hypocrisy - incredible book), Fingersmith (which is still one of my all time favourites and one of the most genuinely shocking books I have read), Fugitive Pieces (which I bought for M , the beautiful, haunting and glorious Unless by Carol Shields, and the utterly wonderful, marvellous, Small Island, which won its year and the best of the Orange Prize winners, and is one of the most amazing books I have ever read, utterly beautiful.

Have narrowed it down to one of these:

A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

Liars and Saints by Maile Meloy

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

I'm not sure which yet, to be honest. The first sounds grand particularly because she lives and works in Sheffield, so a tie there, obviously. The second sounds good - teenage pregnancy, convents, sexual repression - my favourites, obviously. And the third because it won a Pulitzer, and I have always meant to read Housekeeping and never got round to it, but want to, so very very much. Given that, actually, why don't I just choose that? It's only 224 pages... good bookclub length (hence no Sarah Waters, sadly, particularly as I couldn't bear to read Affinity, one of her shortest books, again, it was so very sad and you knew exactly what was coming to our heroine, just not how...).

So there you go. HELP PLEASE. Although it looks increasingly like I have made up my own mind by writing this blog entry. Huzzah!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

¡Naciones Unidas!

Panamá is amazing. Hot, sweaty, skyscrapers, and proof that again I have no morals when it comes to architecture - the ex-colonial area is utterly glorious. This is a photo of Plaza Bolívar, in celebration of that crazy brave man who tried to build a united latinamerican continent.*

Tonight I shall sleep on my OTHER enormous bed.

And tomorrow I shall swim in the pool by the sea, have a facial, use the sauna, and take yet more photos. Huzzah. And head back to NYC for parties, interviews, and haircuts. Glorious.

If I don't say it again, centroamérica, te quiero...

*Note - I believe he's crazy and brave because I've read this book by Gabriel García Márquez - it may turn out that, like Richard III and Shakespeare, he suffered at the hands of "artistic licence".

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


This is where I'm staying in Panamá.

This Too Shall Pass...

My time here is basically over. It's hard to credit. Nevertheless, no choice there. It really is over.
Thank you to all who have accompanied me on the journey from stuttering white person to fluently rambling spanish speaking slightly less white person.

Thanks to crazy lady at spinning who really has been showing too much breastage lately (seriously, how can they be supported in that outfit?), the old gurning woman in Arenal who admired my body rather too lasciviously for my liking, the little gap in the bathroom wall that always appeared to be a giant spider ready to pounce on me, the guy with dreadful puby curls who is very sweet in más por menos, and the sweet ginger lady with the amazing freckles who looks after my bags for me there... and the sweet squeaky girl and the other lovely women who provide me with cheap fab food at the facultad de derecho at the UCR - Fordham, you should take note - other law schools like feeding their students nutritious, tasty and affordable food.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Holy Crap

It's almost over. Officially. I have bound a copy of my document for the library here at CEFEMINA. I have given a talk in Spanish. It was horrible... but provoked debate and scandal at the law, which is what I wanted. So there we go... How is my summer nearly over? Unbelievable.

This weekend I prepared in advance a list of things I'll miss about this place... and things I really, really won't.

What am I going to miss about Ticoland?

1) My friends and family here – duh.
2) The colours. Everything is so brightly coloured, nothing is grey, dull. My route to work in the morning is filled with greens, reds, yellows. Houses are beautifully bright. Where I live is pink, for goodness’ sake. And I love the houses that are the colours of the Tico flag – blue at the bottom, then a white stripe, then a red roof. Cheesy, but I love them.

