Monday, November 30, 2009

In the train from Brussels to Antwerp




Sunday, November 29, 2009

Somewhere in heaven

In all artist's careers an opening of an exhibition of the own work is a big event.
Usually an exhibition is a milestone: a marker with a public inventory of what has been produced.
Besides, it is an excellent opportunity to present work to a larger audience and get exposure.
And of course it is a chance to meet friends and share some wonderful moments.

All this is currently a relevance because this afternoon is the opening of the exhibition of sequences and the presentation of the new book "Sequences: the ultimate selection".
Many people are expected and it will be a magical event.

But it is not the first time a book is published and an exhibition of the work is presented.
Therefore, a deja vu feeling exists besides the excitement and the happiness.
It is walking, although with great pleasure, on the same avenue once more.

Also the exhibition, the opening and the book presentation are standing in the shadow of a much bigger event happening simultaneously.
And this much bigger event is something without any deja vu.

Most if not all fervent and loyal blog readers know the expression: to feel in heaven.
Maybe even some of the fervent and loyal blog readers have been in heaven like the pioneering photographer has.
But these days it is discovered that in this heaven different spaces can be found.
It is not true that heaven is just one space or area.
It has different sections and this is decided by quality, uniqueness and intensity.
These days life has moved into an area of heaven that has never been visited before.
It hasn't been found by accident or after a private safari.
Access has been achieved thanks to the Queen of Dreams who knows the way very well.

This particular part of heaven was unknown and is therefore pretty amazing to be in.
Scaring though at the same time because it is an unfamiliar place that challenges to open parts of the emotional repertoire never performed before.

This unique and exquisite experience has pushed the events of the opening and the book publication into the background.
Where they shine and glory nevertheless.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Sorry, sorry, sorry

These days are hectic, amazing, surprising, exciting, fabulous, fantastic and wonderful.
It is everything now and here while no clue exists about even the near future.
As each hour of the day is filled to the brim, how can a daily posting be written?
When tomorrow the exhibition is to open and the photo book "Sequences: the ultimate selection" is published?
When the Queen of Dreams is at the side day and night?
Therefore consideration is requested.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What about?

La Quinta Inns and Suites on West Century Boulevard in Los Angeles, California, USA.
Room 808.

What is this posting today going to be about?
A funny story about staying in a hotel?
Or a critical report how the hotel is?

Or maybe how it is to sleep in a bed in a room in a building and having a bathroom with plenty of warm water and a bath; things that were not in the existence for the last five months living in an expedition vehicle?

Or going up and down in an elevator sleeping on the eighth floor far above the ground?

Or maybe seeing from the window airplanes silently land while the heating in the room powered by a fan blows with lots of noise warm air into the room?

Or what about the toilet in the beautiful bathroom that has a broken flush so that the water keeps on running and running?

Or else the posting might be about those hairs that were found in the bathtub left behind by the former guest and not cleaned away by the room maid?

Or for sure it could be about the large king size bed in which one does not exactly feel like a king but as a long distance traveller to family, friends, the Queen of Dreams and to many engagements in Europe?

Or, staying with this bed, about the six large pillows that the hotel management decided to put on it while in fact they are only in the way?

Or maybe about the window that cannot be opened while there is a desperate urge to be able to breath and fill the lungs with clean and pure air.

Hence, what should this posting today be about?
Does anyone have a suggestion?


Sunday, November 22, 2009

War in shop

One of the favourite American shops is called "Trader Joe".
It is basically a supermarket for food.
However, many products they sell are organic.
And the interior is cozy and attractive.
Hence, it is a pleasure to purchase in "Trader Joe" what one needs to feed the body.

What is also different in "Trader Joe" compared to regular supermarkets is the cashier.
It is made to look like a casual coincidence where the purchased items are transferred
in a most friendly way from the basket into paper bags.

Conclusion: shopping at "Trader Joe" is a great experience.

But then...

Then what?

On the wall behind the check-out counters is an exhibition of pictures.
Portraits only.
In the centre of these images is a sign saying: "Our local grown heroes".
And all of the pictures show faces of men and women in military uniform.
With each a small label revealing the name, the rank and the time in Iraq or Afghanistan.

This wall with its images reminds the happy shopper at "Trader Joe" of rather unhappy events elsewhere.
Two wars raging with people killed daily.
Going on for so long now that hardly any shopper stands still in front of the wall to reflect on the awful situation.
Americans shopping happily while compatriots are fighting on the other side of the world.

War has become a part of the American reality hardly anybody still gets excited about.
Pictures of soldiers who kill and are killed for reasons few still understand are put on the wall in a supermarket and life goes on as if nothing is the matter.
The war is far away from the doorstep.

Part of the slipping away of the awareness and the following denial is the classification of the American soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Our local grown heroes".
But are these men and women actually heroes?
Or are they called like that just to soften and smooth the thinking?
To stop reflecting on what really is happening and for what reasons.

Wars that go on for too long lose the connection with the original intentions for starting them.
A war becomes something of itself.
It started somehow, it is going on and nobody knows how to stop it.
From something big it becomes a little nothing.
To see portraits of soldiers, death or still alive, on the wall in a supermarket and nobody pays them any attention anymore.

Meanwhile, every day, innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and now that the war has spread, also in Pakistan, die.
Meanwhile, every day the family members of the American soldiers live in fear.
Meanwhile, every day coffins with dead bodies return from the wars.
Meanwhile, every day soldiers return from the war who are physically and psychologically damaged for the rest of their lives.

While the collective forgets.
And the individual cries.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

To fit or not to fit

American Airlines fly from San Jose del Cabo, Los Cabos International Airport in Baja California, Mexico to different destinations in the USA.
One of them is Los Angeles.
In very old airplanes: the MD 80.

But they fly on time, serve drinks for free and the crew is very friendly.
For a low price so what the heck?

Sometimes a dream is to have a scene witnessed could be filmed.
Otherwise, who would believe it or could properly imagine it?
Like the next experience.
Once seated in the American Airlines MD80, a huge woman was the one going to be the neighbor.
Obviously a victim to obesity, she was carrying in her hands a large styrofoam box and a book.
She moved in and then wanted to lower down to sit in her chair.
Now, the distance between the armrests is about 1 meter, correct?
However, the behind of this lady was much more than that.
When she lowered it down, she got stuck with it between the armrests.
The one meter available was just not enough.
Therefore she had to push herself against the chair in front of her to force the mass of meat behind her to squeeze in between the arm rests.
It was an amazing spectacle.
Demonstrating how hard the life of an obese person is.
Simply sitting down in an airplane seat is a hard and difficult task.
But once seated, the lady was all right.
Her warm flesh could be felt touching the leg of her fellow passenger.

