Friday, 24 January 2014

2014 Road Map

I turn 25 this year. This makes me feel like by now I should have a PLAN, know where my life is headed, be in control. Farce.

I do however have certain 'goals' for this year. All work related. I have to get my paper out (yes, the same one I've been referring to since late 2012) by Feb according to my supervisor. That currently seems insurmountable but hey, if my data reductions would stop freaking out on me it might actually be doable. Minimal sleep, 2-min noodles eaten in front of the computer, etc.

I have to give a talk at the SKA Transformational thing-a-ma-bob mid-Feb. That's enough of an 'EEK!' in and of itself - at least three researchers from what I consider the 'main group' working in my field will be there and I am terrified of duffing up. I do not expect that Stellenbosch visit to be fun.

Upside, I may get to travel overseas again this year. The last trip (horrid) ended at the start of Sept 2012. My potential destination.... France! Lyon to be specific. Research visit. In strong lensing, which I know nothing about and has nothing to do with my current stuff. BUT. New skill. Networking. FRANCE! This is all contingent on me finishing this damnable paper. It's a rosy 'reward' though.

Then there's a conference in Paris in June that I am interested in attending. Another talk, if I'm lucky a poster. But hey, Paris in the summer. Never experience that before.

I made a 'mistake' earlier this year in that I showed my supervisor how hard I am capable of working. Now I fear that will be the intensity of work he continuously expects. If that's the case, an upside - provided I can stop myself from living on Smarties - is that I should get skinnier. Little sleep, little food will do that to you. If any of you see me looking haggard in the next month or so, forgive me. I will have more pressing matters than coiffing my hair.

Oh, that reminds me: I want to get a fresh new haircut. Must find the time....

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Social Perception of Sex

I watched Don Jon the other day: Joseph Gordon-Levitt's new movie. It was.... different. For those who don't know it, the movie concept is this: guy is somewhat of a ladies man, has a lot of one night stands, seems to have a good life - good pad, gyms, goes to church (I have issues - all too correct I think - with the Catholic church in this movie, but I won't go into that here.), loves his family, has a good friend group. But he watches porn. A lot of it. He says that though sex with a real woman is all well and good, it is never as good as porn. For various reasons. He is effectively addicted to porn but it takes a veritable stranger whom he eventually connects with to let him see that.

So this got me thinking: with all the sexual things flaunted in the media and the easy-access nature of porn, what is the common perception of sex? Are kids these days (who know far more about sex than they ought at their age) being taught that good sex is that shown in porn? Is sexuality taught to trump sensuality? I see this in young girls at the mall - dressed in crop tops, shorts that show their ass cheeks, heels, and when I say young I mean not yet 15, at least. I agree with the sentiment that women should have the right to wear what they want without men saying 'I raped her because she was asking for it by what she wore (or didn't wear)'. But come on. These are young girls. They are being taught that dressing like that makes you desirable to men. Yes, most women want to be desired, but I would rather be desired because of my sensuality and latent sexuality rather than because I look like I would get down and give BJ at the drop of a hat.

Perhaps I am being old fashioned, which is amusing because I only just made it into "born in the 80's". I don't have brothers otherwise I would ask their opinion on this. If we assume that what Don Jon says is true and "all guys watch porn (often)" and if we assume that that has the same effect on them as him, i.e. that porn is better than the real thing, then dammit, that puts a LOT of pressure on us girls (or other guys) to be the porn star all the time.

Playing the porn star can be fun, it has it's moments. I don't think it's wrong, however, for someone to want to have sex, or 'make love', and feel cherished while doing so, feel valued as more than just a cheap thrill. I worry that our society is starting to think that 'normal' and 'good' (as in great) is 'porn sex'. I think the 'old fashioned' shouldn't be discarded or looked down on for being boring or leading to mediocre sex.

Oh, and I see that Don Jon has a cinema rating of 16 LSN here in SA. I'm sorry, but when did XXX movies (because it shows a lot of bits of those) become less than R/18 rated?????

Welcome to 2014!

My goodness. Can you believe we are over a week into the new year already?! Thought I would share a little of my New Year's Eve celebrations. For the first time in my life, I went to NYE party that didn't constitute having a braai at a friend's place (one of those was a costume dress up party! Power Puff Girls for the win!).

The end of 2013 was made even more fun by having our first visitors in the new flat! One from America who stayed a few days, and then one from JHB and one from PMB came just to welcome in 2014 with us. To do things properly, we had pre-drinks at home.
Vodka jello shots! Took a few tries to figure out how to have them properly.
Sian, Sue, Lana, G and myself having champagne before the getting ready began....

I'd made a killer cottage pie so we had some food before the night's 'hydrations'. Between eating, showering, getting dressed and doing hair and makeup, us girls got ready and I am impressed to say it didn't take as long as expected. I'd bought a new dress for the occasion (yes, me, the fashionless one) and I think we all ended up looking great!

Lana, me, G and Sue all dolled up and ready to go!
Took a taxi to the pub. When I first walked in I was worried - the average age was higher than expected and there were far fewer people than I'd been told there would be. However, a R500 drinks bill (between 5 of us, not too shabby hey Nige) and lots of music and laughter later and we left having had a great time. Well, I did at any rate. Danced the night away (and I have the blisters to prove it), popped balloons (got a free drink) and got hugged and hand-shaken by strangers.

It was a fantastic time spent with friends. Now for 2014...