Archive for February, 2012

The Promise

February 26, 2012

What’s the difference between the Berlin Wall and the Israeli West Bank barrier?

We are all people. Why cannot we treat other people at least the way we wish to be treated?


Would you rather be successful in life or in work?

February 25, 2012

Does success equal happiness? Perhaps it is that happiness equals success.

The article “10 Questions that create success” on Inc. was not what I expected. Typically, there would have been more words like ‘money’, ‘wealth’, ‘power’, ‘believe’, ‘aggressive’. Instead, the article implies that success depends on what’s in your heart. Despite its self-help guide style and tone, I enjoyed reading it.

Below I have copied the list of questions which the author advises we should ask ourselves at the end of each day. This doesn’t mean each question should necessarily be always answered with a ‘yes’ – that would be very difficult. This is just something to keep us focused.

1. Have I made certain that those I love feel loved?
2. Have I done something today that improved the world?
3. Have I conditioned my body to be more strong flexible and resilient?
4. Have I reviewed and honed my plans for the future?
5. Have I acted in private with the same integrity I exhibit in public?
6. Have I avoided unkind words and deeds?
7. Have I accomplished something worthwhile?
8. Have I helped someone less fortunate?
9. Have I collected some wonderful memories?
10. Have I felt grateful for the incredible gift of being alive?

In this understanding, success in private life and success in professional life are not disparate.

06-01-12 in Rome

February 13, 2012

Grey skies over Scotland.  Longing for sun, I’m pulling out some photos taken last month: January in Rome, bright colours, 15 degrees Celsius. Tonight, fortunately, a warm bath and an orange-scented body wash were enough to lift my spirits. It would be a bit expensive to go to sunny Rome every time Edinburgh manifests its gloomy, dreary face.



My gran paints

February 12, 2012

My gran paints in oil on canvas. Her paintings are mostly flowers, sometimes landscapes. She taught herself and I think she has a talent. Take a look.

Melancholia (2011)

February 6, 2012

‘Melancholia’ is a very beautiful film. It made a strong impression on me and for a while now I’ve wanted to write about it.

Watching the film is almost like looking at a series of fantastic paintings, or rather photographs – surprising and magical. The vibrant colours are a feast for the eyes, the greens of the surroundings and the blues of the approaching planet predominating.  The grounds of Tjolöholm Castle, where outdoor scenes were filmed, make a spectacular location. (It’s kitschy and vulgar, some would say. Well, it’s a matter of taste. In my opinion, all elements of the film fit perfectly together. )

There are many contrasts encompassed in Lars von Trier’s ‘Melancholia’, both in the visual and in the narrative. The most striking one for me was the transformation of Justine’s position from a troublesome person, who could be perceived as a burden to her sister throughout the story, to a calm, composed figure, who takes over the care of the family in the critical situation at the end. Claire, the sensible, practical sister becomes shaky and unreasonable, while the unreasonable one remains serene and collected in the face of the end of the world.

We can witness two people’s completely dissimilar reactions to the same event. But how can anyone be calm when the Earth is ending? This is where the dissonance lies, and the success of the storyline. It is in the contradictory feelings it evokes. Seeing the relief on Justine’s face I felt torn: to some extent I was glad that soon she would be free of the anxiety and absurdity of living, as it was to her, and at the same time I felt sad that life for everyone else and in general would cease to exist. All in all, however, the scene did not make me feel anxious or upset – perhaps that was because of Justine’s behaviour.

I found the film to be an aesthetically ravishing experience. At the time, however, I was in the mood for some melancholy.

Souvenir from Rome

February 5, 2012

While in Rome, we bought an AS Roma frying pan. We found it on sale in a supermarket, it cost an incredible price of 5 euro. It proved most useful!

We were planning to discover and relish Italian food, however, it appeared Rome is not the best place for it. Restaurants sell overpriced, tourist-aimed food and the experience proved not to be worth the stress (e.g. did we pick the right place?) or the money (e.g. a main course might actually comprise of a single piece of meat – vegetables or sides have to be ordered separately).

In the same supermarket we got some beautiful steak which we then fried in the said pan (in our B&B’s kitchen). Yumm. There will be another time to try proper deliciout Italian food, and that time will not be in Rome.

As for the pan – it came with us to Edinburgh and keeps being used in the kitchen!