She put her book in the pocket of the chair in front of her and opened the large styrofoam box.
In there, like dead bodies after an earthquake, neatly arranged, were four hotdogs.
White, soaky bread with mayonnaise and mustard and a large Frankfurter sausage in between.
A dizzying smell came out of that box almost fainting the vegetarian neighbor.
With unwashed hands these hotdogs were eaten and for a drink there was a diet coke.
In fact, a conversation was imagined with this lady.
This strong urge coming up because it was so hard to understand that when somebody is that obese, does eat fat Frankfurter sausages on white bread with mayonnaise and mustard.
The lady must know that this is unhealthy food and enlarging her obesity.
It can't be that if her fellow passenger had told her that this was the wrong food she was to be surprised and say it was the first time in her life she ever heard that.
That can't be.
So, why would that lady chose to eat that food then?
Is it addiction?
Self destruction?
A good question to meditate on during the two hours flight because the lady was not disturbed with difficult questions so that she could enjoy her food peacefully.

A tea was consumed and as if the devil was playing on of his nasty games, an urge to ahve to go the bathroom developed.
But as the loyal and fervent blog readers so very well know, their faithful reporter was having on one side the window and on the other the obese woman.
And next to her the husband who was not exactly a skinny boy either.
The mind instructed the body to forget to go to the bathroom for the next hour.
And the concentration returned to "The three Musqueteers" by Alexandre Dumas.
But this nagging urge returned quickly and eventually it was realized a disaster would take place if not a visit was paid urgently to the bathroom.
It took a lot of courage, for sure.
A lot of balls.
The personality had to be put in the max mode.
All insecurity abandoned.
For only to say to the obese woman: "Excuse me but I need to go to the bathroom".
She turned more pale than she already was.
A deep sigh came out of her.
Radiating unhappiness and annoyance.
But what could she do?
Tell her fellow passenger to pee in the pants?
But she came up with a solution.
Getting out of her chair was namely not an option.
For she had to get back in as otherwise she would obstruct any traffic in the aisle.
To have to repeat the whole procedure when her friend returned from the bathroom.
Her solution was to make herself as small as possible, which was actually not that small, and have her fellow traveller climb over her.
If any of you have doubts about doing yoga, daily exercises and staying in shape, be convinced that in such a situation it really pays off.
Like an acrobat in Cirque du Soleil, in spite of the full bladder, elegantly and professionally the obese hurdle was conquered and almost all passengers behind applauded the amazing effort.
Of course, her husband was instructed to take the window seat.
To simplify the return.
And to be in a safer place.
No one wants to sit at the window and an obese lady on the other side when an emergency landing followed by an evacuation is performed.

Once in Los Angeles a car was rented from a company called Fox.
For $ 15 a day.
However, for that money the customer gets an old Chrysler FT Cruiser.

And there were many available as the economy is still not doing very well.
The pioneering photographer is not pretentious and willd rive any car that is rented.
But a Chrysler FT Cruiser is not exactly a favorite.
It has a retro-design and when this car was launched it was hip and sophisticated to drive.
But nowadays it is hopelessly old fashioned and sending out wrong signals.
Fortunately another car was spotted and selected.
A brand new Hyundai Elantra with only 8 miles on the clock.

It was the first time it was rented.
Still smelling like a brand new car.
Modern, economic and equipped with everything a driver can dream of.

The trip was to go from Los Angeles international airport to the town of Temecula in California.
Normally this takes two hours.
But it was a friday and late afternoon.
And before the Thanksgiving holidays.
Therefore the highways were overflowed with cars.
The Interstate 405, the 91 and the I-15, all their lanes full with cars wanting to go home.
Driving at speeds that would make a horse fly by.
It took five hours instead.
Most of the distance going at the speed of a pedestrian.

Sitting in the car, hungry and hollow, it was realized to have landed in uttermost madness.
The total and complete insanity humans are able to create.
And once in this mess, one can't go out.
Two meters more, stop.
One meter more, stop.
Three meters more, stop.
Can't go left.
Can't go right.
One meter more, stop.

How about getting out of the car and just leaving where it is?
To walk to a nearby hotel and go to sleep?
Who is crazy then?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Death dog becoming phantom

The good dog Torrit is dead.
Killed by the dogs of the guards.

Yesterday he was found in a dry river bed.
Not far from the road.
With blood at his throat.

Torrit was a good dog.
Never making trouble.
Patient and kind.

There is not only sadness these days.
But also the continuation of Torrit's presence but now as a phantom dog.
In many situations he is felt to be there while he is not.
For example, while running on the road, his footsteps are heard behind.
Turning the head to see him, the road is as empty as the moon.
Or waking up and coming out of the Fuso Szulc.
Torrit is felt to be waiting as usual but once outside he is not there.

Those are very painful moments.
Deepening the sadness.
While it was just a dog.
Who lived together for only four weeks.

Another layer of sadness added to Torrit's one is caused by the fact that today Punta Boca del Salado, the Gonzales family and the beautiful life next to the Sea of Cortez comes to an end.
The Fuso Szulc will go to San Jose del Cabo and will be put in storage.
The journey will continue by airplane to Los Angeles.
From there in a rental car to Temecula, California, USA.

This means that the daily publication of postings on this blog might get a hiccup.
Due to unavailability to access to the Internet.
That's good.
Gives time for the sadness to end.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Blonde jokes

There is this very good friend in the life who is highly educated, very intelligent, bright and having a wonderful personality.
And she is blonde and beautiful.

Recently she was sending an e-mail and let us share here her words:

Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking, and
one blonde says to the other, "Which do you think is farther away....
Florida or the moon?"
The other blonde turns and says: "Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida

A police officer stops a blonde for speeding and asks her very nicely
if he could see her licence.
She replied in a huff: "I wish you guys would get your act together.
Just yesterday you take away my licence and then today you expect me
to show it to you!"

