October 31, 2005
A soda can rattles in the gutter above my head, as I sit in wonder of this 70 degree weather on this fine Halloween afternoon. Only 48 hours ago it was snowing, and pedestrians were shuffling dangerously amongst cars in the parking lot of Microcenter. The weather is crazy in New England, but luckily you only have to wait a day for it to change if it’s not to your liking.
It’s Monday afternoon, and I’m getting ready to head over to Newton to teach some Baby Ballerinas. It’s been 4 weeks since I last saw these kids, since the place I teach is a Jewish Community Center and High Holidays called for the cancellation of all October classes. 3 year old kids have short attention spans, and even shorter memories. It’s going to be like starting from scratch. But luckily, it’s Halloween today so our class will be filled with ghoulish games to suit the day.
Life has been lovely lately, and I’m so grateful to say so. My new students have warmed up to me, seeing that we’ve known eachother for 6 weeks now. I entered the mini-munchkin world with little knowledge, but have learned fast to grab their attention and run it until it can’t run anymore. The key to this success has mostly been animals.
Last week I did Jungle themes in all of my pre-school classes. Engaging the children’s knowledge of animals and different environments, I ultimately let them set up the scene. By setting up “stations” for each part of the jungle, the kids get to use their creativity and imagination rather than copy-catting me and just mimicking ideas that I may come up with.
The imagination of a 3 year old child is much greater than mine, and it’s been quite a trip seeing what these kids come up with. A friend of mine who also teaches children’s movement classes gave me a great idea recently. Bring in some pots and pans, and each child put in their own “ingredient”. Each ingredient is a type of movement that the child comes up with and when we mix them all together, it’s a wild amalgum of gyrating, sloping, and jumping. This is really fun. I mean, how often do you just let your body go wild and shake out every piece of pent up energy in your limbs?
If you don’t do this often, I strongly suggest you give it a try next time you’re in your bedroom. It’s good for the soul.
Gotta make this short. I’m on a mission today to find my sister a wig for her Halloween costume. She’s being Napolean Dynamite (along with every other teenager in Massachusetts, considering that every party store is sold out of wigs that look remotely like this). iParty has one that’s too long, so I’m going to have to do some wig-cutting this afternoon. Should be fun.
It reminds me of the time that I dressed up as Austin Powers for a dance in our recital three years ago. No stores had a wig that looked like his, so I bought a “Dorothy”-style wig (Wizard of Oz) and hacked it to look like a bumbling 70s Brit. Can you guess which one is me???
October 26, 2005
The other day I was visiting with friends and family. A wise woman spoke to her friend about many things including her children, her shopping experience at JC Penney, and her renovation plans for the coming week.
Both women are married, and their husbands also procure a friendship of their own. One woman said to the other, “I wanted to ask you about Wednesday…” She replied, “Oh, Bob told me he saw your husband at the store the other day, but didn’t mention it.” (They had obviously spoken about “Wednesday” previous to this conversation.)
The wise one replied, “Well that’s because they’re men.”
The remark wasn’t a blow to the typical “man” or enforcing a negative image of men in any way. It was said as a matter-of-fact statement. Not because women can’t rely on them, but because to this wise lady, you just don’t expect them to be thinking of something like the dinner plans for Wednesday night.
Female friendships seem to be based more on common ground. Our conversation flows off of one another’s statements, as opposed to building up from the last statement. Before we can move forward, we like to establish as many things in common as possible.
I remember studying some linguistics in college. One of the themes was differing language patterns in men and women. It borders on stereotypes, without a doubt, but the fallacy of being opposed to all stereostypes in general is preventing yourself from looking to where they were founded.
Some preschool children were in their classroom. Two girls sat at a table and one said, “Oh, my mother has that!” The other girl replied with big eyes, and a huge smile..”Mine does too!” No joke, they proceeded to move closer to one another, press their heads together and just giggled. This connection of “we are similar” founded some greater connection for their friendship.
Two boys were in the classroom. Their conversation, though the topic was different went something like this. “When my mom drives the car, we go so fast.” Another replied, “But when my mom drives the car, we go so fast that we almost fly.” The third one said, “We go so fast we fly in to space.”