3) The mountains all around San José. Not that I’d go anywhere near them to climb up, or owt like that. But just having them there is glorious, a reminder of how amazing the land here really is, especially when you see them all green and looming, or grey with mists all around, and remember that not far beyond them are lush beaches, cloudforests, active volcanoes… and tons of toucans.
4) The flowers. They are gloriously beautiful, an example of how colourful everything is here.
5) The beer (and happy hour). For example, went out Friday night. Not only were beers in the restaurant 665 colones (approximately $1.35), but they were two for one. So $1.35 for two bottles of beer. And high quality lager, too. There are so many lovely American beers, but they are expensive and the local stuff everywhere is Bud or Amstel. UGH UGH UGH. Imperial, Pilsen even, definitely Bavaria – cheap and good. However, I will not miss the weird habit of serving beer with ice, lemon and salt. The latter two I can just about cope with, but ice is pointless. Having said that, when my hosts were plying me with it on my birthday it wasn’t too bad that way… and probably best for all concerned in terms of drunkenness, as it was before 11am…
6) Taxis. In San José they abound as in New York, but somewhat cheaper… and I have got very used to catching them home all the time, rather than any sort of public transport. This is going to be difficult to adjust to given where I live in Manhattan… damnation.
7) My mornings. This is probably going to be what I miss the most – just sitting out at 7.30 with the sun streaming down on my face, listening to a podcast and sipping tea, catching up on the Wisden Cricketer. Mornings in NYC feel so rushed by comparison – and there’s not the guaranteed sun, either. My mornings here are an incredibly relaxed way to start the day. The other mornings I go spinning, which I still hate, but see the benefit of. Going to be hard to keep that up given here they’re $1.20 a class, and somewhat more expensive than that in NYC… Still, I only have two 9.30 classes a week, and while I’m going to be rushed, I know, I think it’s going to be better than last year.
8) El Español. Right now I can’t imagine functioning in English again. Even though I think in English all the time, when I think about getting back and speaking to the customs officials, taxi drivers, shop workers, friends… it’s all in Spanish in my head. It sounds weird, and I'm honestly complete surprised by it. I’ve never spoken this well, and to have to go back to stuttering and stumbling… nightmare.
9) The obsession with dulce de leche – seriously, it’s in everything sweet here, and is gorgeous.
10) The fruit which is ridiculously good and cheap – bananas are sweet and flavourful and absurdly cheap, pineapple smells and tastes wonderful, the guanabana en leche is the best drink in the entire world, papaya is glorious, particularly with the fabulous limes that abound here. It’s plentiful and fabulous.
11) The weird washing up paste that they use instead of liquid. I don't know why I like it as much as I do, but it's a strange thing that everywhere else I've ever been uses liquid, but here they use paste. I love it.


1) The tv is an abomination. In general the press is terrible – they show gory detail of every dead person, bleeding onto the sheets covering them… but the tv is particularly dreadful – either horrible programmes about the stars’ private lives which I don’t care about (because I don’t recognise anyone, let’s be honest – although I watched a quality E! special on Jean Claude van Damme – did you know he became a cokehead?), crappy horrible soaps imported from México, dreadful cheap American movies (watched on Saturday an absolute abomination with Ashley Judd and Hugh Jackman, who had no chemistry whatsoever) or dubbed US shows, which are often good – the Simpsons, CSI… but I hate dubbing. And Walker, Texas Ranger replaced Smallville which has not been a bonus.
2) The pirópos. I believe I have made my feelings clear on those before.
3) The lack of decent wine. Wine Warehouse I LOVE YOU.
4) The fiendish biting thingies. My legs are still horrible, I’m still receiving two or more bites a day.
5) The lack of internet at home. At least if tv is dreadful in NYC I have the internet to piss around on.
6) The regressive views towards women. I know that not everyone is exactly a progressive feminist in NYC, but I suppose I hear a surprising amount about what women’s role is, how they should dress, that they are “aggressors” (and therefore, somehow, deserve gender-based violence). The culture of impunity and blame in this society is not something I am keen on.
7) The lack of going out at night.
8) The fact that there is not a single bar in which I’d feel comfortable just going for a quiet drink on my own. Not that I’d do that much at home in London or NYC. However, here I know I couldn’t (see (6) for partial explanation) and that makes me feel limited.
9) The lack of safe places to run.
10) The lack of natural light in my room. Seriously, it is DARK in here…

