Sunday, June 29, 2008

Status of Laptop -- Tip Top Condition

For the past six months my poor old Dell laptop (actually a mere youngster at 18 months old) has been in need of a serious upgrade of memory. It seemed to be getting slower and slower and I was needing to reboot it so often it was driving me crazy.

With a dual core memory system this required the replacement of two separate memory boards and after inquiring of the "old scientist" if this was within his capabilities, which he assured me it was, I started looking around at prices locally. No problem, just fork over $160 and Bob's your uncle. But wait a minute, that does sound a bit expensive, so why don't I look online to see what they cost there.

Well imagine my surprise to see that you could get a Kingston 2GB memory upgrade kit, that is two 1x 1GB modules of RAM, online for $47 and change, with free shipping within the USA from Unfortunately they don't ship to Canada however my daughter who lives in the States was planning a visit here, with her family, at the end of June and I decided to buy it and ship it to them and they could bring it with them.

This is something that makes all Canadians very angry, these much higher prices that we are forced to pay here on so many items. The Canadian dollar has been around or above par with the US dollar since September of last year but we are not seeing a reflection of that in the prices in the stores. So there is a lot of grumbling, especially as we can now compare prices so easily on line. It is also a huge issue with books since they have the Canadian and the US prices right on the dust jacket and we were seeing a book which sells for $25.95 in the US being marketed here for $35.95 and there was quite a rebellion against that. They could not use the excuse of customs duty since books are duty free coming into Canada and of course we have the North America Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA as it is commonly known, to boot.

Anyway I have been patiently waiting for them to arrive with the new memory and yesterday my son-in-law who is a research scientist at IBM and an absolute computer whiz installed the memory into my laptop in about two seconds flat. Of course he could not leave it at that but ran all kinds of diagnostics and defragmented the hard drive which apparently I am supposed to do regularly but have not, since who knew? Certainly not I. But I will do so in the future.

Recently Nobody Important has been getting a myriad of fraudulent emails from various "banks". I always delete them immediately but those from the "Bank of Montreal" seem to contain a virus which my internet provider security program catches fortunately, sending me warnings and cleaning the emails. However we ran an anti-virus scan too and that was clear so I think this laptop is a good as it can possibly be for now.

Now I will have to see if I can avoid all those crashes I get when visiting Second Life. I certainly would appreciate that a lot. To be honest I have not noticed a great increase in speed but my SIL tells me that the speed is governed by the hard drive so not to expect miracles in that area however he assures me everything is working well and it is in tip top shape. What more could I ask? I was toying with the idea of buying a new gaming laptop but it seemed a bit idiotic after less than two years.

When I think back to the first home computer we had, around the early 1980s, I can't believe how far things have come. It was a North Star Advantage, with 64 KB RAM, no hard drive and it made its way home as the "old scientist" upgraded his work computer to something better. It used 5.25 inch floppy discs and ran MS-DOS as I recall and I used it only for word processing with a program called Wordstar. When my son went to graduate school in the Physics Department at the University of Toronto in 1985 I would type an email to him, at home, put it onto a disc and the "old scientist" would take it to work and send it from his computer which was hard wired into the University computer which was of course connected to the "internet" between universities Eventually we got a better computer with a dial-up modem and we connected to his work computer via a program called PC Anywhere although we still used MS-DOS. I don't remember when we changed to an early version of Windows.

Well we've come a long way, Baby, in this area. Things we take so much for granted now are really very recent technological developments. However I, for one, am very grateful for my laptop and while I am not on the cutting edge I am satisfied with it for a little while longer now that the memory has been upgraded.

But my old 6GB iPod mini has definitely got to go. I think I'll take a look at the new 32 GB iPod Touch any day now. It looks like my kind of toy.

I apologize in advance for lack of visiting my blog friends and light blogging here as my daughter and family will be here for two weeks and I have to be a good hostess. I'll try to keep the homefires burning with snippets here and there.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt ---- Bright


At first all I could think of for this was bright meaning shiny. I needed something shiny. But then I saw this quote:

The crocus, the snowdrop, and the effulgent daffodil are considered bright harbingers of spring (John Gould)

So bright also means vivid in colour, full of colour. What could be more colourful than this flower which I photographed recently on a tour of a friend's garden? One of the brilliant blue Campanula glomerata hydrids which are blooming their little hearts out at this time of year. She did tell me which one it was but I do not remember. Isn't it stunning?

Each head of the flower is made up of myriads of tiny little bell-shaped
flowers which is how it gets the name of clustered Bell flower
or Campanula


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday is Poetry Day in Second Life

Tuesday is Poetry Day for the The Guild of UK Writers in Second Life and this week's theme was Love. After last week's first time reading for me, I was willing to do some searching for suitable material to bring along and to give reading aloud another try. If you click on the photo above you will see Harriet, the convener or organizer standing by a microphone in the centre of the Stone Circle, while I'm in the centre front, sitting on a stone with my back to the camera. The one with the red curly hair of course.

As I said last week, the people reading use voice while the everyone else types in the message bar. Several readers read from their own work and from other poets but while I was hearing all the readers and the sounds from Milkwood, like the owl hooting, I was not receiving any of the messages. I had a picture on the screen and it seemed to be live so I clicked all my preferences furiously to see if I had made some terrible technical error and I even sent messages to Harriet and another SL friend who was there. Harriet knew that I had brought two poems to read but I would not be able to receive her instant message when it was my turn. Finally I broke voice silence myself and found out that I had crashed early on and no one could see me although they could hear me and I could see and hear everyone else. Mighty strange, don't ask me how that could possibly occur. In any event I read my two poems and was advised to log out and log back in again and so I did, catching the end of the program with full participation.

Just when you are congratulating yourself on how clever you are, something comes along to cut you down to size and make you humble again! However everyone was very kind about it all, since if you visit Second Life regularly you get used to crashing.

I won't bore you with both the poems I chose although each was very different from the usual love poem. To be in Love from the renowned African American poet, Gwendolyn Brooks, was the one I preferred but I'll let you follow the link to that one if you are interested. Instead I'll reproduce Variations on the Word Love, by Margaret Atwood who is probably the most preeminent Canadian writer today. Internationally known for her fiction for which she has won many prizes including the Booker Prize and the Arthur C Clarke Award and the Giller Prize, she has also published 18 volumes of poetry so she is well respected as a poet and may well define herself as that rather than a novelist.

Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliffside. You can
hold on or let go.

I wonder what next week's theme will be, however I'll have to give it a miss since my daughter and her family will be arriving here on Friday for two weeks, so I'll be busy playing hostess and visiting all the children's haunts in Vancouver.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Visit to an old Friend and Lunch

Last year I wrote about a visit to an old friend who had moved into a retirement home in an city adjacent to Vancouver. Today, with another friend, I made the trek out there to take her out to lunch. At 88, she is becoming more frail but I think she appreciated being taken out to the Beaches Restaurant in a nearby hotel. The batteries in my camera were dead but I borrowed my friend's camera and she emailed these photos to me. So may I present to you my delicious lunch. I think that if Welshcakes can show you her lunch at L'Altro Posto in Modica, Sicily, then I can show my lunch at Tsawwassen, Canada.

Warm Spinach Salad, with Scallops

Raspberry Chocolate Cake with Crème anglaise

After lunch we took her back to the residence and we sat and chatted with her for a while on the sunny rooftop garden. Some of the residents have their own flower containers which they plant and take care of. One gentleman has two miniature apple trees which are espaliered on trellises and they are covered in tiny apples. The trees are most interesting because they have branches of six different varieties grafted onto each rootstock. I have never seen this before and found it most intriguing. I would love to know how his apple crop turns out.

I snapped her photo, sitting next to her very own planter. It's always a pleasure to visit with this charming elderly Yorkshire gentlewoman, for she still has her delightful sense of humour.

A close-up for your enjoyment, the tiny pansies are very
cheerful little things

Friday, June 20, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt ---- Water


This is a blog where a visitor sees a lot of water, on a regular basis. Vancouver is a city of water, water everywhere, so my archives are full of scenic photos that I could have used and have used here previously. However this week I have chosen photos which show water it's true, but merely as a background. Click on each to get a better view.

Every week I see a heron on the Granville Island walk. I don't even bother to take a photo any more. I wish I had a telephoto lens when I see wildlife. Four times zoom is not enough!

