28 July, 2009

Back from the Country

We've just got back from five days in the Laurentines, a range of mountains north of Montreal. Our dear friends have this wonderful house there with 66 acres of wooded land. We did the full monty: hiking, swimming, kayaking, canoing, swatting mosquitoes the size of helicopters, eating good food, enjoying a good read, and generally just having a marvelous time.

I don't remember the last time I felt so relaxed. Bliss. Thinking of all of you.

20 July, 2009

Early Morning in Montreal

Jetlag has woken my daughter and I up to a very early morning sunrise. All the other people in the household are sleeping and will probably continue to do so for a few more hours yet. It is, after all, summer in Montreal in a household of teenagers and teachers. And, even though my friends work veryvery hard during the school semesters, it is a life of luxury in the summer months. Visiting teachers who have lots of time off, is the best way to wind down quickly.

Normally, it would take a day or two for me to get into the flow of being on vacation. This has something to do with the chaos we left behind in Luebeck after packing at the last moment and the guilt of knowing that the to-do list on the dinning room table still had all sorts of items not checked off.

On this trip, we instantly became easy with all plans or non-plans. It's been delightful. I love Montreal. Especially, on a morning like this one, when the sun is shining and the cafe down the street is beckonning.

12 July, 2009

Listen to the Attitude

This video interesting analogy between the punk rock movement of the 1970s and the current social media revolution. The video also challenges large corporations and mass media to,

"... listen to the attitude and respond with respect..."

The reason for doing this is expressed well in Clay Shirky's recent TED Talk.

He nails the reason large institutes should be listening and responding around 12 minutes into the talk.

Sultry Summer

bee and daisy

What a strange summer it has been hear so far. No summer weather as such. So much work to do on various projects, so much that needs to be addressed, and, therefore, I don't have the sense of experiencing a summer lull. Yet, the gods willing, I'm off on vacation at the end of the week until mid-August. If you notice a blogging lull then you know why.

09 July, 2009

Eyes - Postcards VI

Olive oil in bottles

She sits in the small terrace garden at her favourite restaurant. Alone, yet content. At home at the table with the lone white rose in an olive coloured bottle. Jazz music from the upstairs apartment seeps down the walls, crawling through the vines and peppers her food with unpretentious savoury pleasure.

08 July, 2009

A Love for Stop Motion

It might be the child in me, the one that tried to make stop motion films by drawing on the corners of pages in my school exercise books, but I love the stop motion films. There are so many excellent ones out there that I couldn’t possibly name them all. Here are but two of my favourites.

“This is the PEN Story in stop motion. We shot 60.000 pictures, developed 9.600 prints and shot over 1.800 pictures again. No post production! Thanks to all the stop motion artists who inspired us.”

I like this because it is obviously a story that took place in Germany in the last 50 years and I can identify not only the scenery, but also the emotions and impulses that have driven the man through his life.

Players from Sam Javanrouh on Vimeo.

This film is wonderful because the background motion in most stop motion films is relatively static, which is not the case in this film.

Lastly, are there any parents out there looking for a summer activity for their children to do during rainy summer holidays?

05 July, 2009

Self-evident but Clever

Even though so much of what Michael Shermer says in this video is self-evident, the way he says it is clever.

It makes me think John Hodgman's recent speech at the
2009 Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner.

Can't help but think these two might add much sparkle to any dinner table conversation.

The idea behind both presentations is the need for all of us to question popular theories and offer intelligent skepticism towards our beliefs of life's truths.

04 July, 2009

Eyes - Postcards V


I’m listening to an interview of an elder, a well-known public figure, talking of his family’s past. So carelessly, so sincerely, this man says, “I look back on my parents with such enormous affection”. This statement acts like a knife, stabbing through my protective shell of pretend equanimity towards marred parental disputes and disappointments. Hard to know how to balance realistic expectations of how relationships can be with truthful acceptance of life as it is.

02 July, 2009

Eyes - Postcards IV


He sits in the night train travelling northbound, passing through a dark countryside spotted with neon-lighted train stations, through places he has never heard of, in languages he doesn’t understand. Alone in the train carriage, he stares outward towards the people he has yet to meet, to a life he’s yearning to find.

01 July, 2009

Eyes - Postcards III


A New Idea

A tiny ripple of hope
Then inspiration tearing
Downwards. Unexpectedly,
A synaptic burst of light.
My child’s mind. So simple.
Right there. There, where nothing
Is complete except that one step,
Or, leap into the unknown.