donderdag 27 maart 2008

Wijvenweek (Nederlands/English)

(scroll down for the English text)


Blijkbaar is het wijvenweek deze week. Het grappige is dat ik er niets van zou hebben afgeweten als mijn vriendje er niets over had gezegd. Ach, het is weer een vrouweninitiatief. Leuk, dus ik ga op hun site kijken. En dan ben ik meteen weer teleurgesteld, vooral als ik de thema’s lees.

Maandag 24 maart: mijn wijflijf
Dinsdag 25 maart: shoppen
Woensdag 26 maart: mannen
Donderdag 27 maart: mijn huishouden
Vrijdag 28 maart: kinderen
Zaterdag 29 maart: wat mannen niet begrijpen
Zondag 30 maart: vrij bloggen/inhaaldag

Excuse me? Can you be more f***ing cliché? Is dit nu écht het enige waar vrouwen over kunnen schrijven: winkelen, venten, huishouden en koters? Waarom gaat het niet eens over ambities, avonturen in andere landen, vreemde hobby’s (ik ken een dame die last, bijvoorbeeld) etc. En dit moet dus empowering zijn?


Maar soit, it zal mijn mond, oftewel mijn pen, oftewel mijn keyboard eens opentrekken. Ik heb een paar dagen overgeslagen, so let’s get right to the point: mijn huishouden.

Ik heb geen huishouden. Ik woon bij mijn ouders. Als de kelder leefbaar was, zou ik er clichématig intrekken, maar voorlopig leef ik in de living. Mijn kamer is onbewoonbaar en dient als opslagruimte. Er leeft vast iets – iets niet menselijk – ik gok op muizen. Ik kan niet koken – als mijn leven er vanaf zou hangen zou dit echt een probleem zijn. Ik ben door de jaren heen gevoederd geweest door mijn oma, mijn ma, mijn ex-lief en een plethora van restaurantjes die dat wel willen doen mits betaling. Het is mijn droom later in mijn eigen huis/appartement/caravan te eten van papieren borden met plastieken bestek dat meteen daarna in de vuilbak verdwijnt. Milieuvriendelijk – not. Maar gemak heeft zijn prijs.

Een paar dagen geleden hielp mijn huidige vriend me mijn – nogal uitgebreide – CD-collectie op te ruimen. En lag zoveel stof op dat ik er braakneigingen van kreeg. Maar soit, na 4 uur zag het er beter uit. Nu nog de rest van mijn spullen (yeah, right). Gelukkig ben ik dus omringd door mensen die wel iets van huishouden afweten. Anders was ik hopeloos verloren.

English version

Apparently it’s “wijvenweek” this week. A week in which women bloggers are encouraged to write about female issues. The funny thing is I wouldn’t have known about it if my boyfriend hadn’t told me. Oh well, looks like a another women’s initiative. Sounds fun, so I had a look at their site – and was instantly disappointed, especially when I read about the themes.

Monday March 24th : my body
Tuesday March 25th: shopping
Wednesday March 26th : men
Thursday March 27th: my household
Friday March 28th: kids
Saturday March 29th: what men don’t understand
Sunday March 30th: free blogging

Excuse me? Can you be more f***ing cliché? Are these really the only things women can write about : shopping, guys, housekeeping and rugrats? Why isn’t it about ambition, adventures in other countries, strange hobbies (I know a lady who does welding, for instance).
And this is supposed to be empowering?


But oh well, I guess I’ll open my mouth, or my pen, or rather my keyboard. I missed a few days, so let’s skip right to the point: my household.

I have no household. I live with my parents. If the basement was habitable, I’d move in, but so far I reside in the living room. My room in not habitable either and serves as storage space. Something probably lives there – something not human – I’m guessing mice.
I can’t cook – if my life would depend on it, that would actually be a problem. Through the years I’ve been fed by my grandmother, mother, ex-boyfriend and a plethora of restaurants that were happy to oblige in exchange for a small fee.
It’s my dream to have paper plates, plastic cups and plastic cutlery in my future
house/apartment/trailer. It just disappears in the trash after your meal. Environmentally friendly it’s not. But comfort has its price.

A few days ago my current boyfriend helped me sort out my – rather large – CD-collection. There was so much dust on it that I wanted to throw up. But oh well, after 4 hours it looked better. Now for the rest of my stuff…(yeah, right!)
So fortunately I’m surrounded by people who do know about housekeeping. Otherwise I’d be hopelessly lost.

I’m Dreaming of a White Easter

Ah…Easter. The time of colourful eggs, bunnies, family foodfests, religious rituals you don’t really know the meaning of …and snow.

