Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Happy Birthday M

Today is uncle M's bday. We called him from the car and the kids sang happy birthday to him. A very good use of the car's speakerphone...

We also spoke a bit about respect for those around you. P had to ask A to move his seat forward to make room for him (in my Mini) and I reminded A that he needed to be conscious of whether he was intruding in someone else's space - without the need for that person to point it out. Later N started singing annoyingly (same sentence over and over) and driving A crazy. I made the same point to N: he was intruding in our space by making noise in a confined environment. blah blah...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Cards from my kids...

Today is my bday so C took the kids to school... A programmed a greeting card for me using Flash. Check it out:


Notice his sleek AWP logo/initials :-).

N made a drawing of me kiteboarding while lots of people are pointing at me "because I am doing it so well"... Oh, yes, notice that I am eating a doughnut!

And here is a screen shot of the birthday game P made using Multimedia Fusion. Note the resemblance between me and the person in the game.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Down Payments

We started talking today about the Nobel Peace Prize that was just awarded to Obama. I told the kids that it felt to me like a "downpayment" - since he hasn't yet made any lasting contributions to World Peace (although we all hope he will).

We spoke about when it might make sense to pay for things in advance - as opposed to after the "services" or "products" have been received. In most situations, one must be careful about pre-paying, as one might not get what one expected - and would then have little recourse having paid for it. So it is most common to pay after the fact. Musica paga no suena.

However, there are situations in which paying up-front, or at least providing a "downpayment" makes sense. This could be when such a payment might motivate or encourage the recipient to provide a better service. I used the examples of restaurants. Imagine you travel to a foreign city and go to a fancy restaurant. You get good service and leave a good tip. What benefit did you get from giving the tip? None really. You do it out of fairness and goodwill. However, imagine that as you get to the restaurant you immediately give a tip to the hostess. You might then get the best table at the restaurant and a particularly atentive service (of course, you risk getting nothing in return, which is often the risk of prepaying).

Hopefully the Nobel will make Obama even more determined to work towards world piece...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

one week to live

I wanted to get the kids thinking about the importance of making every day count. Didn't think it would be appropriate to tell them to imagine they would die soon - at least not in the individual sense. So I told them to imagine that a meteorite would strike the Earth in a week. This didn't seem to freak them out. A said he would stay home because the world would be in chaos. P & N spoke about toys & video games they would buy & play. C, who was catching a ride with me today, said she would fly her extended family to SF to spend time hanging out with them.

I then modified the scenario to one in which they were the only ones who knew about the meteorite. That way, there would be no chaos around. And I then further modified the scenario to one in which there was only a 10% chance of the meteorite hitting the Earth. The idea now being to force them to balance short term fun with long term consequences - of skipping school, for example.

We ran out of time so I plan to return to this topic. I am hoping that we can get into a habit, as a family, of doing truly meaningful things every week (if not every day). What would constitute "truly meaningful"? My initial thinking is:

1) Helping someone else, i.e., making the world a better place.
2) Having a great time, i.e., enjoying life.
3) Improving ourselves, i.e., making ourselves better people.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Grade Inflation

I read a story in the news today about the average rating on the internet being a 4.3 out of 5. Spoke with the kids about the meaning of a school where the average grade is 8/10 vs. one in which it is 5/10. Maybe the tests are tougher, maybe the children study less, maybe the teachers are worst... Same for a city in which the average restaurant rating is 4.5/5 vs. one in which it is 2/5. Maybe the restaurants are worst, maybe the citizens are all foodies, maybe they are just more critical...

Take away? When you see a 4.3 rating on Amazon (or Yelp), know that is an "average" rating. For something to be really good, the rating should be 4.5 or higher. And, of course, a 3 is pretty bad.

Friday, October 2, 2009

the power of control & possesion

I told the kids about an interaction I recently had with a developer that I work with. We've are modifying a web site and don't entirely agree on what to do. As we've been going back and forth more of his than mine ideas are getting implemented. Why? N came up with the answer right away: he is the one doing the changes! Sure enough, those who control the resources can have a larger influence than they would otherwise have... Of course, since in theory I have the decision authority, I can always enforce my point of view, but then it is important to "pick your battles"... We discussed this concept and I told the how my wife & I constantly have to pick our battles with them - even thought to them it might seem as if we pick every battle...

