Monday, 14 June 2010

Downright intuitive and comical

I was on my hands and knees yesterday scrubbing a LOT of blood off a tennis court. And yes, we won. Note to friends - my tennis is not that good, but, I am determined. Determined. And so was he. Imagine. 45 minutes of dripping blood whilst playing. "I'm fine - I can't feel anything" he said...."Good. Keep playing" I said.

I didn't really.

It was a very welcome afternoon respite after two grueling evenings. The first, a book club discussing "Midnight's Children". The second, THAT football game. Both evenings were hosted by one of my best most brilliant friends who is very very good at keeping the glass over half full. An afternoon in the lovely english countryside was just the perfect follow.

Ah you say. So...Missmc was drinking too much again over the weekend. Thank goodness - it gives a good explanation to the last most misguided ranting post. I mean really. If you are going to let your head wander to redefining the Meaning of Liquidity as a solution, one ought to have some practical experience in such matters. Cheers.

In a more sober tone, George Soros has spoken again. Here is the link, but, check out the google ad that popped up whilst I was reading it. Sometimes google is like having a weirdly misguided father-in-law looking over your shoulder. Downright intuitive and comical.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Beyond politics...

If you hold any fascination with the study of systems this is your week to ponder. The financial markets and the world economy are clattering in the press about interbank liquidity, the euro crisis and the solvency of several nations. Layered on top of this all is a perceptual web that remembers the past few years and knows the problem is not solved. Nonetheless, we march on. The new evil according to the press and the politicians is national debt. The phrase du jour is "fiscal austerity" and the turning of focus on the mechanisms of this variable brings forth a Salman Rushdie stream-of-consciousness cast of characters, scenarios and yes, politics.

The hidden ghost in the machine is an algorithmic web that toys with these shifts and removes any sense of logic to the casual spectator. If liquidity is the issue, one has to look past the debt ingesting behavior of individual nations. Electronic trading platforms for bonds have increased the bond trade to such an extent that the notion of liquidity is shifting more to take on board the computerization and subsequent increase in bond trading. In other words, "more" was created, and now, the world is pondering this notion of "more" whilst the economies falter and the computers keep churning. The everyday panics and bumps are bigger in this environment, and, the risks have increased. So, then, welcome to the new world. You have been here for a while but it has just raised to the surface and poked you in the eye. And, there is more, but this is a simplified paragraph because I need a cigarette. And it is a blog after all. In essence, the key thing is our notion and definition of liquidity is shifting in a pretty Wittgenstinian kind of way. Roll with it.

Inherently, this new world is really quite fine. But, like any revolution, there are adjustments to be made. This is one of those historical periods of change that will sit in the classrooms of the future. "Let the material express itself" was the dogma of my high school sculpture teacher. I sat in the front unmalleable, and, mumbled, "Yes, but then, what?"...

Sunday, 6 June 2010

I saw Pegasus evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect

Our au pair has just finished her degree in cartography. Cartography? My goodness - she must be in high demand these days. From Eyjafjallajokull to Deepwater the world is currently enwrapped in map mania. Missmc can never resist a bit of forecasting though scientists would prefer it to be called "a projection".

Projecting the path of Deepwater's spurgy glops raised a bit of hysteria last week in the media. The press scampered back under cover and exclaimed that these projections were not real, could not be real and were mere forecasts based on inky blot models. So there. Not real, not happening. Whew.

Is anyone having a flashback? Ah yes. Volcano dust. The forecasts were not facts according to the Daily Mail. So therefore not real. Philosophers.

Like the dust, oil mapping is a tricky task. The current maps only map what is "visible". Projections based on currents, wind and weather are semi- accurate for a day or so ahead and become more theoretical as the timeframe increases. As there has been over a million gallons of chemicals released to disperse the oil there is an awful lot of invisible gunk in the deep deep levels of the sea that will remain unmapped. The effects of the oil and the chemicals deep down under will appear later on further up the food chain, but, by then, gosh - perhaps we'll have another crisis to take off the focus. Maybe the Israelis will go on a pirating course and hone their skills.

