Sunday, January 31, 2010


I have heard of someone who actually managed to get embroiled in one of those e-mail 'please open a bank account for us and you will get $10,000 scams.

It is all sordid and unpleasant.  It also got me to a little internet searching, out of curiosity.

I found the FBI's Cyber Investigations New E-scams and warnings page.
MAN, some of those guys have coJONes!!!!
Look at these headlines from the FBI site.....

Sooooo....they're targeting law firms!!!!


They're imitating the FBI!!!!!!!!!





I have to confess, these ones seem particularly astonishing.  Who on earth in the FBI would want to contact me!  I would find that one mighty hard to buy.  Some of them are simply malware and you open them to your computer's doom.....

There are a fair number of simply nasty scams going around too.  Kind of depressing reading there.....but goodness.  They're going after the law firms!  Go where the money is I guess. 

That'd be embarrassing for them, wouldn't it.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Ok JG, this one's for you!

So, this morning when I couldn't sleep I got up vewy vewy earwy and started. We had a mighty busy day and I thought I'd get the jump on it.  The only problem was that I missed doing it this evening cause there was so little left to do!

My first step in the wee small hours this morning...really, it was around 5:30 am......was to come up with an idea.  Most of you will immediately recognise the source for this particular painting.  While it is clearly not a direct copy, it is for instance missing both Mount Fuji and a fair number of boats and sailors, it is basically quite similar.  Drew it, and painted in the first of the defining lines as this style has them.

Here below I came into some decision making about how to manage the lines that indicate the shape of the wave as well as the splashes coming off it.  I also had to decide how to add some balance to it.  As I had removed all of the boats and people as well as the mountain and a fair number of other waves I needed something else.  That was decided.  Then I began to add colour.

I decided, as you have now seen, to add in lines of black and white, which was an idea that surfaced from the Ted Harrison work....then I had to wait a bit for it to dry.  I didn't have to wait too long as the use of the painted defining lines created a barrier so that the background colour wouldn't bleed into the colour of the wave:

This was my, 'hmmmm, this looks a bit of a disaster and I am not sure where to go with it' stage.  I normally sit back and ponder for a minute or two and then plough onwards.  Today though I set it aside. For three reasons.  First, I wanted to darken the bottom of the wave where less light would show through the water, lightening it and I couldn't do that at this point.  The blue I had laid down was not wet, nor dry and I would get all manner of watermarks if I painted in now.  Sometimes that is OK.  Not here though.  Also, the little guy in the bottom right corner needed drier paint around him to begin.  Also people were getting up and wanted to use the table to, oh, you know, eat breakfast and stuff.  This evening as things settled down I got it out again.  There was lamentably little to do.....

I darkened down the base of the waves, tidied up some of the lines and managed the little surfer-turtle.  The only disappointment is that youngest though he looked scared, as well he might, but I was aiming for something a little cheerier......

There you go, step by step canvas a day project.  Though they are on paper.   Cheaper and oh so much easier to transport.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The theory was to live blog this one through, but I got tired.

The etiquette of laying on watercolour is something I have been finding fascinating.  Because of the need for sections of the piece to be worked dry and others wet depending on the effect aimed at a certain amount of up-front planning seems to be called for.  At least it this little corner of the painting table....

The painting also goes in stages too...wash in the background first?  That's what I did today....I actually quite enjoy that process, getting to play with all the colours as they swirl and wander.  Especially the blues. My kids would tell you, I like blue paintings.  I have spent my life being quite unaware that I will almost universally exclaim aloud about how much I like a particular painting in a room.  It is invariably blue.  Intensely, richly, impossibly blue.  No wonder I was so happy in the Bahamas.  A never ending always shifting blinding world of blue blue blue.

I have got THE runniest nose.  Makes this all rather difficult as I have to keep on blowing it.  Always stylish in my neck of the woods.

You may have noticed that I have painted in some of the colours on the turtle-y sweety...he is all greens and gold-y beiges and blues.  Interesting the lines that define his shell sections are actually lighter.  That is also part of what I like about this project, I get to observe a little bit every day.....

But now I have to wait while it dries so that the colour I will apply to his shell and his remarkably bird-like wings doesn't blend.  

So I sit here, write to you, contemplate my nose.  If I had a tap that dripped this much I'd have to call a plumber;  we're talking gallons a day.  Contemplate my warm ovaltine before bed.  Contemplate how our bodies continue to change as we continue to age.  I used to fondly, and profoundly naively, think that once we were adults that was it, we were done.  No more changes.  I must have figured that one day you wake up and discover that your body has gotten it has been a bit of a surprise these gradual alterations.  

Lord how thick I am/was/seem as I confess this.....

Think I can paint a little more....

Then I get to this stage, every single time, when I decide that I have irrevocably wrecked it.

Then I let it dry a little, do something else, when I really ought to be sleeping, and come back to it again. Usually it is better after I have come back and painted some more....

While I wait I resist the urge to go and play tetris because I know it will take me faaaarrrr too long and I will NEVER get to bed....

Then I decide that by 12:30 am with a heavy cold is beyond what I can productively do and call it a night.  Time for bed.  The second stage is going to have to wait till the morrow.

Note to self:  To avoid future embarrassment when posting the canvas a day project, begin before 11 pm.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

We (heart) sea animals

Something I miss from home. Nightime cold medicine.  They have no idea what I am talking about when I mention that.  It all seems to be packed with uppers.  Not so fun when trying to sleep at night.

Youngest has been busy lately...I have to relate the tale.

Two days ago she came home from school quite upset because the school announced that they were planning on releasing balloons with peace messages this Friday, which is apparently peace day.  Youngest had pointed out to a teacher that releasing balloons litters the ocean environment, which we are fairly near, and kills off scores of sea animals, from turtles to whales, dolphins to birds.

She got a shrug.

She came home incensed.  We talked it over some more and decided that she should talk to her classroom teacher who subsequently said he would bring it up with the teacher's group.

That was yesterday.

Today she asked what the decision had been, and got the blow off from the first teacher again, delivered in that 'you are such a pain raining on my parade' tone of voice.

Came home at lunch ALL upset again.

Another discussion, and she decided to find, print and bring in a project, like she has to do for school, documenting the damage that balloon releases do to the marine fauna.  Incidentally, we discovered that it is actually illegal in both Florida and Virginia...and possibly elsewhere too!

