Wednesday, February 28, 2007

TV and Health

This list of quick stats on Television & Health is nothing new, but once in a while these things hit me hard. Average of 28 hours a week watching TV -- passively sitting there, taking in mostly junk and doing nothing. 28 HOURS is a lot of time in a week to do something meaningful. How is it that people believe they're so busy and don't have enough time to do the things they want to do when they're blowing a quarter of each waking day on mindless entertainment?
Number of minutes per week that parents spend in meaningful conversation with their children: 3.5
Number of minutes per week that the average child watches television: 1,680

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Blunt Wisdom of Robin Wright Penn

Celebrity news on Lifestylism? Not really, but I guess this is a little different. I enjoyed this interview with Robin Wright Penn by my favourite movie writer, Katrina Onstad. It has some interesting bits about the choices this actor has made and her interpretation of the balance between work, parenthood and celebrity. On motherhood:
“No one really prepares you for motherhood,” says Wright Penn with typically appealing bluntness. “No one says to women, or men: ‘Guess what, guys? You are going to be non-existent for about eight years.’ They prepare you for pregnancy and that’s it. They don’t prepare you for marriage, either.”
On celebrity and getting work in Hollywood:
“If you don’t play the celebrity thing, then you don’t get offered the commercial movies,” she says with a shrug.
I guess it's easier to make these choices when you make a couple of million dollars a year, but it was still refreshing to hear this:
But staying out of the fray is a choice. Wright Penn takes only small roles during the school year to be available to her children, and says she can go virtually anywhere without being recognized.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Longer Work Day Cutting into Family Time

Longer work day cutting into family time: study. The article is solid, including some reaction from a representative of the Vanier Institute of the Family pointing out the negative effects of this trend, most of which is fairly obvious, I guess. I was interested in this counter quote, though:
"However, Lochhead said, it must be remembered that there is an element of individual choice in spending more time at work than with family, and the study, above all else, shows that Canadian workers are committed to their jobs."
I forget that sometimes, when I hear that people are working more -- I always assume that they'd rather be doing something other than working. Perhaps that's just my own personal bias.

Update: Garth reflects on the Globe & Mail's feature on the same study.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Adventure Divas

I hadn't heard of Adventure Divas before, but apparently there's a PBS series and several books out already. I was mostly interested in the profiles of women doing fascinating and important things all over the world. Inspiring! Makes you want to circle the planet and make an impact.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Rex on Climate Change

I enjoyed Rex Murphy's viewpoint on climate change on The National last night and found the article this morning. An excerpt:
"So the question for us is really, is the moral weight of our example worth the immediate, real costs to our economy and lifestyles? Will you drive 30 per cent less, buy 30 per cent less, approve putting a brake on the oilsands, offshore oil, the auto-making industry? In hard terms, will we use less energy, pay more for fuel, live less excessively, fly less often right now, just to show the world that we Canadians are willing to back up what we say about global warming by what we do?

This is not just a question for our politicians. It's a question for us all. Do we believe our moral leadership is worth the personal and public cost of providing that leadership?"
The only thing I might quibble with is this lumping together of personal lifestyle choices (driving less) with national-level environmental regulation, especially on industry. I like the focus on lifestyle decisions and personal impact, and I am willing to drive less (where we live, people already think we're freaks to only have one vehicle for a family of four), but by myself I can't make coal-fired power plants illegal, or limit CO2 emmissions from massive oil extraction and processing projects. This intersection between the personal and political realms goes to the heart of this lifestylism project -- revolutionizing your lifestyle won't cause the necessary revolution on these issues, and politics alone can't solve the problems without people changing their lifestyles. Are we willing to make hard choices in both realms?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Career Planning a Waste of Time?

The author of this post thinks Career Planning is Time Wasted. I agree with the research cited, and the argument is well articulated -- people are notoriously bad at predicting what will make them unhappy -- but I'm not so sure that it translates into all planning being a waste of time. When you're choosing to pursue something instead of something else, you're doing a type of planning, and you might as well choose a general direction (maybe a field, or area of interest, or type of activity) that suits what you're currently enjoying or curious about -- for me, that's all planning is.

There seems to be this idea that career planning for high school students is about picking the exact job description you'll be employed in six or eight years down the road...and if that's the case, I'd have to agree with this assessment that it's a waste of time. It's not about the end goal; it's about process: finding meaningful tasks, developing skills, and building connections in an area of interest that will likely become sustainable work if you really care about it.

This is probably too critical -- I hadn't seen this excellent blog before and probably shouldn't take issue with a single post when there were so many other good ones...oh, well.