Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

Coffee and Poetry Make the World Go Round II (1 Viewer)

BabesJJ

Senior Member
I have been re-watching the Queens Gambit and thinking of Walter Tevis a lot the last couple of days. I am going to order his book on Amazon because I am in France and the chance of this book in my local library are ZERO. We did receive High School Algebra Unlocked I for my sons nightly tutoring sessions and some KIND person had recommended the Khan math series on youtube. And we had started with the PBS learning series online and using their materials the Khan series materials. And we have picked 2 topics this semester while our beloved child is adapting back to France. Although he was born here and went to many years of school here. It is the French system to follow any foreign child as he has been gone 5 years in the system. And I am so grateful he can speak and function in English and American school system normally that is so important to me. Meanwhile I will augment his French lessons while he gets up to speed with at home lessons. I think we can handle 2 topics so this semester we have decided on Earth Science and math. I have a science background and love biology but sitting around taking about the human body seems untoward somehow. Leave that to higher mortals than me to deliver that information. Although Biology 1 is mostly on the molecular level. What I notice now is how different his education is from mind during 12 13 14. During that time when I went to school there was much less emphasis on science and math and I notice that he has had extensive exposure to science and math topics that I never had until high school or college. So it is really pleasing to me how educations starts kids at least in Wisconsin where the public schools are in the top 10 of the usa usually on science and math topics.
So I was actually horrified how little our son will get in these regards this year and next. so my solution is to start a small easy after dinner 45 minute lessons. But its a drag as
its like being on and bright at 7pm. and my plan is after this semester and next year. to start online college courses for credit in american history and whatever else he wants.
so by the time he is 18 he will have taken 1 college course online a semester and have about 12 college credits. as there wont be any honors classes here i suspect. although my kid is clever the french system is very different than the usa system and its almost not worth bothereing the extent of hard studying to get in the top classes as nobody looks at your grades again and as long as he is happy its just only like the top get any recognition here. there is only 1 A not like the USA where its on apptitude not a competititon. and sorry french people. We will get through it. Meanwhile I need to be a tutor hobbyist. and write. and I don't have to work until Sept.

Anyway that writer Walter Tevis on my mind these days. Huge weirdo writer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PiP

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
I have been re-watching the Queens Gambit and thinking of Walter Tevis a lot the last couple of days. I am going to order his book on Amazon because I am in France and the chance of this book in my local library are ZERO.

I also watched the Queens Gambit and thoroughly enjoyed it... I loved the twist at the end.

Am in Portugal so I feel the pain re using a local library. When we were in the UK I'd spend hours choosing books, fiction and non fiction.

Now I use a Kindle for Fiction but for NF books I only buy hard copy. I can think of no better way to relax than sitting in the garden thumbing my way through cookery, craft and gardening books ;)
 
Last edited:

TheMightyAz

Mentor
The Queens Gambit is awesome. I wish they'd make more quality drama like that. Have you seen Chinobyl? That's another stonker:

[video=youtube;s9APLXM9Ei8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9APLXM9Ei8&ab_channel=HBO[/video]
 
  • Like
Reactions: PiP

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
Have you seen Chinobyl? That's another stonker:

Yes, we watched it. Mind boggling, gross incompetence and then secrecy cost lives.

I still remember driving down the motorway and wondered why there was white ash falling from the sky (fallout). No doubt their will be a series made about the current global disaster in years to come.

Although I am not sure the written word could ever capture the visual horror of events as they unfolded in Chenobyl
 

PiP

Staff member
Co-Owner
We did receive High School Algebra Unlocked I for my sons nightly tutoring sessions and some KIND person had recommended the Khan math series on youtube. And we had started with the PBS learning series online and using their materials the Khan series materials. And we have picked 2 topics this semester while our beloved child is adapting back to France. Although he was born here and went to many years of school here. It is the French system to follow any foreign child as he has been gone 5 years in the system. And I am so grateful he can speak and function in English and American school system normally that is so important to me. Meanwhile I will augment his French lessons while he gets up to speed with at home lessons. I think we can handle 2 topics so this semester we have decided on Earth Science and math. I have a science background and love biology but sitting around taking about the human body seems untoward somehow. Leave that to higher mortals than me to deliver that information. Although Biology 1 is mostly on the molecular level. What I notice now is how different his education is from mind during 12 13 14. During that time when I went to school there was much less emphasis on science and math and I notice that he has had extensive exposure to science and math topics that I never had until high school or college. So it is really pleasing to me how educations starts kids at least in Wisconsin where the public schools are in the top 10 of the usa usually on science and math topics.
So I was actually horrified how little our son will get in these regards this year and next. so my solution is to start a small easy after dinner 45 minute lessons. But its a drag as
its like being on and bright at 7pm. and my plan is after this semester and next year. to start online college courses for credit in american history and whatever else he wants.
so by the time he is 18 he will have taken 1 college course online a semester and have about 12 college credits. as there wont be any honors classes here i suspect. although my kid is clever the french system is very different than the usa system and its almost not worth bothereing the extent of hard studying to get in the top classes as nobody looks at your grades again and as long as he is happy its just only like the top get any recognition here. there is only 1 A not like the USA where its on apptitude not a competititon. and sorry french people. We will get through it. Meanwhile I need to be a tutor hobbyist. and write. and I don't have to work until Sept.