She phoned up the regional Catalan Marine Rescue group and told them her story. They said that she was absolutely correct that balloons pose a serious hazard to marine animals and promised to send her some info to take into school, which they have done and they have also invited her to visit their rescue centre and see some of the animals!  COOL!

Anyway, she went into school armed with two copies of her work.  She chose not to put a photo of a dead animal on the cover.  It'd be too sad.

She was nervous of talking to her teacher again.  He kind of scares her, but she decided in the end that the animals were more important anyway.

She saw the principal on the way in after lunch and cornered her...gave her the papers and talked to her about the whole situation, she also suggested that instead of releasing the balloons, they could tie them to a tree that is in their playground with the peace messages so that all the students could be reminded of the importance of peace for much longer.

I don't know if she talked to her classroom teacher in the end, but we are pretty sure they aren't going to release the balloons in the end.

Nice going kid.  Animals saved.  A day worth getting up for.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chuck debates pans and fires.

Canvas a day lesson for the day....starting at 10:30 pm just doesn't work with watercolours, unless your thinking floaty blotchy watery drawings.  I wasn't.  It will be posted half finished and poorly executed.  Ho hum.

Chuck the dog.

Source of much humour in my life.

The other day we were in the mountains again, with Nonna again, and we met the shepherd again.  The one with the dogs that fought with Chuck.  Four on one.

We didn't actually meet the shepherd though, we saw one lone nanny goat.  THAT was enough to put a pure and blinding terror streaking through my noble pup's heart.  He took off.  Sheared away and started blasting down the hill.  Then strangely, he stopped as I was continuing on, I imagine.  We were, at that time, walking beside a large and very isolated farm filled with dogs who all bark aggressively at us when we go by, but never come near the road.  Chuck decided that the pan was better than the fire and blasted up the hill into the farm, charging through a thinnish patch of raspberry brambles to do so.

I heartlessly walked on, there really was no other option.

Nonna contented herself with barking endlessly at the goat and flinging herself against the end of her lead.  She is a big very strong, very fast dog.  I had my hands somewhat full.

Chuck disappeared into the farm, me hoping he doesn't bring the hounds of h*ll down upon us all.  At least the shepherd's dogs are perfectly trained.  As I walk by the gate to the farm Chuck appears again, moving fast and somewhat frantic as there is no obvious way out and the raspberry brambles are rather higher and thicker here.  I kept on walking, the farm is quite open around the corner, about 10 yards on and Chuck is a smart dog.  He'd figure it out.  Besides that Nonna was doing her best to tear my arm off so distance would be good.

Chuck poked his head through the gate, decided it was too narrow and removed it, flitted around inside some more, saw me continuing on and decided he would fit after all.

This was all happening quite quickly as these things are wont to do.  Chuck gets his head through, no problem.  The ribs however are quite the struggle.  Really quite epic, he ended up on only his hind legs pushing and wiggling mightily to try and get them wedged through.  There was a pause before he started on his hips and I thought that if he was stuck we had Chuck on a stick.  The dogs from the farm could have the back end and the shepherd's the front and he'd be sitting there like as helpless as Winne the Pooh in a rather more malignant bit of forest.

Fortunately with another shove and a wiggle his narrower hips popped free and he cruised around the corner of the farm going as fast as he could without actually running.  Ears pinned back and tail low.

I was laughing at him.

Then again, I couldn't really blame him either.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

creativity and limits????

I have to admit that the Chauncery from the Bleak House is just a wee bit too close to our experience with the construction industry in Spain.  Expensive and very very very slow.

Don't know how long I will make it with this book.  Just a little too close to home.

Today's painting owes a big nod to Ted Harrison, who I mentioned a couple of posts ago.  I've been letting his images settle a bit, and I then they felt like emerging again today.

I was walking in the hills and thinking about the painting a day project and the rather flat blog posts of late. It occurred to me that there is only so much creativity in me in a given day.  That would be totally depressing.  If I do a painting I am not going to be able to think of something to write?


I prefer to look at as more a matter of getting the creative muscles used to more activity...they get a little stronger and more flexible ever day.  I get to think about painting ideas and posting ideas in ONE DAY!  Every day!!!!

(And I have to try and remember them...ho hum)

On another topic, one of the things I find that I miss are friends.  I have never in my life had fewer.  Certainly not in a place I have spent so much time.  There is that pesky language barrier thing, and I do have buddies at work, but I've never been to their house, nor they to mine....I truly have one friend here.

It is odd, and somewhat disconcerting.  Not something I am used to at all.  It is a culture, at least here in the village, that is very closely oriented to family.  That is where social life happens principally, and we don't have family here other than ourselves.  The kids have more of a social life, though neither has a 'best friend'.


I am going to be up all night waiting for a theme or idea to emerge today.  I may just have to give up and give myself and my voice a rest.

Hope for better ideas tomorrow.  Sorry.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Someday I'll come up with a proper post...for now, updates.

Painting a canvas a day experiment:  fairly good.  Kind of frustrating cause I can't finish much, but a brush in my hand every day = great.  I am waiting for some themes to emerge. 

I have an idea or two cooking around, and with 365 or so paintings to work with, there are some possibilities.

Muddy day for walking again = fabulous, NO ONE ELSE was out!!!!  I'm getting faster too, cool to be able to notice.

Dickons', the Bleak House:   Harold Skimpole is someone I would like to smack upside the head, hard.    I can feel myself grinding my teeth every time he appears.

Toni Morrison's Bluest Eye second time through: more depressing.  Also more interesting because I see the writing more clearly.

Hate it when I have an idea for a post and can't remember it when it comes time to write.  Same idea three days running, but when evening rolls around I CANNOT remember.  Maybe I should write on early onset alzheimers.

My voice has disappeared today and been replaced by a gin-drinking filterless-smoking baritone.   Quite a surprise to all around me when I open my mouth.  Something of a challenge for my students.

Look what I bought myself:

This may be Spain, but I can assure you that the floors here are cold.  Not anymore!

Welsh sheepskin slippers.  Imported by yours truly.  I LOVE them, even if they are just a wee bit ugly.  They are so warm I'll forgive them most anything.

Hope you had a lovely day.



Sunday, January 24, 2010


Finished Robinson's Gideon this morning.  Can't recommend it highly enough.  Honestly.

We went into BCN today, the Man and I, and we went to the weekly bookfair at the Sant Antoni Market.  It is held on Sundays.

It is HUGE!  We were there for two an a half hours and barely scratched the surface.