The Rorschachian nature of these maps for both the oil and the volcano dust adds to Missmc's appreciation of the mathematical models behind them. For instance, here is a map of the oil glop. I saw Pegasus slowly evolve into a creepy egg-laying insect this morning. Of course, Missmc is operating on the usual she-still-might-be-a-tad-drunk-after-last-night batteries. Afterall, it is Sunday morning.

I do hope to return this week with my own map. "Deepwater, meet Eyjafjallajokull" "Eyjafjallajokull, meet Deepwater". I just have to adjust the model a bit more as long timeframe projections are...a...bit...unreliable. But the graphics are marvelous.

Thursday, 3 June 2010


Louise Bourgeois. Much has been written in tribute over the past few days on her passing. Most everyone knows her work, and her work's influence. So, I'll skip that, say "wow that spider" and get right to the meat of the matter.

I've never been a proper feminist - at least according to the old school 70's jumble of ism's and anti-isms my hippie mum sponged up courtesy of Ms. magazine. I've always been uncomfortable with any slight hint of righteousness, on any topic. Or things with "messages". I mean, I couldn't watch Star Trek, Lassie...the list goes on. And the television is now permanently off. But.

I'm having a moment of feeling like I am wearing Gloria Steinem's groovy glasses. I am looking for a soap box. Louise Bourgeois. My goodness, she has done the impossible. A late career post-motherhood contemporary art success story? How many of my 30-40something used-to-be-the-creme-de-la-creme of the art world friends who are now home with kids and struggling with work are salivating at the chance for their own LBM - "Louise Bourgeois Moment"? Well, to be honest, I think it is what keeps us all going. Delusional? Perhaps we are, but, delusional is okay in our field. Celebrated.

Louise, we salute you. For not just the inspiration to continue, but, most importantly, for giving dignity and meaning to old age against the zeitgeist of this era.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

An aside -

An aside for the day - it has been a busy one --

While the Deepwater debacle is more than distressing, watching the live footage of robots from an underwater camera is surreal. See it here. At the moment, there is not much action from the robots as the sawblade is stuck...

Sunday, 30 May 2010

The Economy, Dennis Hopper and Deepwater

"Like a picture of Jesus on the loo" said son number one after I explained the art of an exhibition we were about to see. We were headed to Whitechapel Gallery to see the Rachael Harrison exhibition. I am still going through the files to try and remember just what I said about her work to inspire such a comment. No matter. Son number two piped up and told son number one that his comment might hurt the feeling of "The Religionists". Our day was off to a grand start.

We detoured past Whitechapel and decided to grab a bite to eat on the glorious Boundary rooftop. A quick check of twitter confirmed that it was open. We donned our tartan blankets and attempted to eat sparingly as we had a bbq scheduled later in the day. In between small bites my mind wandered from the shallow - a lust for a certain kind of eyeglasses spotted on fellow diners...and meandering to the worldwide economy, Deepwater and Dennis Hopper. Hold that mix.

Onward - . The Rachael Harrison erased all bits of doom and gloom and replaced them with a lo-fi absurdity. The divergent- topics- stirred -together theme was explored with deadpan dada. We walked back down Brick Lane with tweaked perception. Sun shining we went on to the BBQ. Which I cannot tell you about but I will say we had the best best time.


The Worldwide Economy. Dennis Hopper. Deepwater. Tie these three things together in your brain and shake. We have a blinding machismo, some robots not up to the task and a flailing mess. will find your own thoughts on economics in all of that.


The ironically named "Deepwater" saga continues with no end in sight. Decades of litigation dance on the horizon. My old friend who resigned from her first lawyer gig after being placed on the Exxon side of Valdez is likely reexperiencing some moral turmoil. The next plan of action is a plumbing sci-fi adventure - Read it here

Saturday, 29 May 2010

I tap, it grows...

