Omphalos, or the Last Thursday Philosophy

I think I’m going to convert to Last Thursdayism.  It solves all problems!

“What, you say I owe you money?  When did I supposedly borrow it?  Ah, no… in May the world didn’t yet exist, you have false memories.”

“What, you say I wronged you?  That is not possible, the world only came into existence 5 minutes back, you remember wrong.  And that is not your fault.  You were created with false memories.”

Dear Bloggies, could you please post historical events, reflected in buildings of the era, that date back to between the year of Christ and 1650?  Stuff that happened during the Middle Ages?

Why this sudden madness?

Because while there clearly are quite visible and in-your-face political wanglings that have been going on for a long time (think about it:  How can 1 family claim all the diamonds in Namibia, including the ones that have not yet been found?) that kind of twisting does not reach all the way to a postulated creator.

It would neatly excuse everyone from what they have done, right?

But consider it:  Let’s postulate that there is 1 spirit.  1 single, solitary being.

The spirit is alone.  Living high, in a pretty star mansion, but alone.  So he (it will have to be a “he”) gets bored, or maybe lonely, whatever; seeing that there was nothing before him, he can’t really know what it is that motivates him.  Does he feel?  Seeing that he is the first entity experiencing whatever it is, that drive not-to-be-alone, we really can’t tell.

So he decides to make more than there already is.  Maybe he makes stars, planets, supernovae;  maybe he makes a flat little pancake world.  Seeing that the sphere is probably the most stable shape in the universe, and also happens to be what clay keeps returning to when a child plays with it, the possibility of planets is actually higher than that of a pancake world; but whatever, it doesn’t really matter, let’s run with this.

He decides that whatever shape this world is, it needs squiggly things on it that move.  So he creates a wealth of species, all in one go (what an imagination!). Boom!  Because, whether it happened last Thursday or 5 minutes back, there really wasn’t time for much beyond “boom”.

Okay, so now we are all here.  But here comes the rub:  This childish, Loki-like deity has decided in his singular “boom” to create everything with the appearance of vast age and memories.

What a prank!  How he must be laughing up there while down here, serious scientists (whose serious characters he, too, created) dig around in the “evidence” and prove beyond reasonable doubt that Earth is about 4 mil years old; while people feel deeply about a past, growing up, loving people, sunshiny childhoods (or irreversible childhood damage) influencing their very actions, missing people who died, when all those memories didn’t really happen!

He goes further than that and creates dispute about creationism vs evolution; watches people fight, laughs out loud to himself.

TBH, who would want to live in a Last Thursday universe?

The very trick of Last Thursdayism is that it cannot, by its own definition, be disproved.  You can’t prove that this model is false.  We instinctively know it is false, but… give it a shot, try it?

Now, to top that, one should marry solipsism to Last Thursdayism.

That is, if one really never wants to achieve anything again in one’s life.  What’s the point, in such a set of philosophies? All it does, is take all other arguments ad absurdum.

I need to go sleep again, good night!  I am presuming that you are really out there and reading this, not that I’m only imagining this.

La revedere.








Digital heroin

Scary article of how overexposure to screen time turns kids into zombies.

A generation back I spotted telly addiction in a family and decided not to have a television in my house.  Ever.  A decision I have not regretted.  Later, with computers, both Hubbs and I got pretty screen-addicted – in his case, designing websites and writing little app-like games in VB, in my case, writing and publishing the books.  He also loved his games, and I must say I also enjoyed especially one or two of them.  I watched him and my son play GTA (violent but somehow funny) and Assassin’s Creed (amazing) on the big screen in the Haunted House, and I enjoyed watching.  But it gets a bit boring if one is the watcher and not the player.

However, when the kids were small, at some point a benevolent relative brought them electronic gifts – little Nintendo DS’s.  A while later my son (then only 8) came to me and informed me that his little sister, my Wildest One, on whose “amazing imagination” he had commented previously, wasn’t playing at all anymore, only ever on her DS.  Well, the inevitable happened and that little blue machine went mysteriously missing, and the imagination was found again.

I also had a pretty strict rule with the kids that during the week they were not allowed any electronic media – with the exception of a pre-screened video at their grandmother’s place, occasionally, as a treat.  They turned into readers, musicians, chess players etc.  The parameters have changed (our lives are still pretty much in limbo, and for the moment their smart-phones are crutches, both socially and keeping them sane in an environment where nothing is currently predictable), but this will be remedied as our lives steady out.  I believe the worst is behind us, it is now only a matter of finding our own place to stay and me raising enough of an income to steady out our situation.  Nobody tries to come in through the window at night, here.