You have got to love a city that can have such an enormous used book fair every weekend and have that sort of a turn out.  Some Gegants even went by and few people raised their heads from their treasure hunting.

I got some goodies for the girls, and some tiny little pocket westerns that may get absorbed into the canvas a day paper.....I also heard an interview with Ted Harrison on CBC and one of the nice things about this project is that I can have a chance to try out a whole bunch of ideas and themes...try on different styles...check out different work and see what happens.  I like Harrison's work a lot.  The bright colours, the simplified lines....

Back to the book market......

The man got a couple of books to read in Spanish as well for practice.

One thing I found surprising was that there was a surprising (to me) quantity of p*rn, video, comic and books...there was a 'how to shoot and star in your own home p*rn film' book and two separate books of er*tic christmas stories at two separate booths.  Books of animal er*tica and s*x and also a quite old book of s*xual idiosyncrases.

Quite exhaustive.

There was a great deal more of other stuff, most of it in Spanish, some in Catalan and even one or two books in English.....

You have got to love a place that has so many books and so many people interested in them.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Paint and basketball and work.

What can I say today.

Youngest went and played basketball, got three baskets and had fun.  That is a Very Good Thing, because she hasn't been having fun with a bit and I went and had a little chat with the coach last week.  Coach gets a wee bit too intense at the games and has something of a fondness for sarcasm.  Borders on abusive.  Not a warm and fuzzy kind of thing.

Painted again today.  Some improvement....though the painting looked quite Antoni Tàpies for a bit there.  What started out as part of a door suddenly looked very grey and cross filled.  Not as interesting texturally as a Tàpies work though.  I have to say with him, I really don't like his vision of the world, and the near endless brown, grey and black crosses gets a little old, but his use of texture gets me every.single.time.

Youngest came up, looked over my shoulder and said I should gather up a bunch of Chuck's hair and stick it on, then add some uncooked rice and paint over it all.  It'd look just like a Tàpies then.

Gotta love it when your 11 year old is making art history jokes.

Learning from today....probably a good one beyond just painting: even when you doubt and think it doesn't look so great, keep working on it and wait for what's to come.

Working my way through Gideon rapidly, what a great book.  Funny in spots, mostly beautiful and wise.   Cannot recommend it highly enough.  I am going to have to be reading The Bluest Eye again for a class and also the Boy in the Striped Pyjamas again, in Catalan again, for a class.

This is turning into the most boring post in the whole wide world.  High point was Youngest's dog hair and rice comment.


Hi Beth!  Felt like you when I did that!

Katharine Hepburn.  What is not to love about that woman's acting.  We watched her and Spencer Tracey in "Pat and Mike" on Youtube tonight.  What a great movie.  Not a GREAT literary movie, but good fun.

My students, (some) adults and teens alike keep whining that what I ask them to do is difficult.  Honestly, if it were easy, what would be the point.  I actually asked one of them how often a week they think I hear that complaint.

- Donno

- At least three times a week -  I replied-

Then I asked him how much he thought I cared that they thought it was hard.


- Not the least little bit.

Honestly.  Why do they think I am there?

Friday, January 22, 2010


Chuckbacca and I walked again today, getting faster.  Helped that it was a great deal more peaceful and thank goodness for that.

Day 2 of A Canvas a Day and I am still keeping up.  Doesn't say all that much, but it is good to be painting again, however badly.  By the same token, when one only has 20 minutes at a stretch, one gets less hung up on it.  Today's work? Lesson, persistence.  It has darkened down quite a bit as it dried.

Figured out what the dog was howling so endlessly about.  Seems there is a dog in heat somewhere nearby and his Chuckiness was in *ahem* love and singing long heartbreaking flamenco songs about it.

Stopped now, so that is a good thing.

Started up the Bleak House on the iPod.  Listened on my walk.  Only about 36 hours to go.  That's not at all intimidating!  Not sure I'll be able to keep track of it all at that length.  It is one of the things that is tricky about an audio book.  If you drift off and start thinking about something else in a book it is easy to go back to where your mind was still connected to your eyes drifting over the page, and if you are interrupted you generally stop reading. With an audio book, the back up feature is a hassle and it goes relentlessly on no matter what is going on around you.

We'll see how it goes.

Time for bed, I have the beginnings of a sore throat and must sleep soon.

Started on another Marilyn Robinson.  I am so in love with her writing.  Gideon this time.  Set Eldest off on Housekeeping, hope she loves it like I did, though I suspect not. The writing is ethereal, intense and quiet. Not sure she is there yet.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What I do for pleasure, or I think I like the rainy days and mud better.

Went for a walk with the dog, and quite a walk it was.  I took my friend's dog Nonna again as her daughter is quite ill again and had to go in for another bout of emergency surgery today.

It was an adventure.

First we met up with a large St Bernard/pit cross who escaped from his farm and followed us at length to the overwhelming excitement (read hysteria) of Nonna.  Somewhat to the delight of Chuck though as she was a she.

That done, motos went storming by repeatedly.  Those BMX ones that make the most outrageous noise.  Truly.  Outrageous. Chuck hates them.  He hates them a lot.  He chases them quite rabidly.

After a few of these came a fat guy on a vespa.  We were on a badly rutted dirt road.  Chuck normally doesn't mind Vespas at all, but by now he's just a little worked up.  So he chases it.  The problem is that fat guys on Vespas on steep dirt roads are slower than Chuck, so he was barking like a wild beast right at the guys leg.  A miracle no one was hurt.  Then came a bike.  Normally no big deal but his chuckmeisterness was a wee bit worked up, so I hung onto him.  Then the Vespa guy came BACK!  Then he stopped his bike and I let go of Chuck and apologised.  No problem.

Not done yet.

Then came the motos again, then a gang of them.

This was not quite the tranquil walk I had envisioned.

I went a little further and got to a less used part of the road.  As I turned a corner I realised that, all at once, a bike was coming up behind me, a horse being walked by it's rider was coming down towards me and the local shepherd with all his goats and 6 dogs was at the next corner.


Chuck knows all about the shepherd and it usually isn't a big deal, but he is pretty worked up, and has his woman with him to he gets into a fight with the shepherds dogs.....the shepherd and I called them off, no damage done.

We finally make it past them, only to discover that the biggest of the shepherd's dogs is showing an interest in Nonna.  An unwelcome interest and is following me up the hill.  The shepherd keeps telling me to be careful.

I think going to the gym is not quite as stressful.

