I spoke on a topic that's become very near and dear to my heart in the past few years: saying "no". It might be saying no to a project or job, or even something that you think you can't say no to, but finding the strength to set your own priorities for what you want is one of the most crucial things you can do in life.
Saturday with Clementine--we saw many things this afternoon.
We looked at the Phoenix in East Finchley (C saw The Muppets there earlier this year)
We looked at giraffes in Regents Park (and their giraffe-shaped doors)
We looked at Hamleys (just the outside, we were on a budget today)
We looked at Eros in Piccadilly Circus (and lots of tourists and billboards)
We looked at Nelson's column (from the back) and wondered about all the extra police and Pall Mall being partially closed (I figured it was the Save our hospitals No to privatisation march but not sure where the Department of Heath was. Didn't fancy getting kettled with Clem as she's not a fan of crowds). The police may have been there to keep an eye on the Morris dancers but we couldn't be sure...
We looked at Vincent's yellow chair then walked around the museum. Had a couple of good "what can you see" observation things with good spotting of scallop shells, keys, scythes, cats and canaries. Stopped at Degas, Gustave Moreau, Seurat (Bathers at Asnières 1884) and tested the leather couch in front of Hogarth's The Graham Children (1742). Loads to figure out if you just sit there and look (does the cat behind the chair ready to pounce on the canary foretell future conflict that might endanger the children in the picture? Is the pram handle on the floor supposed to suggest a fallen sceptre?).
At which point we hopped back on the bike and chased a stretch limo around Trafalgar Square. Three girls leaning out the window (that smelt like cleaning fluid) doing their best to ignore us.
We looked at Buckingham Palace, the Serpentine, Baker Street, St John's Wood high Street and stopped at the crepe stand in Hampstead. Picked up flowers for Nicki from the stand at the Spaniards and back to Whetstone.
All in all, nice to be hanging out and looking at the world go by. So Clem, what shall we do next week?
Auntie Ohna went to a different primary school (not sure why). I was at the Ecole Active Bilingue on Rue de la Pompe from age 7 (must ask Ohna why she was elsewhere) and took the Metro back to La Muette on my own (not far but I'm struggling letting you guys out of the house even at your age!
Anyways, this video reminded me of all the time I used to spend in the street. I had a bicycle and used it, if we weren't colonising vacant lots near the Parc des Princes we were hanging around on the corner with the neighbour's kids.
Great video and amasing what we've done to ourselves in the name of comfort and convenience...
Cronauer: She spills soup all over you, looks at you like, "Eh, I'm sorry. What are you gonna do about it, asshole?" What would you say to her? They spilled something on your pants. What would you do? Wilkie: I do nothing. Cronauer: Come on Wilkie, it's cursing class. You're gettin' pissed off. What would you do? Wilkie: I just remain reticent. Cronauer: She goes in the kitchen, she gets a knife, she starts stabbing you. She's stabbing you, putting forks in you. She's got spoons in your eyes, Wil! They're startin' to cut you with knives, puttin' spoons in your eyes. What would you do Wilkie? What would you do? Wilkie: I'm waiting to die.
Just now watching "Good Morning Vietnam" haven't had time to structure anything but wanted to capture the moment above. I'm just really moved every time I see this scene. Googled it and a few explain it as a meeting/clash of Western and Buddhist cultures.
I find it moving as part of the film's description of the continually shifting relationship between host and partner/invader/abuser/friend/judge etc. Seen in this context, the character Wilkie is a human representation of the powerless state being crushed by yet another unholy relationship with a Western power...
Of course in the end, the little country didn't get crushed. or did it? Didn't want to drift into politics as I really have absolutely no idea if Vietnam is better or worse off for its 20th century history...
Either way, every time I see that scene it catches me by surprise and I get a little shiver. Great pacing and direction from Barry Levinson:-)
Well, it's the 11th of March again, Mom's birthday. She would have been 79 years old today.
H, yesterday you had a meltdown while playing Monopoly with Nicki, C and me. It got a bit frantic and we all messed with your head and eventually you were so worked up you locked yourself in your room and cried. I think we were all collectively very sorry at the time but I thought I'd mention this as it reminded me of Ruth, my mother and your grandmother.
For some reason, we always played cards at home. Ruth would teach us tricks like shuffling upside down, and she even had poker chips in the house. These were red and blue and stacked really easily (they had special grooves that preventing them sliding and I still remember the feeling they gave you in the hand--really lovely). Ruth taught us Poker (5 card stud I think) and Canasta, and Casino and others I'm sure but I can't remember now. Pretty much the only game she didn't teach us was Pinochle and maybe that was because she associated the game with a particular type of player (the problem with children like C and you is that you've reached the age when you like to be cheeky and rowdy and edgy and rough but actually you're still young and vulnerable on the inside. If I had to teach you cards, what game would it be? Maybe teaching you advanced negociation skills in Monopoly is a little too premature?).
So on the topic of rowdy card playing, Ohna sent me this today (on Ruth's holidays on Staten Island):
She would talk about all the different guys and how they did their hair (were they all related? I don't think so...), sneaking cigarettes, staying up hanging out as the parents all hung out together drinking and playing pinochle. It sounded innocent but exciting...
Well, anyways, Ohna and I loved playing games with Ruth and back then we didn't have a TV or the internet so that might have been a factor.
C, H, I just wanted to remind you of your Grandma Ruth on her birthday and remind myself that I have fond memories of us playing together. My guess is our rowdy Monopoly play is something similar, so I'm going to try and play a whole lot more with you guys:-)
Behold your Dad's best Woody Allen expression (yeah, not convinced either).
Mmmmm... OK anyways, not sure why I'm even posting this nonsense but had dinner with a guy who does sculpture last night and he said he was working on a statue of Allen and as we compared notes on how wonderful 3D printers and CNC milling machines were he mentioned he had his glasses. So I tried them on. For no good reason but am looking for new frames and was thinking of taking the Michel Henau route but these Moscots seem kinda interesting... Order popup below again for absolutely no other reason than it's fun to change the overlay div from 50% black to 100% white in Firebug. Because I can. So why not:-)
Cleme on tender-hooks yesterday as councils were due to send out emails at 17.30 with news of secondary school places. Just noting this down here for Cleme (which was the original point of me writing all this stuff). In the end the thing she'll want to remember is the feeling she got when the email came through with her first choice school:-)
The gates above are made by the students and resident artists. All v. exciting, much to look forward to (they even have Arduinos in technology class! not like doing Rotring drawings of Le Creuset pans like I was doing at her age).
Trying to remember the first thing I coded... it think it was printing out coloured squares or a goto loop on an Apple II. First thing I was proud of was an app to calculate the minimum number of ladder moves to populate the marquee at the Metro Cinema on Broadway (closed in 2005 but I changed the marquee from 1983 to 1985) given a fixed/known number of plastic letters and missing characters...