Friday, June 27, 2008

Flying Rats

There are a few things that I really hate at lunchtime - dawdlers, prams, screaming children (closely linked to prams), seeing ex boyfriends (very awkward), and the inevitable cluster of teenagers who appear, judging by their dress, to be deeply emotionally disturbed and suffering an inability to wear colour.

It is especially bad at this time of year - the dreaded school holidays. During school holidays, the clusters grow in size to accommodate the students who don't wag school to hang out in the mall at lunch time. So we are met not only with the mentally off-kilter teen, but also the hormonally enhanced, and the deluded members of the teen species who believe they are members of a gang from the New York or LA ghetto or key players in a hip hop film clip. On very special occasions we can also be treated to an attempted revival of gothic formal wear. They clump together, and move around in formations closely resembling that of pigeons - otherwise known as flying rats.

Cutting a swathe through the pigeon-children between the hours of 12-2pm and 5:30-8pm requires energy and assertiveness, and a strict adherence to one's own destination goals. I have learnt that, not unlike pigeons, they will generally move out of your way if you walk in a deliberately straight line at a fast pace. A sneer also helps.

So it was with some pleasure (as a bird hater from way back, and a person who can't watch the apparently [how would I know? I can't get past the title] great Hitchockian thriller The Birds as a result of this aversion) that I heard that in the lead up to Wimbledon, the All England Club decimated - by lethal bullet - a number of pigeons to ensure the health (yes, they carry disease - another parallel with the mall-dwellers: 2 in 3 teens are meant to carry some form of icky STD these days) and safety of the tennis players. Of course there was uproar from those segments of the community who hug trees and have never been swooped, crapped on or had their lunch stolen by a bird. To those people, I recommend a day in Trafalgar Square with bread crumbs in your hair. Or a visit to Brisbane's very own Queen St mall at lunch time, during school holidays.

In other Wimbledon news, I was very sad to see Andy Roddick dip out so early in the tournament. The eye candy he provides is, like the culling of pigeons, a necessary and well-appreciated community service. Not so sad to see Ms Grunty Maria Sharapova unceremoniously disposed of, and I was even pleased to see the dramz unfold post-match, with Shaz's opponent airily discussing how unimpressive her tux-inspired outfit was. I have no problem with the tux idea, and I kinda liked the inventiveness - but if you're gonna talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk.

While I love good tennis, I love good gossip more.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Smart Girls Eat Fish

It's been recently reported that not only are girls who eat Omega 3s smarter than girls who don't, the distribution of body fat is also different. The University of California has reported that women who accumulated more fat on their hips than their waists (think Coca Cola bottles!) - and who therefore had low hip-waist ratios like movie stars (movie stars have hips??) - also had higher cognitive scores than girls with higher hip-waist ratios. [Trust a university in California to link brain capacity with waist size! I thought champagne was the reason for my dwindling brain - apparently it's chocolate!]

The researchers proposed that because the fat on the hips and thighs contains more omega-3s than belly fat does, these women were storing omega-3s critical for foetal and infant brain development--and boosting their own brainpower as they grew up. To test this hypothesis, data on about 4000 girls and boys between the ages of 6 and 16 was tested. After the researchers controlled for the parents' income and education and for the children's age, race, number of siblings, and blood lead levels, they found that girls who ate more omega-3 scored significantly better on four cognitive tests, including an IQ test. They ultimately found that although genetics and parental education influence intelligence far more, the dietary effect explained about 1% of the difference in test scores between girls. Boys also perform a bit better on cognitive tests if they eat more omega-3s than other fatty acids, but the effect is "twice as great in girls as in boys".

Apparently this disparity also suggests that evolution has favoured girls who stow omega-3 fats on their lower bodies [I am pretty sure that girls with the body of a movie star are far more likely to beat off a girl shaped like a bean bag in the "can I have your babies" stakes with the men]. The team also found that omega-6 fatty acids interfere with cognition, because girls who ate more of these oils didn't perform as well.

I recall as a little girl refusing to eat fish because I hated the smell. I don't think my brain - or hips - are amused.

Baby Elephant Walk

On Tuesday I was doing my usual lunchtime shopping tour when I wandered past a shoe store I never go into. Even though I rarely shop there, my eye was caught by a cute pair of shoes very reminiscent of last winter's Chanel ballet flats with the black toes. And then my eye was caught by a pair of grey, patent, round toe shoes. I have no idea why (although it may be that I saw a pair of grey opaques that would match them perfectly) but I bought them. Now, I'm wondering why I did it and more importantly what I'll wear them with.

I can't say I love this all-grey palette (seen in the Celine A/W 08-09 shows), but there was an awful lot of grey on display in all of the A/W shows. Maybe it's worthwhile holding onto them for next season? Ordinarily I would throw in red or orange shoes to liven things up, but I can only assume these sombre, monochrome tones are supposed to reflect the current push to tighten our belts in this high oil price/high food price/poverty/war in the Middle East environment. How depressing. Maybe I should just stick to my orange shoes...? Ironically enough, the orange cost a lot more than my grey!

Other reasons for holding on to the shoes:

  • When the weather gets rainy and icky, I won't have to wear my gorgeous expensive shoes and ruin them
  • They're cheap
  • I now have stockings that go with them (and I can't return the stockings because I took them out of their packet - damn!)
  • They're patent. (I think that might be the decider, given my current obsession with all things patent).

Even when times are really tough, there's no excuse for shoes that look like this: