Wednesday, March 29, 2006

They say you should learn from your mistakes

Simon said...
This is one of the best blog posts I ever read. Great! "Pain can be healthy." Gee, I never thought about it in this way so far...If there was a way to rate posts, I'd give you a five stars cum laude.
28 March, 2006 12:35

After having given the subject some thought, I realised that Simon probably (or very likely) included a fair measure of sarcasm in his comment. I agree that it would be more sensible of me to write that "Pain should serve as a reminder..." or that "Pain exists for a reason, which we shouldn't overlook before we gulp a generous measure of pain-killers."

"Pain is healthy" doesn't really hold water because health implies the absence of pain. However, I would have appreciated it more if Simon just said he disagreed with me or that the wording is awkward or paradoxical...

I accept the fact that I am a human and am happy to be able to correct mistakes, lapses in logic, incorrect spelling etc. However, I am not very fond of sarcasm. Actually, I do not like it at all and would kindly ask my readers to avoid using sarcasm as a means of expression in their comments. In my opinion sarcasm is amusement for miserable people.

Whatever you have to say to me can be said in a straightforward manner without resorting to a passive aggressive sort of mockery.

posted by Nadezhda | 12:31 | 4 comments

Friday, March 24, 2006

So, I'm learning to become a doctor, right?

And I happen to read many "Ask a Doctor" segments in the papers. One of the last brightly shining stars was a woman asking a doctor why she should cease taking Aspirin a week before her operation (she did not specify the type of operation, though I'm hoping it was her stomach).

Then she went on to virtually brag that she took two Aspirins per day for the last 10 years because of headaches. She said she works in a bank and the lack of fresh air makes her head hurt. To relieve the pain she was taking these immense amounts of pain-killers. Now, if there are other brave pain-killer-takers out there I would like to say the following - just don't, OK? Aspirin and some older pain-killers have systemic effects, which means that on top of relieving the pain, they also have effects on other systems in the body. Aspirin for example, targets thromboyctes and thus prevents adherence of one thrombocyte to another which effectively prevents blood from clotting. This is why Aspirin is prescribed to people who survived a myocardial infarction.

Aspirin should be taken with food to prevent gastrointestinal bleeding. I doubt the woman did that. I also doubt that she needed all the Aspirin. And I'm pretty certain that her blood doesn't clot anymore.

If you're in pain, try to bear it. Some pain is bearable. (Why is it that people immediately take pain-killers when something stinges them?) Being in pain is also, and believe me, healthy, because it prevents you from overworking or overstraining yourself and thus giving the body the time to heal. If you're in chronic pain or severe pain, do not prescribe your own medications. Consult the pharmacist or go to your doctor (especially with chronic pain). Ask for painkillers with minimal systemic effects. And stick to the amount of pills prescribed. If doctor says one pill per 8 hours, don't take 2 pills. There's a reason it takes 12+ years to train a doctor; your doctor is far better able to understand your body than you are. If you're not content with your doctor, change! You have all the right to get professional advice from a person who listens to you, takes your thoughts into consideration and whom you can trust. Don't stick with a doctor you don't like just because you've been going there since you were 7 years old.

And if you have headaches? 1. Drink water. Drink pure water from the tap and always carry around your bottle with water. Drink about 1,5 liter of water per day. Soft-drinks and fruit juices do not count as water. Only water from the tap and mineral water count as that. Herbal tea can count as water, but only if you don't add sugar. Many people cannot distinguish between hunger and thirst, so instead of drinking they eat, but eating doesn't do much to relieve thirst. You need your water. Don't exaggerate, though. If you have normal kidneys you don't need much more than 2 litres of water per day. (A little more if you engage in physical activity, though.)
If that doesn't help, go for a walk on fresh air. Try taking a short nap (about half an hour). Make sure you rest well at night. Try to figure out if there's anything about your surroundings at work or home that makes you feel bad. Sometimes pieces of furniture have a very strong and distinct smell and people with better noses can be bothered by that. If you cannot figure out the reason, go see your doctor. Demand that you be taken seriously.

