Circles completing themselves.

I’m a big fan of bedtime and stories.  I’m also a big fan of clever illustration. And reading big words about small books.

A firm favourite in our house right now is Gorilla. It’s a fairly simple story, Daughter loves Dad, Dad works too hard, never has time for Daughter, Daughter loves gorillas, Daughter feels distanced from Dad, has a birthday present of a toy gorilla that she rejects and falls asleep. Overnight, the gorilla grows and takes her on an adventure.

There are some great touches in the book, for example the image below is challenging.  It shows Hannah eating her tea, probably a sandwich, alone. With only a television for company. The map of Africa makes reference to the home of gorillas. The weird shapes on the wall look quite terrifying (if you’re young). There’s bats and strange weird skull shapes, some weird pterodactyl like animal. It all looks very Victorian “darkest Africa”.

Before doing a bit of reading around on this (i.e. 5 minutes with google scholar), I’d never noticed the transformative effect the light from the television has. It manages to illuminate the corner of the room Hannah is in, and reveals the wallpaper in “a different light”.  As you can see, there are more comfortable images of butterflies and toadstools (the typical story book representation of a fly agaric it seems) in the viewing area the television highlights.

I suppose there is another way to look at this image of Hannah in the light of the television; rather than television being the transformative device, it’s Hannah and her world and thoughts of gorillas bring light and life into a strange house apparently full of strange shapes.

I didn’t really notice the brightness in that image, there’s such a sense of gloom and murk and general oppression.

I find two of the images in the book particularly bleak.

With this one, everything is straight, in line and the room is tidy and clean. Fastidious even. I quite like the kitchen colour scheme, and didn’t draw the parallels with the framing of the picture being very like the framing of a cell/zoo cage.

However, the tea towel (right) and kitchen accessories (left) have similar bar patterns to the bars the orang-utan and the chimpanzee are drawn behind later on. The way both of these animals are illustrated over 2 pages replicates the spatial arrangement of the tea towel and kitchen accessories.

Hannah’s Dad doesn’t look particularly happy either. Where’s his partner?

This image really dates the book, look at the furniture being used, look at the lack of a computer. Whatever it is Hannah’s Dad does, it requires a desk in the corner of the room. The lighting in this illustration shows that Hannah is really quite separate from her Dad. There’s a box of light that surrounds her, while her Dad is in the dark. Her shadow doesn’t reach across the gap either.

However, it’s not all gloom, doom, despondency, and dread of fathers.

Hannah goes to bed, where she dreams she goes to the Zoo with her Dad her toy gorilla.  The colour palette has changed, even the mugs are warm. The colour pattern reminds me of these blue and white mugs: .

The gorilla has plenty of bananas and Hannah has the perfect fantasy cafe feed. There’s cake, ice cream, burger, chips, tomato sauce, what looks like blancmange.

Finally, there’s this image.

There’s so much that I like about this image, the hair and the depth of colour (and the heavy fringe) are incredible.

Another aspect I’m particularly impressed by is the use of the observer perspective. I know, it’s the right thing to use, there’s a story of someone else and you’re watching/reading it.  But the concept of different perspectives in memory recall (think about an event in your life, are you watching it through your eyes (first person) or can you see the back of your head (third person)?) is particularly interesting.

This article: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784183/ suggests there’s a link between the age of a memory and the perspective it’s viewed from.

Importantly, the current investigation highlights the robustness of the relationship between perspective and memory age. Regardless of the method used, remote memories were rated as more third-person perspective and less first-person perspective compared to recent memories

Which gives another interpretation of the story presented. We’re seeing Hannah remember her toy gorilla and her Dad.

Big words about this small book in particular:

http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1023%2FA%3A1022407025112.pdf

http://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1023%2FA%3A1012760422501.pdf

Stuff about perspective and memory recall

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784183/

http://www.researchonline.mq.edu.au/vital/access/services/Download/mq:8999/DS02?view=true

http://www.sydneysymposium.unsw.edu.au/2011/chapters/EichSSSP2011.pdf

And to complete the circle, I did laps of Regent’s Park on Wednesday. There’s a point where you pass the ZSL, on one of the laps I saw a van delivering fruit and veg to the zoo. It made me think of the primates.