Back to controls & possession, I gave them two additional examples: money & real-estate. In negotiations that involve money changing hands, he who has the money has more power (regardless of what the contract might say), and he who is occupying a property, has more leverage than those who don't.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Zero tolarance for rude words

As we were getting into the car P had a few ugly words for N who was wearing P's hat (without P's permission). We spoke about how all five of us in the family sometimes yell or speaking with "ugly" words. I suggested that we should have zero tolerance for this. No matter what the situation might be, we should control the tone, loudness and politeness of our words. We all agreed. Easier said than done...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

When to help friends

Yesterday's conversation about being with your friends during their special moments got us talking about when it was important to be with your friends. The kids agreed that supporting friends when they were having a hard time was important. I mentioned that it is not always easy to know when that was the case: as many people don't like asking for help or sharing the fact that they are having a tough time.

What to do then? Well, one should pay attention to the people one cares about. if their behavior or demeanor seems out of the ordinary, we should try to figure out what is going on. I stressed how body language is often more telling than words. And one shouldn't be too aggressive or invade their privacy: if a friend seems sad, maybe we can just be with them. Our company and support will probably help them more than our inquiries about what is happening. Maybe they don't want to discuss it, but we can still help them...

We also spoke about some people, particularly women, tend to ask for things indirectly. And how it is important to read between the lines.I know this is a stereotype, but while someone (a man?) might ask "can you please close the window" someone else (a woman?) might ask the same question by saying "it is cold, isn't it?". If we are truly listening we can understand this to be a request to close the window, which is easy enough to do...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Hidden Value of Traditions

My friend S just had a baby boy. This Friday is his Brit (Jewish circumcision). The Brit really simplified my life - and I imagine S's as well. How? Well, I was trying to figure out when would be a good time to go visit and meet the baby. Now, I can simply go to the Brit. And for him, and his wife, they get to see all their friends and relatives at the same time and in a convenient place. Of course, the Brit has a religious and spiritual significance as well, but even putting those aside, traditions often have some very practical benefits...

I discussed this with the kids. We also spoke about the importance of being with your friends and relatives during moments that are important to them (be them happy or sad occasions). More about that tomorrow. A mile is a short distance...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rudo & Cursi

I told the kids today about a movie C & I saw last night: Rudo & Cursi. It is a shame it is R, because it has some great lessons: one of the main characters losses all his money gambling, resulting in the loss of his job as the goalie of a professional soccer team. The other loses his pro soccer player job because he gets distracted by a girlfriend who is only after his fame & money. The movie is actually quite funny, btw. So, today's lesson: don't gamble (even if you start winning, things often end horribly wrong) and watch out for people who are nice to you because they are after some of your fame, money or some other non-intrinsic attribute.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lecturing Day

A & P were late to the car despite many warnings. So it wasn't a fun ride. Just lectured them about the importance of doing what they know they have to do without the need for an adult to remind then five times (in an increasingly loud voice). Yeah, whatever...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Peanut Butter Jelly Time

We spoke about uniforms this morning. I suggested the good things about them was that one didn't need to spend any time thinking what to wear. Kids were unconvinced... We then came up with the idea of individualized uniforms: each chooses his own uniform. I asked each what his would be: P said his Peanut Butter Jelly Time t-shirt with some Blue pants. A said one oh Black & White t-shirts, preferably with a skull in it, and Black pants. N didn't know. He Said every day he just grab whatever without paying much attention anyway. Individualized uniforms... Maybe tomorrow I can explain what an oxymoron is...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

opt-ins and opt-outs

I recently noticed a charge for $10 on my AT&T wireless bill for AT&T Navigator. Since I had not signed up for this service I contacted support. They explained they had given me a 30 day free trial which I didn't cancel & thus it became a paid subscription!!! At least they promptly offered to refund the months for which they had charged me. I explained to the kids how this is an extreme example of an opt-out policy, in which you are stuck with something until you opt-out. Compared this with the more user friendly opt-in approach, in which you only get what you ask for. This last approach doesn't work as well for the companies, since such a small percentage of customers opt into their offers...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Neighbors Dilemma

