samedi, janvier 31, 2015

Happy new year and Jeff Koons

Happy new year 2015. In France, we have until the end of January to wish everyone a happy new year. So let me take this 31 January 2015 to wish you readers a good year ahead. A month is almost over and I hope you are already enjoying this new year.

Over here, things are good. My boys are coughing but not too sick to miss school. A1 told me half his class were not in last friday. A2's class was no better. There were many people down with stomach flu and the common cold. 

The highlight of this month was Epiphany. A2 loves King's cake so much that we had it every weekend (Saturday and Sunday) and I even made it twice. The whole family had the chance to be King or Queen. That just goes to show how many King's cakes we had. 

Another highlight was my company's annual dinner. Before dinner, we attended an organised tour of the exhibition of Jeff Koons at the museum of Centre Pompidou. With the guide's explaination, it helped us to understand better this modern artist and businessman. 

Below, he used stainless steel to make these statues. They were so real that I would love to touch the inflated rabbit to make sure it was hard as steel.

 This hanging heart below weighed a ton though it looked empty and light.
 This balloon dog was really lovely to look at. His orange counterpart fetched his master a record of US$58.4 million.
 This float was covered in aluminium and then repainted to make it look like a plastic float. Well, Jeff Koon has 100 artists working for him. I am sure it is easy for him to get his workers to execute his genius ideas.
I do like some of his works and his ideas. However, knowing that he has workers executing his art pieces, I find him more of a businessman than an art master.

If you are interested to read more about his works, I found this post talking about Jeff Koon's art show in New York. The one at Centre Pompidou was here to see the site.

dimanche, janvier 18, 2015


For Christmas, A1 received a box of Kapla. Though the boys had Duplo bricks and wooden construction blocks, Kapla took structure building to a whole new level. 

A1 had already played with Kapla in school so he was really happy to own a set. Kapla is a set of identical small wooden planks. With imagination, one can build complicated stuff with these stable planks. 
The box came with a book showing different creations. While A2 was building a simple garage for his car, A1 and I tried to recreate what we saw in the book. Here is one of our simple construction. I would recommend this for boys and girls of all ages as a toy. 

Many years ago, I watched on TV, a program about the creator of Kapla. When he first invented Kapla, he had a hard time convincing the market that these boring looking planks would be a great educational tool for children. He finally found success when he introduced Kapla to school teachers for recreational usage. Parents asked the school about the wooden planks their children were enjoying in school and that was how Kapla became so popular. I knew then I would have to have this if I ever had kids. And yes, it has been fulfilled.

vendredi, janvier 09, 2015

Je suis Charlie

I could not believe it but this is real. France had been attacked at its core, the freedom of expression. It seemed like a dream, a nightmare but it was not. Every word in this song was so true that I teared.
I live in France for 11 years. I came to understand that the freedom of expression is very strong in France and that the French makes joke out of any situation. Really any situation, even in bad bad situations. This is the unique french humour.
If you can't accept, look away. No need to get all violent.

I leave you with the video and the english translation. 

English Translation
I'm not scared of you the extremist
You who kills our journalists
Do you believe you're a crusader
When you kill our policemen (guardians of peace)
Do you think you really have balls
When you kill your own brother
When on the ground he begged for mercy
It's enough I had enough

If you ask where is Charlie
He will be forever in our minds
A bullet shot for a pencil strike
You are dishonoring your religion

Go to Syria for Djihad
And come back for killing
Is that your carrier plan?
Do you think about the families behind?
Did you feel threatened by a pencil strike?
Satires in a newspaper?
Was it worth the death sentence?
You come coldly from Reims
armed and ready like a prince
Shouting the name of your God
Who wont even want you once dead
Respect of differences
Is what makes the beauty of France
This morning you ruined everything
It is hate that you have spread
I don't care where you pray
Don't attack the press
Because when war rages there
You're happy that there are cameras
Don't talk of religion
This excuse is simply bogus
I don't think there's a book
Asking you to shoot others
Even if I want to make a call of arms
I don't put everyone in the same basket
It is starting with an amalgam
That we create swastikas
I'm not scared, I am French
And it is standing that you will find me
Against you I draw my pen
Because I am also Charlie Hebdo
Trampling our freedom of speech
It means to attack our whole nation
We're 66 million and we tell you
Me too I am Charlie

Charlie Hebdo, a satirical news journal with not a big following had been attacked on 07 Jan 2015. Two gunmen went into the office and killed several people. The gunmen initally entered the wrong building and shot dead the receptionist. When they were leaving the office, they shot dead two policemen. A total of 12 victims.