There's this blonde out for a walk.
She comes to a river and sees another blonde on the opposite bank.
"Yoo-hoo!" she shouts, "How can I get to the other side?"
The second blonde looks up the river then down the river and shouts
back: "You ARE on the other side."

A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that
her body hurt wherever she touched it.
"Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me."
The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left shoulder and screamed,
then she pushed her elbow and screamed even more.
She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed.
Everywhere she touched made her scream.
The doctor said, "You're not really a redhead, are you?
"Well, no" she said, "I'm actually a blonde."
"I thought so," the doctor said. "Your finger is broken."

A highway patrolman pulled alongside a speeding car on the freeway.
Glancing at the car, he was astounded to see that the blonde behind the
wheel was knitting!
Realizing that she was oblivious to his flashing lights and siren, the
trooper cranked down his window, turned on his bullhorn and yelled,
"NO!" the blonde yelled back, "IT'S A SCARF!"

A Russian, an American, and a Blonde were talking one day.
The Russian said: "We were the first in space!"
The American said: "We were the first on the moon!"
The Blonde said: "So what? We're going to be the first on the sun!"
The Russian and the American looked at each other and shook their
"You can't land on the sun, you idiot! You'll burn up!" said the Russian.

To which the Blonde replied: "We're not stupid, you know. We're going
at night!"

A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night.
It was her turn.
She rolled the dice and she landed on Science & Nature.
Her question was: "If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear
She thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"

A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs,
and asked her what their names were.
The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex.
Her friend said: "Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?"
"HELLLOOOOOOO......," answered the blond... "They're watch dogs!"

Jokes that are about blondes presume that a woman who has that color of hair is dumb and stupid.
There are the same jokes about the Polish and the Irish presuming they have hardly any functioning of the brains.
These jokes are an excellent demonstration of generalizing.
To presume in jokes that all blondes are stupid is only a demonstration of stupidness of the comedian.
Although there are some blondes who are stupid.
Same for some photographers, some Americans, some Italians and many dogs.
But there are also very intelligent blondes, very intelligent photographers, very intelligent Americans, very intelligent Italians and smart dogs.

Therefore we should avoid telling jokes based on generalizations.
No more jokes, please, about blondes.
Because besides exceptions, they are not dumb at all.

But there is an exception to this new law that forbids to tell jokes about blondes.
The exception is that it is allowed in case you are a blonde yourself.
Then you have the freedom and credit to crack a joke on blondes.

This was explained by this very good friend in the life who is highly educated, very intelligent, bright, having a wonderful personality and blonde and beautiful.
She said:
"I am a blond (to some people anyway).
If we cannot laugh at ourselves then we take ourselves far too seriously.
I see these jokes as perfectly harmless and quite funny in fact.
Laughter is the best medicine".

Therefore, we will tell no more jokes about Jews, blacks, Polish and Irish people, women in general, photographers, rednecks and country and western music lovers.
Unless you are one yourself.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Good dog Torrit

The good dog Torrit is missing.
As of yesterday and he hasn't showed up yet.
Now he is in the mind constantly wondering what happened to him and where he is.

From the beginning of this period at the rancho of the Gonzales family at Punta Boca del Salado, Mexico the good dog Torrit decided that he wanted to live in the immediate vicinity of the Fuso Szulc.
This because he had quickly figured out it was a peaceful place with no competition of other rancho dogs.
With a friendly person around patting him on the head and even sometimes talking to him.
And the best part was always fresh water and three times a day dog food.

Soon the good dog Torrit decided to come along for the morning swim, the afternoon walk and the evening run.
Not liking very much seeing the supplier of food going into the sea making the good dog Torrit bark and cry like it was a goodbye forever.
Enjoying much more the walks and specially the running.
Far away into the hills where many interesting smells could be discovered.

This happy situation has been in existence for 29 days.
Until yesterday.

As usual, at about 4.30 PM, the good dog Torrit and his human companion took off for the daily run.
After about 20 minutes running the abandoned rancho of Raul was passed.
Now two security guards are living there.
Good dog Torrit had lagged behind and was slowed by a big truck for which he got off the road to wait in the bushes for it to pass by.

When the distance between the runner and the good dog Torrit was quite substantial, barking was heard.
Not of one dog.
Of several.
And not very friendly barking.
Aggressive and violent.
Quickly it was realized that the two dogs belonging to the security guards had attacked the good dog Torrit.

It was too late to turn around and run all the way back to the location of the fight.
Therefore, the whistle was made, good dog Torrit knew so well, to suggest him to break off the fight and run to the security of his food supplier.

But somehow he didn't do this.
Maybe unable.
Maybe wounded.
Maybe deciding to run in the other direction: back to the Fuso Szulc.
Or maybe deciding to run off the road into the mountains.

After 35 minutes the runner had reached the halfway point and turned around to run back.
Near the abandoned rancho of Raul no dogs were to be seen.
But in the sand of the road the traces of the wrestling could be noticed.
Fortunately no blood.

Along the way of return, no good dog Torrit.
Not even at the rancho.
Not even next to the Fuso Szulc.
He had not come back from this dramatic outing.

Now it is the next morning.
And still no good dog Torrit.

He was not wounded laying on the road.
He was not dead next to the location of fighting.
He got away, it seems, but why is he not returning?

The Gonzales tell that when dogs get very scared like good dog Torrit must have gotten, they run into the mountains.
Out of their minds, totally upset and crazed and blinded by fear.
Next, when they eventually calm down, they have to find their way back home.
Maybe he will.
Maybe not.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hughes Indians

The problem is simple.
Getting on the Internet with the Hughes Satellite System is hardly possible between 2 and 9 pm.
E-mail won't work.
Many websites can't be visited.
No files can be uploaded or downloaded.

The diagnosis is simple as well.
If too many people are using the satellite at the same time, the available data volume is divided up in too small parts.

The solution is simple too.
To have the customer, who pays about $ 80 a month, move to a section of the satellite where it is less crowded.
Or increase the capacity of the satellite.
To give the customer what is promised by Hughes in their publicity.

But simplicity is not in the dictionary of Hughes.

Of course a customer is not satisfied with a situation that the Internet cannot be used from 2 to 9 pm.
Therefore the Helpdesk of Hughes is called.
To ask to fix this problem.

