Friday, July 31, 2009

Day 2.202: Team beat

Some time ago, I invited my team to come over for dinner, in the end this was the day that everyone could make.

We ate Indian Food (not known as 'curry' here!) drank some beer and wine (and water) and then played some Rock Band (it is Friday night after all).

Some were keen instrumentalists:

a few were willing to pick up the mic.,

and some were happy to ponder the meaning of the songs from a safe distance*:

All in all, we had a good time - hopefully that goes for everyone, other-halves and all.

* Not everyone pictured here!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 2.201: Angel Duck, ...

Exile #3 spotted this fancy rubber duck amongst others in the window of the cafe where we had lunch back on Day 2.174. She declared it to be 'Angel Duck'.

Not too surprisingly, this was next to it:

More surprisingly, she declared it to be 'Cow Duck'.

I just saw my favourite and least favourite of the top-six go through to the final of "So You Think You Can Dance". Although, after today's recap I felt less strongly than I had yesterday about the guys' result, so I'm reasonably happy about it and looking forward to next week's grand finale.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 2.200: Trick or tree-t?

Here's one more from MASS MoCA - testing phototropism to the limit.

It's pretty amazing which ever way you look at it.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 2.199: Old-fashioned CD player

Exile #3 was rather pleased with herself when she got this record player to play some music. "I made the old-fashioned CD player work!" she declared. Yes she really did - way to make your Dad feel old!

Today was day two of the girls' latest round of swimming lessons. Exile #3 is really gaining confidence and seems on the edge of a breakthrough that would get her swimming sustainably without floatation aids (she is limited to about 20 feet at the moment) and Exile #4 is also doing very well. One more lesson tomorrow and then three next week. While they've been doing that and Exile #2 has been needed pool-side to be on hand for her 'pre-schooler', E5N1 has been in the crèche having a ball (or a car) by all accounts.

All of which reminds me that their Exile-names come so naturally to me know that during a conversation about the kids at work today I thought twice about using their real ones. If anyone catches me making that mistake please feel free to slap me! Gently.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 2.198: Pressing the right buttons

The other day, E5N1 picked up the little Canon camera and started fiddling with the settings. When Exile #2 discovered him, he had the camera in a never-before-used mode. This is the picture that she took of him SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) as they say. You may need to expand it to enjoy its full not-black-and-whiteness.

Today he came to find her again after having a minute or two at the computer desk and said "Press button - all gone now!". It was some relief to discover that he had found the power switch on the monitor rather than anything more terminal.

To celebrate, here's an easy quiz - well it seems easy to me now, but I did take some time to recognise these items in the junk-art exhibit on Saturday. I'm sure you'll all be much quicker to work it out.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 2.197: This: aim, deep water, at you

We had fun at a little pool-party this afternoon with our church friends. Hopefully this week we will finally get our permit to use the new building for our gathering. Exile #3 decided that now she can swim (a few yards at least), she might as well learn to fly:

It didn't go too well, but at least she can swim!

E5N1 had fun with this pump-action water gun:

His wicked look made it clear that he knew exactly what he was doing when he could otherwise have pleaded the two-year-old exemption.

As it was, he got as well as he gave:

I was shocked to see that the last pop pun to be solved was number 96. that means the last five in a row have gone unanswered. Can't you see I try - writing these pop puns is hard. I wonder how this one will go...yes it's pop pun 102 for title watchers: I don't see and I don't feel but tightly hold up silently my hands.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Day 2.196: Art Nintendeau

Once again, we managed to spend six happy hours at a museum today. This time however, we had no need to get our money's worth as our trip to MASS MoCA was virtually free thanks to a family pass checked out from our local library on our way out this morning.

We did invest some time in travelling there - through the corner of Vermont to get to northern Massachusetts. We also spent some money in the cafe (resulting in the happy smiles) and made a contribution for our visit to Kidspace - an art gallery crossed with an art class for kids which was marvellous. Their current exhibition is of art made from other people's junk.

The main exhibits were a hit too. We all enjoyed Sol LeWitt's wall paintings and Guy Ben-Ner's film art including some epic movies filmed in his kitchen. Exile #2 singled out the Nanjing Particles and I loved the emotional roller-coaster of These Days: Elegies for Modern Times - especially Sam Taylor-Wood's works.

Here's a wonderful moment from Kidspace, when the little drummer boy encountered a load of Nintendo 64 game controller rumble-kits wired together to play an old drum in the corner of the exhibit.

At first he's not too sure, but he can't resist for long.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Day 2.195: Fire, earth, water

It's been a harrowing week. Not because of any turmoil at home or at work, nor because of incidents like the deafening crack of thunder that made us think the house was falling down a couple of hours ago. No, because we have been watching Torchwood: Children of Earth on BBC America - a significant improvement on early experiences of the channel. I like it when a show like that has a bit of ambition, and there was no shortage in this 5-part miniseries. Altogether rather good - but not exactly light entertainment.

