Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Tomorrow's Art Lesson

My grade two class is excited for art tomorrow. I showed them a "rub out" picture I had done using charcoal and an eraser. I first completely coated the plain white paper in charcoal and then simply created a picture by rubbing out the image using a soft white eraser.

After I had finished the demonstration, I passed it around the class for them to see and feel, and then told them that tomorrow they will be given a chance to do the same. They can't wait.

You can see their fingerprints all over the picture. I think I'll leave them there. It looks loved.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

One Laptop Per Child

Here is something I've stumbled upon, and upon initial review, it seems to be a good attempt at a good idea. Here is what this is:

The MIT Media Lab has launched a new research initiative to develop a $100 laptop—a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. To achieve this goal, a new, non-profit association, One Laptop per Child (OLPC), has been created. The initiative was first announced by Nicholas Negroponte, Lab chairman and co-founder, at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland in January 2005.

What is the $100 Laptop, really?
The proposed $100 machine will be a Linux-based, full-color, full-screen laptop that will use innovative power (including wind-up) and will be able to do most everything except store huge amounts of data. This rugged laptop will be WiFi-enabled and have USB ports galore. Its current specifications are: 500MHz, 1GB, 1 Megapixel.

Why do children in developing nations need laptops?
Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to "learn learning" through independent interaction and exploration.

To find out more visit the website
and be sure to read the FAQ section.

My initial thought was what the hell is a child who is starving or hiding for their life going to do with a laptop.

There is much about this world I do not know. Could this be just the very thing they crave? I guess we'll see.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Sleeping Together

When you think about the really simple, basic things of life, it's a privilege to sleep with someone; sharing the same space, the same blanket, the same warmth.

I asked my wife a few moments ago, "You really enjoy life, don't you?" She smiled and said an understood "yes" as she continued to untangle the antique Christmas tree lights that she found last winter at the local thrift shop. What was better is that she got them for free. The store has a "free" box which is frequented by Joyce. Many abandonned treasures have found their way to our home via the free box.

Tonight, after dinner, we will continue with the tree decorating, have some fine coffee and listen to Kenny Roger's Christmas cassette. The kids will overdose on egg nog and there will be a feeling of peace on earth (or at least in Niverville).

Then, when the late evening rituals have been satisfied, we will once again go to bed, sharing the same space, the same blanket, and the same warmth. We will be connected in a way that was meant to be. (sex optional).

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Fine Coffee

For the past month or so I have been looking around for and noticing some really nice coffee grinders. This is a picture of one of the nicest ones I have seen. I love the light color of the wood together with the great condition of the stainless steel. One tends to think that the coffee would be Oh so much better after being ground in this classic.

Ever since I started blogging, coffee has become an even more consuming part of my daily routine. It probably has much to do with how cultured one becomes exploring their own , and others, more prized possessions: their thoughts. Coffee seems to bring clarity to life. High speed clarity. The kind of clarity one desires in the grind of the daily routine.

I just hope that I come out as well-weathered as this classic when I'm further along.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

A Dragon in Happy Land

The dragon is happy because he got a new cap.
My son Micah has been feeling a little left out of the blog world, so I told him to draw a picture and I would post it.

Some days I wish that I could be a dragon in happy land, but often, when I let my impatience get the best of me, I end up simply being a dragon.


Monday, November 21, 2005

Blue Like Jazz

There has been quite a bit of energy cast out into the atmosphere lately about Donald Miller's book Blue Like Jazz.
I came across this work at my brother-in-law's cabin this past summer at Lake Caribou, Ontario. My wife was the one who picked it up off of the coffee table in the morning after our arrival, and couldn't put it down until she was finished in the early evening. She kept laughing and making "agreeing" noises as she read. All the verbal affirmation from the lips of my wife were hard to ignore, so after we returned home and saw the same title in our church library, I couldn't resist.
The text reads like a personal blog...full of personal insights and points of legitimate personal growth. Tolerance and acceptance, much like many of the teachings from the desert fathers, are loudly pronounced themes.
Its the kind of book which immediately makes you look for any other writing by the same author. We've all been there. We all long for this kind of inspiration to come across our path. Much like reading Philip Yancey for the first time. This writing receives two non-judgemental thumbs up.