We get on a little further in peace, and then come across a beautiful little female beagle.  She's a hunting dog.  Chuck is excited (again). I am not, because that reminds me that today was hunting day and I am dressed in 'See me here!  Don't shoot me' colours.  Not.  I am wearing a grey shirt and jeans. Ho hum.

Leash goes on the Chuckster, so now I am walking down the mountain giving my best imitation of a man being drawn by four horses, because the dogs would NEVER want to sniff the same side of the road at the same time.

Good lord.

I did manage two paintings today, more than I had planned, but fun.  Glad I am giving this a whirl.  Lesson learned from today's painting?  I am rusty.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Now this I could get into!

Here is a seriously challenging idea.  One I would love to try.

A Canvas a Day.  She is an infinitely more talented painter than me, and I am not sure of the value of 365 crappy paintings, still....this is a challenge I would like to try.

HOW on earth I am going to fit it in, I am not sure.

I was talking to the kids about the house today, the one I have almost forgotten that we own and that I have given up any image of us ever inhabiting, which I do find surreal.

I think I am going to move my painting stuff down there and set it up.  As the man says, it'll be cold, but at least it will be permanent.  If Murphy is with me, his law will kick in, and maybe some progress will begin, if not, then I will have my paints set up and the place won't be abandoned.  I cannot imagine how I could pull this off without more room though. Wonder if I can find some time tomorrow to start this baby up!

I cannot imagine how I will manage, but no harm in trying, no?

Wish me luck, I'll need it with this one.

Cheers with excitement!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

more muck. Fun too!

Mucky dogs to the muckier hills again today.  Getting quite the workout as everything gets slicker...I have the same tight two hour schedule, but I'm having to work rather harder to make it around in the sludge.

Chuck is now a gritty dog.

Hoping to make it out again tomorrow....Thursdays a no-hoper.  Hunting day.

I hate hun'n days.  Hate 'em.


Downloaded, along with my usual mass of podcasts etc., Dickens' Bleak House (is that two words or one?). Two it would seem.

I am adoring having the iPod.  Today on my walk I heard a story about people fly fishing in and curling on some of the Scottish lochs, and a frankly kind of sentimental story/memoir written by a woman who was a minister's wife out in Saskatoon ages ago.  It was OK.  Now I have, alongside the Bleak House....which does sound rather, well, bleak, "The Memory Book" which is a mystery by Howard Engle.  I like it because it involves a man with a bizarre memory loss, which apparently the author also suffered.  Between the Covers is actually a great source of free audio books.  They are shorter books and are mostly, but not exclusively Canadian.


I am adoring all the walking I am doing in the mountains these days.  I get out there about three times a week always, but I am so delighted I found this longer/slightly-less-than-two hour route that I can is mostly on roads, which isn't as fun, but they aren't heavily used anyway and I can pound up the hill as fast as I like.  The kids think I walk to fast and The Man doesn't like to break a sweat unless he's running.

I got to one of the plateaus today and was down to an undershirt having tied my jacket and scarf around my waist and carrying my turtleneck in my hand.  I indeed had been warm enough to fold the undershirt up so my belly was cooled.  As I rounded the corner though I saw a couple of guys standing around and decided that modesty was the better part of wisdom and converted the belly shirt to its more typical style.

There were still pretty stunned.  Watched me go by with a 'Bon dia', then finally asked if I wasn't cold.  Clearly, NO.  I did admit that it cooled off on the descents, though truth be told, despite the fact that we have been living inside a cloud for three days and I lost sight of the dog if he got more than 50 feet away from me, it has been a pleasant temp.  I didn't put the turtleneck on till I got to the village, and only there because it was just TOO freaky not to.  I've been out in an undershirt, turtleneck and jean jacket all day.

And a skirt.


My skin is getting all smooooooth with the damp air.

That said, bring back the sun now, m'kay?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dogs, mucky mucky mud, appendicitis and quacks.

Had another good long march through the hills today, this time with two dogs.  A friend ended up in hospital all day as here 22 year old daughter had an emergency appendectomy.  Stupid doctor had told her that she had the flu.  The thing ruptured before they got her on the table for goodness sakes.

Anyway, it was some mucky out there boys....and when I got to my friend's place to drop her off I was faced with a wee dilemma.  Mucky dog, unknown etiquette for cleaning said dog and full knowledge that her dogginess, Nonna who you have met before, spends a great deal of her time in and on my friend's bed.

Figuring, correctly I imagine, that my bud would not be best impressed if she came home exhausted and worn from a day spent pacing and worrying to find a bed soaked and gritty with doggy mudcakes I made the unilateral decision that grabbing a towel from her bathroom would be a far better option.

Distressingly it was a pink towel.  A light pink towel.  Not wanting to rummage I thought I should stick to that.  I draped it prominently in to air and dry and hoped it wasn't her all time favourite towel.

She is actually very very low maintenance, so there was a good chance this would be just fine indeed.

Good news is, her daughter has had surgery and is doing fine.  Without anti-biotics, which I find weird, but whatever.  She is home and sleeping and the dog got a walk.

I have to admit that I would have had, at minimum, words with said Doc quack who did not so much as palpatate the girls stomach and left her with raging appendicitis for five days before her FATHER insisted that she go to hospital where it RUPTURED!

I count myself lucky I know some of the symptoms, but imagine!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Family tales.

I am told that I was a bad Mom this weekend.

Well, I have a teenager, I am frequently told this.

Here is the evidence she wants me to produce for the prosecution.

1.  Yesterday while the girls and I were lounging in bed I asked Eldest to go and get me the computer so that I could look up a book or some such thing.  When Eldest complained that she is always the one asked to go and get things (isn't it that true for everyone I ponder?) I replied by saying that Youngest was playing a game on a cell phone so couldn't go at that moment.  Eldest put her hands over her eyes and groaned that she was now permanently psychologically damaged.  She had to go so her sister could finish a  video game!  (I will grant that was raaather lame on my part).