These two examples are gender stereotypical, and that may be the fallacy here in my argument. But really, I’m not arguing anything. I’m just saying that we have differences and there’s a reason why our same sex friends have a different appeal and comfort to us than our partners.
October 19, 2005
Remember that catchy song…”Walking on Sunshine”? That original version, created in 1981, was sung by…
Katrina and the Waves!
Either Katrina was on to something, or whoever names these hurricanes should check themselves!
Atleast the disbanded band’s website has a link for Katrina relief. Could they get away with not having one???
October 15, 2005
I must have been dreaming last night when I felt myself writing this post. Nonetheless, last night I was looking at Slashdot and followed some links through there about computer chip designers that make Silicon Art, or little tiny etchings on their computer chips, some of which are very original.
Michael Davidson started exploring the world of Silicon Art ten years ago, and helped to build the database of chip images that is the Silicon Zoo. Davidson and others use the process of Microscopy to find the hidden images.
Since the Molecular Expressions website is pretty thick, I though I’d give you an outline of the process here.
“…Most chips are packaged in ceramic packages that hide the integrated circuit behind a brass or ceramic cover plate. The first step is removal of the cover plate designed to protect the microprocessor from mechanical damage and humidity. This is done with a scalpel or on a mill to expose the underlying integrated circuit for photomicrography…”
“…We usually scan the entire chip at low (2.5x to 5x) magnification to identify areas most likely to contain the silicon creatures. These areas are usually found in the voids between registers and caches or near the bonding pads, but many chips also have a “signature” area where the type of chip, designer credits, and company logo are displayed…”
“…After a thorough examination of the surface, we will rotate the microscope nosepiece into higher magnification for a first pass at photography of the creatures. Most of the creatures vary in size from 20 to 200 microns, which will fill the frame of a 35 millimeter camera using 20x to 60x objectives…”
This image was found on the pad ring of an AMD integrated circuit. This is an ISDN chip that is still in use today as AMD part number AM79c30.
Some other images that I really liked were:
For a full list of Silicon Art creatures, click here to visit Silicon Zoo and then scroll to the bottom.
October 13, 2005
My right knee is a little blown out right now. It hasn’t been this bad in a few years, and it brings me back to when I was 16 and I got my first serious knee injury…on stage at a recital. Both of my knees suffer from Chondromalacia Patella - or easier said, continuously deteriorating cartilage. My left knee has sustained injury rather well. At the onset of the injury, my right knee blew first. About 6 months later my left knee blew, but recovered well. My right knee was worse, and within the next 3 years it failed to stay in its socket about 3 times.
What’s happening now is that my right patella (the little round kneecap) is coming in direct contact with the vertical surfaces of my femur that encapsulates the front of the joint. This result is a well-known “Snap Krackle Pop” upon bending. I’m avoiding another serious injury by taking it easy in my dance classes, and adopting a somewhat different style of teaching until I’m fully recovered.
Not being able to bend my knee more than inch or so with weight on it, I can’t demonstrate most of the steps that I review and/or am trying to teach. This week I decided not to teach too much new material, because it wouldn’t be fair to my students not to able to explain and demonstrate new concepts properly. We focused on reviewing and drilling a lot of the technique work and choreography that has been set over the past few weeks.
I realized over these past couple of days that I have developed a teaching style that relies heavily on demonstration. I’ve worked really hard over these past 5 years to be sure not teach in a copy-cat style. I always take the time to verbally explain dance concepts and steps in addition to showing. I use the chalkboard a lot when teacher Ballet, because learning the terminology and the translations of words like “plie”, “tendu”, “rond de jambe” are really helpful for young kids executing these steps. (Plie = to bend, Tendu=to stretch, Rond de Jambe=circle of the leg).
Ballet is the most verbal of all the dance forms for a couple reasons. The first is that it is spoken en Francais. This gives an element of poetry to the class, learning the French words, understanding their English meaning and working to execute the movement based on the meaning of the words. Ballet is a beautiful verbal art form. When we execute a combination of steps we speak a poetic line such as, “Tendu coup, pas de bouree…chasse releve pique plie.” or “Tombe pas de bourree…soutenu….balance balance, glissade saut de chat.”