.

You sound well organised. My French grandkids are going through the state school system. A village school. Fortunately, my daughter has seen the light and has registered them in a private school from Sept. It was always her plan to send them to International school at 11? but it seems they don't take children straight from state to International.

In the first lockdown my UK grandkids received zero help from school. Not much better this time. My grandson is a gifted child and I keep nagging our son to apply for a scholarship ... he doesn't, so watching his education slip grieves me no end.
 
Last edited:

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Yes, we watched it. Mind boggling, gross incompetence and then secrecy cost lives.

I still remember driving down the motorway and wondered why there was white ash falling from the sky (fallout). No doubt their will be a series made about the current global disaster in years to come.

Although I am not sure the written word could ever capture the visual horror of events as they unfolded in Chenobyl

Evidently it's not perfectly accurate. I wasn't too worried about that though. It was the amazing performances from actors that had me hooked.
 
  • Like
Reactions: PiP

BabesJJ

Senior Member
TMA, I remember Chernobyl. If I remember correctly it happened while I was living in Spain spring of 86. I remember we traveled extensively throughout southern Europe that summer. and I remember being told we shouldn't eat milk products when we were in Greece. I laugh because no nuclear fall out passed French borders apparently. And not that i am familiar with French culture a little better it makes me knowingly laugh at the absurdity and that people just accepted it. I remember many world events that spring. I remember American fighter plains passed over Spanish airways on the way to bomb Libya I think I can't remember what county now. Regan was still president for a bit that spring. I also was in Europe when the volcano went off in Iceland and caused overcast skies in France. And remember reading an article that mentioned Benjamin Franklin has been living in France during the last time the volcano erupted in Iceland and observed the same ash in the sky, I do remember one thing I read about Chernobyl and Three Mile Island meltdowns that both had in common. That both happened around 3AM. And since they have done studies that is when the human brain is at its most fatigued if not sleeping. And both the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl melt down happened at the same times on the clock and for similar slow reactions by the people involved.

I have often thought that we should start a Netflix link. As since Covid-19 I have started watching Netflix and got a subscription to the New Yorker and Washington Posts.

Pip, We like cooking, not so much gardening but we enjoy trying new recipes. I actually don't mind cook books in French and often look at the cooking section. They have a small classic English books section in my local library. I usually take the slimmest book. I like light small books I think they are cute. Right now I have a taken a book on tartines. I love making different tartine creations. Rice cake tartines, cracker, dried bisquits. real tartines of tosted bread but those are my least favorite. All sorts of mixtures.
My husband checks out music and loves listening to music while he plays video games. Its very good for the brain that combination I think.

On the education front I am horrified at my sons lack of school work in the French school system during the adaptation process. So we have tried to adapt him these last 2 weeks to short lessons after dinner. Monday through Thursday. I have to prepare something and sometimes it involved 2 middle aged parents trying to figure out terrible graphs it seems to be working so far. And then we agreed this semester to watch a Science documentary on the TV on Sunday afternoons without having to pay strict attention to it. We watched Coral Reef or Coral Death a netflix documentary. Very long but I can tell our son listens from the other room we all do as we go about our business. I will make do this year and next and than after that I will enroll my kid in an online community college class in the USA each semester. it will give him experience in USA university level courses and I am really looking forward to taking American History this way. And maybe we can get English 101 and 102 out of the way essay writing all pretty simple stuff. And also getting through Algebra I Geometry and Algegra II to be honest I can't really teach Calculus we might have to get a real tutor for that one someday. And then
if he wants to take the usually 1 or 2 hard math or science courses to pass whatever USA university program he will have had this background. Mostly it is he needs to know how to struggle and study skills. So my 2 jobs are writing and tutoring. We also read out loud to each other 3 pages at a time. We are reading Obamas book Promise Land now.