2.  I was reputedly on the computer all day today.  The fact that Eldest didn't emerge until noon, by which time I had done most of an hour of yoga, eaten breakfast with Youngest and done some yoga with her too, done some work on the Mona Lisa jigsaw puzzle that is going to be with me forever as far as I can tell, and chatted with the man, also read a bit and listened to two podcasts.  Then the Man, Youngest and I went out to a local fair and a wee bit of shopping.  Eldest ignored us entirely and watched us swirl around her and leave without a word, only a grunt from her dressing-gown clad self.  When we came back a couple of hours later, she ignored me completely while the man read, and then ran and Youngest and I chatted and I slogged on with the puzzle.  Then we ate.  Then we read.  Then I started to do some work/marking on the computer (oh how I loathe it) and Youngest had a friend over.  Finally around 5pm Eldest decided that it was time I drop everything and pay undivided attention to her.  When I was reluctant to do so, I was a Bad Mother.  Then we sent her out to walk the dog as she was pacing incessantly through the house and had not been out all day.  I was then a Very Bad Mother.  Then she read to me while I made dinner and I seem to have been a Good Mother again.

My fortunes seem to wax and wane. precipitously.

Chuck has had an adventurous weekend as well.  He and I went for a two hour march, well, hour and a half I suppose, through the mountains yesterday.  As we were working our way upward, a runner came down.  He passed Chuck, no problemo,  Chuck barely looked at him.  Then it seemed to dawn on his Chuckiness that I was behind him, and maybe, just maybe this runner constituted a threat as he ran down towards me.  Good grief.  I decided to climb up the embankment and turn my back on the runner instead enjoying the view to alleviate any potential worries from Chuckbacca's furry canine (male) mind.  The runner gave me a very odd look as I also didn't greet him, but Chuckalicious didn't come roaring to my - perceived - defences.

Then we found a horse.  There are quite a few in the hills around here, and Chuck ignores them.  I decided to catch his collar though as he was handy and occasionally crosses WAY to close in front of the nervous beasts.  Seems we were very very spooooooky to the horse who slowed and slowed and then pranced and danced back up the hill.  Of course this was very very innnnnteresting to Chuck who then proceeded up the hill after the horse.

He did agree to return to me and the rider went by on foot equally baffled and not the least upset.  For a moment there though I thought it was going to get a wee bit too adventurous.  Chuck hon, they are big big animals......

Today the Man took the be-belled Chuckster into the hills, belled as it is hunting day.  The man sited a ring-necked pheasant not 30 feet from the path, between him and Chuck.  Not wanting the bird to get shot, he called Chuck thinking this would scare the bird into moving further from the trail.  Chuck, the brilliant, did not even notice the bird as he lolloped up to the man for a cookie.  Thinking this wasn't a great success, the man lobbed the cookie at the bird thinking that Chuck would (finally) notice it and scare it away to a safer place.  Chuck bounded off after his cookie, entirely oblivious to the bird, found the cookie and crunched it up before heading off on his merry way.  The bird did finally concede that possibly Chuck was near enough to warrant flying off to a safer place, but goodness, I don't think there is very much hunting dog in this beast.  If he had noticed it, from the astounding distance of about 6 feet in the end, he probably would have tried to herd it or something.


Saturday, January 16, 2010

Update and music.

Update on the sleep-over, the kids got some sleep!  2am - 9am!!!!  Nothing like a good threat when it counts.  Actually the mothers were all chatting outside, well a bunch were, and I mentioned that I had told D quite firmly that she had to get some sleep, so they went in and did too.....and the mother of the birthday girl is a daycare teacher....

They got some sleep.

Then youngest had to have a nap.  Indeed, she was put to bad around 12:30 and didn't get up again till around three, though she says she didn't sleep, she was actually mostly civil, for which I am very happy.

I got a nap in too, which was very very nice.

I also got a 2 hour march through the hills, which was a delight.  Tomorrow is hunting day, so not quite the same.

Still loading music to the iPod, the newer music is what is going to be a bit of a hassle.....

Weirdly, I find it easiest to do with the man present.  He has a formidable memory.  We have about 300 CD's that we brought over this year when they were finally disinterred from the basement....he remembers what they all are, which songs are on them, which he likes, and generally, which ones I like too!


So hear's my question.  Honestly, with the iPod, what I really prefer is listening to podcasts.  I have listened my way through most of a Yale University English Literature course, and a bunch of other bits and pieces.  I have stuff from the Metropolitan Museum of art and some audiobooks.  I think I will try and find some I want to hear more. I am loading music on, but I honestly don't listen to music that much. That feels faintly embarrassing to admit and sounds kind of weird, but when I listen to music, it is generally because I want to listen to the music, not as ambient noise.  It is, I think, the result of having spent, and still spending, so many years with lots of kids around and they are n.o.i.s.y.  I like the silence. I like someone whispering intelligent and thought provoking things into my ear.....

I listen to music to, consciously, change my mood, usually if I am down and need a kick in the behind to get shifted into a more upbeat frame of mind.  Despite this, I love music and we have some great stuff to listen too.  I find also I like songs that tell a story, or that have associations for me.....and something that just makes me feel happy.

So, here's the question.

Why do you listen to music when you do?

I'd really like to know.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chin up

I was finding myself a little down around the corners of the mouth this evening, which seemed a waste of a Friday night, so I decided that it was (finally) the day to get some music on the iPod.....and that is pretty nice actually.  I quite like the shuffle feature.

Youngest is off at a sleep-over.  They are all the rage and I, for one, am getting a wee bit tired of them.  There's too many of them and the kids are absolutely destroyed the next day....wrecked.  There seems to be an unspoken contest over who can sleep the least.  Poor Youngest was told that if she didn't get some sleep she wouldn't be able to go to a sleep-over again, we'd pick her up late at night.

She knows we'd do it to.....

Let's hope tomorrow isn't too bad.

Keeping the chin up.



Thursday, January 14, 2010

I am Bahá'í.

If you pray, please send one out.

Bahá'ís in Iran are once again facing persecution and possible death.

I will simply reprint the article from the CBC this evening.  Sorry it's a little long, but I think it is worth the effort.

Here is the Canadian Government's statement.

Here is some background information from the International Bahá'í center.  It includes links to further in depth discussion.  It also includes current, really daily articles about the Bahá'í persecutions in Iran here.