Teaching jazz has been harder. My students tonite were pretty disoriented without my ability to demonstrate steps full out. It kind of hit me that teaching jazz all these years, I’ve relied heavily on my ability to demonstrate steps, and have worked to teach this form of dance on a very aesthetic level. I mean, it’s worked in a lot of ways, but it’s not something to rely on so heavily in the future. My jazz dancers are good dancers, and understand more than just copy-cat learning for sure. But it was a really amazing learning experience to have to implement different styles of teaching.
I’m a very vocal teacher, and felt as though my students would have been more receptive to this approach but was a little bit disappointed when I saw their turnout and grasp of the concepts we were reviewing. Focusing more on their success in listening is something to be more aware of in the future of teaching, knee injury or not.
During my last semester at BU, I took an English Folk Dance class with Tony Barrand. He has Multiple Sclerosis, uses a scooter to get around, and taught a class of 45 students the intricate and age-old dance forms of England, specifically, Morris Dancing. It hit me last year that this was a foreign method. It is a gift to be able to teach the techniques through verbal explanation, drawing on physical metaphor and explanation that could translate in to comprehensive and intricate movement. I had been trained as a dancer since I was three years old, and never had a teacher that was disabled. It was a new learning experience for me that I took a lot from at the time. I’ve seen fallen in to the easier route of demonstration as my main source of communication in my classes. Right now, though my level of disability is severely minor, I have some very valuable lessons to take from Tony Barrand.
October 12, 2005
Oof! It hit me today that it is Wednesday, the hump of all days in these long-short-crazy weeks. Recap: Last week, Ari, Eliot and I had an adventure in the Harvest store. Usually when I go foodshopping, I go to Johnnie’s Foodmaster for 3 reasons.
- 1. Proximity
- 2. Prices
- 3. Honorable mention of my dear, dear brother, Jonny
But Harvest was inspiring and we had our very own Canadian Thanksgiving. You know, my father’s side of the family is from Canada. The Fourniers lived there for generations upon generations. When my Grandma was little she left Canada with her parents, Clara and Paul, and migrated to Vermont in search of gold. Her grandparents stayed in Ontario, along with some Great Aunts and Uncles and the lineage has since passed.
I’m not one of those people who wishes they lived in Canada, or even wants to. I really do love the U.S.A., but more specifically I just love this damn Northeast coast line. I guess I can see why people want to become ex-pats and go up North this is where my head and body are connected as one, and therefore my spirit is here too.
A short list of the food we consumed:
Saturday evening: Shepard’s Pie Plate
- Peas & Corn
- Peas & Thank yous
- Turkey bits
- Cheese on top…mmm!
It was delish!
Sunday Morning: a whole ‘nother story.
- Apple Maple Walnut Syrup Donut Sausages (I know, right?)
- Buttermilk Pancakes
- Fried Eggs
- A side of Micah
Micah is our friend from BU and is now the collective guru of The Student Underground. He shared a few minutes of our Canadian Thanksgiving.
Best of all, the CEO of 3rdarm.biz was here for this breakfast, and he ate some minitaure sized pancakes, with some coffee too. It was really great, and I thanked my lucky stars for having some of that good ol’ Canadian blood running through me.
October 7, 2005
This week has been a little bizarre. I’ve been taking a more day-by-day approach to things; not intentionally but more naturally things have taken this course. Sunday night was a rip-tide of an evening. My dear friend Ethan came to Boston with AFP to play the Food for Animals show in Boston. Our neighborly music guru, Ben from Honeypump booked the show. It was Honeypump’s 3rd birthday, along with Ben’s birth-birthday. That’s a special thing to have your own venture take off like that and prosper. I feel like I’m working in that direction lately, and look forward to my own 3 year anniversary.
On Monday I awoke to the unusually warm Fall weather, and headed out to teach at some creative movement classes in Newton. After first taking the wrong exit on to 90-East (I’m supposed to go West), I had to get off at Copley Square and spend 15 precious minutes in downtown traffic to get back on 90-West. Luckily, I left earlier than usual and about 4 exits down 90, and $2 in toll fares, my phone rings. The preschool forgot to inform me that they were going on a field trip that day. No need for me to come in and teach.