Feminism or Frothy Frippery in Fashion

Thought Hadley came up with amusing goods again, here, although I think she's not really articulated all that I'd say on the matter:

Can one be a feminist and a fashion fan?
Laura Hall, London
Have mercy. How many times can a lady engage in the Fashion - Misogynist Tyranny or Female Empowerment? debate before eating her elbow out of boredom? The answer is about 75 times fewer than we have done so on this page. Chomp chomp. Fashion is about making people look good and, lo, feeling better about themselves. Now, stop rattling the paper with excitement: I concede that at times this does cross over into extremes resulting in quite the opposite, with women labouring under a lifetime of self-hatred and physical contortion, and this is very wrong. But it seems to me similarly anti-female to insist that in order to be a true feminist, one is not allowed to have any vanity. This, surely, is just a breath away from the old anti-feminist stereotype about hairy armpits and burlap trousers - a stereotype that has led to a current generation of girls loath to describe themselves as feminists in the belief that this makes them sound in favour of body hair as opposed to, say, equal pay. So to continue to insist that any interest in fashion is on a par with being a blinkered victim of a male society seems more than a little misguided. Patriarchal society or not, everyone likes to look good and to insist on anything else is self-defeating. Heck, even Ann Widdecombe went blond, and, as that example proves, this is not just about looking good for the boys - it's about looking in the mirror and having a little smile.

I concede that there is a difficulty in separating whether something makes you feel better because you genuinely like it or because you are conforming to society's expectations of what you should look like. But look at it this way: it is a proven fact that you are more likely to get a job if you dress nicely. Object to the superficiality of this world all you like, but the fact is that the more women who look decent, the more women there will be in good jobs so we can take over the world. Ha ha! Don't burn your bras, sisters! Buy them!
Problem is, of course, that this fails to engage with the fact that the people dictating fashion are incredibly frequently not women, but men. But it does echo an argument/contradiction that I struggle with but have decided that I will embrace looking good. Why? Because why on earth should women tell me I can't wear skirts or shave my legs, when we've supposedly rejected being limited by men? Problems... a patriarchal society has told me that shaving my legs is good and wearing skirts is what women "do". Certainly, this is one answer. However, for me feminism is not about rejection entirely of the things that a patriarchal society has brought about, such as cars or computers or football or sliced bread. It's about rejection of the limitations that dictate women MUST behave in a certain way and yet being "girlie" is demeaned, an insult... so I will do, as a bright, strong woman, whatever I damn well please. And if some men are benefitted by that, so what? I happen to think we need to live together and forge partnerships, where women's rights are as important to men as to us. That will make the whole of society better.

Sorry for the rambling, but I am VERY NERVOUS about my presentation in a mere two hours' time of my work to my organisation, so I'm panicking and this probably is utterly incoherent and inconsistent because it is rushed and I'm tryingt o distract myself and get this published asap. Apologies again, folks.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Probably Just Turning

For quite a while now, I have thought that Barack Obama is the best thing to happen to US politics since... not sure what - not exactly knowledgeable on the stuff. But he is articulate, interesting, intelligent and always seems to get to the crux of the matter. I'd forgotten just how much I love him until this morning, I decided to listen to some of his old podcasts I have stored up...

This was the first one I listened to and it reminded me a) just why Barack is THE MAN and b) just why Alito's nomination and subsequent election to the Supreme Court was such a disaster, not just for us pro-choice people, but for all liberals and those who aren't on the extreme right. Disaster. Roberts, well, wasn't going to be avoided. But this was a... disaster is the only word.

I was going to write about my favourite things about Ticoland, but Barack has taken over all thoughts... will think more and then write more.

PLUS: I now absolutely have to buy a kickarse suit and haircut in order to make sure that I ace the interviews I have lined up for interview week at Fordham. Not that I'm even sure I want them, yet. But you never know...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Count To Ten

It's hard to explain some people's level of hatred. I have the things I rant and rave about, but I honestly don't spend my days thinking "you know what? I'd really love to blow up thousands of people". And yet, it seems that nearly happened, due to the efforts of British people. It is genuinely as if these people have grown up in a different country to me; their experience is so different, their perspective of events. I am angry about so many things, so much of the time, ask anyone who's been near me after a couple of beers, but this... I just don't understand it. Killing is not how I fix things. Maybe it's not experience, so much as personality - my instinct is to allow the bile to calm down and then use it to try to change things.