Below is the article from the CBC:


Brian Stewart

The scapegoating of Iran's Baha'is

Last Updated: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 | 5:39 PM ET 

Oppressive regimes attack human rights on two levels. The most obvious assault, as we have seen in Iran in recent months, aims at suppressing political opponents and protest.
But history teaches us that we need to worry about a secondary level of attack as well, the kind that takes place in the shadows.
That's the persecution directed at weak segments of the population targeted for special repression, the old and sickening story in which minority religious or ethnic groups are singled out as scapegoats of the state, blamed for all its troubles.
This is why we need to be very concerned now for the safety of Iran's approximately 300,000 Baha'is, followers of the gentle, internationalist Baha'i faith, the country's largest minority religion.
Where crowd emotions run high. A pro-government rally in Tehran in December 2009, directed against opposition protests during the holy day of Ashura. (Reuters)Where crowd emotions run high. A pro-government rally in Tehran in December 2009, directed against opposition protests during the holy day of Ashura. (Reuters)
The Baha'i religion has been officially banned in Iran since 1979. But now, in a textbook case of scapegoating, Iran's theocratic leaders are blaming the Baha'is for stirring up all the unrest sweeping the country today.
They are even accusing them of stockpiling firearms, which seems ludicrous given the peaceful nature of the religion.
But in an ominous nod to even more persecution ahead, Tehran argues that the Baha'is are doing this in conjunction with Israel, which is really directing the whole conspiracy.

The Baha'i seven

The potential for "cleansing," which is inherent in this kind of scapegoating, is why it is so important for the international community to stay on top of a trial that just started in Tehran:
Seven leaders of the Baha'i National Spiritual Assembly are charged with insulting Islam, spreading propaganda against the state, spying for Israel and, for good measure, "spreading corruption on Earth."
These charges not only carry the death penalty but seem designed to stir up maximum anti-Baha'i hatred in the general population.
The accused, whose innocence has been loudly proclaimed by many international human rights groups, have already endured years of psychological terror.
Since their arrest in the spring of 2008 they've been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison, often in solitary confinement. For the first year, they were without access to lawyers or even formal charges.


This week, the accused were finally brought before what appears to be a show trial with a pre-ordained ending.
The seven Baha'i leaders scheduled to go on trial on 12 January are, in front, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Saeid Rezaie, and, standing, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, and Mahvash Sabet. They were photographed several months before their arrest in the spring of 2008. (Courtesy Baha'i World News Service)The seven Baha'i leaders scheduled to go on trial on 12 January are, in front, Behrouz Tavakkoli and Saeid Rezaie, and, standing, Fariba Kamalabadi, Vahid Tizfahm, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, and Mahvash Sabet. They were photographed several months before their arrest in the spring of 2008. (Courtesy Baha'i World News Service)
Observers were barred from the court while cameras from the state-controlled media were ushered inside. Never a comforting sign in a dictatorship.
In protest, Diane Alai, a Baha'i representative to the United Nations in Geneva, noted that "Baha'is are by the most basic principles of their faith committed to absolute nonviolence.
"Any charge that there might have been weapons or 'live rounds' in their homes is simply and completely unbelievable."
This trial, she insisted, is really "the trial of an entire religious community, and is an attempt to further intimidate and ostracize all Iranian Baha'is simply because they hold a different religious viewpoint from those in power."

World's youngest religion

With an estimated six million members worldwide, the Baha'i faith is said to be the world's youngest independent religion.
And, in this, Iran may be counting on the fact that Baha'ism is relatively little known in the West and therefore not likely to garner much attention in any case.
Founded by a Persian nobleman in the 1860s, the religion believes he is the most recent in a line of prophets that includes Abraham, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad, a tenet that is viewed as heresy by Muslim fundamentalists.
Almost since its beginning, there have been sporadic outbreaks of violence against Baha'i followers in Iran and discrimination was rampant. Baha'i literature was banned, marriages were not recognized and followers were denied public service jobs.
Since the Islamic Republic of Iran came to power in 1979, however, persecution has taken on an even more threatening form.
More than 200 Baha'is have been executed or assassinated, hundreds have been imprisoned, and holy places have been destroyed or confiscated.
This suggests a systematic effort to drive Baha'is from the country altogether, which is why this trial is feared to be just the start of a much wider wave of persecution unless international protests can make Tehran back off.

'Troubling trend'

This week, Canada added its voice to many countries, notably the U.S. and European nations condemning the trial.
"It is deplorable that these individuals were detailed on the sole basis of their faith and have been denied a fair trail," Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon, protested in a statement.
"Iranian officials have recently made statements linking the seven to political unrest. These are unfair accusations and cause concern for the safety and well-being of the seven Baha'is and of all those unjustly detained in Iran."
Going on to call this a "troubling trend," Cannon displays classic Canadian diplomatic bureaucratese at its most milquetoast.
What he really should be saying is that this is a horrifying development for all those who care about human rights in the world.
Both the European Union and the UN have strongly condemned Iran's persecution of minority religions and ethnic groups, and they expressed particular unease over the current treatment of Baha'is.
Given the hardline intransigence of the Iranian leadership, not to mention its theological fundamentalism, you have to wonder if protests from outside will do any good.
But as York University's Howard Adelman, one of Canada's most respected human rights campaigners wrote this week about the trial:
"We must raise our voices and cry out against the calumnies of this regime not because we will influence its behaviour — I'm convinced we won't — but because it's our duty to speak truth to power even as power tramps on truth and persecutes the almost forgotten first victims of Iran's Islamic Revolution."
The other truth here is that, for too long, the world hasn't listened as Baha'is have struggled to explain the plight of their members in Iran.
It is time we finally focus serious attention on this trial and on the wider and steadily increasing persecution that it represents.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Am I the only one out there whose nose gets outrageously itchy when brushing their upper teeth with an electric toothbrush?

Heck, I'm getting Pavlovian enough that my nose will itch when I hear someone else brushing theirs.

I didn't organise my meals very well today, I ended up eating a not so filling breakfast...for a variety of long-story kind of reasons we ended up with an uncharacteristic box of all bran in the house.  Had it for breakfast with my tea and some skim milk.  Can I just say that this does not constitute a filling meal?

A little heavy on the fibre and a little low on the nutrients and calories.  Bad idea.

I was viciously hungry by 11:30, got a big sandwich - gorgeous pernil with a baguette and tomato...ohhhhhhh, and some peach juice.  LOVE it.

Well, then I was too full for lunch at lunchtime, so by the time I got home from work tonight at around 10:15 I was, once again, famished.

This is what I ate at around 10:30 pm:

Two slices of bread, one with homemade hummus (can you say garlic?  ohhhh, must have been half and half garlic and beans.  No vampires in my house tonight), bread with tomatoe smeared on and then the tomatoes as well. Peach juice again - can you see a trend forming here? - pernil (again), this time with melon over on the far left there....bought specifically for this purpose, salad and a clementine.

The only think worrying me is that I think I will get horrible indigestion if I go to bed now....but it is nearly midnight.

Bad planning.