This was a really strange thing that floated in False Creek, near Granville Island for a few weeks. It was a graduating piece of a student at the nearby Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design on Granville Island. You can't see it very well in the photo but the whitish triangles were of light shiny metal and they danced in the wind and reflected the sunlight.

The dragon boat racers were not at all impressed as they paddled by but perhaps they saw it so often in the few weeks it was there that they just thought it old hat. It was a very dull day so the photo is not great but interesting nonetheless.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This and That

I really like this eye of Horus image so I feel I can use it again to update you on the state of my eyes. Just over one week post operative I am seeing very well and hopefully now have two good bionic eyes. The biggest problem is that my new eyes do not fit my old glasses and I can't get new glasses until after my next appointment with the ophthalmologist which is in seven weeks.

Now I wear bifocals, not the nolines things that are so fashionable these days -- the ones with the scrinchy small reading segment, the ones that require you to tilt your head this way and that to be able to read things -- but ones with a big reading segment. Even with the new bionic eyes I will have to wear glasses for reading and since I don't wish to be constantly searching for my glasses I will continue to wear bifocals but with plain glass in the upper part. Besides, as a friend of mine always says, glasses hide the bags under your eyes and what's not to love about that!

However at the moment I find I can no longer wear these current glasses while driving and they are not really great for walking around either, so as well as stumbling around in Second Life I am doing so in real life. I sure hope I don't fall and break something during this interim period. Sigh! Only seven weeks to go.

That was the this and now for the that. I heard today that one of the Bill Reid art pieces, stolen last month from the Museum of Anthropology was pawned in a local pawn shop but reclaimed very quickly afterwards, no doubt due to the publicity. I wrote about the theft and the recovery of the majority of the pieces recently. A friend heard about this on the radio and told me since she knew of my interest and I found this single article in the Globe and Mail online.

For your enjoyment another of the art objects, thankfully recovered
Artist Maker: Bill Reid
Materials: Gold
Description: Brooch with dogfish design
Date made: 1959

One rumour has it that the RCMP know who the perpetrators are but are unable to prove it. The articles were supposedly discovered in the home of the mother of one of the suspects but they have no physical proof. They are hoping to recover some DNA from the recovered pieces to give them something concrete to use. However another story taken from the above article:
Meanwhile, a media report suggests charges may never be laid in the case.

According to the CBC, a deal was worked out with the suspects, offering immunity or at least leniency if the artworks were recovered intact.
Unfortunately there is no new information on the two pieces which have not been recovered, despite the widespread publicity surrounding them, but I am sure the RCMP are still working on the case. Although the Mounties "got their man", he/they could well not be charged, but the most important thing is that most of the pieces were recovered intact.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

My Poems will not Change the World

The stone circle of the Guild of UK Writers in Second Life

Not mine, of course, but the poems of Patrizia Cavalli,* a contemporary Italian poet. I'm went to a poetry reading this morning and I took along some of Patrizia's poetry to read aloud.

Well it was not quite as simple as that sounds, because there were all kinds of technical difficulties. You see the Poetry Reading was in Second Life. Somehow I have become a member of the Guild of UK Writers in Second Life and I have attended several poetry readings there. Of course I feel a bit of a fraud, since I am neither a writer nor really a reader of poetry, although I have become more interested in the topic in these latter years and have read more than I once did.

The topic for the day was European poets and I thought to myself, I can bring something to that table. After I retired I took an upper level Italian course at the university and we studied some of Patrizia's poetry from her collection My Poems will not Change the World or Le mie Poesie non Cambieranno il Mondo. In Italian of course but I decided to choose some poems that Patrizia had translated herself into English and read the translations rather than the original.

The organizer of the group always arranges people to read some poetry on the chosen topic and she will arrange a reader if you bring something but are too shy to read yourself. However I decided that I would try to use Voice Chat for the first time ever in Second Life and read my own choices. In case of a disaster I had the poems written on notecards which you can give to someone else to read for you by dragging and dropping them, itself perhaps a potential disaster.

The event takes place in the Stone Circle you see above. The reader stands in the small centre circle and the audience sits on the stones around the outside. Its location is in a beautiful region called Milkwood, which is meant to be typical Scottish countryside scenery but of course, being Second Life, the flowers and trees are perfect, there are deer in the woods, black swans on the water and it never rains, for there is no Scottish mist at Milkwood.