And here, a charming man named Oscar López wants to make sure that there is "not a single foreigner more in our country". He also yesterday, in the Asamblea Legislativa, said that there should be prison sentences and laws to prevent Costa Ricans marrying foreign "indeseables". If you type that into my beloved Word Reference you find that it means undesirable but, in reality, it means a piece of rubbish, trash, garbage, crap. Nice.

What I particularly like about this guy is that he is head (and only representative in parliament) of the Partido Acesibilidad Sin Exclusión - the Party for Accessibility Without Exclusion.

Unless you're foreign, apparently. Then we must exclude you at all costs, never mind how much you contribute to our economy, to our nationhood (Guanacaste, one of the main sources of Tico identity, was Nicaraguan until pretty damned recently - but like Andalucía and the Moors and Gitanos in Spain, we don't want to admit that our image, our culture is from a place we consider ourselves superior to. Oh no), to our livelihood.

Pah. Hence this picture of a pretty beach to try to calm myself down.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

For Better or Worse

Mi mama Tica y mi papa Tico cumplieron cuarenta y dos - si, en serio, 42 - años de matrimonio ayer. A mi, es... un montón de años. Pero, sobretodo, me dijo él una cosa muy perspicaz.

Para vivir juntos 42 años, primero, tiene que tener suerte. Y después, tiene que manejar esta suerte.

Es y no es su culpa para tener una relación contenta. Porque, para encontrar una persona con quien quiere compartir su vida es una pregunta de dicha. Pero después, no puede dar por sentado que la relación funcionará, que vosotros estarán contentos. Teneís que trabajar, cuidarla. Y esperar que las cosas resultarán bien...

Gracías a por la imagen.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Thoughts Running Through My Mind

First: Yay - we won the cricket!

Second: I don't understand this article at all. How do you "take a break" from being a feminist? Either you are one, in which case it informs your understanding of matters in the world, your reaction to them, or you're not because you don't believe in it. Yes, there are different methodologies, different beliefs as feminists - I struggle frequently with my contradictory thoughts over pornography and the sex industry, for example. But I really don't understand this and the law professor proposing it doesn't seem to justify it, either. Answers on a postcard, please.

Third: This article is also interesting for an illustration of perhaps why feminism is still a necessary part of my life - the time when we are not divided into trollops and angels will be a blessed one. Furthermore, it echoes something that I've found here in Costa Rica - unions dominated by men, who require a classless society but don't really want the wimminfolk involved in anything, sweetheart.

Fourth: the case of the boy who raped a girl and got a 2 year supervision order is one of the most revolting things I have read recently. Impressively appalling. I understand that there are problems with institutionalising young people who have committed crimes, but it really is a disgrace. If even the readers of The Daily Mail are appalled by this, it must really be bad.

Fifth: This story, about a rapist finally caught after twenty years - a "pillar of the community", married with children - was interesting both because of how he was caught using new DNA techniques, but mostly for the interview with one of the victims. She was... just incredible to listen to. After the horrors of what had happened to her, she was mostly concerned for her daughter - who, when this resurfaced as a cold case, was the age at which the woman had been raped - and whether or not her partner could cope with it. She was so matter of fact about it all, about the fear she had. No one should EVER have this sort of power over another person. The most interesting thing was her reaction to finally seeing him... the relief that he didn't have that power anymore, instead of reacting angrily to the fact that such a feeble little man managed to have sway over her life for so long, and could damage her in that way.