To ovaltine or not to ovaltine, that is the question.  I think maybe ovaltine, I already may be toast with how much I ate, ovaltine cannot do much more harm.

I am turning into such an old bag, this will be the fourth night running that I will have a glass of warm ovaltine before bed.

Should have skipped the salad.  I think all would have been well otherwise.

Gonna see if I can get the man to get me up at 6:30 tomorrow morning, maybe I'll try and do a little yoga.  Sounds good now, see how I feel at 6:30.


I feel guilty posting this.  The man just let me know about what happened in Haiti.  What the heck am I complaining about.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Jealousy and architectural plans (still)

I was talking with Nomad on the phone today about painting and going to school and studying and getting a masters, and I was so delighted with what she is thinking of doing, of what she is considering.

I also found myself unpleasantly jealous.

Such a human emotion and such a nasty little poison.  I am trying to think of it as a goad for further action.

Problems I have with achieving this sucker are only time, space and money.  No biggie.

Pertaining to that theme, we met with the new architect and the city planner to see exactly what we can and cannot do with the house.  Seems that should have been done a while ago with architect numero uno, but whatever.

The windows in the front and the problem.  WOOT!!!!

The terrace that we want to put up on top can be MUCH larger and can go right to the front of the house!  Another big fat WOOOOTTTTT!!!!!

That little room with a view I want to put up on the terrace, so I have a space I can paint in, so the man and I can have a space where we can hang out in any season with a wonderful view.  So I can have a space where I can hide.....where guests can stay, or kids can stay when guests of greater seniority arrive and the kids are kicked out of their rooms......that room is a problem.

*deep, noisy, belly-filling inhalation, hold, and exhale*

*fingers tapping*

I have an idea for that one....

The town planner mentioned that we could actually raise the roof almost two meters if we wanted to and put another room upstairs.  I briefly toyed with the idea, as we have to redo all the roof anyway.  Then I asked for a ball park figure on the cost.  50,000 Euros, or 60 (or more think I), plus we wouldn't get into the house, it is just too much house.  I don't want four bedrooms.  It'll be monstrous!  This does however mean that we have space above the house we can use.

My current idea, which we have bounced off the architects is to describe this.

OK.  Picture a terrace, rectangular. One side of it is filled with a small house that comes about half way up to the front of the terrace.  This is where the stairs come up, and where I could be quite content.  That little room

No go.

The little house can only push forward for the width of a flight of stairs.

OK says I...we push the entire little house back inside the house creating an overhanging intrusion into Eldest's room.  The bottom of the room, instead of ending at the wall of her room would actually appear in it, fairly high up.  Sort of po-mo-ish, but with a 200 year old Catalan twist.  The ceiling of the structure would easily remain within that imaginary (approx) 2 meters of allowable space we have above the house.

If it is done badly it will look like crap, but if it is done well, it will look great.  For resale we market Eldest's increasingly 'character' room as a ladies dressing room.....we are putting a sink in anyway, we put in a bunch of shelves before we go and hangers and shoe should hear the women here craving walk in closets and dressing rooms.

Women decide on houses.  A lot.  Me thinks.

The current idea.

Fingers crossed.

It would give me a space......which is where this kind of started out.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I want to

not complicate my life

get back to doing yoga, so I'll have to get up earlier

find more time to read

find more time to paint

not complicate my life

get enough sleep most nights

have a jigsaw puzzle on the go

listen to brilliant stuff on my iPod

not complicate my life

find time to write more

go back to school some day

live in Vietnam for a year

walk the dog more

travel more

I want too much.

Either that or I need to sleep a whole lot less.

Or pray for reincarnation.

So, what do you want that you can't accomplish tomorrow?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

SNOW, family, peace, beauty and nature. Perfect.

This weekend was very nearly perfect.  Indeed, I think it was perfect.  I cannot think of a single thing that would have improved it.  Not one little thing.

We slept, we napped, we walked for miles and miles and miles and we ate well.

The hotel we stayed in was perfect, we had a little apartment that we rented which was glorious with lovely views of the mountains.

Down the street was a forn (bakery) that also had a cellar.  See:

We went up to the mountains in search of snow.  You see, the rents couldn't come and visit because the of the snow in the UK and the weather here.  So we decided that we couldn't sit around the house feeling forlorn.  Off we went.

For all of you who are slogging through the endless winters up there further north, I am not sure how you'll feel about all this.  Don't want to look like I'm gloating...this was the first bit of snow we saw.  We were all so excited we had to take a picture.  Sad, but true.

It got a little snowier.  Dusted I guess we would call it, farinat is the Catalan which means 'floured' which seems pretty perfect to me.

There's the mountain, it's called Montseny.  It is very beautiful.....this is a photo from where we started.  We made it up into the snow, which I think is pretty good going with a couple of kids. The dog could have gone to the top and back twice if we weren't so gol darn slow.

See what I mean?

He LOVES snow....loves it.  I have to agree with Helen too, I am not the least bit sure why his feet don't get cold.  They don't seem to though.

You'd be hard pressed to get me to lay belly down in the snow for that matter.

Hope your weekend was wonderful too.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Silk purses

The weather yesterday was absolutely the pits.  It was raining and blowing a freaking gale, at least 35 knots, gusting to ???? which I guess is about 65 km/h (wild guessing here) the wind chill was around 1, which in Canada is lovely, but in Canada we have things like, oh, insulation in the houses and less than 4 meters of single pane glass.  It was freaking COLD in here.

Worse still, my folks, who were supposed to come Wednesday evening, are stuck in the UK and can't come and visit.  We want to see some of this snow, and play in some of the fluffy stuff if it is going to deprive us of our family.  So, despite that yesterday was bloody cold and dreary and we were back to work and school today I am feeling cheerier as we have just booked a hotel in a snowy spot for the weekend.

We're bringing the dog, and we're going to go and do some cold, snowy walking.

Should be very good!

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I was sitting around the other day in the atypical peace created by Youngest entrenched in her first passionate read.  Harry Potter book 1 (Bless you J.K. Rowling).  I was listening to Shelagh Rogers interviewing Steve Maich and Lianne George about their new book "The Ego Boom".  I would like to read that book, they talk about the increasingly narcissistic world in which we all live, and related to that, the narcissists we have all become.  