Just don't be your own doctor and eat pain-killers like your life depended upon it.

posted by Nadezhda | 11:57 | 12 comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Watching Crash (2004, Paul Haggis)

Anthony: That waitress sized us up in two seconds. We're black and black people don't tip. So she wasn't gonna waste her time. Now somebody like that? Nothing you can do to change their mind.

Peter: So, uh... how much did you leave?

Anthony: You expect me to pay for that kind of service?

Anthony: Look around! You couldn't find a whiter, safer or better lit part of this city. But this white woman sees two black guys, who look like UCLA students, strolling down the sidewalk and her reaction is blind fear. I mean, look at us! Are we dressed like gangbangers? Do we look threatening? No. Fact, if anybody should be scared, it's us: the only two black faces surrounded by a sea of over-caffeinated white people, patrolled by the triggerhappy LAPD. So, why aren't we scared?

Peter: Because we have guns?

Anthony: You could be right.

This is how Crash begins. Right from the start on you know that this isn't one of the ordinary films. It isn't one of the neat and polished films, the big-budget, pop-corn, fun-for-all-family, either. It doesn't want to shock, it wants to question. You think you know who you are? You have no idea.

One way of knowing that this is a really good film is to see actors, who in their life haven't done a good role, beginning to sparkle in this one. Sandra Bullock, you have left me speechless. After all the Miss Congeniality and Speed craps you've done, I thought you stopped for good. But what a change, what a shock to see the aforementioned actress give not only a very plausible performance, but a performance that could very well rank for an award.

The film shows that America still hasn't found its balance and that while the people there all feel American ("Oh, my God. What the hell is wrong with you people? Uh-uh! Don't talk to me unless you speak American!" ), they have not yet learnt to co-exist peacefully and unjudgementally. On every corner, at every time of the day, there's a possible catch. You don't want to be racist, but you're prejudiced. Isn't that the same as racist? ("I am angry all the time... and I don't know why.")

Decades after the African American community started to be treated as equals, there are still the Latino ("You want a lesson? I'll give you a lesson. How 'bout a geography lesson? My father's from Puerto Rico. My mother's from El Salvador. Neither one of those is Mexico."), the Asian, the Middle-Easterners ("They think we're Arab. When did Persian become Arab?") and America has not yet faced the fact that equality's just a phrase in the constitution, it's not yet their reality.

A thought-provoking film, wonderful cinematography, a script, written in heaven and competent actors. Not too bad for an independent film. Worthy of the Oscar it received, although I am shocked (a little pleased, too) at the thought that they awarded a film which states that America is less than perfect. That, in fact, it has a big problem.

posted by Nadezhda | 16:03 | 18 comments

Friday, March 17, 2006

A new notebook/reading journal

I'm probably the worst person for keeping a reading journal or a book log or just having a notebook where you could write about the books you've read. I used to have a small, pocket notebook (something like 10 cm × 7 cm) but I ended up writing the amount of time (in days) it took me to finish a book and the title and author. It served no purpose so I abandoned writing it in a very short time.

Around Christmas I saw this beautiful, spiral bound notebook in Konzorcij bookshop. As always I contemplated about buying it for slightly too long and when I came to the shop after the holidays, they sold out the entire stock (man, history DOES repeat itself). The contemplation was all right, though. I knew I was a total loser when it came to keeping a book diary, so naturally I wondered whether I should invest money into something like this only to find it in ten years on the bottom of one of my desk drawers as virginal and untouched as it was on the day of purchasing. (I detest buying things, spending money on them and then only having them so you have more clutter and useless rubbish on your desk, in your drawers or wardrobe.)

Then itoccurredd to me that I didn't have to enter EVERY book I read, I simply had to write about the memorable ones. When I like a passage in a book I usually copy it onto a piece of paper only to find out later (when I want to use the quote) that I have lost the particular bit of paper. So when Konzorcij restocked their shelves, I bought one immediately (I especially liked the tea-cup on the front) and started copying book-quotes into it.