So, in order to turn the corner - here are some pictures of our aquarium trip from nearly two weeks ago that I uploaded to Flickr. I think that they're more 'Flickr' than 'Exile' because I like them as photos, but they don't particularly tell our story. I hope you don't mind my online worlds colliding for one day.

Penguin vision
Sea lion show
Photographing the belugas

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day 2.194: Sign of the times

While I was back at Day 2.174 in my photo collection looking for spot-the-differences opportunities, I happened upon these pictures. I'll let you make your own story of either urban decay or receding nuclear-threat depending on your mood.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Day 2.193: The camera never lies

...but the photo editing toolkit lies 8 times - can you spot them?

Exile #2 and the kids had what sounds like a great day - visiting the park and then getting Exile #4's pass (she wasn't old enough to need one last year) and going along to the outdoor pool at the town park to enjoy a genuinely summery day (these have been sporadic to say the least so far this summer).

I was at work, but that's OK too in its way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Day 2.192: Mystery of the deep

At the aquarium on Day 2.183, we visited an exhibit about deep-sea exploration and in particular about how unmanned remote-control/virtual-reality submarines had transformed the process.

Then this happened:

At first it was E5N1 but later his sisters each joined in for a while.

What happened was this - as we were walking through the exhibit, E5N1 disappeared into a thigh-high hole in the side of a rough model of a boat. Inside was a tiny room with mirrors on all the walls and the ceiling and a projection of various short video clips of undersea creatures playing on the floor (presumably projected from below).

Mysterious, but quite captivating!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 2.191: What's he drinking?

Exile #2 tells me she missed the best of E5N1's karaoke-with-the-radio session today.

Frankly after more than 12 hours at work, I was happy to have anything to use for today's post - and these are definitely a lot better than nothing!

Part 1


And so to bed.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Day 2.190: Only one

Numbers are featuring heavily in E5N1's world at the moment. Yesterday a man asked him how old he was and he happily held up five fingers. After a little discussion, he acknowledged that he was two, but could not work out how to hold two fingers up.

Later on the walk at Five Rivers he walked up to some other trail users and held up ten fingers, saying "I'm two!" presumably he was only counting thumbs. Come to think of it, when asked to actually count something he tends to just say "two, three, four, five," without undue (or even due) reference to the objects in question.

None of this relates to today's title. Rather I was musing on the ease of blogging on days when I only have one presentable picture from the day's activities. Too many and I have to decide what to use, none and I have to dip into the back-catalogue - which is even more to choose from. I actually took four pictures to preserve this piece of my driveway artwork, but in the other three E5N1 had his finger up his nose. I thought I'd spare you that.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day 2.189: Do with a view

What goes around, comes around. Today Exile #2 was out from 9-5 at a MOPS committee planning meeting and I was therefore in sole custody of the kids.

The morning was pleasantly interrupted by us all helping load up a pick-up truck with a load of equipment that had been stored here while the church has been homeless for the last few weeks. At around lunchtime we had a birthday party (one of Exile #4's classmates) to go to. The weather was changeable, but managed to smile on the party which was mostly spent in bathing suits in and out of paddling pools and on and off an impressive swing-set/club-house-on-stilts structure.

The house was a new one on a fairly young development - a fairly common pattern in these parts, but it did have a spectacular view out towards the Berkshires across the Massachusetts border.

After we were reunited, we went for an evening walk at Five Rivers, saw a beaver (almost certainly) and the girls unintentionally and ill-advisedly offered their fingers to a snapping turtle. After Exile #3 had probably sparked its interest, Exile #4 followed her sister's lead and dipped her finger in the pond. She immediately spotted the large head looking up at her from just below the surface. She retracted herself rapidly from the snapping zone and we enjoyed a safer but still fairly close encounter with the giant creature before continuing our walk.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 2.188: Friday Haikus #3

Yesterday was wet
Really really really wet -
Ten weather alerts*

This day was Friday
We assembled for Rock Band
Even Exile #2

* This was the only previous day to have triggered so many.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Day 2.187: Anything will do...

...but someone called Club may wish to check your coat.

We saw these signs in Glens Falls back on Day 2.174. It would seem that any ID will do really - a drivers license or a non drivers license - that seems to cover all possibilities.

Maybe since Tilly gave the place up standards have slipped a bit?

Or maybe I'm JUST WILFULLY misunderstanding!
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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day 2.186: Sub-continental?

At some point today Exile #4 was explaining her game to Exile #2:

"We don't have a car, I ride my bicycle."
"I wash my clothes in the river."
"We don't have a kitchen, we cook and eat outside."
"I walk to the river to collect water."

Already wondering where she gets her ideas from, Exile #2 was floored by Exile #4's finale. Gesticulating down the side of the house she invited:

"If you want to come to India too, just come down the passage."'s a passage to India?

The picture is a taste of the 19th century from Mystic Seaport on Saturday - so it's more Connecticut than Calcutta.