Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

You can contact us at werkingwells (at) gmail . com

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Reality Travel

The NY Times had an article this morning about traveling Paris through the eyes of a Fashionista. Normally that article wouldn't capture my attention, say like an article about a chef's view of Paris, but since watching the last few seasons of Project Runway, that has changed a bit. As anyone who knows me can attest, on the Fashion Spectrum, I'm pretty challenged. I kind of have Aspergers of Fashion. I'm not so dire that old ladies do interventions on the street, but lets just say once--while in college--I thought it would be a cool experiment to see if anyone noticed if I wore the same outfit in a row for a whole week, and no one did!

Checking out my custom couture jacket at the Shanghai Fabric Market

But one evening, while bored I switched on Project Runway. While I couldn't give a rats ass if monochromatic was in or out this season, and couldn't pick Micheal Kors or Heidi Klum out of a line-up, this little show was fun. I especially loved how creative the designers had to be with some pretty interesting limitations. Bravo also does Top Chef and they have some good production guidelines for some of their shows. (Others, like Shear Genius--a hair stylers challenge--are really as sucky as they sound)

This season doesn't have the entertaining personalities of last. I really enjoyed Chris March and his fab drag outfits and watching Romi's ability to drape damn near anything. And Mr Christian "I'm so Fierce" Siriano was a perfect blend of reality show personality and actual talent rolled into one. Right now we're down to hometown girl Le Ann, obnoxious Kenley, a little too serious Korto and the one I'd want to pack up and take home with me, Jerrell.

Back to travel. So if I went back to Paris, I might pay a bit more attention to some of the fashion icons and scenes then I did before. It's interesting how media can form the ideas of what you will see before you travel. The movie Amelie was fantastic in providing a surreal, pop vision of Paris, complete with a heartening love story. The scenery from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy has prompted many to check out New Zealand. And who hasn't visited New York City without a few million movie images in their head.

Our favorite travel/reality show obsession starts this Sunday. The Amazing Race is off again and we'll be watching the drama and the sites (hopefully a few we've seen--actually it ends in Portland!) go racing by. The Amazing Race won it's 100th Emmy last week, which is a testament to what a pain in the ass it must be to produce that show. I'm still wondering why Phil (the Philemanator) Keogh wasn't co-hosting rather than Heidi Klum. I just have to say, watching William Shatner tear off Klum's clothes at the Emmys was one of the most disturbing things I've seen on TV in a while.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Not Quite Pitchforks and Torches...

The Iraq war didn’t do it, well kind of but gawd it’s been five years…
Suspension of Habeus Corpus didn’t do it….
Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib didn’t do it…
The Abolition of Posse Comitatus didn’t do it…
Wire-tapping private citizens didn’t do it…..

However, the idea that Congress will pass what is essentially a three page proposal from Treasury Sec. Hank Paulson (which has within it this sweet rider that allows him complete control over the financial system with NO oversight from any judicial branch, check out section 8!) to bail out a very fracked-up mess, while trying to find some dupe to buy what are essentially boxes of sawdust being sold as tarnished Oscars, looks like it will be the final bird that buries the hip-hop-a-potumus.

It seems that now people are getting pissed. Really angry. You mess with general liberties, freedoms and privacies and there’s a healthy dose of moral outrage, but touch my purse and I’ll smack you upside the head. It’s always economics. Didn’t we learn that from the Germans who suffered serious financial difficulties, rampant inflation and unemployment after World War I which, in a severely weakened state, helped them stumble into Hitler’s arms.

Don’t let the public nature of this bail out fool you, this is disaster capitalism at it’s finest. Naomi Klein’s book The Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism might help you navigate what is truly going on right now. It’s not quite pitchforks and torches yet, but a journalist has organized a protest on Wall Street today that includes literally dumping junk. Another phenomenon--folks figure if we’re going to sell crap on Wall Street, we might as well sell our own personal crap online? The protest probably won’t be covered at all by the mainstream media (who also ignored an anti-Palin rally organized by her sisters in Alaska) but a million bloggers in the Ethernet are paying attention.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Economics Gone Wild, or Why Sarah Palin Depresses Me.

I know that ostensibly this is a travel blog, but sometimes you don’t have to travel at all to be taken for a ride. I’ve been on a bit of an emotional ride for some time now, but it’s gotten a lot bumpier lately, maybe it has for you as well. Here’s what’s eatin’ me.

