Saturday, November 25, 2006
Getting used to using a German keyboard.
I got very wet on the first day and am now fighting a cold. L is giving me drugs. Yesterday, we spent the morning talking, so I rushed off late to see the German History Museum and ended up at the Rebecca Horn exhibition, a spontaneous change of plans on the train as it closed later. I loved and hated it, understood it and didn't have a clue. The building though, it was in the Martin Gropius Bau, was stunning. I tried to get to the German History Museum again today and ended up at the Jewish quarter instead. The Neue Synagogue is beautiful - from the outside - of course I would choose Saturday to go there. At least I knew it would be closed and I have a good excuse to go back. I got emotional at Der verlassene Raum [I'll add the photo's when I get back]. And at what was Berlin's first Jewish old people's home, which was where deportations to the camps started from and next door to it the Alter Jüdischer Friedhof (Old Jewish Cemetery) which was completely desecrated. Then I went to an opening of a modern art exhibition - sort of by chance - it was a bit extreme self-harm, filming shooting yourself kind of art - I didn't stay for long. I finished the day with Pumkin suppe, which was reviving and the worst Apfelstrudel I've ever had, or at least I remember having... Oh and somewhere in the middle I saw how hard sweets are made... which was fun.
We are off to see the newly found 'cousin' tomorrow...
Friday, November 24, 2006
Berlin - First day
Faces that look oddly familiar walking down the street, dark hair, half sentenses understood, a smile on my face, chickening out of trying to use my rusty German. So far I feel comfortable, even a New York kind of comfortable, I'm thinking about that. I walked through the Brandenburg gate, which I remember stopping in front of in a bus the last time I was here, when the wall was still up and Unter den Linden was in the East. I had the most divine hot chocolate at cafe Einstein and people watched. Friedrichstrasse, Alexanderplatz, Oranienburg names which seem to roll off my tough with ease. I went to visit the Pergamon Museum (like the British Museum) which my aunt had recommended, the last time she had visited was in 1937. I got a little emotional.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Just in case you are wondering... I didn't win the lottery, but finding out about my ancestors and discovering a whole new part of my family does feel like another kind of windfall.
I've had a serious family contact / finding out my ancestors sort of weekend. I met someone who knew my grandfather last week, brief conversation, which covered concerts and being chased by a colleagues husband sometime back in the 1950's, the latter I assure you nothing to do with my grandfather. Later in the week I was thinking about this grandfather again and catching up on some emails to family, which were so overdue many apologies were needed. I did a quick Google search and came up with a site, which rather amazingly had loads of my family tree on it. I'm in two minds about this, obviously it's exciting, there are many generations I didn't know about, but then it's my family tree and it's out there in the ether. I sent more emails out and received one back, which began Dear Cousin; so on the eve of going to Germany, I have found a cousin there, quite surreal. I then forwarded the email to a cousin in Israel who also wrote to him, so I think we made his weekend... I'm still not sure how we are cousins, have no idea who he is, but he knows exactly who I am, which has to be said is a little unnerving.
The family tree covers one branch of my family and goes down one particular line and this line goes very far back, quite excitingly along the way to Portugal, seemingly those listed having fled westward at the time of the Portuguese Inquisition (I have been reading up!) So suddenly I am partly Sephardic, having never been interested in the whole Sephardic/Ashkenazi thing, now I want to know more. The family tree continues going back and back - we are talking biblical names here and I don't really know if that's really possible to go back that far, but it's a nice idea and very intriguing.
Friday, November 17, 2006
I did it, I braved the torrential rain to buy my first ever lottery ticket. I've already set up a Foundation and allocated the money. It's an odd sensation to be part of something like this, I along with millions of other people across Europe, all of us believing there is a small chance, actually one in 76 million, of having our lives changed for the better by the numbers written on a single piece of paper. We and I can now officially include myself, believe that this would be a good thing, buying into the myth, despite the fact that often such a windfall results in tragedy.
Of course that won't happen when I win.
I'm thinking of rushing out and buying a lottery ticket
- it would be a first.
I'm going to the land of my forefathers next week; I'm nervous and excited and a little worried, because everyone keeps saying how cold it's going to be and my bones get cold. I need to make a trip to M & S, I hope they still do thermals.
Art and understanding
At the last minute I got to a couple of films at the Jewish Film Festival, both really interesting; Another Road Home
and Knowledge is the Beginning
- I'd recommend both. The latter is about Daniel Barenboim's and Edward Said's
[this only seems to be in Spanish?] wonderful Middle Eastern Youth Orchestra project , a really heartwarming endeavour. [This is the official site.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Small, but powerful
I took this a while ago, but kept forgetting to ask permission to post it. It's an anti-slavery purse, it would have been carried by women as a protest against the slave trade, before they had the vote. Quite amazing.