The Helpdesk of Hughes is in India.
In New Delhi.
And after talking to the friendly people in India for over three hours yesterday, it is not sure they are really there to help.
Maybe to help Hughes, but definitely not the customer.

This surprising conclusion can be made because all of the collaborators that have been spoken to, refused to see what was the problem.
Hughes having too many customers on their satellite.
Every Helpdesk collaborator suggested strongly the problem was on the customer's side.
In the computer.
In the modem.
In the router.
In the software.
But never ever it was considered that maybe the problem was on the side of Hughes.
Pretty surprising because even a student of Primary School would understand that if a system works fine except from 2 to 9 pm it can't be the computer, the modem, the router or the software.
Therefore, willingly the collaborators of Hughes put the problem on the customer side and wash their hands.
With this strategy it is not their problem anymore.

For example, an e-mail was received of a Hughes customer with exactly the same problem.
No Internet from 2 to 9 pm.
He had been on the phone three times 45 minutes.
And the conclusion of the Hughes experts was that the problem was the web browser of the customer.
He had to install another version of his Internet Explorer and everything would be fine.
Any beginning expert knows that a web browser cannot have an internet connection work bad only from 2 to 9 pm.

We may wonder why willingly Hughes turns customers away with the specific problem of overpopulation on the satellite.
In their publicity on Internet, Hughes is now offering special deals.
For relatively little money one can have an Internet Hughes Satellite System.
Maybe this publicity campaign is successful but that the Hughes satellite has not enough capacity to handle the influx.

Weaponed with this knowledge, all the suggestions of the Indian Hughes people that the problem was not on their side were radically countered.
All their suggestions to do speed tests and other actions on the customer's side and come back another day were refused.

Until one collaborator was honest and came up with a surprising solution.
Yes, he said, the problem is that too many people make use of the satellite at the same time.
But only a few of them suffer of very low speeds during peak hours.
You are one of them, he said.
And you just have to live with this.

What a fabulous solution!

Hughes has a system that if a problem cannot be handled by the staff in New Delhi, India, they can transfer the customer to "Level 3".
These are experts based in the USA.

And they can switch a customer from a position on the satellite where it is too crowded to a more quiet spot.
To get the promised and paid for service.

Hence, the Hughes customer calling the Helpdesk must not try to find a solution to the problem: the customer must try to convince the Indian expert to be transfered to "Level 3".
And there the problem can be presented and possibly solved.

It took several hours but eventually "Level 3" was reached.
The problem was correctly diagnosed and a different frequency was assigned to the account.
Solving the problem.

However, after the requested waiting time, it turned out that the frequency change had no positive effect at all.
Therefore, the Helpdesk had to be called again and the whole procedure repeated.
Fighting the Indian expert not prepared to accept that it was a Hughes problem and not the computer, the router, the modem and the software.
Forcing him to transfer to "Level 3".
Where it was admitted that the transfer to the new frequency had not been performed correctly.

It took the whole day.
Hours and hours on the phone.
Sometimes with very friendly persons.
Sometimes with real assholes.
But now the Fuso Szulc is on a new frequency although victory is not written in the sky yet.
One must experience that from 2 to 9 pm it works well now.

And at this time, 7.45 am, after one hour trying, the Hughes Satellite System is unable to find the SatMex 5 where the new frequency is.

9.40 am: finally on line...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Hughes problems

Since the new HN7000S modem was installed a strange phenomenon occurs with the Hughes Satellite System.
Everything works fine.
E-mailing, SKYPING, chatting, web surfing, files uploading, files downloading.
Except from 01.00 to 09.00 pm.
During that time the transmission speeds go down so seriously that most is not working.

In several ways efforts have been made to solve this problem.
To no avail.
Continuing to be unable to operate normally during the most important hours of the day.

Today a new initiative to solve the problem.
About half an hour from the rancho of the Gonzales family, where the Fuso Szulc is temporarily parked, lives a dear friend.
She has a phone with which the USA can be called as a national call.
Including 800 numbers.

The Fuso Szulc will be made travel-ready this morning.
To drive to the house of the friend.
Once there, the Hughes Satellite System will be turned on and connection with the SatMex5 made.
Next, the Hughes help centre will be called.
An 800 number but in fact the customer is connected to a call centre somewhere in India.
While on the phone and at the same time connected to the SatMex5, they must be able to figure out what is wrong.
They can do tests and other research.

For now today's posting stops but in a few hours more information will appear right here with a report on the progress, if any.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Stumble and blunder

Many people may not know that professional photographers with a reputation also fail often to make good pictures.
This is such a well kept secret because these bastards never show to anybody how bad they sometimes are.
The picture out of focus.
Made on the wrong moment.
The light not good.
Even the champions of photography manage to make such failed pictures.

What these professional photoguys and imagegals do after a shooting is something they call "editing".
They say: "I have been editing my pictures".
Which in fact means that they have been throwing into the rubbish bin all those images even a bad amateur photographer would not likely make.
The very few excellent pictures that remain on the table after this "editing" are only exceptions out of the many that had to be made to get some good ones.
Meanwhile the audience believes that the photographer is a master of the trade.
But if the failed pictures were seen, the opinion would dramatically alter.

As loyal and fervent blog readers know, at this place surprising and provoking things can be seen and read.
What you are going to see today, probably you have never seen before.

It was Christina Gonzales who asked to come to the birthday party of her daughter.
Lucretia turned 3 years old.
"And can you make some pictures, Miguel?"
Of course: that is what friends are for, right?

Then, would it be interesting to publish on this blog the edited pictures of Lucretia's birthday party?
The best ones, keeping intact the reputation of this photographer?
On second thought it was realized that those pictures would not harm the reputation but would be very boring.
Without any excitement or specific interest.

Therefore the management has decided to publish not the successful pictures but the failed ones.
The ones a professional photographer would be ashamed of.
The ones that immediately would have been dumped into the garbage.
So we can get a rare look behind the scenes.
To demonstrate that even a photographer who has his work in the collections of the major museums around the world can stumble and blunder as well.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Swimming in money

Besides the daily running, there is also the daily swimming.
In the Sea of Cortez.
Each morning, after finishing writing and publishing the blog and replying electronic mail, a 15 minutes walk is made along the shoreline to a wide bay.
Where is a sandy beach and no rocks.
For having easy and safe access to the sea.

