Category Archives: General

Happy and Relieved: Olivia is Born.

I’m happy and relieved because I learned about an hour ago that my step-granddaughter, Olivia, was born without complications. Due to the fact that I’m on the opposite end of the globe doing research, my wife has been using her Blackberry to keep me informed of the developments by email. I was quite worried after I received word that my step-daughter would have to undergo a c-section. I have serious reserves about how doctors in the West currently manage births and I was not happy to learn that a c-section was in my step-daughter’s future. At any rate, it has gone well. I’m glad that ordeal is over.

Seeing Ghosts

Salshdot is reporting on an article in Scientific American about how people grieving the death of loved ones tend to hallucinate.

When I first saw the post on Slashdot, it reminded me of when Ice, our cat, passed away nearly three years ago. For several days after his passing, I hallucinated his presence. I have never thought it was anything else than my perceptual apparatus interpreting various stimuli as “Ice”. (Newsflash: I do not believe in actual ghosts.) Coincidentally, the Scientific American article begins by recounting how Carlos Sluzki’s has hallucinated the presence of his deceased cat.

Death, Symbiosis and Pain

Charlie, my wife’s stepfather, passed away last Friday, US time, Saturday morning, Taiwan time. Unfortunately, it is hard to say much about him in this post. He was not interested in my world and I was not interested in his. I saw him only a few times and during those episodes our exchanges were polite but extremely brief and banal. Maybe we could call this a tragedy of polite estrangement.

What would have been a difficult time for my wife under any circumstance has been made even more difficult by the fact that I am away on the other side of the globe. Skype is a poor medium to bridge the distance in times when comfort is most needed. When a couple vows to spend their life together, their intent is a seed which grows into a symbiotic relationship. This symbiosis begins superficially but as the years pass, it reaches the most intimate corners of the heart. Together with depth comes strength. So a deep symbiosis can bear the strain of distance. Still, distance brings an unavoidable feeling of helplessness and pain.

However, there is nothing special about this pain. Nothing of it which in any ultimate sense is personal. The drama of death and separation plays out everywhere and at all times. Whose drama is it then?

Sponsored OSS

I’ve added a widget in the sidebar in which I’m going to list OSS projects I’ve given money to. I have two principal goals for doing this. First, I want to promote software I’m sponsoring. The publicity I provide is quite modest but it is better than nothing. Secondly, I want to encourage other people to also sponsor OSS projects. For sure, the idea here is not to promote a “holier than thou” attitude. I’m not interested in “oh, look I’ve given to this or that project, what have you done?” This is just childish.
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Love and age

A White Bear recently wrote about her seekrit vice: the reality show Age of Love. Since I have not watched the show, I do not have an opinion about its contents. However, A White Bear’s observations about the contents of the show are compatible with what I would expect to find, if I were to tune in. One specific passage has struck a chord with me:

But neither groups are particularly ideal. They seem to have gone out of their way to choose 20somethings who are boring, catty, tearful, and unmotivated, and the 40s already have shallow strikes against them, like kids and wrinkles.

I first have to admit that I’m not sure what a “shallow strike” is. Still, 20somethings girls being “boring, catty, tearful and unmotivated” comes close to my experience of 20something girls. I’m not saying all 20something girls I ever met embodied all those characteristics but a good deal of those girls embodied at least one of those characteristics. It’s also been my experience that 40something women are likely to have wrinkles unless they’ve engaged into cosmetic surgery. I do not know the statistics about how many women have had children by the time they are 40 but I’m expecting that to be fairly common. So all in all, their selection of women is congruent my experience. It is precisely because I found 20something girls immature that I found 40something women much more to my liking when I was in my 20s. Maturity is of utmost importance to me because I feel I cannot have an intelligent dialogue with someone who is immature. If I can’t have an intelligent dialogue with someone, I can’t be attracted to them. As for what people would consider to be downsides, in my eyes wrinkles are certainly not a strike against attractiveness and children are not an issue per se.

For sure, I do not represent the mainstream American man but at any rate, I have had the fortune to fall in love with a woman 20 years older than I am. She has qualities that I find in very few 20somethings and whatever other people may consider to be “strikes” against her age are irrelevant to me. Our love has deepened over the 10 years we’ve been together and shows no sign of imminent demise.

Lemon meringue pie

Yesterday was my wife’s birthday. For the occasion, I shook off my laziness and baked her a lemon meringue pie. It was a semi-success. The taste was perfect. However, the pie crust did not turn out well. I made a special crust because my wife and I wanted her daughter (my step-daughter) to be able to have the pie. She can’t process gluten so the usual kind of crust would not have worked.

So I’ve used a crust recipe we’ve often used in the past for making another kind of pie. That’s the problem, in its original context that crust works perfectly but for a lemon meringue pie, it does not work. When the time came to eat the pie, I found that the lemon filling had weakened the crust. I know the crust was fine before I put the lemon filling in. Lesson learned: don’t use the crust for a heavenly silk pie to make a lemon pie.

I also over-whipped the meringue. Not a disaster by any means but it was so stiff that I could not make any nice waves or peaks on top of the pie. Oh well. Tasty anyway and my wife enjoyed a good home-made pie.

Un soi contracté

Un soi contracté ne peut apprécier le lent et doux ressac des heures, la respiration du monde, le va-et-vien copulatoire qui engendre tout à chaque instant. Dans ce ressac, cette respiration, cette copulation où trouve-t-on ce soi contracté qui n’apprécie rien?

Intimate proposals

Recently, I’ve heard a story which I’m probably going to butcher just now. An ant goes up to whisper into an elephant’s ear. The elephant falls over in shock. What did the ant whisper? “I want your baby.” (I’ve also heard the variant “I’m having your baby.”)

Reflecting on that story… because that’s the kind of thing I do all the time… reflect on stories… Anyway, upon reflection, I’ve come to the conclusion that there reasonably cannot be a more intimate proposal from a woman than the offer of bearing a man’s offspring. First, it implies carnal knowledge (what a quaint expression!) and then nine months of carrying in the womb a being which is half derived from the father. The only offer I could think of which would be more intimate is “I want your kidneys” but that is not a reasonable offer. Of course, the offer could be “you can have my kidney”, which is pretty intimate… but no sex is involved.

Ok, enough with erotic ants.


Are we loving concentrically? What is the weight of excentricity? Contacts are tangential but normal. The factual accumulation of circular spaces promotes an exploratory emancipation of the senses. The cosine of affection, a sine of intimacy.

Maybe… but are you Euclidian?


I’ve discovered naps a few years ago. Or perhaps I’ve rediscovered them, since it is likely I napped as a child. If I find myself dozing off in front of the computer, I find that it is better to just take a quick nap than force myself to work through the sleepiness. I set an alarm so that I don’t nap for more than 30 minutes. It often happens that after about 20 minutes I find myself refreshed and can resume working.