Hey, the counter for Frizz
went over the 10,000 point when I wasn't looking. I had to double check it was 10,000 and not 1,000.
Can I just say that I was late for something today that I really really really shouldn't have been late for. Why did this happen to be the day that I could not find a parking space?
Playing catch up; the Jacket arrived at the weekend it's very
bright and had a strange chemical smell, which the seller has reassured me is fine and smell apart, I love it, so I've washed it and it's drying.
The moo cards are going back, but they are hoping to get some colour management system running in the next fews weeks, so I'll try again then.
Suddenly everyone wants a flickr
account, all I can say is, it's about time to.
Plus A says my teeth are looking good, I don't think I can tell anymore.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
My Moo mini cards
came, but they are very disappointing. I love the cards, but my photos came out really dark and dull. So I wrote to tell them:
"Our cards have a matte laminate on both sides which knocks down the brightness a bit, but protects the cards and gives them a good feel. In the future, we plan to implement some form of color management to compensate for this, but for now, we can only recommend that users choose bright images for the best results."
Well, my photo's looked fairly bright to me - it all depends on the screen you are looking at... A real shame, but I've just asked if I can return them - I can't face giving out cards that look like I take really crap photos.
Monday, November 13, 2006
My weekend plans changed so many times I couldn't keep track. So I had needles stuck into me and set alight, nice warm feeling (pictures from M to follow). C and I went for a walk on Primrose Hill (as opposed to Hampstead Heath) and had hot chocolate at the Russian (as opposed to the Polish) cafe. A and S and I went for dinner in West London (as opposed to North London). Sunday, I ended up with A and the kids in Richmond Park (I have the parks covered) and then Surrey, tasting wine (as opposed to Surrey drinking wine); we went to Denbies
and I was pleasantly surprised by the wine, who knew?
Friday, November 10, 2006
Sanity is a cozy lie.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
I have been busy reorganizing my photos - I mostly just had this long list and it was getting a bit cumbersome - I can't seem to get on with iPhoto, I really have tried. So now they are cataloged by month/location and I'm using Photoshop's browser to look at them.
I'm continually being inspired by flickr, I've finally discovered how to use the groups. Check out Utata
, the discussion pages are really helpful and the photo's are incredible. I love the open nature of the groups, I can add a photo alongside a professional photographer, that's just so inspiring. When the internet works it really is transforming. I so want a digital SLR.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
A ticking off
I went overdrawn by £36 for one day, not even sure it was a whole day and they slapped on a £30 fee. I know this is 'normal' for banks these days, but I have good news, we are fighting back. The banks ombudsman has had more than 100% increase in the number of complaints from frustrated customers
. I went to the bank in my pj's (a first for me, not feeling so good), to rectify the situation. They still wanted to charge me £15, but I persisted, I got a little hot under the collar (I had a temperature) and they begrudgingly refunded the total amount, but told me that I would be charged next time. I hate the way they do that, like I've been a naughty school child and if it happens again I'll get detention.
Have you seen the Dove
film yet? Technology is not always a good thing.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Did you have one of these at school? I did, brings back lots of memories of wooden desks, scratchy fountain pens and inky hands. Lets not mention the maths though, wasn't my favorite subject. Although, when I was clearing out my room after I'd finished school I found old maths books from junior school and I'd been doing the same math at 12 that I had at 18 and the telling thing was that I'd obviously understood it at 12, but I hadn't a clue at 18...
I thought it was foxes outside last night, but it turned out to be a bunch of guys with reflector jackets and flashlights routinely checking the water mains for leaks, at 3 am! So I'm tired, not really their fault though, I couldn't sleep, but it was a bit unsettling. Also, I'd spent ages choosing the photo's for my moo
I love how things sometimes happen. I went to catch up on petite anglaise and she'd listed some bloggers in a post, so I discovered anxious, who'd just posted on moo mini cards.
I finally did some business cards of my own a few weeks ago, but there only seems to be horrible card available to use on a home printer. I did a page of them and gave the last one away during the festival. So I've ordered some mini cards using my photos on flickr - such a great idea and whilst looking for photos, I found this old one of Sandy.
Monday, November 06, 2006
is on it's way:
- International Dispatch, November 03, 2006, 10:44 am, LOS ANGELES AMC
- Acceptance, November 02, 2006, 4:30 pm, PLAYA DEL REY, CA 90293
If it left LA on Friday at 11am it means it should have arrived here early Saturday morning. I'm not sure how customs works, is it optimistic to think it might arrive in the next couple of days? Although, rereading it, it's not clear what dispatch actually means, perhaps it's just hanging around at the airport.