I hadn't really meant to get an iPad until a friend said she could get me one on opening day if I should like one. In my mind, it was one of those gadgets I'd eventually end up with, but, I wouldn't think of standing in line in the midst of all the hype. Neither would she. A few quick emails to some secret amazing source earlier in the week secured our Pads and a back door appointment at the Apple store. She delivered it to my door at exactly 2pm yesterday.

It is the ultimate procrastination device. You can't actually MAKE or DO anything with it. But, you can read, watch, arrange and communicate. I've spent the past few months with a standard issue laptop trying to pinch and poke it to expand the text. It was having none of that. And we were in bed together. Ego-killer. And it had a bit of a snore.

The iPad is anthropomorphic. We are having a relationship. You know, the early days knickers flashing cartwheel type phase. I tap, it grows. It is warm, but not sweat-inducing hot. And it has shockingly reasonable speakers. Finally, it is the ultimate Lexulous device.

My complaints? Well - it could be even bigger. Gigantic, able to be mounted on the wall with a remote would be neat. It would balance on my legs better if it were larger. In addition, I'll have to see if I can do two-handed typing - my instinct says that my one handed typing skills are about to blossom instead. The useful thing is all these apple gadgets that seem to sprout like mushrooms in my house are all linked by mobile me. Which means everything updates everything in relative real-time. Conceptually, I like that.

My good friend Tim still thinks it is a dumb purchase. Like my short-lived Ubuntu phase. We'll see...

Friday, 28 May 2010

Lying on top of Hedge-wife

Missmc was slumming it last night. The details of that will remain nonspecific but the occasion was a farewell party for my castle-laden soon-to-be-moving-to-Switzerland friend. She is reluctant to go, and, should be. I am fairly certain that she will be returned to London by the Swiss police. Her gleesome gleeishness is just. not. swissy.

But what can one do in the midst of the great jarring crash of the financial system besides tax-dodge-run-to-Switzerland and start a hedge fund? Afterall - the hedgies have seen the biggest profit during the crisis and lo - if I had half a brain and had liquidated a few years ago - well - no - I'd need a bit of help with that. There are some things Missmc is not capable of. Just a few. Arch your eyebrows here.

Back to the evening. Said friend was fearful she would not find anyone as "normal" as us in Switzerland. Normal? Goodness gracious that is a skew of reality. As tilted as the hill we walked up last night with our ridiculous wedged shoes. Except the long and lithe A. - she had her sensible head-girl flats on and bounded up the hill like a dog in sunshine. How she can drink copious amounts and remain positively corporate-meeting-buttoned-up-shirt is a complete mystery. I won't paint a picture of the rest of us. Yet. Yes. It is coming. That indelible moment.

Can you believe I am still here? I cannot. It is the best and worst day of my life. Picture me, 70's jeans, those wedges, lying on top of hedge-wife . In the middle of the road. Bus approaching. Not a twisted porn scene - we simply fell down together in the middle of the road. Drunk.

I pondered getting up, and, decided the bus had a better chance of rolling over me without squashing me if I stayed lying down. Those are the kinds of decision making skills one is blessed with whilst inebriated. Merde.

He stopped. We rose. And made it to the other side. Of the canyon.

To be continued...

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

You want me back...

You want me back. There you were sailing merrily along through it all and then, the uncertainty cloud wafted past. You kept your glass half-full and off we all went. I've been biting my skeptical Tongue. Why this iPhone just capitalized that is a mystery, but perhaps it does think highly of my Tongue. There. Again.

I've been working very hard on spending all my money before the markets eat it. Back to the superb country farmhouse in Mallorca. Onto Somerset to the crow-infested Babington house. And some other bank-draining highlights. Some of you were fortunate to see me apply the same amount of obsession to things-I-cannot-control-but-can-forecast to the magnificent Iceland volcano saga. Eyjafjallajokull...That is a test. If you can spell it, you are super-a-type.

