Archive for August, 2012

August 30, 2012

Guy’s guy

I just thought about an old friend and how to best describe him and the term “guy’s guy” came to mind.  That is definitely one worth explaining.

This guy really doesn’t look much like a guy’s guy, pic: ryansingercomedy.com

So a guy’s guy is a heterosexual man who prefers the company of other man and favors  in masculine activities.  Playing rugby is definitely a guy’s guy activity, so is cutting down trees, fixing up old cars, many forms of extreme sports, notably those which require lots of strength and power.  Ball room dancing – despite the fact that requires a lot of endurance, is not a typical guy’s guy activity.  Another important aspect is that to be a guy’s guy the guy has to be admired by other men.

The gy’s guy opposite is the “Ladies’ Man” – any major achievements in ball room dancing are more likely to make you the latter, building a barn with your bare hands and a few tools over the weekend will definitely make you more of a guy’s guy.

Another expression saying pretty much the same thing is “man’s man”.

August 28, 2012

Upcycling

As a DIY-er, Left Coast liberal, environmentally conscious do-gooder I had to come across the term “upcycling” sooner or later.  It was rather later than sooner to my surprise as I found the term – not too long after I had heard or rather read it for the first time here in the US – in a mainstream German women’s magazine.

Upcycling at its best: a purse made from drinking pouches, pic:blog.nurturenatureproject.com

As for a definition, upcycling is the re-purposing of a material into a product of higher quality.  Examples of upcycling include purses made of all sorts of materials such as drink pouches or candy wrappers, coasters from wood scraps, fancy dressers from old drawers and, I guess, my recent project of making a lamp shade from leather strings and copious amounts of fabric stiffener (I also used – and ultimately had to sacrifice – my son’s inflatable pool ball. Oh well, the summer is almost over anyway).

Upcycling seems to be quite the trend around here, especially in San Francisco but I am sure the New Yorkers have their share of the movement – and apparently so does germany.

Here are some of the websites/blogs I recently looked at and thought inspirational:

http://madebygirl.blogspot.com

http://www.curbly.com

http://www.parlourhomeblog.com/

blog.nurturenatureproject.com

Have a look, maybe you’ll find your own favorite project to be creative nd work with your hands after a day spend hammering away on the computer.

So, and now I’ll go and make cutesy little tea light holders out of old lace, balloons and – you guessed it – copious amounts of fabric stiffener.

August 16, 2012

…And The Rest Is History

“.. and the rest is history” is another little (American) English phrase that can be very useful in conversation.  The phrase is used to refer to a story or event everybody is familiar with and therefore does not need to be repeated.  Everyone is not necessarily everyone in the world or even the country or town but everyone (or almost everyone) taking part in that particular conversation.

I just recently used the phrase (or rather would have used it had this conversation happened in English) in the following context: My oldest girl-friend was telling my son how she move from one country to another when she was only 10 years old and how she had to leave her best girl-friend behind. To give the whole story a optimistic spin she then continued to say “but then, two years later, I met your mom in school” to which I would have added “and the rest is history!” meaning everybody around the table knows that we have been best friends ever since and knows many stories about our adventures – both silly and serious.

I like this phrase, it seems like it is the closest thing to telling an insider joke without actually telling a joke.

No picture this time, for the life of me I couldn’t come up with a picture to illustrate this phrase that wasn’t completely cliche or unrecognizable.

 

 

August 9, 2012

In Defense of Californias Elementary Schools

I have pretty much given up blogging about the California school system and it’s shortfalls, specifically the political correctness which often lies like a sticky blanket on everything that should be fun from candy to a good playground fight.

Mobbing is nasty, pic: http://www.recognizeabuse.com/bullying/what-is-mobbing/

 

Today, though, I have to raise my voice in defense of the political correctness and mollycoddling which surprises no-one more than me.  I have spent the last four weeks with my family in my native German town.  My parents live in a small, save cul-de-sac with kids my son’s age around.  “Perfect”, I thought to myself, “‘precious only son’ will have some buddies (or should I say mates) to play with and I will get to do – whatever.”  What I never even considered was the fact that the lovely little neighborhood brats would gang up on my child, whose only crime it is to be a stranger

 

with the occasional strange idea about how German language should be used.  Five of them mobbed him, were absolutely nasty from the first moment on, stole his toys, refused to include him in their games, shoved dirt down his shirt and similarly nasty stuff while their parents sat by looking and saying smart and enlightening things like “that’s just how kids are”.

Now I hate to say this but where we live every parent would be mortified by such behavior and every teacher would call a conference with the parents if they observed such despicable acts.  Kids would be impressed upon that mobbing is unacceptable and that message would be delivered in no uncertain terms.  Kids learn in Kindergarten to be open and tolerant of others.  This is part of the curriculum.  Does it always work and do we have a bunch of little angles floating three feet off the ground in California?  No, of course not, but at least a serious attempt is made to train them from an early age to be caring and inclusive,  call it mollycoddling if you like but at least it isn’t mobbing and indifference.

I am very glad, I have to say, that the first day of my son’s third grade will be in a political correct school in politically correct California.