Sixth: I love me some Woman's Hour. We all know that - I make no bones about it (where ON EARTH does that phrase come from?) . However, this was absolutely ridiculous: a debate on what annoys men and women about each other. It's frothy rubbish anyway (Fridays are always worse on Woman's Hour because Jenni Murray doesn't do it). What was extremely annoying was that this was advertising some ridiculous person's "husband training school" - she'd started writing a book about it and decided to do it in real life. They are not cocker spaniels to be taught to piss outdoors. They are men and, for the majority of women, our partners in the home and bedroom. They are for all of us, hopefully, our friends, colleagues, sons, brothers... It makes me EXTREMELY angry to read things like this, because this is what people think feminism is about, when it's as far away from what I believe as could possibly be my feminist viewpoint. It has become some sort of mainstream, accepted position to denigrate men in this way, and it belittles us all, quite frankly.

Furthermore, an important point about relationships: they are supposed to feature compromises. How can you compromise with someone you think lives in a disgusting manner, as this woman claimed, simply because her husband left dirty dishes in the sink - SHOCKER. Yes, things annoy us about living with other people - we are all idiosyncratic individuals. But... for Pete's sake, this was ridiculous.

And I know I shouldn't be so angry at rubbish like this, but it's irritating and fuels anti-feminism...

Anyhoo, that's me for now.

Monday, August 07, 2006

PINK IS THE NEW... What, exactly?

Given the style I chose for this blog, the excerpt from today's G2 where Hadley berates pink may be a tad... hypocritical, contradictory, in denial? Nevertheless, it was FUNNY.

What age is the cut-off point for pink flip-flops for women?
Marianne Caulder, London

How about six? I cannot tell you how much this female weakness for pink accessories distresses me. "Don't fear!" they cry. "I may have money to buy my own handbags but, really, I'm just a sweet, unthreatening girl at heart, who wishes she could still play with her Apple Blossom My Little Pony!" Pink accessories are very different from the head-to-toe pink approach favoured by those female icons of our day, Paris 'n' Chantelle. That just shrieks, "Sherbet-brained, but possibly in an ironic manner! I am having my cake, yeah baby! And eating it, too! Though obviously not literally, as that would make me fat!"

No, relegating the pink to the accessories is somehow worse because now there is not even the illusion of irony; just the pretence of subtlety, coupled with a decided lack of shame. Show me a woman in a pair of pink kitten-heels and decked with a pink, beaded shawl, and I'll show you a lady with James Blunt on repeat.
I loved Apple Blossom, I must confess.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I have two weeks left in Central America. In two weeks' time, I will be readying to leave Panamá. To head back to the US of A. Yikes. The time seems to have flown.

Good time to, then, reflect on the fact that I seem to have become the most attractive woman in San José since my 27th Birthday. I have been leched over and revolted by it for the last two days. Apparently, turning this age and still being unmarried means you give off a pheromone that is irresistible to sweaty, fat, hairy and disgusting men. Not that it would be any better if they were all 22 and built like Jake Gyllenhaal. I actually don't really look, to avoid any kind of acknowledgement or eye contact, so genuinely don't know what the majority look like. I'm just basing this on the group of six of them who just couldn't let me walk past them without commenting on my chest last night. Ugh ugh ugh.



Be warned - heard a breaking story today that will bring forth a rant of almost unprecedented anger. But for now, let's be zen about everything. Plus, I need some lunch. Can't really think of anything else - my two strongest "emotions" are sleepiness and hunger... genuinely.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

It Comes Before A Fall

I am wont to feeling pleased with myself. I can't help it. Despite the complete hideousness of astrology, I like to blame it on being a Leo. Laziness, failure to take responsibility, egotism - yes, you may accuse me of all these things and more, reasonably accurately.

However, today I have a very good reason to do so - I have a monster seventeen page document, in Spanish. My doing. We went through it this morning, and you know what? It wasn't too hideous, cringe inducing. Given that my Philosophy of Science supervisor used to sit and read aloud our essays, I know how to deal with the horrors of hearing your gauche, inaccurate (laziness again!) and horrible turns of phrase repeated genuinely ad nauseam. After the horrors of legal writing this year, experiencing more red pen than an insecure law student's psyche should have to deal with, I am accustomed to the corrections and while the pain of immense quantities of tracked changes on word continues to cause suffering, it's better than the scarlet biro.