But let's get back to today's event. Talk about stress city! Even though I chose not to read in Italian, using voice for the first time was an added complication. I cannot always be sure it will work. I have used the speakers before with other people talking but not the microphone. I have even tried practising this in my "grace and favour" home in Second Life and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. I have watched every video tutorial in YouTube on the topic and tweaked all the settings as recommended and thus I was as ready as I ever would be to give it a whirl.

The scheduled readers, most of whom I'd heard before, read their choices in German and Italian, with translations, or simply translations and finally it was my turn. I did manage to get myself into the speakers' circle without too much stumbling around and nervously began with a little explanation about who Patrizia Cavalli is. I tried to read slowly and clearly and it seemed to work out fine although I was a bit tongue tied with my segues in between poems and I probably rushed everything.

So I survived the ordeal, for it was indeed an ordeal. But now hopefully I will be more confident next time I use voice chat in Second Life and it certainly is great not to have to type everything laboriously into the IM system there.

May I share with you one of Patrizia's poems which I think might resonate with many in my age group. They rarely have a title and this one is no exception. I hope you enjoy it.

Now that time seems all mine
and no one calls me for lunch or dinner,
now that I can stay to watch
how a cloud loosens and loses its colour.
how a cat walks on the roof,
in the immense luxury of a prowl, now
that what waits for me every day
is the unlimited length of night
where there is no call and no longer a reason
to undress in a hurry to rest inside
the blinding sweetness of a body that waits for me
now that the morning no longer has a beginning
and silently leaves me to my plans,
to all the cadences of my voice, now
suddenly I would like prison.

Patrizia Cavalli

And for completeness, in the original Italian

Adesso che il tempo sembra tutto mio
e nessuno mi chiama per il pranzo e per la cena,

adesso che posso rimanere a guardare

come si scioglie una nuvola e come si scolora,
come cammina un gatto per il tetto

nel lusso immenso di una esplorazione, adesso

che ogni giorno mi aspetta

la sconfinata lunghezza di una notte

dove non c'è richiamo e non c'è più ragione

di spogliarsi in fretta per riposare dentro
l'accecante dolcezza di un corpo che mi aspetta,

adesso che il mattino non ha mai principio

e silenzioso mi lascia ai miei progetti

a tutte le cadenze della voce, adesso

vorrei improvvisamente la prigione.

* All the possible links are in Italian, however Patrizia lives in Rome and has published several collections of her poems which are translated into many languages. They have appeared in English and American poetry periodicals, in other anthologies and also in the New Yorker. She has written scripts for RAI and has translated for the theatre works of Shakespeare, Molière, and Oscar Wilde. Her poems are both personal and dealing with wider concepts at the same time and her style is considered quite hard-bitten and edgy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Emotion


I think everyone would agree that one of the most emotional days in your life is your wedding day. While I think that this old scanned photo shows how happy we were, it was also a day of mixed emotions for me. Although I was marrying a fellow Australian, albeit we were in England at the time, we were setting off to live in Canada which had not featured in my plans at all. But here we are in Vancouver, 47 years later. As the great John Lennon said: Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Mounties get their Man/Men ---Bill Reid Stolen Art Objects Recovered

Object Title: Brooch
Artist Maker: Bill Reid

Materials: Gold
Description: Design of eagle in profile
Date made: 1955

Measurements: overall: 6.9 cm X 2.7 cm X .8 cm*

On returning from my eye surgery this morning I was elated to find an email from the Museum of Anthropology regarding the art objects by Bill Reid which as I told you had been stolen recently.

The recovery of some of the objects had been announced on the news two days ago but with no details whatsoever, as the investigation was still in progress. At today's press conference by the RCMP it was announced that 13 out of the 15 stolen pieces have been recovered however two pieces are still missing, the one above and the one below.

Object Title: Panel Pipe
Artist Maker: Bill Reid
Materials: Argillite stone, lacquer

Description: Panel pipe with holes for stem and bowl drilled through material. Design consists of an eagle and bear prone at base; eagle holds a man's legs in his mouth while bear holds a frog. Above is a killer whale, surmounted by a wolf and a raven with a frog.