I love the notebook (and, mind you, I'm a notebook addict, so it's not too surprizing I get so excited about a new notebook). It is spiral bound, so the pages turn easily and stay put, the paper is slightly thicker than ordinarily, so it will (hopefully) last long and outlive many page-flippings.

I don't write the book-reviews in the notebook; I'll rather post them on the blog and I do promise, I'll write the reviews of all the books listed on my "Books in 2006" (the ones which so far don't have links). I just thought it might be smart to put them on the list, so you know I'm reading, but just not finding time at the moment to write the reviews. you keep a book diary? What do you write in it and why?

posted by Nadezhda | 12:50 | 9 comments

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Totally unprofessional review of Smoletov vrt (SNG Drama, 2006)

Photo courtesy of SNG Drama.

I have very mixed feelings about Smoletov vrt. I think it's the worst (of all the good performances) one I've seen this year at Drama. It's not that it was totally unenjoyable - but rather that it's half way between everything. It's entitled a comedy, yet for the most part of the first and second act there is very little comedy, more bitterness and regret and some frustration.

The play begins with the daughter asking what is longing. This sets the mood of the first act. (Having seen The Brothers Karamazov, where the play begins with the most important words in the world of Dostoevsky - Does good exist or does it not? (a very crude translation, I admit) - I half-expected this question about the meaning of longing to be quintessential for this play.) The question, however, has very little bearing on the later events.

The second act has two high-points (lasting only a couple of minutes) where the script explodes with witty comments and these parts are what I enjoyed the most. Apart from the funny bits you get more insight into the family relationships and the story about a mother with two daughters is told in its entirety. The plot is very similar to The Cherry Orchard by Chekhov and several references to the play are made. Perhaps Meta Hočever meant to write a Slovenian based remake of the original play? (She failed, because her play fails to have the dramatic effect of Chekhov and is not funny enough to be a comedy.)

The last act seems to be there solely to say that the family lost their cherry orchard and that they now have nowhere to live. The mother suddenly (in one year) develops severe dementia and is unable to take care of herself, but she still knows how to dress and dance Argentinean tango (the actors aren't very good dancers, either.)

(Apart from the dancing) I can't blame the actors, because their performances were solid if not good, but the material they were given has little (if anything) to offer. Also, the abrupt changes in the behaviour of the characters are not explained. (One moment one of the daughters, the actress, hates her step-sister, the opera singer, and a year later they are seemingly good friends. They hated each other for ten years, but the one extra year seemed to have done all the difference. Or did it?)

Final verdict: see something else, if you have the time to go to the theatre. Even Fužinski bluz is better than this. If you want to see a comedy, try something else.

posted by Nadezhda | 17:34 | 4 comments

Friday, March 10, 2006


Van Gogh's Irises are a nice way to say how I feel at the moment without putting it in words.

posted by Nadezhda | 23:47 | 9 comments

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Everything you ever wanted to know

I'm tired, out of spirits and exceedingly busy. (And yes, I do complain, too.) I passed an exam today. I have one approaching with the speed of light (or faster). I've a report to write and two books and a pile of articles to read, summarize and comment for a workshop (The Healer's Art) I'm currently attending.

So, while I hibernate through my days and learn during the night, my mind working on nothing else but pure gunpowder green tea, I'd like to ask my dear readers and my beloved Googlebot (although for the majority of time he's very modest and quiet) whether there was something, anything they wanted me to post about.

For the record, I am planning on writing the last LOTR post, a review of Anna Karenina, Smoletov vrt, The Brtothers Karamazov, Fužinski bluz and Katarina, pav in jezuit, all the plays I've seen this year at SNG Drama Theatre. I also owe you book reviews of two books I've read in the last weeks. But apart from that... is there anything else you'd like to read here? Tell me.

posted by Nadezhda | 17:05 | 17 comments

Sunday, March 05, 2006

On playing chess

When boyfriend and I get bored watching films, we sometimes play chess. That is: first we play a game of memory and I always win by a substantial amount. So as a revenge of sorts and to even out the score, we play a game of chess next. Needless to mention, boyfriend always wins at chess.