I am feeling bad about it coming all the way from California, I'm thinking my carbon footprint just got considerably larger.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Anna and I took John and Sarah to the Science Museum today and I can't believe how disappointing it was. OK we only covered the basement and the ground floor, but there was simply no information that I could explain to John, he asked questions and there were no answers around. The ground floor just seemed a mess, a bit of this and a bit of that, no idea of any kind of chronology in sight. There's one room on space travel with a hodge-podge of stuff; weapons and travel mixed together, and unless I really missed something no actual straightforward history of space travel, which I'm sure John would have loved. Downstairs there is an area called The Garden for 3 - 6 year olds. On the one hand this is great, he seemed to enjoy it for a while, on the other it was really just a playground, no different from any other. There's a water thing where the kids can press buttons and pull levers to make bubbles, or pump water, but no room for any explanation as to the whys and how's. On our way out there were various engines and pumps, what accompanying writing there was, was either too sparse or too complicated. I actually feel quite angry, this is our main science museum in the country, what's going on? I had been looking forward to explaining some simple science ideas to him, but in the end he went home none the wiser and his frustration was palatable. Perhaps they should go next door to see how it's done.
Are we there yet? Yes, in a mini-nano-second.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
London Film Festival photo's 1
Unfortunately none of my photo's from the Festival came out very well. This is producer Christine Vachon in conversation with Festival director Sandra Hebron.
Labels: London Film Festival
London Film Festival photo's 2
Peter Gantzler talking after a screening of Lars von Trier's new film The Boss of It All, a very funny comedy along the lines of the Office, but not. They used a computer (automatic randomised camera), instead of a director of photography to work out where to put the camera, so there are some pretty odd shots, but it works.
The other Danish film I saw was Susanne Bier's After the Wedding, I was really hoping it was going to be as amazing as Open Hearts, but sadly it's not.
Labels: London Film Festival
Another thing that I need to fix and my email server said they couldn't do anything about is I'm getting obscene spam; it's horrible and boring.
Just fixed my settings on my phone so I can send email again. I contacted my email service provider and they said it wouldn't work, even though it used to. So I went to the Orange site and they have a great wizard
that sends a push text with all the correct settings straight to your phone.
One of the most depressing things I saw was not a film in itself, but a clip within the film Bobby
, of Robert Kennedy sitting in 1968 talking to a group of school children about the environmental problems facing the world, that's almost 40 years ago and it could easily have been a politician speaking today.
Labels: London Film Festival
It really seemed to be a good year for documentaries, one of the most powerful films I saw was Thin
by photographer Lauren Greenfield. It follows a group of girls and women in an eating disorder programme, it's beautifully made, very powerful and ought to be compulsory viewing for American insurance companies, who consistently and heartbreakingly cut funding before the women can have any real chance of recovery. Greenfield has also done an accompanying book
of her photographs covering further stories with journal entries and artwork by the women and some essays by those working in the field. It's been bought by Channel Four, so watch out for it next year.
Labels: London Film Festival
I'm feeling very geeky and quite chuffed. Last night I'm doing overtime on my computer, having been without it for two days and it gets to the point where the noise is so annoying and I'm thinking this really can't be right. A simple search led me to discover that I wasn't imagining the noise at all, but that it's 'an issue'.
The suggestions say that if you take the mains adapter out the noise will go away and lo and behold it does, no wonder the techies in the Apple store looked at me sympathetically; they were running it on the battery. Although the techies behind the scenes supposedly checked it twice over two days, so they must have had it plugged in. I then check the settings, it's not running on 'highest performance', but it's not on Automatic either, I change it and again even with the mains plugged in the noise goes away, I go backwards and forwards with the setting and the noise comes and goes instantly. So I'm still not exactly sure what's going on, but extremely grateful that I have a quiet-ish
Labels: powerbook noise
Friday, November 03, 2006
Back in the loop
I'm out of the loop for a bit and there are software updates everywhere. I've just updated Firefox
, and NetNewsWire Lite
. Firefox 2 has a spell checker, great stuff. [Actually, it's a great idea, but it doesn't seem to work very well].
I'm being one of those people who sit in the Apple store using their computers; it's like being in a cafe with lots of coolish
geeks - no drinks though. So on the repair front I pleaded, I did my best, but the noise is within 'spec', that great Apple response, which to tell the truth I was expecting. At least I tried.
Labels: powerbook noise
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Bright jacket No. 2
A few nights ago I spotted this on ebay. When I was in the States last year I tried on the vest version and really liked it, but it was too expensive. So as it was late and my head was full of films I bid for it and woke up this morning to find that I had won it... I think I'm starting a collection of very bright jackets...