Monthly Archives: November 2010

The Curious Case of Supposed Poultry

This morning, I took some time to understand Athos’ current book series obsession, Beast Quest. As far as I can tell, it’s a fantasy with the usual battles between good and evil. And thus ensued this conversation:

Pilgrim Mom: You know, a lot of modern fantasies are inspired by classics like “The Lord of the Rings” and the “Chronicles of Narnia”. [We chat about common themes, and land on betrayal.]

PM: Remember how Edmund betrays his siblings in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”?

Athos: Yah, all because he likes…what was it…Chicken Supreme?

PM: Eh?!?!

Athos: Isn’t it Chicken Supreme?

PM: No, it’s Turkish Delight!

Athos: Oh, it’s turkey then!

I couldn’t stop laughing for a long, long while. We were on the way to the optometrist so it’s a mercy that I didn’t crash….

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John O’Donohue: A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted

Some months ago an older woman whom I greatly respect introduced me to the poetry of John O’Donohue. His poems, for me, occupy that rare space between humanity and the divine, a sort of linguistic thin place.

Today I returned to this poem, felt my breathing slow, a calm return. Perhaps it might bless you too.

A Blessing For One Who Is Exhausted
When the rhythm of the heart becomes hectic,
Time takes on the strain until it breaks;
Then all the unattended stress falls in
On the mind like an endless, increasing weight,

The light in the mind becomes dim.
Things you could take in your stride before
Now become laborsome events of will.

Weariness invades your spirit.
Gravity begins falling inside you,
Dragging down every bone.

The ride you never valued has gone out.
And you are marooned on unsure ground.
Something within you has closed down;
And you cannot push yourself back to life.

You have been forced to enter empty time.
The desire that drove you has relinquished.
There is nothing else to do now but rest
And patiently learn to receive the self
You have forsaken for the race of days.

At first your thinking will darken
And sadness take over like listless weather.
The flow of unwept tears will frighten you.

You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.

Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.

Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.

Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.

Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
Be excessively gentle with yourself.

Stay clear of those vexed in spirit.
Learn to linger around someone of ease
Who feels they have all the time in the world.

Gradually, you will return to yourself,
Having learned a new respect for your heart
And the joy that dwells far within slow time.

NLB’s Video Library

Exams are over and the school holidays are almost upon us! Which means I am once again trying to keep half a step ahead of boredom and mischief among the Pilgrim brood.

Thankfully, there are few places more trustworthy than our neighbourhood library. I’ve raved about Singapore’s library system and its treasures elsewhere on this blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that besides the books (which already offer rich pickings), NLB also carries DVDs.

I’m not sure how they determine what titles to offer – you won’t find Hollywood blockbusters or primetime TV series – but there are award-winning documentaries, instructional videos, educational CD-ROMs and the occasional classic movie.

This week Pilgrim Dad and I borrowed and watched To Kill A Mockingbird, the 1962 film adaptation of the book, that won Gregory Peck an Academy award for Best Actor. And for the kids, we’ve found the Popular Mechanics for Kids and Bill Nye the Science Guy series delightful.

I can imagine few better uses for my tax dollar!

Digital Ontologies

Aramis and I had this little exchange yesterday:

Me: I’m bringing the computer.
A: That’s not a computer, that’s an iPad.
Me: An iPad is a computer.
A: No, computer is computer. iPad is iPad.

I wonder what Steve Jobs would have to say about that!