Okay. Back on to 90-East, I head home to get a little more sleep, which was lovely since Eliot had the day off because of Rosh Hashanah and his parents were coming to town. The day came and went, walking around Cambridge in the early afternoon with friends and loved ones, and teaching at the studio that night.
Tuesday morning Eliot and I went in to a blackout; missing alarms, phonecalls, and the desire to attend 10am services at Tufts Hillel where Ari and the Kristans would be. In a guilt stricken haze, we got up and rushed over to make it before the end of services and have lunch with everyone. It’s been almost 2 years that I’ve known Eliot, and a little less that I’ve known Joe and Rhona. They’re really special to me, and spending time with them always brings me this feeling of comfort, something close to security. That afternoon I felt at peace. I took time to observe and soak in the words, thoughts, and such positive energy coming from the people around me.
The past couple of days have been less peaceful, but I’m trying really hard to hold on to that feeling and observation of the things in life that make it beautiful. This week I watched a syndicated episode of ‘Mad About You.’ I’m not a big fan of the show, but on Wednesday afternoon I was home on a 2 hour lunch break between teaching shifts, and watching the tube while I designed new letterhead the The Dance Inn just seemed right.
Jamie and Paul are the leading characters, the married couple. Jamie, who works for an advertising company got her husband a gig shooting some promotional campaigns or something of the sort. Paul’s character is a filmmaker. The the end of the work week, they were happy to be together but couldn’t speak because they found that working together left them too awry. Opinions were clashing, and their attitudes were defensive towards one another - unwilling to accept criticism, even if meant to be constructive. Their solution, and mutual understanding was that it’s probably not the best idea to work with the same person that you play with.
I have to say, their conflicts reminded me of some of my own difficulties working with people with whom I am close. This past summer, my best friend and I exchanged words many times about our differences working on a professional level together for our Summer Dance Camp program. By the end of the summer, we came to some realizations, swallowed our pride, and expressed our faith in eachother to help eachother move forward in our business. It felt so good to be able to get to a more progressive point of understanding with her, and since then we’ve been on a better level both personally and professionally. It’s spurred more productivity too, and better ideas.
Working hand in hand with someone can be hard, especially when there is a spattering of other levels of the relationship involved. However, I don’t think that the solution is to put all the other things aside and just work “professionally”. Recently, Eliot and I were talking about the idea of family businesses in a generational sense. In general, it doesn’t seem that common, but in my life I have had the experience to confidently say that it is both very special, and very hard!
My experience managing CSDS with my mother, Summer Dance Camp with Jaclyn, and projects with Eliot never cease to propose challenges. It is a continuous learning experience both because of the nature of the working closely with these people, and the nature of a small/personal business. Nothing is static, and we are continuous moving objects, as are our businesses. We have to evolve, and with the right understanding of yourself and the other people involved, and the willingness of both parties to engage in that effort to grasp and understand the patterns of eachother, we can produce really special and meaningful work together.
October 4, 2005
In Mrs. Pine’s 3rd grade class I won the speed multiplication contest. At the time, it was no small feat. Maybe even my mathematical peak. I’m a good multiplier, no doubt. If anything, that speed test is with me to this day. I had a lot of things I wanted to write about before. More on the past, figuring it out, reflecting. All good things, but when do we say, ‘enough is enough’? We can’t continue the past without shaping the future, we’re essentially five steps ahead of ourselves. I say, enough is enough! A glimpse in to my future…
200 type is now 8-bit binary. Let’s have a media fest.
I learned of an ancestor to my testimony. Cbear, of CBEAR and Jamal. I’m not familiar with it!
The giver of my testimony, my heart. Thank you. Here is a demonstration piece. Watching data, being data. Or, let’s say…
Eliot, Having fun with a Hard Drive.
Food for Animals
Wake up! AFP and Ethan brought it to the table in Boston. It was off the wall. For pictures, audible treats, and hunters
It’s getting late, and with the winds blowing in a new direction I’d better get to bed. It’s good to integrate yourself. Best love to all.