Being a fighter and someone who practices a "you-can-do-it" mentality, I'm not too pleased about his unbroken streak of victories at chess. Over time, however, I've managed to understand that the problem is not in me but in the game. Chess, for all its fame and glory, is a very unrealistic game. It's been driven so far into abstract lands that it's completely lost touch with reality.

So in essence a game of chess is a fight on a battlefield, where you can only move in certain directions and ways. I have no problem with that; - ok, almost no problem. Suppose you were a simple pawn and faced a vicious and an almost almighty (in chess terms) queen. Would you just stand and wait? Or would you turn 180 (no, it's not 360, Fredy Miller) and run as fast as your legs could carry you? If you're not a very brave hobbit (in manner of Merriadoc), then the latter, I suppose. And here is my first proof that chess is completely devoid of common sense. Because the pawn can only go forward regardless of the enemies or cruelties he faces on his way. (Lets also assume that pawns are substantially less brave than the other nobility (bishops, rooks, knights...) on the chess field.)

Then the second thing where the inventors of chess went wrong is when you're in check. When the opponent performs a check, you have to secure your king. All is well, but what if you weren't quite into this option for losers? Then you'd do what the opponent would never have expected... you'd leave the king where it was (it cannot be taken away from you, it is immortal, anyway) and attack your opponent in such a manner as would force him to withdraw his attack. This, again, is not something you can do by existing chess rules (or boyfriend is deceiving me, seeing that if I could apply this I'd win more often (wishful thinking)), but it would have been braver and worthy of praise.

I start a game by trying to secure the king, then try to play so as to rebound the attacks on my people and land and by the time I could prepare an attack, I'm inevitably losing the game on several fronts. I should come out and attack straight ahead, but I want to be wise and protect my devoted people.

And I end up losing the game. Though I'm getting better, my progress is as slow as Slovenia is in building its motorways.

But my consolation will always be that it's not my being untalented at chess that's the problem. Rather it's that this is a completely unrealistic game not meant for the cunning, courageous and realistic people but for dreamers without daring or slyness.

posted by Nadezhda | 20:42 | 4 comments

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I'll have those in every colour...

So, for the record, I'm no Carrie Bradshaw. First off, I couldn't afford Manolo even if I wanted to and secondly, very few shoes fit me snugly. Shoes I love most are those which I've had for several months, because they're worn in and thus soft. Everything that's not soft (especially around the heel) leaves my feet covered in bruises, blisters, soft corns and other injuries I never knew before (bearing in mind that I did a fair share of ballet training).

I laid my hands on an Alpina shoe catalogue on Monday and saw this divine pair of shoes. They're very reasonably priced, classy in black and have a nice heel. There's no unflattering pointed toe part and the shape is elegant. I could already envision myself wearing them, in my day dreaming my legs were suddenly longer and slimmer and the shoes beautifully accentuated the legs... However, back to reality. I have no high heels for elegant winter occasions and this seemed an ideal time to buy a pair which I could use in combination with several outfits. Last time I fell in love with a pair of high heels was in Autumn and I contemplated buying the shoes for so long that they sold out the entire stock.

As I want to at least give the impression that I do learn from past mistakes, I bravely entered an Alpina shop today and almost fainted with disappointment. The shoes look terrible in reality. They look cheap, the heel is unstable and the front part of the shoe actually doesn't stay on the surface, but curls upwards. In shock I left the store almost immediately, without actually asking for a fitting.

The sad part of the story is that I have a rather important "date" tomorrow and naturally want to look my best. I was already planning on wearing these heels with a mini skirt and a lovely (rather low cut) knit twinset. Now it's not only that I don't have the shoes, but the snowing probably effectively put a stop to my wearing a mini skirt, too.

There is truth in the saying that being a woman is difficult.

P.S. Should anyone know about some lovely, reasonably priced high heels, let me know. (This is mainly to test whether any women actually read me as I have a sneaking suspicion that the series of LOTR posts I did drove them away.)

posted by Nadezhda | 13:15 | 19 comments