It's hard to do vipassana meditation when your wife is in the next room throwing up. I don't blame her though, she was pumped full of drugs, hadn't eaten all day and the obstetrics surgeon was just about to get out her scalpel. I persevered though, as earlier that day I had embarrassed myself by almost fainting when the anaesthetist had pushed the epidural needle into her spine. It worked. I stayed conscious, and a few minutes later I was holding a new life in my arms as it blinked with discomfort in the brightness of the theatre. She was born to the sound of Van Morrison. Wouldn't have been my first choice, but I wasn't running the show.

That was about 2 hours ago. Technically, an event for yesterdays day log. This is actually a sequel. Before I catch up on a days worth of lost sleep, I thought I'd share a few ideas about the human condition. Go ahead and down vote me; I'm a father again and nothing else matters.

unblemished:

Look into a new born child's eyes and you'll see innocence. Yes, yes, you all say. We've heard it all before. Stop; think about it like this next time. I don't just mean some notion of inate mental innocence, or the idea that the purity of the whites of their eyes represents something none of us have. The whites of a new born's eyes aren't even white. They're a sort of bluey-grey. But they're completely unblemished. There's not a mark on the bluey-grey surface. Next time you look in the mirror think about how we abuse our sight and how the things we wish we'd never witnessed leave their marks in the creeping veins and discolouration of your ciliary body.

we're the same all over:

Our relationship to our skin is shaped by the way we use it. The skin of a new born child feels exactly the same all over. The soles of the feet feel the same as the chest. The fingers are as smooth as the cheek. There is no hierarchy to the way our external envelop should be treated. Only patterns of use as we grow leave a history in the thickening and texture of the skin as it stretches like a hypersurface to perfom it's duty around our machinery.

Suddenly the monitor induced pain in my eyes and the callouses on my mouse-finger seem like a terrible mistake.

But maybe that's because I haven't slept for over 24 hours.

Introduction: The company I work for designs and supports a clinical software package with quite a large user base (for this type of software). We in the call centre have recently benefited (?) from a complete office refit which included the purchase of several metric tons of brand new whizz bang modularized office furniture {insert applause here}.

All went well, the desks were all installed as half-cubicle type structures with desks 1-4 surrounding a central axis in which data cables etc were run - see figure 1 (== <-this is the sound proof paneling)


....1 | 2..................1 | 2....
|.........................|
------0----==`===----0------
| ....................... |
3 | 4 ................ 3 | 4

figure 1

The project was a resounding success, the semi soundproof panels between each desk helped enormously and there was much rejoicing etc etc.

The problems began when the new office manager arrived and decided that the walls should be brought down in order to give some illusion of a relaxed, friendly atmosphere - figure 2. Our beloved sound proof panels were soon snatched cruely from us to facilitate the pursuit of this utopian dream. Immediatly volume controls on headsets were set to 10 and cupped hands were held over ears in an attempt to communicate with whoever was on the other end of the line (didn't quite catch that name over the cacophony in my left ear - sorry.)

....1 | 2..................1 | 2....
|.........................|
------0----............----0------
| ....................... |
3 | 4 ................ 3 | 4

figure 2

Over time this became bearable as we adjusted to the new conditions. The office is actually a reasonably pleasant place to work in quieter times...until that guy down the back brings his newly wed wife in for lunch and all hell breaks loose. The sound this behemoth puts out it incredible. There should be SPL competitions for people like this. The scary part is - I don't think she has even raised her voice yet!

/me cringes in fear of impending doom

Through the portals where once all was quiet (or at least severely deadened) wave after wave of annoyingly nasal, high powered 'speech' now thunders through the office with a sound not unlike continents coliding. The open plan dream is flawed.

Unfortunately, the office manager is cooped up in his fully enclosed office (funny that) and therefore doesn't feel the pain his staff go through each day at roughly 1pm. The race is now on for promotion - not for career advancement or salary increases but merely to escape the horrible Siren (pun intended) that haunts our formerly inhabitable call centre....


Note: This used to be a stand alone node but was brutally cut down in it's prime- i think it fits here better...

Hi – this is borgo speaking on behalf of you know who. Due to circumstances beyond my control, she hasn’t been able to spend much time with me and hence has not been able to really focus on writing anything besides book reports and other school related matters.

That situation took a turn for the better as she was able to spend almost the entire week with me. I think it did the both of us a world of good. Anyway, I got her to write a little poem last night and I since I’m no child psychologist, I don’t know if it was just because it was a sort of cloudy, starless evening here in the heartland or if it is meant to express some deeper meaning about what has been going on lately. I mean, who can accurately say for sure what goes on in the mind of an eight year old. I’ll now turn you over to borgette and let her do her thing…..