Circles completing themselves.

Ouch.

I don’t want to make the leap of “I did this” and “Now this has happened” but….

Last night I went out on my bike and I spent a lot of time in the drops, more than usual and definitely more than when I rode to Chelmsford on Saturday.

This morning I woke up twice. Once at 330 am to hear my neighbours discussing their plans of getting up and being out of the house at 830 am to catch their train at 847 am. And then again when the subtle alarm on my phone woke me up 6 am.

Somewhere between waking up at 330 and thinking “please, if there is anyone out there listening, do not let the neighbours have sex. I really don’t want to hear that” and going back to sleep and then waking up at 6,  my neck decided to stop working properly.

I can’t turn my head to the left without saying “ow”. I wouldn’t mind but:

I took the day off work

I took the day off work to ride a bike with Alex

 

I’m pretty fed up with the situation, fortunately I’ve booked another day off work next week to try again.

 

/csb

 

 

 

Ouch.

106. Four Minutes.

I definitely recommend reading this.

Repro Man - stories from a reluctant reprographer.

“Aye, it’s funny the stuff you remember,” he said.

Bernie was crouched over a circuit board, huge hands deftly dabbing a soldering iron onto contacts, little wisps of smoke drifting up from the quivering silver.

“I always went to the match wi’ me dad. We had season tickets for as long as I remember, and even after him and me mother divorced he took us to the game. It’s summat we had in common, like, a bond. Every Saturday I’d get the bus down to the pub where I knew he’d be, having a few pre-match pints, like. I were only sixteen so I didn’t drink owt, but he liked a few.

“We always had some snap. Sarnies and stuff. We had them at half time. He used to nip off at forty minutes for a piss to beat the rush. If you went at half time you’d find your…

View original post 1,090 more words

106. Four Minutes.

Toddlebiker

Update time!

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D O P E

I signed Miriam up to the Toddlebike trial earlier this year. I think it’s safe to say that she’s quite keen on her transport system. When I remember to offer the option of “pushchair” or “bike”, bike usually wins. EVEN if I ask the question the other way around.

The first time she used it, she insisted that her mate came with her on the journey.

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First ride

As well as coping with the stress of carrying a passenger, she also managed some savage downhill sections.

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Skillz

Yes. That’s road salt. Treacherous downhilling. WITH ICE. AND A BABY.

Anyway. Miriam loves her bike. She’s pretty competent and capable, shows more courage than her Dad does with negative gradients. More importantly, her crashes don’t cost as much.

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Cyclocross

At first she would carry her bike around, something she still does when she stops at the kerb to cross a road. She picks up the bike, I lift her and her bike.  We cross, “no cars”, and then she’s off again.

It’s great for getting around the park, getting to the park, going to the shops and stuff. I’ve yet to test it on the morning “dash to the childminder”. I think it’s probably best left for fun, rather than for function.

The bike itself is great. It’s light, it’s plastic, it’s brightly coloured. I cannot recommend them enough. Miriam loves it, it brings an amazing amount of fun into her life. And moments of panic into mine.

So it’s a perfect learning tool for the both of us, and we still get to have f u n.

Croydon-20130328-00890

Toddlebiker

It’s Friday.

Thursday nights. Ooh Thursday nights. Out into the wildes of Kent. Dodging Badgers, Rabbits, Foxes, Cats, Doggers.

Last week: A partial lunar eclipse, with a pink moon, a dash for the line, slight diversion on the way home.

This week: Slightly colder. People dropping out left, right, and centre. Poorly shifting front mech, preventing me from shifting from the “big” ring to the “small” ring. A slight spill (no damage to the bike, or me). And a puncture.

Anyway. These three seem apt today.

It’s Friday.