Yesterday we got our neighbor's mail. We think they got ours. This made me think of the "prisoners dilemma" (http://su.pr/9DQSwP). So I presented the dilemma to the kids. They all said they would "play it safe" and confess to get the short sentence. I gave them a modified version with rewards instead of punishments, and still they played it safe - going for the guaranteed small reward. The issue might have been that even the number that I used for the "small" reward, $100K vs. $1MM, was pretty huge for them. I discussed the importance of each person's situation. For someone with $1MM in the bank, it might be worthwhile to risk getting nothing for the chance of another $1MM (vs. a guaranteed $100K), since that would have a material impact on their lifestyle.

I told them how many entrepreneurs face similar situations in the real world, having to decide between selling their companies for a modest gain vs. taking a chance and go for a possible huge gain.

We'll drop by our neighbors with their mail. Hopefully they'll give us ours...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Back to School

First day of 7th, 4th & 3rd grade today. Kids were pretty nervous about their classroom assignments. We spoke about why Summer vacation is so long - because kids used to be needed to help on the fields. It seemed like a perfectly good reason to them. No reason to change things now... Even if they could have shorter school days, they would not want to give up their long summer vacations.

N was placed with two of his best buddies. He was happy. P was not as lucky. At least he is with his soccer teammates. Will have to wait until the afternoon to find out how A did.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Capturing Special Moments

The kids are on Summer break so I wont be writing much until September... I did have something very special happen to me last week, and I thought I would write about it here.

The kids were at a sleepover Mountain Camp for the week so C & I took a last minute trip to the windiest place we could find with warm & flat water. That turned out to be Bonaire. We had a terrific week of non-stop kiteboarding. On the last day, I was the last one on the water - as it was almost 6pm and the rescue boat was already out. All of a sudden I hear C screaming at me (she had gotten out of the water 10 minutes before). At first, I thought she was telling me to get out of the water because there was no rescue boat. Then I saw splashing on the water, like when fish are feeding, and I thought there was a shark there. But then I realized there was a pack of dolphins next to me. I kiteboarded to them and they started to swim next to me. For the next 10 or so minutes I kiteboarded back and forth with the dolphins (somewhere between 10 and 20 of them) swiming next to and under me - as well as jumping around. They were so close I could almost touch them. And there were a couple of babies as well. I have seen dolphins before many times, including sailing next to them on sailboats. But kiteboarding with them was a truly surreal experience. One of those once-in-a-lifetime moments...

On shore, everyone was looking and C got the camera and took some video. But unfortunately I and the dolphins were too far from the shore and you can't see anything on the video. Bummer! How I wished I had a camera on my kite! Which brings me to the purpose for this post: we are pretty spoiled these days with photos and videos to capture our special moments, but what to do when there are no images? I guess a written description such as the one above is the best alternative. Like in the "old days"...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

timely feedback

This morning N took his wallet with a few dollars to school to buy something at the bake sale. As we were getting into the car A told N that his wallet didn't suit him. This reminded me of the importance of being sensitive & timely when giving feedback or criticism. If you tell someone you don't like their wallet (or t-shirt or hat) when they will be wearing it all day there is a good chance they will feel bad that day. Instead, how about saving the feedback for a time when the person can do something about it ,e.g., take off the t-shirt or not put it on in the first place?

Of course in many situations the person wont take the criticsm personally and timing wont matter, and in others they will feel bad regardless, but I have found that there are better and worst times for giving feedback if one is concerned about the other person's well being.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

overbooking & orders of magnitude

Every morning I give the kids a five minute warning to get in the car. Yet many mornings I end up waiting for one of them. On Friday, as I was waiting for A, I thought I would start telling them to be ready five minutes before we would actually leave so that hopefully by the time I got to the car they would all be there. I mentioned this to them and told them about overbooking by airlines. They were not familiar with this "practice" of selling more seats than are available with the expectation that some people won't show up. We also spoke a bit about the capacity of commercial jets: some guessed 100 other 1000.

This reminds me that the other day I spoke to them about "orders of magnitude". I had a chemistry professor in college who would tell us that all he wanted us to know were the order of magnitude of the responses. It was OK if we answered 40 when the actual number was 60, but not if we answered 50 when the answer was 5 or 500. This is obviously of particular relevance in chemistry where you talk about the size of atoms and molecules, and the time it takes for physical reactions to take place. Most people, me included, can't guess (or remember) the right order of magnitude for the size of a molecule... Can you? But this applies as well to more day-to-day topics, such as the size of an airplane...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

latitude & gdp

I was having a hard time getting work done during this week's heat wave in SF. I told the kids that there is a strong correlation between the latitude of a place and its economic development. It seems that the hotter it gets, the slower people do things. Even within specific countries (I am thinking of Italy's Norrth & South, for example) the more "tropical" regions are less "developed". Of course, too much cold is also a problem: not much development in Siberia or Antartica... And, air conditioning might change this over time...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Dead Mosquitoes

We had a great party at the house on Sunday. Unfortunately, we kept the door to the yard open for hours and the house got filled with mosquitoes. Last night, for the second night in a row, A escaped the mosquitoes in his room and went to sleep in the guest room. This morning, M expressed surprise, saying she had killed a whole bunch of mosquitoes yesterday. This is a perfect example of a situation in which what you 'accomplish' is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what you don't accomplish. Who cares how many mosquitoes you killl if you leave some alive? It only takes one mosquitoe to keep you awake at night! It is not how many you kill that matters, but how many remain alive.

We discussed a more amusing example of this premise: going to the bathroom. What matters is not how much #2 you make, but how much (hopefully none) you leave inside... Kids liked this example :-).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Too much information

P was trying to pick a nerf gun for his birthday. We went to Amazon and checked the reviews. Each time he thought he had found one he wanted, we would discover problems through the reviews. He became really frustrated (althogh eventually found one that looks promising). I am having the same problem trying to decide which kitesurf to purchase: each person that I speak with swears by one brand or model, and tells me about all the problems with all the others. What to do?

No easy answer... One must keep the magnitude of the purchase in perspective, choosing a house or a car is one thing, but one should only do so much research for a $25 toy. Whenever possible, seeing and touching the product directly can make a big difference. I remember when shopping for a sailboat, what really helped was to get on board and go for a sail. P also suggested finding someone you really trust who can give you advice.

OK, now I got to go back to my research on the kite. Will it be the Slingshot, the RRD, the Naish...

Friday, March 20, 2009

Supply & Demand

This morning N saw a poster for an exhibit at the Legion of Honors. The poster featured a Faberge Egg. We spoke about how art collecting could be very cool as it might combine the enjoyment of art (sculpture, paintings) with their appreciation in value. This led to a discussion of how supply and demand determine prices. I was surprised to find out that A already had a firm grasp of the supply and demand concept. I guess it was a relevant conversation for the current times of economic and financial uncertainty...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

avoiding bad moods

I am in a bad mood today. Couple of work related problems that I can't get out of my mind... I asked the kids for advice: what do they do when they want get beyond a bad mood? A gave me great advice: distract yourself with something else. For example, play a computer game... This is definitely the right approach. We can't rationalize ourselves out of bad moods (the rider can't "force" the elephant to change course) but we can certainly get our minds into something else (trick the elephant to do what you want). OK, now which game should I play...?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I Do - Committment & Consistency

P asked me why during wedding ceremonies the bride and groom have to say 'I do'. "They obviouly want to get married, or they wouldn't be there!" I found this to be a very astute observation. I explained to him that the point was for them to make a PUBLIC committment, so that when things got tough for them as a couple - as they always do - they would be more likely to stick with the relationship. Psychologists have studied the impact of making public committments, but it is impressive that thousands of years ago societies had already figured it out.

I told the kids how when I was in graduate school and tempted to take a cushy high paying job I told all my classmates that I was going to start a company. Having done so made it much harder for me to do something else... On the flip side, one must be careful not to let public comittments influence us to stick with things we should not. For example, telling all our friends that we'll climb a mountain, then realizing that such a climb would be more dangerous than we thoght, yet doing it anyway because we publicly committed to doing it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Too much complaining

I read this morning about an organization with the goal of reducing the chronic complaining in our society. Members get a rubber wristband that they must change from one arm to the other every time they complain about something. The goal is to go for as many days as possible without moving the band.