Oh on the gardening front. We live in this falling apart gigantic farmhouse like 6 bedrooms. giant hallways and the outside is giant fenced wild grass. My hsuband only cuts the inner yard grass so the outside yards are quite wild looking. We have a quince tree. and we havent even bothered to pick up all the old quinces from the ground. So we are no gardeners. We do have a corgi which is typically and english dog he came named many years ago his name is cowboy he is 14 years old now. He looks like a German Shepherd shrunk in the dryer.

LV and I think the moderator said it was OK I change my name to a fake name as Louise Voillemin is my real name and I was too dumb to realize nobody uses their real full names. So I am picking BabesJJ.

LV aka BabesJJ
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Guess I am dumb, Oliver Buckle really is my name, and everybody calls me Olly. I have never had any problem from it, and realistically there are a lot of writers who publish under their real names, as well as actors and performers in the public eye.
I don't know how much is there, but I saw that the BBC is doing extra educational stuff during lockdown and putting it out on i-player, which I think is available on the web. It may not be suitable for your boy, but if there is anything it could help him maintain his bilingualism, which is a real plus for him.

Re, your garden, have you thought of planting trees in the wild bit, they would come naturally in time, but not necessarily the ones you would like. As they mature they will keep the grass down a bit, they need very little maintenance, and they are definitely good for the planet. Trees catch an awful lot of rainfall in their leaves and re-evaporate it back into the sky, without trees in the first hundred and fifty miles of the coast the center of continents would be dry deserts.
 

BabesJJ

Senior Member
Guess I am dumb, Oliver Buckle really is my name, and everybody calls me Olly. I have never had any problem from it, and realistically there are a lot of writers who publish under their real names, as well as actors and performers in the public eye.
I don't know how much is there, but I saw that the BBC is doing extra educational stuff during lockdown and putting it out on i-player, which I think is available on the web. It may not be suitable for your boy, but if there is anything it could help him maintain his bilingualism, which is a real plus for him.

Re, your garden, have you thought of planting trees in the wild bit, they would come naturally in time, but not necessarily the ones you would like. As they mature they will keep the grass down a bit, they need very little maintenance, and they are definitely good for the planet. Trees catch an awful lot of rainfall in their leaves and re-evaporate it back into the sky, without trees in the first hundred and fifty miles of the coast the center of continents would be dry deserts.
 

BabesJJ

Senior Member
Olly, Well Louise is actually my middle name. It is after an aunt that died of brain cancer at 23. And I was 5 years old. We didn't know that at the time. I appreciate the suggestion of the tree planting. The two side years have a foot of tall grass. I like it because there are flocks of birds around. If we cut it short they hang out in your yard and they are starlings. Very paranoid and greedy looking. They come everyday to our inner back yard that is mowed and go from once corner to the other and pick up every slug or snail insect or worm anything back there and leave, there are 100s of them in a huge flock. I am afraid if I did anything with cutting the grass on the side yards or trees it would make it like a bird tourist attraction. And now the side yards we kind of like that we don't have to do anything with it except a few times a year mow it. The inner yard we mow and it has stopped growing in the winter. But it is short enough for our Corgi to traipse around in and for a giant flock of pest starlings swoop down for a thorough garden picking over. I am afraid to feed them a draw small animals here. There are many mismatched trees and odd bushes but nothing that we care for. Overall it looks nondescript and uncared for and I like it for whatever reason. Although a appreciate trees. Love them in fact. it just sounds like trouble for roots in the sewer someday and birds that are pests chasing all the less aggressive birds away. LV soon to be known as BabesJJ
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
Starlings always strike me as under rated birds, people think they are black, but get a glass on them in good sunlight and you see they are in fact a beautiful mix of colours. To get large flocks like that feeding together is rare, they join together in huge flocks to roost, but usually split up into quite small groups of five or six birds to feed during the day.
When they join together in a big flock it is called a 'murmuration', and is pretty spectacular.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRNqhi2ka9k

There are a few more videos on Google. It looks synchronised, but close up video shows that actually each bird is only watching a small number of others around it.
 

