Malkias’s first crawl (sorta!)

This is from last week: July 23, 2009. This was the first time we’d ever seen Malkias crawling, or at least using his feet to push himself forwards. Up until this point we’d only ever seen him rolling to get where he wanted. My iPhone was the bribe that we used to get him to move forwards. (The strangulation hazard isn’t always there, by the way.  My wife had been vacuuming and hadn’t got around to putting the machine away).

He’s making good progress. When we took charge of him (May 30, 2009) his legs were very floppy and dangly. He’s now developing sturdier legs and although he’s not ready to bear his weight he’s moving in that direction.

Maia’s first dance recital

July 25, 2009. Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH. My daughter and her fellow classmates (all about 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 years old) from the Portsmouth School of Ballet, in their very first recital. They’re all very young and I think the most they had had was four lessons, so be prepared to encounter more cuteness than artistry! Maia’s one of the youngest, apparently.

We stayed on for a lot of the other dances, some of which were very good indeed. It was obvious that Maia wasn’t much interested in watching the ballet, but she loved anything more contemporary, from jazz tap-dance onwards.

Further adventures of an aspiring (but tired) Bodhisattva

Gosh, but I’m tired. It seems that I never quite get enough sleep these days, and there’s always one child or another who is going to wake me up long before I’m ready. I found breakfast this morning rather trying. I really just wanted some peace and quiet. Still, there are some days when I’m more rested and robust.

Seems my wife had never heard the exclamation "struth" until I let rip with it today.

One lovely thing today was having my friend Steve Wade round for dinner. I made pizza, and in-between lots of interruptions from the kids we did some catching up. It was great to talk to another adult besides Shrijnana. Doesn’t happen often enough these days.

Seems the theme on my blog is broken. Don’t know why, and I’m not sure  can fix it tonight.

And now for a quick round-up of my activities and interests:

  • My writing is going well. I was despairing about the Air element of my book on the Six Elements — Air is the element I find hardest to write about — but it’s been slowly coming together. One key thing was printing the chapter out, which gave me a much clearer sense of some restructuring that needed to be done. Somehow there are things I miss when I’m staring at a screen. The chapter is almost finished, and I think I like it (sometimes it’s hard to tell). I find it a good sign when I enjoy reading my own writing.
  • Kristof has a good piece on the frightening instabilities in Pakistan, and he offers some ways that the US could help matters there by standing up for its own (best) values:

    • "If we want to stabilize Pakistan, we should take two steps. First is to cut tariffs on manufactured imports from Pakistan. That would boost the country’s economy, raise employment and create good will. Cutting tariffs is perhaps the most effective step we could take to stabilize this country and fight extremism.
    • "Second, we should redirect our aid from subsidies to the Pakistani military to support for a major education initiative. A bill in the Senate backed by the Democrat John Kerry and the Republican Richard Lugar would support Pakistani schools, among other nonmilitary projects, and would be an excellent step forward."
    • He concludes with this great one-liner: "Why can’t we show the same faith in education as hard-line Muslim fundamentalists?"
  • Pogue has a good piece on how the cell-phone industry in the US rips us off.
  • The BBC has an article saying that a detailed, functional artificial human brain can be built within the next 10 years. Two years ago I wrote about how a mouse-brain had been simulated on a computer.
  • The trailer for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland keeps appearing on the web, only to be pulled. It’s odd why a film studio should devote legal resources to prevent people publicizing their films, but there you are. Anyway, watch this while you can.
  • As someone who makes a substantial slice of his living from selling CDs and MP3s, I agreed with everything in Why I Hope the Free Brigade Got It Wrong by Jonathan Fields. The "Free Brigade" is underpinned by a lot of naive wishful thinking about how creative people can make a living.
  • Lastly, we had a great discussion about the "not-self" doctrine in my prison Dharma class yesterday. It was a very practical discussion in many ways, focusing on actual experiences we can have of non-identification with having a self. An example? When we’re in the flow. Think of a basketball player who’s "in the zone" — with no sense of "here I am, and here’s the ball, and there are the opposing players and I need to beat them." Instead there’s a wordless, non-self flow of mental and physical energy that doesn’t think in terms of opposed selves. Compare that to the player who is very self-conscious and conscious of the opposing players and of having to defeat them; he/she is hindered by fear and second-guessing. I know which I’d rather be like in my daily life.

New book by Jarvis Masters

I got this message from Kathy Rowe on Facebook recently and thought I’d share it more widely. Jarvis is a Buddhist inmate on death row, and a talented writer.

I spoke to Jarvis again recently and we talked about this facebook group. He was excited to know of all the people here showing support and taking an interest in him. I also read out the personal messages people have sent and he was moved by them and told me he felt blessed.

He wanted to offer something to you all and asked me to send you this piece of writing he did, called ‘No Bars to Love‘ 

We were also talking about his new book being published by Harper Collins in September and he told me that it’s possible to order it on now and it’s about $9 cheaper to do this now than when the book is released – he then asked me to let you know about this ‘so the facebook people can get it cheaper if they want to’.

It’s called That Bird Has My Wings (published under Jarvis’ full name – Jarvis Jay Masters) I hope this link works…

Warm wishes to you all