There are no houses built yet along this beach and rarely in the morning one of the gringo's drive by on their decadent ATV's.
Hence, swimming takes place in the European way: all clothes are taken off and the fish see a human as he was born.

First the swim goes east, away from the beach.
And when a point beyond the surf has been reached, course is changed for the south to swim parallel to the beach.
For about 12 minutes to turn around and go back.
Then total relaxation is achieved by floating on the back with arms and legs spread while releasing Bhudist sounds of relief and de-stressing.
But then once more, the swimming goes south all the way, to return and relax again before coming out of the water.
Total swimming time: about 45 minutes.

These days the water of the Sea of Cortez is not warm anymore.
But not cold either.
In fact, it has a perfect temperature for Olympic Games style swimming.
One thing though is that jelly fish and other vile creatures surprise sometimes the swimmer.
Therefore the throat, the breast and the forearms are marked these days by swellings.
Where jelly fish have touched and burned their tentacles into the human flesh.
But they are unable to create fear and stop the courageous swimmer.

After swimming there is always a visit to the kitchen of the Gonzales for having a cup of Mexican rancho coffee.
They have a mill in which they crush coffee beans and the coffee powder is cooked in a kind of sock hanging in the metal coffee pot on the fire.
They add sugar and serve the coffee with fresh milk from their cows.
But besides the excellent coffee, this moment of day, several more people come to the kitchen for coffee.
And the most interesting conversations take place.
Yesterday Daniel and Kiah happened to be there.
The conversation went from the fishing on his small boat Daniel is doing to the pirates of Somalia who fish for big boats and lives to cash ransom.
Hence, pretty soon it was communally decided that it was an easy and convenient way of making some money.
The idea was born to lock up Kiah in this small house on the property of the Gonzales and ask her family for a ransom so we all could go out for dinner.
Although Kiah had no objection, she claimed her family had no money and therefore wouldn't pay.
And surprisingly, every participant in the conversation believed it was a great plan, and not one objected to be locked up, but all claimed they were worth not a penny.
But then, a smart participant in this fascinating conversation proposed, what if we lock American citizen Kiah up and we inform CNN?
And if they don't respond quickly we send CNN one of Kiah's fingers.
Yes, said Mexican Daniel, and then her ear.
To force CNN to make it a headline story and have all the Americans stand behind their daughter Kiah and donate together millions to the abductors who have to make a living also.
But I want 50 % said Kiah and that greediness killed the plotting.

Time to leave the kitchen and absurdity to continue the work in the Fuso Szulc.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Running to or away?

There is a link between temperature and running.
The lower the temperature, the more easy running is.

As one of the daily exercises, at around 5 pm, after careful stretching, a run is made.

During the summer months at the Pacific Coast this would be for 35 to 45 minutes and at a low speed.
This because temperatures were over 32º C ( 90º F ) and with a humidity of over 80 %.

But now, in november and at the Sea of Cortez, the daily run is for over 55 minutes and increasing every time.
At 5 pm it is about 27º C ( 80º F ) with a humidity of about 60 %.

Nevertheless, conditions now being more favorable, before each run a large glass of water and a handful of dried raisins are swallowed.
And although the road that is used for the exercise is hilly, going up and down and therefore breaking any constant rhythm of running, without total exhaustion the task is completed.

Running every day and for such semi-marathon times can get boring.
Hence, incentives must be introduced to keep it an interesting challenge.
Nowadays a lot of motivation is found in trying to break again the one hour barrier.
To run for over one hour non stop.
Probably today this landmark will be reached.

Next, a new target must be set.
Otherwise it will be too hard to have motivation to run again and this for at least one hour as that has become the new standard.
So, maybe the challenge must become next one hour and fifteen minutes.

Why is all this daily running going on, a fervent and loyal blog reader with concern and empathy may ask.
Why not instead relax on the beach in the sunshine with a beer in one hand and a gal in the other?

What to say now?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vile Veteran Day

Veterans Day is an annual American holiday honoring military veterans.
It is a Federal holiday and was observed yesterday.
Like every year on the 11th of November.

Originally Veterans Day was Armistice Day proclaimed by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson on November 11, 1919.
To commemorate the ending of the butchering of millions during the First World War from 1914 to 1918.

Then in 1954 U.S. President Eisenhower signed a new law changing Armistice Day into Veterans Day.
This because millions more had been butchered during the Second World War.

As of then enough reasons to celebrate Veterans Day in the US have been added.

From 1950 to 1953 the US fought a war in Korea.
US soldiers killed: 36,940
Civilians killed: 2 million men, women and children.

From 1961 to 1975 the US fought a war in Vietnam.
US soldiers killed: 58,159
Civilians killed: 6 million men, women and children.

In 1983 the US fought a war in Grenada.
US soldiers killed: 19
Civilians killed: 24 men, women and children.

In 1989 the US fought a war in Panama.
US soldiers killed: 40
Civilians killed: 4,000 men, women and children.

In 1991 the US fought the first war in Iraq.
US soldiers killed: 379
Civilians killed: 3,664 men, women and children.

In 1993 the US fought a war in Somalia.
US soldiers killed: 43
Civilians killed: 500 men, women and children.

In the 1990's the US fought a war in Bosnia.
US soldiers killed: 32
Civilians killed: 40,000 men, women and children.

In 2001 the US started a war in Afghanistan that has not ended yet.
US soldiers killed until now: 756
Civilians killed as a result of US-led military actions until now: 28,028 men, women and children.

In 2003 the US started a war in Iraq that is still raging.
US soldiers killed until now: 4,362
Civilians killed: 102,621 men, women and children.

Friend Tyrel V. commemorated Veterans Day yesterday in a different way.
He published this message on Facebook:

On this Veterans Day I apologize. You've been forced to give up your lives for corporate interests, you've been used as pawns for political maneuvering and showboating, and you've been sent off to wars based on the lies of cowards. No one has had their dedication to this country more mistreated and abused than you have. We are supposed to protect each other and we, the citizens, have not protected you.

Not often an American voice has been heard saying such things.
But when we see that American politicians time and again believe they can solve problems with violence, no matter what are the costs in civilian lives, devastation and destruction, Americans like Tyrel V. should be the ones to honor.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thinking and sinking or swinging and singing?