So once things are back on an even keel, those electronic media will be returned to their rightful spot – as a social connector, a research tool, and occasionally a bit of entertainment.  In contrast to Manfred Spitzer, I as layperson do believe that electronic devices can be part of a child’s growing up – as a toy and a tool, not as a babysitter or an addiction!  And as for that tantrum – ohmy, any toy that triggered a tantrum immediately “went away” for a good while because it was a naughty toy.

Of course, there is another thing:  Every child (and every adult) reacts differently to electronics.  This is where parents have an actual job to do, discerning, and being “unfair” about it while explaining to the respective offspring that they are only allowed 2 hours of screen time a week and their brother gets 7, because their brother doesn’t get addicted to it as easily.  Parental discretion plays a large role here.

Wishing you all strength with that.

Web decisions & a cute bit of history

When Hubbs first got into website creation, he discovered and shared a principle with me.

It is based on the old-hat concept that there is no free lunch.  If a server offers you free web hosting, it means that they pop their own advertisements on your site, advertising someone else’s commerce on your effort.

This does not seem to have changed in any way.  Even the “cheap” hosts are only “temporarily cheap” and often more expensive than the immediately higher-priced ones.

I was reminded of why we built our websites from scratch, in html, css, php and javascript rather than “borrowing” from the drag-and-drop sites.  It is this:  Web places that have “preformatted”, easy-to-update web templates usually charge per gadget.  Want a dropdown menu? $10 please.  Paypal button (so your customers can actually order something)?  $10 per button please.  Oh, you’d like an extra div (little interactive box)?  That’ll be another $29 “hosting” fine.  I mean, fee.

Here’s a link to a site Hubbs built a long while back, and kept updating until the restaurant closed its doors in 2003.  The mailing lists and online ordering continued for a while longer.  It is an impressively large site if you consider that every week for years, another recipe was added to the archives.  He even had a Links page leading to other holistic sites and to joke sites – some of which are actually still around.  I’m amazed what he achieved with very primitive means, very rudimentary graphics programs (we didn’t have the “latest and greatest”).

The Crazy Nut Restaurant


The William Saroyan quote scrolls, and the little peanut man does a cartwheel on the home page.  All done in basic html.  Hubbs certainly bet on the right horse concerning the freeservers server, as they are still around today.  His own site, Moncrieff Web Design, was not so lucky.  Parked with, it was first entirely cluttered with ads, and then the server disappeared.  (Of course if you look it up, today you will find a Gary Moncrieff Web Design… no relation.  Turns out Moncrieff isn’t such a rare name, only in South Africa.)

I am still considering how to approach the P’kaboo and Honeymead sites.  A lot of thought and design has gone into both.  But it goes beyond that.  The way people read, has changed.  Clearly a restart and a relaunch is indicated.

Now that I am here, I see bookshops, libraries and actual readers. In SA, there were readers… but the economy was so bad that they crowded into the one bookshop that sold only remaindered books, living, so to speak, on carrion. It is a self-limiting system.

Here, too, I see the e-revolution – teenagers squinting at tiny cellphone screens instead of reading books.  I bought two magazines today – I was the only one on the train station who was reading magazines.  (Sorry:  Journals.)  To my surprise there aren’t even proper bus plans – little map books outlining which bus goes where.  It’s all on Google, and if your smartphone battery is dead, you are phooked…

Take it a step further (“your ebook is reading you” etc) and you have the fact that Google is an AI.  An AI that watches and records our every move.  Are you comfortable with that?

Come, peeps, give some input.  Do you think reading is good for teenagers, and should be promoted, or is it obsolete in the world of online gaming and social media?  How do we go about this, rekindling a love for the (original) written word?  Humankind lives on stories.  It is who we are.  C’mon, this can’t be that complicated!


Prehistoric Graffiti

Wedding anniversary

Today, 20 years back, I married my soulmate.

It was a fairly small wedding.  7 people in total, at the reception (including the 2 of us).  Still it was amazing.

My cousin and I created the wedding cake, the 2 days previously.  It was so damp that the icing flowers refused to work, so we decorated with – wait for it – white freesias and red cranberries.  My dress was borrowed, and maroon, not white.  Our photographer was actually a professional photographer, my cousin’s tenant. She took amazing photos; only I have not yet digitized them.

We made a turn in Bristol after that; Hubbs had a 1-weekend job there.  We spent some time in Weston Supermare (weird place) because I wanted to be at the sea.