There is nothing that fills me with more deliberate anticipation these days than a bit of Johnny after work. I would be leaving much out if I didn't mention looking forward to seeing my family and anticipating the evening's events, but when it comes to something that I put to my lips...there's nothing like a well considered scotch.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Date with my Jane-Jane

This morning Jane and I went out for breakfast to Chicken Chef, which is the only place in town open in the morning. It's actually a good place to go even though it is the only place to go. After I poured my own coffee we sat down and started to consider what to order. We placed our order almost immediately as there was some kind of a lull in the business of the place. Jane told the waitress she wanted exactly what I was having. I smiled. I turned on the mental capacities which help me to search for great things to say and talk about with a nine-year-old who happens to be my daughter.
We spent the next twenty minutes or so talking about the family's plans for Christmas. We are planning to go to the Fort Garry Hotel in Winnipeg for a night and then attend the afternoon performance of The Nutcracker by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.
The kids are excited about the rumors of there being a haunted room at the hotel. Arianna said that she would wander around the hotel at midnight (if someone else would go with her) to look for the ghost. Jane would be content to simply be with mom and dad and a really good bag of chips rather than wandering around looking for something that may not be there.
When it came time for Jane and I to dig into our meals, it became quite clear to me that I have indeed brought a truely delightful child into this world. Jane has the ability to be completely enthralled in a conversation and fully aware of the pure joy of a well fried meal at the same time. The way Jane dives into a meal is truely a ballet in itself. The choreography of the hash browns and the sunny side up suite was simply delightful. I think she has her love of food from her father.
In the end, for the final pirouette, she saved the sunny side egg yokes for the last. Using her fork as an instrument of levitation, she gently placed them, one at a time, into her mouth and closed it in pure delight. I could just taste it as I watched. She fully understood what I was smiling about.
I'm surprised by joy quite often when I take the time to enjoy my children.
During these time of contemplation I can (honestly and reverently) say that I am truely blessed.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Formal Wear

Joyce's brother Walter was just over for dinner. We have now made it official that he will be joining us every Wednesday for dinner. He is to arrive at 5:30, just after the last of the day-care kids leave.
He arrived today at 5:15 with a bottle of Wolf Blass Merlot. Quite nice and fairly robust, not quite as full as the Yellow Label last week but that is to be expected from a Merlot.
The evening was quite relaxed as the meal progressed. Joyce made a wonderful roast which she slow cooked all day long. Of course mashed potatoes had to be served to please Micah, Jane and Samuel. Micah loves to pile his potatos high and make a volcano with the gravy. I think he had threee portions in the end. Sammy quietly consumed as the rest of us conversed about the day.
As the evening wore on, Walter made some comment about how well I delt with a situation with the kids. Joyce jokingly said something to the effect that he should really be here for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday if he wanted to see the real Brian. Of course any thinking human cannot write that sort of a comment off completely as a joke, so I am now set to wondering. I wonder what the mirror really sees. I was reading a random blog earlier today where the woman was commenting on her husband. She mentioned that when she comes home from work her husband tags off and is done for the rest of the day and all he has done is the bare minimum. She says that simply feeding and clothing the kids does not cut it as fully parenting. Her husband said that at least he was doing better than the majority of the men out there. I told Joyce about having read this when I got home from work today. So here I am thinking that her comment about the other days of the week are somehow connected to what I told her about this other husband. Am I putting on a show for someone who is not normally around? Do I really need to step into the dressing room and put on a finer suit when someone new is watching?
I don't have any conclusions about this today but I will certainly keep looking in the mirror. I'm still quite nice and fairly robust, not quite as full of myself as last week, but that's to be expected of a man who fully considers his reflection.