A permanent pilgrim can never stay in one place too long.
Why is this?
Because what is new becomes old over time.

Once arrived on a new location, many impressions enter the consciousness.
Most new and refreshing, stimulating and inspiring.
That effect remains only for a certain period.
It looses eventually its freshness and sinks into routine and cliché.
Until no more new impressions are available.

24 days have been spent on the rancho of the Gonzales family at Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico.
And clearly the point has been reached that the balance has found its horizontal position and is now going down into the area of routine and cliché.
The surprising and beautiful aspects of being here have grown old and have withered.
Opening the side of reality where the negatives are which are pressing and pushing to move on.

The beautiful sea is still there.
The sunshine and the warmth.
The warm seawater to swim in every morning.
The blue sky and the freedom of living in nature.
But it can't seduce anymore.

Now the many tire tracks of the quad bikes are seen on the beach making it look like an unpaved street with heavy traffic.

Now disgust has been reached for Alfredo tying up two of his dogs on very short chains to trees and then leave for a holiday with his girlfriend.
Making the dogs after four days without food and water howl and bark with total desperation.

Now sadness is felt for the Gonzales family because they are hooked to watching soap operas on TV all day.
Episodes full of false emotions and baroque drama offering sentimental garbage for the soul that is consumed by the friends like addicts.

Now opposition has grown to its maximum for having to wait immobile in one place to see the new photo book "Sequences: the ultimate selection" and to meet the "Queen of Dreams".
When moving and traveling these events will start approaching at high speed.

It is time to go when the situation one happens to be in is turning against the visitor.
Too much negativity opening up in the territory.
Where is now too much thinking and sinking.
Better to leave for swinging and singing.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A huge Hughes headache

From to 02.00 to 09.00 PM the satellite connection slows down so much, that even e-mailing is impossible.
This is because the company Hughes has too many customers on the satellite.
Obviously in the afternoon and early evening many people get on the internet and cause overflowing.
Lowering the transmission speeds seriously.
In the morning one gets 1,45 megabytes per second downloading but in the late afternoon it drops to 0,08 megabytes per second.

What to do about this?

For example have a live chat with Faith.
Who works at the help desk of Hughes.

[Nov 10 2009 9:13:09 AM] Welcome to our chat customer support .
[Nov 10 2009 9:13:13 AM] Michel, you have been connected to Faith
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:13:21 AM): Michel, welcome to HughesNet Technical Support. You are chatting with Faith.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:13:31 AM): Hi Michel, how are you doing today?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:13:41 AM): Hi Faith
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:14:00 AM): I understand that you are experiencing slow browsing, am I correct?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:15:03 AM): only from 2.00 to 9.00 pm
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:15:43 AM): May I know the model number of the HughesNet modem?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:16:14 AM): HN7000S
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:17:08 AM): Are you logged into Chat Support on the computer that is connected to the HughesNet modem?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:17:40 AM): yes
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:17:43 AM): How many blue lights are lit on the HughesNet modem?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:18:15 AM): all
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:18:20 AM): Have you tried deleting cookies and temporary Internet files from the computer?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:19:15 AM): YES
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:19:22 AM): Michel, is the HughesNet modem directly connected to the computer or is there a router in between?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:20:54 AM): I tried both with same result
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:21:31 AM): have you performed the Web response test?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:22:03 AM): many
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:22:59 AM): As per the records it indicates that there are no Web response test been performed.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:24:11 AM): Procedure to perform the web response test.

1. Open the link

2. Under the Self Help, click on Tools.

3. Under the Tools, click on System Performance Test.

4. Besides "Please enter your SAN/Site ID:" enter your SAN/ Site ID .

5. Click on Continue.

6. Click on the Tab that says Initiate Web Response Test

7. Each test should be performed at least five times per session. The session results should be averaged to determine results.

8. Click on View Web response History to view the test results.

Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:24:38 AM): I did a Web Response Test 30 min ago
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:26:05 AM): I request you to perform the Web response test by following the steps provided above.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:26:18 AM): Result:7,9 sec, 4,7 6,4 5,1 7,0
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:27:35 AM): May I know the Site ID you have entered to generate the results?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:28:59 AM): But yesterday at 6.00 pm: 49,3 39,4 77,9
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:29:17 AM): There are no Web response test encountered under the Site ID that is 1C468781.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:31:14 AM): At 7.09 am
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:32:01 AM): If the response time is below 12 seconds it indicates that the browsing speeds that you are getting are good and if it is above 12 seconds consistently then please call us to troubleshoot the issue.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:32:23 AM): I would request you to perform these tests at three different intervals [morning, evening, night]. You need to perform five Web response tests per session.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:34:16 AM): Are you there?
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:34:53 AM): I did the tests and clearly speeds drop on your side from 2 to 9 PM
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:36:04 AM): As per the Web response test results it seems that the speeds are ideal.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:36:12 AM): it is not a problem on this side
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:37:11 AM): 49,3 seconds ideal ?
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:37:30 AM): I understand your concerns; however, in order to isolate the issue we require the Web response test results for different intervals.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:39:02 AM): I did and then you claim negative
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:38:56 AM): As I have mentioned before in order to obtain the Web response test results you need to enter the Site ID as IC468781.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:39:32 AM): Please do not enter the SAN for the account to obtain the results.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:41:04 AM): I would request you to perform these tests at three different intervals [morning, evening, night]. You need to perform five Web response tests per session. Enter the Site ID as IC468901.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:41:56 AM): The problem is too many customers put on satellite
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:43:46 AM): My speeds are good except from 2 to 9 PM
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:43:38 AM): I apologize for the issue that you are experiencing.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:44:55 AM): Even e-mail not working
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:46:20 AM): I am sorry the Site ID that is required to obtain the results is 1C468781.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:47:01 AM): The Site ID comprises of numbers and one alphabet.
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:47:42 AM): This was used
Michel(Nov 10 2009 9:49:24 AM): It is on your side fixing needed
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:50:25 AM): I am sorry; however, we will not be in a position to isolate the issue without the results.
Faith(Nov 10 2009 9:50:58 AM): The correct Site ID for the account is 1C468781.

Time to leave Faith so she can kill another customer.
Meanwhile, desperation growing.
Speeds so slow from 2 to 9 PM that e-mailing is impossible.
Web Response Test made but not trackable by Hughes.
Help Desk sending customer into the marshes.