Hi everybody! I hope you are all doing good. I’m okay. School is going good too. I got hit in the face at my soccer game last week and cut open my lip. There was a lot of blood and I was scared for a while. It’s much better now.

I wrote a poem last night when I was up in my room. It’s called “Clouds” and I hope you like it!

Clouds

Tonight there is no sunset
Tomorrow there will be no sunrise
The moon won’t show
Its face on the sky
Because the Clouds, they hide it all

The stars don’t rise
and the stars don’t fall
Because the Clouds, they hide it all

I know its kind of short but it was all I could think of. I hope I get to meet some of you here over Memorial Day. Thank you and bye!

Yay, finals are over - which means the semester is over. No classes for almost a month which is a breather for these tired eyes. I've studies almost 24/7 this past week and quite frankly I don't know if it was worth it, still debating that in my head cause now I feel like shit.

This is a cute story written by a good friend when her daughter got to pick out their first alpaca. It's cute and heart felt, so if you're not in a mood to be warmed don't read on and have a great weekend. I like it and want to pass it on.Warning: A little long but worth it, check out the pipelinks to, they'll navigate you to wonderful far away places.


Cria Size

She keeps repeating it over and over again. We've been back to
this large farm at least five times. It has been weeks now since
we started all of this," the woman told the alpaca breeder.

"What is it she keeps asking for?" she asked.

"Cria size!"

"We have plenty of pet alpacas, if that's what she's looking
for."

"I know. We have seen most of them," she said in
frustration.

Just then the young child came walking in the barn.

"Well, did you find one?"

"No, not this time," she said with sadness in her voice. "Can we
come back on the weekend?"

The two women looked at each other, shook their heads and
laughed.

"You never know when we will get more pet male cria.
Unfortunately, there's always a supply," the breeder said.

The young child took her Mother by the hand and headed to the
gate.

"Don't worry, I bet we'll find one this weekend," the child
said.

Over the next few days both mom and dad had long conversations
with her.They both felt she was being too particular.

"It's this weekend or we're not looking any more," Dad finally
said in frustration.

"We don't want to hear anything more about "cria size" either,"
mom added.

Sure enough they were the first ones in the farm on Saturday
morning. By now the young child knew her way around, so she ran
right for the area that had the pet cria.

Tired of the routine, mom sat in the small barn at the end of
the first row of small pastures. There was a view so you could
see the pet cria any time.

The young girl walked slowly from pasture to pasture, kneeling
periodically to take a closer look. One by one the cria would
come over and she held each one. One by one she
said, "Sorry, you're not the one."

It was the last pasture on this last day in search of the
perfect cria. The breeder opened the pasture gate and the child
carefully reched out and held it closely.
This time she it took a little longer.
"Mom, that's it! I found the right cria! He's the one! I know
it!" she screamed with joy.

Mom, startled by all the commotion, came running.

"What? Are you sure? How do you know?" she asked.

"It's the cria sighs!"

"Yes, it the same size as all the other cria you held the last
few weeks," mom said.

"No, not "size"; "sighs." When I held him in my arms he sighed,"
she said.

"So?"

"Don't you remember? When I asked you one day what love is, you
told me "Love depends on the sighs of your heart. The more you
love, the bigger the sighs!"

The two women looked at each other for a moment. Mom didn't know
whether to laugh or cry. As she stooped down to hug her child
she did a little of both.

"Mom every time you hold me I sigh. When you and Daddy come home
from work and hug each other you both sigh. I knew I would find
the right cria if it sighed when I held it in my arms," she said.

Then holding the cria up close to her face she said,
"Mom, he loves me. I heard the sighs of his heart."

Written by: Daphne A. - reproduced with permission.

I seem to hold a few thoughts in my head that the majority of people I know don't agree with. That's okay. If we all agreed, the world would be pretty dull.

Sometimes when I go by a cemetery, I sigh and think, what a waste of space. What with whole thing of world hunger, I think those spaces could be put to much better use as farmland. More and more of this is being bought out every day by real estate jerks putting in more residential areas. I realize our population is growing rapidly, but we need the farms as much as we need homes. Some years ago the cornfield across the street was bought out and demolished in favour of a huge new subdivision. Since then, our once-peaceful little town has become a place where you can't leave a single thing out.

If you ask me, cemeteries take up valuable, probably fertile soil. Even if it isn't fertile, don't we have fertilizer and other agents to help out? We could definitely use the land. I doubt the dead care very much, I really do.