Date made: 1963

Measurements: overall: 8.2 cm X 27.2 cm**

An excerpt from the email states:

The objects, which included twelve original works by renowned Haida artist Bill Reid and three items of Mexican jewellery, were the subject of an intense recovery effort initiated by the RCMP immediately following the break-in. Among the recovered items are Bill Reid’s extraordinary gold box with a sculptured, three-dimensional eagle on top, his gold Frog brooch, and two bracelets. An argillite pipe and an eagle brooch, also by Bill Reid, are still missing.

“We are extremely grateful to the RCMP for their efforts to locate these cultural treasures, and to all those who assisted in their investigation,” said Moya Waters, who represented Museum Director Dr. Anthony Shelton at the press conference. “We were devastated by their loss, and profoundly grateful for their safe return.” Dr. Shelton, who is out of town on business, also conveyed his thanks to the RCMP. “We are very appreciative of the extraordinary efforts of all concerned in the search for and recovery of the majority of these precious objects.”

I don't know how long it will be until these objects are returned to the museum and can be displayed once more for they will be held as evidence, probably for a very long time. But I am sure when they are returned there will be a big celebration.

I am delighted to say that my favourite, the gold box with the eagle, which was my photo for this post has been recovered.

Yes, the surgery went well, everything is fine, fine, fine! Thank you for asking.

Photo * is from the UBC site,
Photo ** is from the RCMP in BC site.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Where, oh where does the time go?

I'm supposed to be retired but life seems to be just as hectic as when I was working. Not only have I been very involved with online administrative duties, conducting a vote and writing a voting report for Blogpower, but there have been several real life meetings for an Association of which I am a director and writing minutes for those. I seem to spend my whole life in front of the computer, either composing documents or answering emails. I haven't even had time to go to Second Life and take JMB Balough out for spin, to practice walking you know. She'll be getting mad at me and she definitely needs the practice.

Tonight is the meeting of my Short Book Club and I have to read the last few pages of The Alchemist by Paul Coelho. Luckily it's a very short book else I would not have near finished it.

Oh, did I tell you that I am having my second eye surgery on Wednesday so I am juggling the old eye drops four times a day? I have to remember to put them in the correct eye, the left one, since I spent four weeks putting them in the right one. It's no wonder I am having trouble keeping it straight. I'm not quite so nervous as I was last time. I know that I have at least one good eye with twenty/twenty vision. The ophthalmologist has decided to use a different lens this time, since he had such trouble last time, with me squeezing my eyeball. I still maintain that it is not possible to squeeze one's eyeball, especially with the eye held wide open by some torture device.

Anyway, this will explain if you don't see me around for a bit, either visiting or posting. I plan to be back for sure by Saturday Photo Hunt, but perhaps I will be around sooner. I do hope so. Now wish me luck. This time I will just take the double vision in my stride! Back soon, better than ever. It will be fine! It will be fine! It will be fine!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Saturday Photo Hunt --- Bad Hair


In the year 1967 I not only had a bad hair day, I had a bad hair four months or more. I was stricken with a relatively rare bacterial infection called Erysipelas, a Streptococcal infection, often infecting the face, which it did in my case, and characterized by very high fever. In fact I had a temperature of 104 degrees for over a week. One result of such a high fever is that it kills the hair follicles temporarily and consequently about 75% of my hair fell out in huge handfuls.

Three weeks later we left to spend the whole summer in Ottawa and there I was in a strange city looking for a wig to cover my baldness. The paucity of choice yielded the wig below which I wore for four months. If this is not bad hair I don't know what is. While it is real hair, not synthetic, it is a really, really ugly style, not even the same length on both sides.

It doesn't look quite so bad from the back.

Did I tell you that all the skin peeled off my face in addition to my hair woes?
Don't ask me why I still have this wig after more than 40 years.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Springtime in Vancouver means Rhododendron Season

To my mind there is no more beautiful place in the world in Springtime than Vancouver. Some of the things which make that true are the wonderful azaleas and rhododendrons which bloom so prolifically in this part of the world. The constant rain makes the soil very acidic which is the ideal environment for these shrubs and in fact there are species of rhododendrons native to this area.