A long time ago, in a distant past (say the 1970’s) us kids were told that if we ate our vegetables, didn’t torture animals, went to school and worked hard, we could have all the goodies that mommy and daddy had. A home, a car, some money for that once-in-a lifetime trip to Disneyland and maybe some day retirement—just like that old multi-millionaire tending his tomatoes in The Godfather. Oh yeah, there was also that one nation stuff—we weren’t divided into rural and urban, red and blue, democrat and republican so much as we were summed up by the TV shows we watched. There were those who watched M*A*S*H and those who watched Hee Haw and yes the twain did meet.

But in the past thirty years the goodies got more numerous, and things that were once luxuries (microwave ovens, a second car, cell phones, internet access) became needs. House prices wildly outpaced inflation (in fact, inflation is tied to the price of rentals and not home mortgages) and maybe the American public got into a financial bind a little over their head. In the meantime other things were going on, like funky deregulation (which near as I can tell, began with Reagan telling the air traffic controllers “strike and you die”—or something like that) some totally boring legislation got passed (NAFTA, Glass-Stegall) and to make a very long story short, we ended up at last Friday.

Yup, a huge can of whup-ass is getting served on our financial system and the best solution out there is a $700 BILLION bail out for the likes of Morgan Stanley and AIG? (Does this remind you of another quickie bill that managed to get put together in days?) Oops, I think AIG got its own little package. Add this to the 152 billion dollar stimulus package that was supposed to massage us into spending more this summer and the “off the books” war in Iraq and I’m getting a little pissed. It’s not like I see ALL of our money disappearing because of this, but the repercussions for every one of us is staggering. Look, if banks are tightening up and credit is scarce and businesses aren’t growing/hiring, and people aren’t working (what is a job-less recovery anyway) and thus aren’t spending, at some point the game stops.

Hey, I would be thrilled to have a few million tossed my way, but we don’t need a bail out—at least not yet. What we do need are friends and family members with universal health care. Really, these home appendectomies are taking a toll on our kitchen table. And how about spending some money on our schools and bridges? Need we wait for the Sellwood Bridge to collapse before paying attention? (to be fair, it’s on a “to-do” list). The list can go on and on with what I can envision a much better use of $700 BILLION dollars, but what the frack!

So, why does Sarah Palin depress me? She might be nice enough person, or not. She might be able to squeeze out five kids while running a town/state and have enough time to think of ways to put American women on par with our lucky sisters in Afghanistan, that’s her shtick, I get it. I’m from the Wild West, where we say live and let live, but dammit, know what you’re doing. What is depressing me, is that there are soooo many people in our country who actually want to see her run them and the rest of us, an idea that simply sends me into wonkish shock.

Come on folks, executive experience matters, but it’s the type of executive experience. Being female matters only if you have done the same work expected from a man and you have earned a spot at the highest table in the country. Is our country so tricked out, flashing boobies and sucking down beer bongs that just being a hottie is a requirement for the White House?

If that’s the case I want Christian Bale to be my candidate*, at least he could re-enact some of his best scenes from American Psycho and we could laugh about the excesses of Wall Street, which would make it a "Bale out" I could live with.

*Thanks to the Constitution, neither I nor Christian Bale can be president, we were both born overseas.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

For Everything Else....

Aeropostale Sweatshirt & bookbag:$30
Claire's Headband & shoes:$10
School supplies, including class kleenex box:$100

Looking cool for her first day of Middle School: Priceless.

Yes, Dylan is a 6th grader now. They're called Seniors at Arbor and they get more privilages and more work, including a fair amount of summer homework, that was finished yesterday! I met one of my dearest friends in 6th grade. Her name is Susi and we're still friends to this day, standing up for each other at our weddings, calling sporadically--but able to pick up where we last chatted. She was a Wigger; I was a Werking, so we sat pretty close to each other. I thought she looked kind of sweet, in spite of--or maybe because of-- the tight bun at the top of her head, complete with a chopstick sticking out the side.

Twenty eight years later and the only fight we've ever had (while in 6th grade) was over a pair of shoes. Dylan's made some dear friends that she still wants to see all the time. She met Aditi when she was five months old, Sophia the day she (Sophia) was born, Emma in Preschool and Ruby in Kindergarten. Maybe she'll be able to carry some of these friendships into her old dottering 40's.

In the meantime we get to navigate the choppy waters of Middle School and hope for a clear landing on the shores of High School.