I suggested to the kids that we do this as a family: all five of us put on a rubber band and see who has to switch it the fewest number of times in a month.

On the flip side, another organization (or maybe it was the same one) encourages members to acknowlege the good things in their lifes - and do so often. Doesn't need to be anything major. You could be thankful for the weather, having a roof, or even clean air...

The kids were thankful for their nice family, nice house & good friends :-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

the essence of a good vacation

This morning we spoke about the spring break vacation. I told the kids that I had recently figured out what the essence of a good vacation was for me: not having to think about what we are going to do each day. This translates into "activity" vacations in which each day's "plan" is known in advance. Snowboarding, sailing, kitesurfing, hiking, biking... N didn't see the problem with having to decide each day whether we were going to visit this or that atraction. I reminded him that that was probably because he was not the one deciding, planning, buying the tickets, driving, etc.

To my surprise, A said he felt the same as me. P said he likes flat water (to learn to kitesurf), a pool, and friendly people. Oh, and they all agreed that a big breakfast buffet is a must!

Monday, March 2, 2009


The kids were talking about elephants today. I told them about the five blind men describing an elephant based on the part of the elephant's body that they were touching. How there is often at least some amount of truths in each person's story and how one must combine everyone's stories to reach one's own conclusion. I spoke a bit about the need to determine how reliable each person is. For example, if one of the five men was not blind and we knew who he was, we would rely more on his description of the elephant than on the others.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Labour Costs in Phoenix

In a couple of weeks I am going to Phoenix for a meeting of one of the companies that I am involved with. The company is based in the SF Bay Area, but most of its employees are now in Phoenix. I asked the kids if they could guess why... A said maybe we needed people who spoke with a "Phoenix accent". I explained that the cost of leaving there is significantly lower than in the Bay Area and that we can hire better people at a lower cost there than here...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

you are screwed vs. I screwed-up

P told A this morning that he was 'screwed'. C told P not to use such foul language and N said that Obama had said that he "screwed up". Well, my first point was that even the smartest and best educated people sometimes lost their temper and used foul language. And, second, that there was a difference between saying that "I screwed up" and that "you are screwed". The latter being more offensive language because it was directed at someone else - while the former was directed at oneself. Not sure if I believe this, though ;-). It does seem like one is given more leeway when being self-critical than when criticizing others. Right?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My priorities are more important than yours...

Short one today: N was counting the minutes until we arrived to school keeping track of how much time he would have to play in the yard before classes started. A said he had a more important reason to arrive early: he needed to prepare his supplies for his first class. So we spoke a bit about how we shouldn't use our personal situations to judge other people's priorities. We each have things that are important for us, and while they might not seem important to others, what matters is how important they are to that individual. Compared to the responsibilities of the president of the United States, most of our priorities might seem meaningless. But they are not. As Einstein would say (or did he?), it is all relative. We should respect WHATEVER it is that is important to others, and not treat our own priorities as more (or less) important.

Friday, February 6, 2009


It is now well understood that our happiness is much more affected by CHANGES to our situation than to the ABSOLUTE level of our well being. To explain this to the kids I used the analogy of how our body senses acceleration, say in a car or plan, but doesn't feel the absolute speed we are traveling at. We feel acceleration from zero to 25 miles per hour, yet we feel nothing if we are steadily traveling at 500 MPH.

In a similar fashion, we are affected by our personal gains and losses, but get used to whatever level becomes steady state - whether for our material well being or even for how many friends we have or how we do at school. P said he constantly gets happines out of his friendship with his best friend. I said that is probably because their relationship is growing and improving. They do new things together. This took the conversation a bit towards those things that give us pleasure, which tend to be the ones that constantly evolve and grow. For example, playing the piano is satisfying as long as one is learning new songs. When they just learn a new song, they get pleasure out of this change (from not knowing it to knowing it). If they played the same song allo the time they would get bored (no acceleration). The same applies to sports, programming, playing with Lego, drawing...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Paying your taxes

I told the kids about the recent incident with former senator Daschle, who Obama had nominated for health secretary. Daschle had failed to report the income that a car and driver represented, and pay the appropriate taxes. He had to withdraw from the nomination for health secretary...