TBH, this move to Ireland is not proving easy in any way.  My inlaws have helped tremendously, but actually they don’t want to stay here, and they want us to move with them when we’ve just arrived here.  I have no idea what the options are in the rest of Europe or whether we’d even find a foothold.  Here, at least, we speak the language and the kids have a birthright.  But the bureaucracy proves tough – things that ought to be either legal rights or not, are “discretionary”.  Stupid little loops, like a PPS number:  My oldest, R, has her full citizenship, but because she was not born here, now she has to get her PPS number (basically, tax number) separately.  Every Irish citizen here gets his PPS number at birth; why did she not get hers at the point she was registered?  They want all sorts of excuses why she should “deserve” one.  To do a driver’s license; to study; to have a job.  But the colleges won’t let her sign up without one, and the employers won’t employ her without one.  And without one, they won’t let her do anything.

In that case, what does the citizenship mean at all?  This is ridiculous.

When I left Africa, I had to content with no end of admin rubbish.  South Africa is over-regulated to the teeth.  They use admin to exert power over people and breach people’s constitutional rights.  I had not expected the same attitude here!

I think today I must take the kids somewhere and just take a day off worrying and wondering.


Lili und Iain auf dem Rasen vor Ou Lettere - bei Lilis Graduation 199yy

At my graduation, 1991

Unreal colours, light, Ireland is gorgeous


Unfiltered!  This was the actual colour the phone captured of these deeply purple flowers.

Colours don’t come out the way they look. The light here is different.  I suspect that there is a general undertone in the light (red? violet?) that our eyes get used to, so it “normalizes”.  Then we wonder why our cameras (objective, you see) don’t pick up the colours the way we see them.



27th of July

Last year this time we were celebrating Hubbs’ birthday.

This year, he is not accumulating years anymore.  I will be getting older than him, in about a year.  My sweet wonderful will always still have his red wild mane.

Today I made a malva pudding for the clan – that was his favourite birthday treat.  After that, the kids and I went to a place with greenery, to tank up some green vibes, and then we went into Cork to see a movie…

oy, what a waste!  We rushed in because we were late; but we thought, from a postage-stamp sized poster and the title, that it would either be Scifi or about magic.  Instead, it was an issues movie…  we walked out about one third into it.  If it was meant to be a comedy, it was really in poor taste.

So instead we went for burgers and falafels. That’s actually the first time I’ve had falafel, even though they do get sold in South Africa.  It’s surprisingly good.


Angel clouds yesterday


It was much, much redder than this


Country lane




The reason the Irish have lace


Catching a moment in a fairy ring under a tree


Totally amazing cedar tree


Happy Birthday my sweetheart. I’m sure you love it here.




Split Decision By Carmen Capuano

Congratulations Carmen on another sweet review.

Echoes In An Empty Room


How was Natalie to know that the decision she was about to make between two potential dates, would forever be a pivotal point in her life? That it would mark the time where childhood innocence ended?

How could she even imagine that the wrong decision would send her life spiralling into the stuff of nightmares from where she might not come out alive?

Life takes a cruel twist of fate when Natalie, a completely average [almost] 16 year old, is forced to make a split-second decision… a decision that will change her future and forever alter her perception of trust, love and the realities of life.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book I have read by Carmen and this one is about Natalie and how she has to make a split decision that could be an important point in her life. Written well and I wanted to see if…

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4th May, 2016. I saw it coming.

We are at our inlaws in Ireland now.   Things are still financially unstable as I have not found work yet or had time to rebuild a studio.  But at least there is safety here.  Things will work out alright, what I’m working on hardest now is getting my “mojo” back.  My sis-in-law is helping me immensely with the practical, stepwise stuff.  What gets us all a bit is the weird effect of losing our way in Cork city centre.

I can’t yet retake my writing as it takes peace, and peace of mind.  I’ll manage that once I have an income.

As for the rest…  I have a sweet little violin student, my nephew, and he’s throwing himself into learning violin, with gusto.  That is always great.  I hope there will be a studio full again, soon.

Anyway, signing off.









Dear Blogpals

Could one of you please post a message on my Facebook wall?  Please inform people there that I cannot currently access my Facebook account.  Just that.

I cannot get into my account.  In fairness it’s all stubbornness.  I absolutely refuse to give them my cellphone number; I refuse to click on faces and identify friends of mine.  They refuse to give me any other options, so we’re at an impasse.

This cannot last forever but I think I’ll sort it out by marching into Facebook’s offices in Dublin and kicking a few people around the house.  The reason is of course in the first place that my location has changed, and Google (and all those other NSA driven programs) has noticed.

I am now in Ireland.

We’re still very much unpacked, taking everything in with amazement.  The northern hemisphere is so different from the Southern!  More later.

~ gipsika ~