Usually on the Granville Island walk the members of the Thursday walking group follow the activities on the water but at this time of year we drink in the beautiful gardens which line the walk along False Creek. I thought you might like to share some of the beauty of one of our recent walks.

This spectacular pair of rhododendrons are on the path beside the Pacific Institute
of Culinary Arts
where we often take lunch in their coffee shop

The colour is just exquisite

Even closer, you can see that it is a bicolour

The path we follow is lined with these beauties, mixed in with other
perennials, for quite some way

This deciduous azalea seems quite bland between this pair
of purple rhododendrons

But a closeup reveals that it too is spectacular

The oriental poppies were vying for our attention too with their brilliant red heads

While blue alliums were tucked among the hardy geraniums and other plants

I don't remember what this perennial is called but it is trying
very hard to not be outdone by the red rhododendron

For the grand finale, a spectacular blue ceanothus shrub,
well I think you could call this one a small tree

I think the day I took these photographs every plant and shrub was at its peak and it seemed to take twice as long to do the walk as I had to keep stopping to take another photograph. I think you will agree that Vancouver is indeed very beautiful in Springtime.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Walking in Second Life. It's a mystery!

Things have been a little hectic for JMB lately. And it doesn't help that she's been fooling around quite a bit in Second Life! Oh well, who needs sleep anyway? Now I have a question for you. Do you think there is any resemblance between JMB's avatar and the real JMB? Well I'm talking about the one in the photo which was posted here for Photo Hunt last Saturday. Even that photo was taken about 25 years ago, when I was in my late forties. Naturally in Second Life I am recreating someone starting into the prime years, which for a female I consider begin at 35. Judiciously I won't say when they end, for I'd like to pretend I'm still in them. In fact, someone said to me the other day in SL: Here we have discovered the fountain of youth. What's not to love about that, I ask you.

Now both have/had coppery hair. We both have freckles. Yes, I have freckles in Second Life. Despite railing against them constantly as a teenager I really would feel naked without them, so I have purchased a skin with freckles. I did not have glasses for the Photo Hunt shot because I did not wear them at that time, but must have acquired them soon after because I have worn them for a very long time in Real Life. So I wear them in SL too. Besides, as I said before, men don't make passes at girls who wear glasses and after being "hit on" a couple of times I decided not to venture out without them.

I think my appearance in SL has been lifted a notch as I have been acquiring a new wardrobe. This attractive dress is actually a retro design, modelled on something from the 1920s and I even have matching salmon coloured shoes. The "dress code" in SL is really quite strange since at the same event you can meet different people some of whom are wearing very formal evening gowns, others dressed in Goth style with chains, with others sport casual jean outfits. Angel style wings and elfin ears are also very popular. It seems anything goes and people do not hesitate to ask each other where they bought things. Today I attended a meeting to discuss book blogs and someone said to another person, Love those shoes! Where did you get them? The answer was Baby Monkey. Baby Monkey? What kind of shoe store is that?

Speaking of the hair above, I quite liked it until the other day when a friend in SL said: JMB, I think you have on two sets of hair, the one that comes with your avatar and the prim hair (wig) that everyone wears. You need to wear a bald cap. No I'm not, I said and I whipped off my wig to show him my bald head. It's just the way this hair is made, huge curls over straight bottom layers which move when you do. But now I'm worried about it.

After all I don't want everyone to think I am a noobie or one recently come to SL. Unfortunately there is one aspect that gives me away in that regard. While I may look good I cannot walk for beans in SL . Everyone else seems to glide around effortlessly, twisting and turning as needed, most gracefully. I lumber about bumping into things and generally looking most ungainly. I have perused the books I have on SL looking for handy hints, I have even googled the subject but to no avail. Two people in SL have tried to give me walking lessons but I have not yet solved the problem. Finally I have discovered that smooth navigation has something to do with using the mouse and the WASD keys in combination. Apparently every person who plays computer games knows how to do this, even five year olds. When my son comes to dinner he is going to show me how to do this. He'll demonstrate moving my avatar and hopefully he can solve the mystery of walking for me.

Next time I go to Second Life I expect to be walking just as elegantly as every one else, or at least I will be after some practice. How sad is it when you have to get your own son to teach you something so fundamental as walking, even if it is in Second Life.