The moment coming to dump the whole Hughes system into the Sea of Cortez.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Pictures from Iran

One of the most interesting journeys that has been made in the last three years was the one to Iran.
Where is a society radically different from the European countries and the USA.
A country with beautiful landscapes and impressive cities.
And the most friendly people one can meet.
Sweet, open and hospitable.

Hence, many friends were made.
And still there is a longing to return to Iran to travel there again.

One of the friends is Ziba Maghrebi.
A young, professional photographer living with her parents in Tehran.

Recently she sent an e-mail asking if she could publish her images on this blog.
What a wild and daring proposition !
To imagine to use another's photographer blog as a platform for the promotion of the own work.
Because it was so unusual, courageous and completely surprising, immediately Ziba got sympathy and support.
She got a positive reply right away.

That's why today we are able to enjoy Ziba Maghrebi's pictures of the Iranian town of VELENJAK.
Images made from the Alborz mountain.
Her comment to her pictures is:
"When I took these picture I wanted to go far away from Tehran, but a kind of violence
still there was inside of me. so the result is what you see".

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Just say it

In the town of San Jose del Cabo, Baja California, Mexico is an exceptional restaurant.
Called "Cynthia's".
They serve only organic food.
And this in an environment truly spectacular.
Beautifully decorated creating a fabulous ambiance.
It is all of the highest taste while at the same time nothing posh or decadent.

Lunch in this stunning restaurant was with two friends.
Sitting at a table outside on the patio with warm sunshine projecting rays of lights through the shades.
So it came to this point of realization what an exceptional moment it was.
What a privilege to be in Mexico and to eat in this restaurant and most of all, to share this top time with these two beautiful persons.
Hence, why not just tell them that?
Indeed, why not?
"By the way, I feel privileged to be having lunch in this restaurant with two beautiful ladies as you both are".

And how did these two women respond to this honest remark?
With uneasiness, dear fervent and loyal blog readers.
Expressing this by saying their legs were being pulled maybe?
Unable to believe it was an honest and truly meant remark.
Plunging into skepticism.

Isn't this often the case though?
When a nasty remark is made, we know how to defend ourselves and take it in a way it won't hurt us.
But if somebody makes a positive compliment, we get suspicious.

Totally unjustified.
The two ladies are beautiful indeed.
They have a good heart, are caring, warm, social and loyal.
Besides that they are very attractive as well.
Of course it is for a man an exceptional privilege to lunch with two ladies like them.

Nearby a couple was spotted in their late 50's.
Studying in silence the interior design of the restaurant because in the years of their relationship they had said to each other everything there is to say.
The man saw the party at the other table, two beautiful ladies and a man, having a lively, interesting and entertaining conversation.
For sure he realized the man with the two ladies was privileged.

The skepticism was questioned among the three friends.
The two ladies were asked why they responded in this way.
Why they were not able to simply say: thank you.
Or, we feel privileged too.
Or, we are beautiful just like you.

The ladies are not to blame for their defensive response.
They are not used to men saying such things.
And if they say such a thing, there is a male master plan behind it to achieve or obtain something else.
Hence, women are often on the defensive out of necessity.

This spring was a lunch in another exceptional restaurant.
Called "First Class", a true art-deco restaurant in the Central Station of Amsterdam.
The company was one of the most talented Dutch young photographers.
It was a wonderful lunch.
The impressing interior of the restaurant, excellent vegetarian food and one of the most exceptional and beautiful persons among the friends.

After the lunch, traveling in a train, this was realized.
And immediately an SMS was sent.
Just this: "You are a very exceptional person".
Within minutes she replied:
"You are an exceptional person too".

Why not say what is the truth?
Without restrictions?
Without being reserved, defensive or shy?

So, today, tell the one near to you: you are beautiful.
But only if you feel this is the absolute truth.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Men are the smartest

Recently a long time friend sent an e-mail having the subject: "Women explained by engineers".
In this e-mail were 5 images relating to women.

It is easy to see that these images express an opinion.
An opinion about women in general.
And an opinion that is cliché.

It is popular among men to say that women are complicated.
That they shop for hours and spend a lot of money.
That they argue in a way to become the ones who are right no matter what.

All this is of course total nonsense.
And stupid.

Hence the idea was born to take two of the images and manipulate in the software program Photoshop.
To turn the message of the image around by switching the women for the men.
So that the man becomes the complicated one and that the woman is the good one.
So that the man shops for hours and spends a fortune and that the woman goes directly to the specific store and stays within the budget.

Published on this blog without any additional comment it was a matter of waiting only a short time for comments to come in.
Of men only of course.
Saying: "you got it backwards!!!"
Giving proof that men are such smart alecks.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Very, very nervous

It is only two weeks from now that the journey from Mexico to Europe will start.
This is a regular event that has happened many times over the years.
But this time it comes with tremendous excitement besides many other violent emotions.
Inner turbulence already shaking existence while the journey is still fourteen days away.

There are two reasons for this exceptional stretching and intense vibrating of the nerves and emotions.

One is that the new photo book "Sequences: the ultimate selection" will be published shortly after arriving in Europe.
This will occur during the opening of an exhibition of the sequences in Galerie Baudelaire in Antwerp, Belgium on November 29.
Around this opening and publication lots of activities have been organized.
Signings, meetings, appointments, lectures, workshops and master classes.
Each event is looked forward to as something wonderful to experience.
It feels like going to have a tremendous birthday party.
Thus it is hard to wait another two weeks for the festivities to start.

Weren't there two reasons for being extremely excited for going to Europe this time?
The second reason is equal in quality to the first one.
On August 16 an e-mail was received of a person offering her services for collaborating on one of the photo projects that are planned to be performed in the near future.
A communication came into existence and in fact, in a short time, it became personal.
It was not only about the photo project anymore, but also very much about the private lives.
Soon, also SKYPE was used for the communication and this allowed to see each other on the computer screen.
This is how it was discovered what an exceptional and beautiful person destiny has allowed to come into life.
But to grow close to someone through internet stirs the desire to want desperately to meet in person.
The sending of e-mails and to see each other only on the computer screen become a drag.
Both are very, very ready to meet now, pronto, immediately, but then the flight is in two weeks.
Of course it has been tried to change the dates of the journey but airline Swiss makes that too difficult.
The meeting will take place at the airport of Schiphol, Amsterdam and is already adding seriously to all the excitement surrounding the coming European tour.
How will it be to meet not in cyberspace but in reality?


