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~ Archive for SJ ~

Holiday giving : One Laptop per Child and Geek


In moments of respite, I have enjoyed the influx of new interest in OLPC from communities of all sorts this month as our Give 1 Get 1 program has rolled out.  The interest has grown steadily over the past 10 days, from individuals, families, schools and larger groups; and the program is now continuing through the end of the year.

I will try to capture some of the specific ideas and hopes of contributing groups next month, since what they want most of all is to make a difference and to find others doing the same; and since not everyone is keen on writing up their giving and mentoring ideas on a publicly-editable website… If you have questions of your own, or posts to share, you are welcome to include them here or there.  (If you are keen on posting here anything about the long now we are living, and missed my post from years back explaining how to do that, let me know and I can post for you or get you an account.)


True Confessions of a Hungry Mind


Ok, that’s quite enough contemplation and open mourning.  If your
last name ends  in A-G, I’ve already gotten to you.  The site
colour will be back to nourmal soon, once I finish a few pressing
duties for the Wikimania Programme

Let me take a break from meta-communication for a moment; I have something to confess.  I am a binge eater.  Not what you first think of when you imagine “binging” — there is no purging involved; and minimal compulsion
but I will eat staggering quantities of food at a time.  When I am
deeply involved with some project or invention, or doing many things at
once, I sometimes actively avoid eating.  It isn’t so much a
matter of forgetting; the first few regular meals that pass by are
certainly noticed.  But eating is a very direct and physical
distraction.  It is much harder to control one’s own sleep schedule
on a full stomach, and the simple process of choosing, making, and
cleaning up a meal is a good half-hour’s interruption.  And after
ten years, I am still astonished at how much clearer, faster, and
deeper free-association is on a long-empty stomach.

This morning for instance, after three days of subsiding on the
occasional piece of chocolate (here I would refer to the longevity
recommendations of a famous pair of nonagenarian sisters from the US, but cannot find their fifteen minutes of fame; the Fortean Times suggests “avoid alcohol, eat good vegetables, and never, never get married to no skinny woman” — thus Jackson Pollard, 124, from their Amazing Lives and Astonishing Deaths),
I polished off a two-pound lasagna, two pounds of vegetables, three
small pots of yoghurt and a few cans of soda.  Plus the last
quarter pound of chocolate. 

This wasn’t the limit of my appetite, mind you; it’s
just what was at hand.  As I write this, having easily doubled the
rest of the week’s food intake before breakfast, I am
rather longing for a
juicy yam or three.

~ ~ ~

Reflecting on this, am reminded of the endless meals of distant times and places… and of That French Restaurant in Lake Placid,
at the back of a blues club, with the inevitable classical piano player
and, for those so inclined, a proper five-course meal, where by proper
I mean “incomparably filling.”   A full meal there might run
to three hours, 8000 Calories and a two-notch loosening of the
belt.  My father raised me on meals like that once in a blue moon,
so perhaps that’s where I picked up the habit. For years I made sure
when dining (and ordering) not to leave any food left over.

Alas, I have not quite maintained my former standards.  Not two weeks ago I was at the South Street Diner with J #1, and we both got their mixed grill (fantastic),
well over a pound of grilled meat and fish, with a couple of
sides.  It was with a guilty conscience I handed over my last few
bites at the end of the meal.

Update:  Six hours later, I am definitely hungry for a full lunch.



Both first and last on my list. First, because you have been on it for a decade; were its founding member. I have long owed you the impossible, or at least a calligraphed letter to that effect. Last, for celebrating less warmly than deserved your liberation from the far side of the pond.

It held plumb, level, solid, square and true for that one great moment… The key to Dugan’s lucidity is that it is really hard to nail even one hand to a crosspiece yourself, whether or not you are a carpenter. Those asking a great deal have often sacrificed a great deal first. Thankfully, by that point it rarely feels like sacrifice.

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