Sunday, 28 February 2010

Original thought

Making notes for this entry I am on my way to Budapest. There are two guys and a girl sitting just in front of me on the plane. They are early to middle twenties, dressed for business, speaking what is probably Hungarian although I can't recognize. (Hungarian is one of those languages, like Finnish, whose speakers I always suspect of making it up as they go along. Funny lingo.) One guy is across the aisle from me and his companions and he is animatedly and proudly showing his videos and powerpoint presentations on his laptop. I have a good view of his screen.

Oh gods.

Even though the presentation is in English, I have no idea what he is talking about. There are vague business terms thrown around like litter in there. Never a good sign.
Visibility Strategy!
Business Discipline!
Priority Flipcharts! (Just the mention of them, not the actual charts - luckily probably.)
Competitive Refinancing!

This is not a presentation I would go and see, or at least not until the end I'm sure. I suppose you can't blame young people for wanting to connect with the business community and trying to master the language that seems to go with it. And let's just say that this guy at least is still striving for proficiency.

What I find more appalling is that he is using pictures to illustrate or emphasize or whatever the things that he is trying to convey to his audience. So far I have seen images, presumably plucked off the internet somewhere, that do not do much for the professionalism of his presentation.
A picture of Einstein in the sideline with "Explanation".
Flexed biceps are to tell us about "Strenghts".
Oh yes, "Conflict Model" shows rugby players.
A puzzled monkey face accompanies "Questions?"

No, no questions.

In the picture: a wine bottle in the shape of a bull. I took this photo in the Hungarian market. The 'bottle' is a hideous creation but, hey, at least it's original. ;-)

PS Oh and by the way: the Dutch Cabinet has indeed fallen. We will be having national elections again probably in May already. Gah.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Politics? Huh?

Oh dear. Just yesterday I was posting about my surrender to pregnancy subjects on this blog. And this morning I realised that what I was thinking about was not kiddies. It was politics.

The Netherlands is (are?) approaching local elections: cities, towns, municipalities. The whole affair is overshadowed, however, by international politics. The current cabinet is a coalition of three parties and one of them is sticking to its guns - much to the annoyance of the other two. They're blaming the one dissident of abusing the occassion of the elections for its own gain.

Probably. (Isn't that what all parties do?) But there seems to be more to it than that.

The whole affair is about the Dutch mission in Afghanistan. It was agreed upon at the start of the coalition that the mission would end in August 2010, at the instigation of the one party (PvdA). Now the other two are plain refusing to stick with the agreement and want the Dutch to stay in Uruzgan. Why? Because NATO has sent an official request that the Dutch stay. And typically the Dutch are hesitant (shall we say scared?) to oppose anything the Big Boys are saying. Like the best boy in the classroom, we're usually more than willing to oblige. Now PvdA is refusing to do so.

The rhetoric from the government leaders especially is striking. The leaders of the other two parties, CDA and CU, act very surprised and annoyed that PvdA is refusing to cooperate. They're acting like they are the grown-ups and PvdA is a kid that refuses to cooperate. Little brat. Granted, the PvdA's actions have not been impeccable in this issue (at all) but since the agreement was part of the coalition from the start they can hardly be really surprised. It sounds to me like they're just disappointed. They were expecting the PvdA to swallow. Instead it spits.

Please mind that the above is a very simplified representation of the issues involved. I can´t say I´m an expert or even that I followed the affair from head to tail. Where it relates to me is here: upcoming elections and I have no idea what to vote! I always vote. Always. But these past years it has become more difficult each time to find a party or program that I feel really comfortable with.

And if the Cabinet were to fall over the Afghanistan issue, we'd have to have another round of elections but this time for the national government. Then I would really not know what to vote! Will that be the first time my vote will be 'blanco'?

Wednesday, 17 February 2010


Oh how determined I was not to let my pregnancy invade this blog too much. Of course I was setting myself up for failure. This blog is supposed to be about my travels and other types of journeys and this thing that is happening to me now may be one of the most intense journeys of my life. Even more so than Zion? Even more so than Japan? Even more so than the journeys one makes in the subconscious; meeting the trickster who I am sure played a role in this situation I am in now. (Not that I am complaining!)

And so I surrender. There will be posts about this growing tummy of mine on this blog. Just as there will be posts about related subjects such as people posting their kids' pictures as their own avatars (what's up with that?), terminologies that seem to be designed to make any future parent as confused as possible (why 'hydrofielluier'? why?), future logistics (two times more kiddie, two times more planning?), clothes (do I really need a whole new garderobe for this spring?), etc.

I guess my real qualm about writing all these things is that I somehow don't feel quite at home in them. I have been avoiding all things 'babby' for so many years now, sometimes actively taking a detour and all that, that it now feels incredibly strange to have to immerse myself in the whole affair. It feels a little like betrayal. I used to find it difficult to listen to other people ranting and raving about their pregnancies and kiddies, therefore now I find it difficult to do the same... Yet, at the same time it is an undeniable part of my life. Better get used to it.

EDIT - Oh wait: I am currently 15 weeks along, out of 40.