Monday, February 18, 2008

More Cuteness

Video of L. getting her first solid food.

Goodbye Jiku

Enjoy your time at HiPiHi. I wish you the best of luck in your new venture.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Hello Jiku!

I'm flattered and impressed you subscribe to my blog!

While what I say here is indeed a matter of public record, I'm a little disappointed that you would choose to take issue with its contents, not by beginning a 2-way dialogue with me by email -- or heck, or in person, since you sit all of 5 meters away from me -- but rather by relaying your misunderstanding of its contents to our boss(es?) without clearing it by me first. Its a little surreal to come to work and be told that "everyone knows" the supposed contents of your personal blog.

Not a very professional or, I dare say, adult thing to do. I would prefer to have this conversation by email, however since you have refused to do so on nearly ever single occasion I've asked, I'm forced to resort to this.

However, please take comfort in knowing your communication issues are now a matter of public record. You're famous!

ps. I would also like to ask you to send me a link to your blog, where you chronicle your personal thoughts and feelings, so as to allow the people you love to stay connected to you. If the only way you know how to have an honest conversation surreptitious blog reading, then its what I'll have to settle for.

Grand Unified Theory of Parenting

I came up with this nugget a while ago, but I thought I'd dump it from my brain.

You might call it a Unified Theory of Properties All Successful Human Beings Must Have, but thats a bit over-pretentious.

In a person's life there are countless lessons, great and small, that one must learn. Ideally we could just tell each other what they are and be done with it, but unfortunately it seems that people just don't learn from sermons -- they only seem to truly comprehend when they experience the truth of the matter directly.

This poses a dilemma for parents. How do we set our children up for a happy successful life, if they're determined to repeat our mistakes?

My theory is you only need to teach a few basic pillars, and all other lessons follow naturally from those basic premises. They follow in order of importance.

1. The Foundation of All Society: Empathy -- the ability to feel what other living things feel.

Without this pillar, human society, and therefore civilization could not exist.

Having empathy means that you cannot do things to others that you would not do to yourself. This is the Golden Rule, and from the Golden Rule all morality follows.

2. The Foundation of Human Intellect: Curiosity -- the desire to understand the working of the world around you.

Without this pillar, human technology would not have progressed beyond the ability to hunt or gather enough food to just survive, and therefore civilization could not exist.

Having curiosity means that you start by questioning what you observe around you -- how? why? It also means that you must move past the question, and start interacting with your environment in order to begin searching out the answers.

This is Learning, specifically the essence of what we call the Scientific Method. And it is only from science that all objective knowledge can follow. (In the past humans have had pseudo-sciences from which they derived knowledge, but they have all eventually proven to be mistaken.)

3. The Foundation of Human Psychology: Self-Honesty -- the desire to resist the natural human tendency to accept an illusory perception of reality.

The study of adult psychology is essentially founded on the myriad set of biases built into our brain which plague human beings and cause untold misunderstanding. Without a drive to avoid these natural biases, we are constantly mis-interpreting our interactions with the world, especially other human beings, and left confused and hurt as to why we seem to always find ourselves in a position of conflict.

Having self-honesty means more than just a clear perception of bias -- more importantly it leads to a state of mind that finds it difficult, and a waste of time, to be dishonest with others.

Self honest people must naturally lead to all honesty, and honesty is the essence of communication. Honesty is more than just the absence of lies, it is the presence of truth. It means that what you say is an accurate description of your environment, and that will lead people to trust and listen to what you say.

4. The Foundation of Personal Success: Effort -- the desire to continue to face difficulty until it is overcome.

The natural order of life is a continuous process of challenge. We are creatures that resulted from the ego-less life-and-death process of Evolution. There is no cease, just a constant march towards improvement, like slinky walking down an infinite case of stairs. When we accept this process, and not see it as tiring or unfair, we can find the will to continue with our struggles.

Without effort in our actions, most of them would fail immediately, and all success in this world would be a result of mere luck. Every time we pick up after failure, we give ourselves improved odds of succeeding the next time.


Starting from only the above lessons, I feel it is possible for any person to naturally directly deduce the entire set of life lessons.

Do you feel anything has been left out?

(Note: religion and dogmatic philosophical interpretations have been intentionally left out, either because I think they are wrong, or they are right, but could be extrapolated from the above. If you disagree, I am happy to hear, and likely challenge, your opinion.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cooking with Food (TM)

Two easy to make condiments every cook should have in their repertoire to make meals more interesting, nutritious and less dependent on animal flesh.

Both are high in protein, unsaturated fats, and tastiousness.

Preparation: buy a cheap food processor. Now.


- 1/3 cucumber, peeled
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1 cup thick or firm yoghurt
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt

1. Puree cucumber, mix ingredients in a bowl, adjust proportions to taste
2. Chill in the fridge


- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 table spoon sesame paste (tahini)
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon spice (cumin, coriander, paprika)

1. puree ingredients, adjust proportions to taste
2. Chill in fridge

Any good cook should be able to adjust and substitute the recipe depending on what is available upon opening the fridge.

Thursday, February 7, 2008