"So what are we supposed to do with our loved ones when they die?"
Well, there are three options -- that I can think of.

This first really needs to be explained, I'm sure. It is a very expensive procedure in which the remains of the dead person are compressed into a little diamond, which you can then have mounted on a ring or some other piece of jewelry.
You think it's weird, don't you?
Personally, if I were an immortal, I would do this for all my friends. Hey, then they'd always be with me. If someone I really loved died, I'd have this done (as if I could afford it).
However, for the majority, this isn't a possibility.


So we move on to cremation, which means (as many of you already know), burning the body and keeping the ashes, or putting them in a place the dead person was happy once. For instance, when my Opa died, he was cremated, and we threw his ashes in a lake where he used to camp a lot.
The cost for this particular method vary quite a bit. There are cremation "societies" that you can join, and pre-plan&pre-pay for your own cremation, ensuring that everything is taken care of already and no one will have to worry about paying for it after you're dead. In the brief research I conducted, the cost to join a Cremation Society is anywhere from $15-$30 (individual) or $30-$40 (couple).

Most cremation societies charge (members) between $500 to $1,000 for a simple cremation.
This fee generally includes:


As a comparison, many funeral homes in the United States charge well over $1,500 for the same services.
This courtesy of The Internet Cremation Society.

So, yes, it is a bit of a pain, but so is burying. First of all, you have to arrange to get a spot in a cemetery. Most people feel it necessary to buy a nice fancy coffin -- which no one is going to see after the hour or so when it's on display for the family&friends. Usually bodies are embalmed before an "open-casket," so that they won't smell or show decay when people go to look at the body. Expensive stuff.



So we come to my last point: Cannibalism.
Most people are very much against the eating of another person, whether freshly killed or already dead. I can see the problem when it is combined with murder, but if you ask me, eating one's dead should not be a problem.
If the deceased did not die of an illness, or was not ill when he/she passed away, there is no health risk for the would-be cannibals. Of course, if you eat them raw, it's not going to do you any good. But who does that, anyway?
For the poor, for the hungry, this is an ideal option. So long as the deceased was not ill in any way, the meat (cooked, damn you) could provide sustenance for an entire family (depending on the size of the person). Not to mention that they won't have to worry about what to do with the body, because we all know where it is going to go.

Personally, I would wish to be eaten after I die. But apparently that is illegal, at least here in North America. If I didn't like living here I'd move to Africa or something where I might have more luck. Unfortunately, that would mean all my friends would have to travel there to eat me, and then go back. That's expensive and time-consuming. And part of my point for cannibalism is that it doesn't cost anything beyond what it takes to cook the body.
One person could live for quite a bit on the body of an adult of average size.

I'm not saying everyone should eat people. I'm suggesting that cremation or cannibalism are both much better than filling up space with cemeteries. If you really want to bury your dead, bury them in a garden, without a coffin, and let them fertilize the soil or something.

Looks like I'm going to a crematorium when I die then. Oh well.

This past weekend the Flying Cloud went down to Asheville, North Carolina to dance at the Biltmore Estate. We did a half-hour set every hour for five hours, both Saturday and Sunday. Quite exhausting, and the sun was brutally hot; although, luckily, the air was cool.

The set was mid 19th Century social ballroom dancing, and contained the following eight dances :

  1. Polonaise
  2. Russian Mazurka Quadrille
  3. Old Folks Quadrille
  4. Scotch Reel
  5. a solo dance : either the Moganblatter Waltz or the Holubieca
  6. French Quadrille
  7. 5/4 Waltz
  8. Bohemian National Polka

It's a six hour drive, and both directions we left around 9 or 10 in the evening, so Amelia would sleep through it. The traffic was very light at that hour, as one might guess, but the mist was rather thick at times. Ruth Anne managed to nap on and off, and between books on tape and several cans of Sobe Adrenaline Rush the drive wasn't too bad.

When we got home in the wee hours of Monday morning, by new 30 Gigabyte iPod was waiting on my doorstep. A delightful little machine if ever there was one. I had a fraction of my CD collection ripped into iTunes as 160 Mb mp3 files, so just for the heck of it, I'm ripping or re-ripping everything as 128 Mb AAC files. As of this instant, I have 4006 songs adding up to 8.9 days of music and 13.02 Gigabytes.

The ability to keep contacts and calendars in the iPod has already proven itself useful. So I effectively get a free Palm Pilot with my iPod (or perhaps a free MP3 player with my Palm Pilot).

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