Yes, snow! We had a White Easter this year. Television tells me that it has been 57 years since this happened last in these parts. (These parts being Flanders, Belgium.)

Well, we might have to give op on white Christmases, but hey, climate change has given us a new alternative. Going skiing for our Easter holiday, for example.
Since Easter came early this year, our unexpected snowfall also coincided with the beginning of spring.

So perhaps next year, we can just switch seasons. Spring will become winter, summer will become spring, autumn will become summer, and winter autumn. This might get it right for the next few years, until climate switches again and we’ll have new seasons all over again. It keeps things fresh and exciting!

Climate madness aside, I was rather happy to see snow. It’s a pretty sight, despite the timing. I recalled the tale of a Cypriot tour guide, from when a visited a couple of years back. Apparently snow was so rare there, that when it actually snowed, parents would let their kids skip school and take them high op into the hills in the early morning, just so the kids could get a glimpse of what snow actually looked like.

So no, I don’t mind the snow. Nor do I mind the random heat waves. It’s delightfully crazy.

Climate change? Bring it on, baby!

donderdag 20 maart 2008

RIP Hugo Claus

Belgium, or rather Flanders, mourned the loss of the writer Hugo Claus yesterday. The television station Canvas even changed their programming for something one might call a "Hugo Claus Special". I saw part of it, but wasn't really inclined to sit through all of it - though there are worse things to sit through, like sports programs, Flemish soaps, or those ever popular shows where they give a makeover to your house, yourself, your boyfriend, oh hell I'm sure there's some where they restyle your pooch's fur. But I digress.

I'm feeling rather ambiguous about his death, and the media frenzy around it. On one hand, I'd like to say he was overrated, he's being portrayed as the man without whom Flemish literature wouldn't have existed.
I must admit I'm hardly in a position to say so,though. I cunningly made it through high school without having to read any of his books and I was only marginally exposed to some of his poetry. Consider me not a fan.
On the other hand, I'm struck, as a human being, by the man himself. He's always looked somewhat arrogant and artistically interesting on camera - which quite amused me. But mostly, I consider the plight of a writer with Alzheimer's disease. It's somewhat like a pianist losing his hands, or an athlete losing his legs - there's inherently a twistedly ironic human tragedy in it. A writer who has lost his tool for creativity - the ability to form pleasing sentences - suffers a sad fate indeed.
So our acclaimed writer, Hugo Claus, decided to end his own life. He requested euthanasia yesterday, and received it. I had a sort of sad smile on my face when I read he died in the same hospital where I was born. Circle of life and all that.
I have great respect for the man, frankly. He chose how to go and when to go, before his mind was completely gone. Chapeau, as they say here.

So, instead of commenting on all the books that I didn't read, let's stick to something that I can actually say without making up a lot of nonsense: the world is lacking another interesting person as of yesterday.

dinsdag 18 maart 2008

I'm not part of a representative group

Ah, let's just jump right into it, shall we? While I'm on a not-so-exciting journey in search of work, I'm trying to earn a little buck here or there - well, rather a euro here or there, but that is another matter.

An old classmate referred me to Field Quality Control , because he had parttaken in some of their surveys. It's basically a simple concept. Companies want to know how customers will react to a certain product, so they get a selection of relevant test subjects who give their honest opinion about said product. They give you a small fee for your troubles - not much, but hey, it might pay for a t-shirt or DVD.
Anyway, I decide to take a chance and call them up. The phone gets picked up by a sweet girl. One is never sure if these people are actually sweet or just paid to be, but let's give her the benefit of the doubt. She notes down my information, but basically says: "We'll call you if something comes up, but right now you don't belong to any target groups we are looking for."
Of course, this can be coincidence. Perhaps they'll call me next week with three surveys. But somehow I'm dubious. See, here comes the semi-feminist rant.

I suspect it's more that females with two diploma's, no husband, and no children - who aren't even cohabiting, the horror! - are simply not an interesting group, and certainly not one that should be taken into account when testing products. Nope, sir,we want the unschooled types who got knocked up at 20 and have two more kiddies by the age of 27.
Hey, it's not that I don't get it. Capitalism doesn't really care. And it's probable that those three kids make great consumers right from the moment they can form words. "Mommmmie, I want a Barbieeee! *smashes self of floor*"

It's just sad that young, smart, single women (who by all means should have all the potential to have capital as they only have themselves to spend cash on) are not an interesting group for some reason. Hell, apparently, they're not a representative group.

To be honest - I HOPE their excuse is money, because if the good married housewife with kiddies is representative of the ideal, average woman - then let the FSM l stand by us all.