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Angelito means little angel

Gumaro said: "Are you coming with us to the cemetery tomorrow?".
The family was going to put flowers and place candles on the graves because of "Dia de los Muertos".
Being friends with the Gonzales for many years, by now most family members resting in the cemetery of Miraflores are known.
So, Gumaro's question was more a polite piece of information.
It was only natural to come.

At the cemetery of Miraflores are buried the parents of Gumaro and the parents of his wife Lucretia.
The custom is that each parent has its own tomb.
A small house with a little altar inside.
Built next to each other.
In Europe most couples want to be buried in one grave together.
Not so in Mexico though.
Each deceased parent in its own little house gets on "Dia de los Muertos" several pots of artificial flowers.
And a visit inside where a prayer is said.

Parents die.
That's only the natural way of things.
And because in the case of the Gonzales it is quite some years ago, the visit is without too much emotion.

This is different when the tomb and little house of Angelito is visited.
He is the son of Gumaro and Lucretia.
Died too young of a kidney disease about 5 years ago.
And this is a deep wound.

Especially the mother, Lucretia, has never been the same after the son's death.
And on "Dia de los Muertos" she goes into the little house alone and all waiting outside hear her cry in such a sad way.
It is total grief.
Hard pain for a bad loss.

When Lucretia eventually comes out of Angelito's little house, it is Gumaro who goes in.
And he can be heard too.
Gumaro, a strong and proud and good man, crying for the the loss of his son he loved so much.

Next, there are the other members of the family who go inside and pray or meditate.
And because the pioneering photographer is considered by the Gonzales as a member of the family, inside the little house Angelito is tenderly remembered as the beautiful and happy boy he was.
Memories so soft and sweet that his departure from this world is making the eyes wet.

Afterwards, when all the flowers are put and candles are lighted and the crying is done, there is relief with everyone.
Like normal breathing is possible again.
And an even stronger bond between the Gonzales can be felt.


Monday, November 2, 2009

lustfully in love

A conversation with long time friend Lydia.
She is a + 40 woman working for a big company and lives in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
Lydia is married to a man originally from another continent and they have two teenage children.

The conversation was triggered by a rather abstract message Lydia had put on Facebook.
She wrote for all her Facebook friends to see:
"Under your spell"

From which this friend understood she was in emotional turmoil.
It was presumed Lydia had fallen in love.

And this was indeed the case.
In the recent conversation she could speak more openly.
And explained she was hit by lightning.
Had met a person and now her emotional household was in total disarray.
Lydia very much in love.
Off her feet.
Lost lustfully.

But then something remarkable.
During the conversation about her new adventure it became clear that the person in question is a woman.
Lydia, a married woman with two children and a husband, had fallen in love with another lady.

Suddenly, the concept that was alive of Lydia, a heterosexual woman with a man and kids, had to be adjusted.
Obviously she is a person who can also fall in love with persons of the same sex.

Within the context of the society as exists in the Netherlands, this is no problem.
Heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, you are allowed to live as you like.
In general there is a high level of tolerance and liberalism.
There is freedom in this matter.

This cannot be said of many other countries in this world.
Where a married woman falling in love with another woman might end up crucified.
Or negatively judged and discriminated.

Hearing the story of Lydia tremendous joy arose.
For two reasons.
How wonderful for Lydia to have this experience.
She is a beautiful woman and for her to have these great emotions is, as her friend, enjoyed and appreciated deeply.
The other reason is that it was noticed that morally it is absolutely no problem to hear Lydia is emotionally involved with another woman.
Why would emotions for others be limited by gender?

After talking about Lydia's exciting life, she asked about what was going on with the emotions of the pioneering photographer these days.
Turmoil too but that is another posting.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hugs from the heart

The children of the Gonzales family at Rancho Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico are begging, each weekend when they are there, for classes.
To all sit around the large table under the palm leaves roof with each kid equipped with paper and a ballpoint to do mathematic, drawings or English.

What remains remarkable is that these children all ask to have these classes.
It is not organized for them and then offered.
They are crazy about the teachings and as they know they are the most important, they naturally get a positive reply to their request.

Each time a new way of teaching is applied.
And these days the pedagogic focus is how to learn children more than just mathematics.
Of course it is good for them to know how much is 45 + 74.
But there is something more essential to learn.
Like being independent.
Like being responsible.

This is now achieved through mathematics!
To catch two birds with one net.
The kids learn how to do correctly the mathematical tricks and at the same time they learn to be independent and responsible.
The way it works is that they get incomplete sums.
In the past they would have to solve a sum like 67 + 54 = ?
Depending of the level of the student the sum would be more easy or more complicated.
But now they get an incomplete sum.
Like 67 + ... = ?
They have to put themselves the amount with which to add and then solve the sum.
This means they can make it as easy or as difficult for themselves as they like.
For example they could put 67 + 2 = 69.
Sum ready and perfect result.
But children are smart enough to realize that this is more a way to escape the challenge.
Hence, they will put a bigger figure there.
Like 67 + 271 = ?

Suddenly they are solving mathematical problems and at the same time they have to make decisions how easy or difficult they are making it for themselves.
The children of the Gonzales family at Rancho Punta Boca del Salado, Baja California, Mexico love this.
They feel they are being taken serious and that they are trusted a responsibility.
They even get deeper involved because now the sum is not something from the brain of the professor anymore.
But it is something that is coming from themselves also.
Therefore they identify much more with the mathematical problem and are much more motivated to solve it correctly.

The same strategy is now applied when they want to do drawings.
In the past a drawing would be made and they would have to copy it as precisely as possible.
Now a drawing is presented to the student and he or she is asked to continue the drawing.
To expand it.
To add to it.
To have as a result a drawing that is made together.
In this way the visual and imaginative capacities and drawing talents of the child are expanded.
And at the same time the child learns to do things together.
To have a result from a collaboration.

Working with children gives a tremendous satisfaction.
It is not only fascinating when approached in a creative way.
But it is rewarding.
Not with money or anything like that.
When the class is over they spontaneously come to the teacher and give him a hug.