BabesJJ

Senior Member
Olly I remember back in Albuquerque were I lived for 25 years three was a local rock group called a Murder of Crows. I love the names for groups of birds a murmuration is nice sounding on the ears. Yes and it is like a military operation. The are totally wild birds not city tames. They swoop in on nice days and I am suspecting days worms and other things are out for whatever reason. Like a group of fighters eyes darting everywhere a few keep look out and they start at one end of our mowed inner garden and work there way across the yard inch by each looking everywhere watching we try not to scare them away. I know them up close growing up in the country I know exactly what they are. I have never tried to count a murmuration of starlings but me and my husband will give it a try someday. When we see them there is this gigantic kitchen window it might have been a door once but we move away so that we don't frighten them so they can scour our yard in peace. They dont make much noise that is for sure. I feel like we are a lunch feeding spot on their list. Anyway I would not want to do anything to encourage them. If we can we will try and get photos someday. Also this farmhouse is up one story and and at one time they had coal burning heat and it was made so you could drive a coal truck down in the basement and unload. giant basement by the way so the house if the next level up and 2 brothers grew up and owned it and did various renovations over the years. i think it was built in the early 1900s i am not sure really the exact date. Anyway, I have some sort of natural trained aversion to starlings as my grandmother didnt like them and always encouraged other birds around their farm. so i have similar views on them sadly. We are about to go grocery shopping and return some pants my husband bought last week that are too small. 3 pair all with tags on of course. It is extremely difficult to return things in France. It has to be perfect with the reciept and return within one week fo purchase for many places. ah i miss my 3am walmart shopping although that has been long over since Covid-19. i guess i miss the easy returning policy of the usa.

TMA we started watching chernobyl. sp very good interesting.
 

Olly Buckle

Mentor
Patron
What you have is a small flock, not a murmuration, that would consist of something like thirty or forty thousand birds, huge flocks that come together to roost in places like under bridges or piers. They are probably searching for leatherjackets, the larval form of crane flies, what children call daddy-long-legs, or as my daughter said when she was little Olly-long-dads :) They eat the roots of the grass, so the birds are definitely do you a favour, you would have big bald patches in your grass otherwise.

A murder is just one of the names for a group of crows, I knew them as a parliament, the same as owls, but different parts of the country have different words, have a look here,
https://www.birdspot.co.uk/culture/collective-nouns-for-birds

Did you look at the murmuration video? Once you get past the first bit of the girls in their canoe it is spectacular.
 

BabesJJ

Senior Member
Olly, Yes I did look at the video. And knew it right away as I saw it many years ago an old friend had sent it to me. Somehow my friend is attached to that video to me somehow. It was very kind of you to send it and inquire if I saw it. I have asked my husband to try and count the starlings and if we can take a photo. I notice they come only about once a week. I don't want to do anything for them to get comfortable around our house. A lunch spot here and there is great by me. I keep hoping some creature shows up that eats rotten quinces. The wind gets bad here across the farm fields sometimes and there is one stuck in the crook of the quince tree. My favorite visitor is this hawk that finds a wind draft and just floats there all day. No joke I am sure he is waiting for a lunch movement around the fields. I just love when he hangs out in that wind draft. Always the same spot. Just hovering and hovering for hours and hours. And also there is a lone goose that seems abandoned and lives on a waters edge. I often worry a dog or a fox might get him.
My husband assures me that he is cared for by someone. I read that it is good to feed them dried peas on gravel as they need the rocks for digestion. Never bread as it can cause big trouble. Anyway, we are back from the store. On the way I remembered that in the USA they wont let you return clothes anymore because of Covid-19 so, so much for the better return policies in the USA. The took the 3 pants back without question and we grocery shopped until we dropped. We are trying to shop once a week. but we always break down and run to the store for whatever. My son has 2 nice pants that my husband could wear that my son has outgrown as my son is slightly bigger than his dad. His dad is 6 feet 2 and the kid is heavier and wider but not as tall yet. Anyway, maybe there are 2 pants that husband could wear although they are more hip than he is used to. Oh that reminds me we looked at all the pants and the only pair that I thought could fit him were these black dress pants and he refused to even consider them. Anyway, I was trying to get everyone up on their pants during the French sales. We partly succeeded. I got 2 new yoga pants, kid got 2 new pants. and 2 of kid new rejects husband likely will take. Pants report over.

Pip Very interested in Queens Gambit for writing style. I love picture books. It is not common for people to enjoy them anymore. They are like 10 cents in the USA thrift shops now beautiful what we call coffee table books.

TMZ chernybol sp we are watching it.
 
Last edited:

BabesJJ

Senior Member
Ollie I actually looked at Starlings online a little and they are unusual that they have beaks that can open when the peck the ground most birds must have their beaks closed. So they can dig a little. and this muscle around their beak also makes them very dangerous to each other apparently they grab each other with their feet when fight and can actually kill each other with this open beak type attack. I started thinking of them as scissor mouths. Although they are birds and look rather fragile and pretty to me.
 
Top