Of course, there were several phrases where I thought, "ooh, that sounds great - I AM clever." Then I realised that the author... well, "No. Fui. Yo." (This is also the translation of Bart Simpson's most famous phrase, "It wasn't me".) Still, if I have achieved nothing else this summer, I can now lay claim to being able to write fairly well a legal document in Spanish. I am learning so so so much - I have already absorbed much more than I thought about a week ago when I started panicking over what on earth I was going to write. WOWSER.

I think my mother was telling me off in my dream last night in Spanish. Not bad - did you know you could do that, Mum? Well, you can.

And enjoy the pictures of the flores and dragonfly (libélula en español) from Mayela & Ricardo's garden in Punta Morales. Yes, Lianne, owe the plant porn idea to you. However, I do find the flora here incredibly interesting - everything is so bright. At the UCR there is an incredible, convulvulus type plant, which isn't covered with white flowers but RED ones. Extraordinary.

Going to do myspace updates, by the way, so please check out the stupefying embarrassment as I try to do "yoof" there.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Vociferar, Despotricar

For some reason, having problems posting photos today so my flower porn will have to wait.

Rats. I am sure you are all equally upset.

Therefore, instead of fotoyograffs, it's RANTING time. Sorry if you read this earlier and are surprised to see the growth of the rants but really, this is me and you should know better.

I don't like this woman at all - with Gawker on that - and it's a mawkish, badly written article, in my opinion, but I did like the gist of it. And if it gets the message to New York Post readers, so much the better.

This is fairly typical standard of debate, sadly, but it's worth a look... particularly for Gawker's commentary.

And yes, I have essentially just copied stuff from Gawker.

This is incredibly politically incorrect, but it might be genius. I just can't decide whether a bleeding heart liberal like myself is allowed to enjoy its irony. But it is funny.

To balance out my shame from above, and improve my pinko credentials, here is a link to the woman who is probably my biggest hero. She is strong, brave, and I am going to watch her arrive in New York at the end of this month. And bawl. Some of you may know about my inability to stay dry eyed during a marathon, and this woman kills me every time. She motivated me to start running and not be utterly pathetic whilst I was struggling to complete the six minute run burst while training for my first ever Race for Life in Alexandra Park, between Bounds Green and Muswell Hill - those were the days.

AND to change this yet again, this expresses so much about my sentiments about marriage, but much more articulately than when my very good friends have let me consume three or four pints of loopy juice (otherwise known as Hoegaarden) in a pub in oooh, say, Marylebone, and are baiting me about marriage for kicks and sport. You know who you are.

And for a final message today, Bling Responsibly.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Easy Peasy

I am nothing if not a simple soul. You have no idea what pleasure it gave me to bring my mac to work today and actually use that, rather than the PCs here. Sorry, windows folks - and goodness knows Mr. Gates, your work on AIDS is incredibly generous and important - but it's the shizzle. Sorry for using that word, too. I'm so white.

I also caved to pressure from Lolamonster and got myself Adium and lordy be, it has changed my ENTIRE chatting experience. Googletalk, AIM, MSN - all in one little programme. But the best, best best thing about it - every time I get a message, Hobbs dances. That's right my friend, Hobbs. And if I appear to be lazing around and not online, he starts snarling and roaring towards me. My goodness I am in LOVE with this thing.

Just to let you know, this photo is where I spent my birthday.


Now if I can stop my friends deserting me in droves for other law schools I will be the happiest bunny around. Particularly as I am incredibly proud of myself for having produced twelve - yes, twelve - written pages of Spanish documentation for my project. Written originally in Spanish, not English. It may well be horrible Spanish, but it's done. Now that I am dreaming in Spanish, I feel like things are coming together, things are so much more instinctive now. It's an amazing feeling. It also explains some of the horrible English on the page - see previous entry and "I had reason", which is a direct English translation of the phrase meaning "I was right". Oops.