So I reminded the kids of my cardinal rule for judging questionable actions (not that cheating with your taxes is anything but "Black and White"). If you wouldn't want to read about it on the front page of your newspaper, don't do it. Actions that might appear to have small consequences at the time can snowball to have huge (and very nasty consequences). A few days later Michael Phelps got into trouble, and had his Kellogs sponsorship canceled, for smoking marihuana in public...

I also told the kids about the time the IRS audited me. They checked every account and every document for that year. It was painful. Fortunately, I had paid all my taxes in full and they closed the audit without requiring to pay anything extra.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Play the Odds

A bit of talk about gambling today... We've been telling A to talk with one of his teachers about an issue he is having. He won't talk to his teacher. I think he doesn't think it will help - plus, he is probably embarassed to do so.

So we discussed the possible outcomes of having such a conversation:

- Possibility 1: he gets no benefit.
- Possibility 2: he gets a small benefit, e.g., a good suggestion from his teacher.
- Possibility 3: he gets a large benefit, e.g., his teacher gives him better grades.

I emphasized that none of the possible outcomes had a negative value. Thus, even though he might think that the most likely outcome is zero, the fact that the possibility of positive outcomes exists makes this a worthwhile thing to do. Its value is the probababilty of each outcome mutiplied by each outcome's value.

I compared this with the value of a bet: heads you get $1. Tails you get nothing. A immediately knew the value of such a bet was 50 cents. And he understood it was worth betting up to 49 cents in such a bet. We spoke about other types of bets, e.g., the lottery, and about how ussually their cost is higher than their value.

Of course, one thing is understanding this "stuff", and a very different one is talking with your teacher... Oh, well.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


So after a few days of fairly "light" conversations - with the one exeption of a brief discussion about watching out for confabulations - I decided to have a serious conversation this morning. We spoke about FLOW. How one must try to find it in the things one does. What is flow? When you are so focused on what you are doing that your mind has no room for anything else. This requires several things:

- A challenge that keeps us from getting bored.
- The skills to raise to the challenge - or we get frustrated and anxious.
- Focusing on the task at hand, not its consequences or benefits

While certain activities are particularly condusive to flow, for example, in my case, skiing deep powder or kiteboarding in great conditions, one can get some amount of flow from almost any activity. Even washing the dishes (according to P & N there is a character in Lilo & Stich that loves cleaning). Just focus on what you are doing and do the best you can.

N said he is often in flow at school when doing math. And everytime he skis. The kids understood the point of all this: to feel better about ourselves and live our lives to their fullest potential. They also guessed the one activity that most people in the US devote a huge amount of time which is least condusive to flow: watching TV.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

watch what you say (and write)

We spoke today about how the Internet has made so much information publicly available. And not always for the best... I once I had a somewhat tense email exchange with a competitor. Fortunately, I didn't say anythin inapropriate because he published those emails online and they show up is you search for my name on Google.

So, whenever you write an email imagine that it might become public... We spoke about technologies for "recalling" and "expiring" emails. Someday, I imagine these will work. Today they don't.

What got this topic started? I was telling the kids that I was tempted to send a nasty reply to a rude email from a customer, but then I thought better of it. Who knows who might have a popular blog where my reply might be posted out of context?

As I told them this N immediately said: just like you told us about being nice to all drivers - since you don't know who is behind the wheel. Wow! They are listening!!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

2009 Goals

We are back from a terrific vacation! P wasn't feeling well today, and we suggested he stay home, but he didn't want to miss the first day of school of 2009. We spoke about goals for the new year. P wants to finish the series of books he is reading (I believe he has 7 more to go). N wants to travel a lot, particularly to the Cook Islands ;-). I said I want to learn how to medidate and how to do a back loop (kiteboarding). I asked the boys if they knew what meditation was and N went "ommmmmm".