But alas. Missmc has been polishing up her cv and is preparing to find a Proper with a capital P job. I'll keep you all posted. I do think the markets are going to torture us for some time to come and I need to start hedging.

Friday, 27 November 2009

What about Dubai?

Apologies. I've been slacking on the blog. My work week has been shortened by four hours by a very-ridiculous-situation. With that, I'm finding it rather hard to sneak in some keyboard time. I expect the next few weeks with work deadlines, Christmas shopping., loads of parties and the dreaded end-of-term school Roman project my son is dithering on completing ought to just about finish me off.

How on earth working mums find the time to do the Christmas thing is the wonder of the day. Mail order? Sneaking away early from work? I've been doing both and naughtily slotted in a hairdressing appointment yesterday to ease the stress. I had visions of cascading locks, a messy kind of fresh out of bed look. I emerged the dot opposite, with blow-dry straight straight hair. I felt shiny, organized and quite unlike myself. It occurred to me I ought to cry and make him start anew. But I did not have the time.

Hair? No no no. Never mind the hair. What about Dubai? The answer is, thank goodness for Thanksgiving. The U.S. markets were closed yesterday, which most hopefully was helpful. I'll be watching today - futures look a bit grim at the moment. But, apart from market movements today, what does this all mean in the big picture? I'll tell you. It is a lot like my hair. Appearances can be deceptive and little things can reveal the true state of things. I'd much prefer it goes all messy upfront rather than this nervous tic repressed state we are being held in. Thin ice is never much fun. Let's slosh.

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Coca-cola "incentivising" buskers on the London Underground to sing a Jingle?

Oh dear. More here on the BBC...

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Try and control it...

Oh my. Man-made blizzard paralyzes China?

Read about it here.

The China Meteorological Administration has produced the following video to explain artificial rain, and, whether or not it is harmful. See it here on their website...(in Chinese)...

There is perhaps an analogy to quantitative easing but I shall resist...

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Contests. Would you rather enter a contest based on luck, or, on skill? Or, are you a contest avoider? If you are a contest-player, how strongly do you ever feel about winning?

For instance, Missmc feels very strongly she might win things based on skill. I might play those. As far as luck contests, I've no strength of feeling. And, with that, I am a contest avoider, though the odd "hey...I might get lucky" moment does cross my mind from time to time.

Which is more satisfying? Winning contests of chance, or, winning contests of skill? For me, it is winning games of chance. Because it seems so utterly magically Santa-claus-y when random luck happens.

I ought to be more attracted to contests of chance more than to contests of skill if I find chance-based contests more satisfying to win. But I have no particular attraction to them.

Obviously it all comes down to my a-type tendencies and skeptical nature. Perhaps it is time to play some more chance-based kinds of contests and loosen up...

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Channelling my inner Goldie Hawn...

Missmc does not deserve to be in the intermediate pilates class but was placed there purely for economic reasons. There were only two beginners this term so I've been asked to join in with the ladies-who-know-what-they-are-doing. I am now officially the class clown. This role I truly relish.

Until tomorrow morning. When the muscles howl and mewl and remind me that I am not intermediate, my sense of humour might just wisp away. I expect I will curse the beginner-ladies-of-Dulwich who ought to be standing alongside me in the name of solidarity. Things might be tight, but, really, other things need to be umm...tight.

I am terribly inspired by my high-maintenance teacher - mostly because she has a delightful sense of humour. She has gone from long haired brunette to short haired blonde this week. I can just imagine if I had made that leap. Within weeks, I'd be scraggly and brunette and take to wearing a hat. I'd be muttering about my feminist mother letting me down, not teaching me that it is okay to be glamourous. She read Ms magazine and liked Gloria Steinem and other hairy 70's feminists. Who I loathed when I was young. They were gross. Looks do matter.

I'm having flashbacks of rebelliousness and think I might just have to become a blonde someday soon. My mother would faint.