They site facebook and social network sites, such as blogs and twitter as examples of this increase in this behaviour and our move away from communal living.  A place where we can toot our own horns to the weakening of the fabric of our friendships and relations in real time.  There are, no doubt, thousands, nay, tens of thousands of people who use these sites simply as confirmations of who they are.  It's a numbers game and the one with the most friends/followers/readers wins.  There is truth that no one wants to hear the sordid details of your last crap/shag/cup of coffee, but.....if it is well enough written, if it speaks to something that others can relate to, however mundane, people will read it.  There are facebook users who restrict the number of friends they have so that they are actually friends whom they see in the light of day from time to time.  This, I feel, negates their ideas.  Never mind people like me, who are forced to, or have chosen to live far from many of those who are closest to them on a psychological level.

The authors also neglect to look at the very real connections that come out of on-line communities.  Personally, I started the blog out of a desire to not have to reiterate my entire life everytime I wrote someone an e-mail.  RTFB (read the fu*cking blog).  I do direct people to it as well when I get an e-mail asking what we have been up to for the last six months.  Goodness.  Yet one of the interesting things that has happened is that, while my family reads it (HI!!!!)  and some family members, who I otherwise would not know nearly as well (hello out there!!!!) read it, which I count one of the really great bonuses of writting this, very very few of my actual friends read what I post, and of those virtually NONE of them comment.  I've posted about this before and continue to find it somewhat mystifying.  

Then there are the friends made through blogging.  I have met a few people who read here, and whom I read and have been delighted that I did (though it makes the man nervous).  Still, there is a new form of friendship that emerges from these interactions whether you actually meet in person or not.

I seem to have drifted from the original discussion around narcissism, but I think that I haven't.  There is an unspoken reality about blogging and some uses of facebook that dictates that communication must be bi-directional.  There must be, by and large, a web of interaction not a single shining star in the firmament.  That we interrelate with each other as a web of interconnections.

Before this I was listening to Ideas, again on a CBC podcast, and the speaker, Sue Gardner is the executive director of Wikimedia.  (The link is only good for four weeks.)  She was discussing the perceived flaws of our on-line interactions, and she labelled three.  The most compelling of these was the idea that the communities we form on-line are communities of self-reinforcment.  Little crowds of yes men who madly confim our beliefs however odd, misguided or dangerous they may be.  

Her first response to this was that it has been ever thus.  How many university Economics departments allow "crackpot communist" thinkers in.  Read an issue of the Economist one day, and you will find a stunning universality of opinion. They don't even allow bylines for crying out loud.  Just the one communal editorial voice. How many purveyors of the internet and software give real value to the opinions of back-to-the-land ludites or listen to them on a regular and serious basis.  Even our neighbourhoods are increasingly like-minded.  People can predict everything from the stores you will visit to the magazines you will order, from where you will vacation to the sports you will play, from the way you design and decorate your house to the way you will vote, all from your postal code.  What is that if not a self-affirming community.

The opportunity that is provided with the internet is not the creation of these self-affirming communities, that is inevitable in all walks of life, but with the internet we all have the unprecedented opportunity to be privy to the thinking of other.  It has never been easier to sit in on the conversations and to join the forums.  Many do.  We can join a forum of people who believe and are passionate about everything from the weirdest conspiracy theory to the Young Conservatives forum board (is there a difference there?)

Where does this leave me.  I think, based only on the interview, I have to read the book, that the authors of "The Ego Boom" have missed the boat on some of these aspects.  Yes, there is a rise in narcissism.   Yes, there is a rise in the desire of parents and schools to focus on self-esteem (one of their chief criticisms in the interview). Yes, the marketers have glommed onto this (surprise surprise) and now sell us things, not because we will be improved by them, but rather that we deserve them.   There is also an enormous rise in interconnectedness between people that would have been impossible as little as 10 years ago.  As an expat I am reminded of this daily and it is fundamental to my basic happiness.

They have also overlooked the reality of how younger people use these networks, and how they are used outside of the North American framework.  Too narrow a vision.

They have also not taken into account how this vision of the world as interconnected will impact on the thinking of the generation growing up in this new model.   These young people are experiencing on a moment by moment basis a world that is ever increasingly accessible and interconnectable.  They are acquiring skills at filtering information and making connections between information that was previously done for them by the Encyclopedia Britannica or by the editor of their local paper, by an authority. 

 An article in the New York Times discusses how the aging brain is weaker in pure speed and in the ability to cram in and retain facts, but that it appears to be actually stronger in the ability to make connections between facts and to synthesis these facts into new ideas and new processes.  

All well and good, but then this morning I was listening to Quirks and Quarks on CBC again, and they were doing a special show on the 10 biggest unanswered questions in the Universe.  They had a series of, mostly physicists, putting forward their big questions which ranged from the obvious, but clearly valuable, "How did the Universe begin, or rather, did it begin", to the fascinating, "How do Quantum systems relate to the biological world", to the bizarre, "Does time exist".  They discussed dark matter, the dark side, and all the stuff that fills up the bits of the Universe that are not the 4% we can identify.  Then the audience asked some questions.  They ranged from interesting to bland.

At the end of it all a kid came up.  Jake.  He sounded like he was about 13 or so.  His question was, if I may quote rather generally, "OK, so we have all this dark matter and dark side and blah blah blah and blah blah blah (I kid you not, he said that on National radio.  Gotta love a teen), so, how does it all connect to us and to each other?"

Brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  There was a pause as the scientists took it on board and then they invited him to help them figure it out in five years time when he's a little older.

Not only was the kid bright.  Not only was he synthesising the seperate and unrelated questions of the different professionals, but he asked them how they all fit into a system.  How they connected into his world, and into each other's world.  He pointed out the flaw that they put forward by isolating their questions from each other.

They hadn't put that together themselves given the dead airtime pause.

This is something that, according to the neurologists, the aging adult brain is supposed to be good at, this flexible synthesis of ideas, this overview, this ability to look at the big picture and it's connections.  It is not supposed to be as strong in the younger mind.

I think the kid, while bright, is also a product of his time and world; a world that is interconnected in every conceivable way.  A world that looks like a web, where everything shakes if you wiggle one strand.  He wanted to know how it all ties together.  The scientists didn't know, and sounded like they weren't sure they had thought of it that way.

I don't think all is lost in the youth of today.  I do no think they are a roving band of hopeless narcissists.  I think they are actually pretty amazing, and we should hear what they have to say when they call us on these things.  They see the world in ways we don't, due to their access to the internet, to the web, to these tools that connect and interconnect us in ways that were never possible before.  Whatever mainline media and the schools preach at them.

Go for it Jake.  You rule.