Posts Tagged: London

The Next Two Weeks: San Francisco, Germany, and London

The next two weeks are going to be very busy with me flitting here there and everywhere for (mostly) business purposes.
On Sunday, I will drive up to the Bay Area for some Python Rehab. Actually, I am going to some training but it sounds much more fun to say to people that Python and I aren’t speaking right now, due to some tuples, and so I am checking myself into programming rehab. No seriously, I keep getting tuple errors (little ass*s)…
If you live in SF or Oakland or South Bay and want to get together for dinner, I am trying to get folks together either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday evening in San Francisco proper.
And then sometime, not quite sure when yet, late next week, I will be flying to Germany for a big adventure of which when I have a bit more info, I will blog about. Yes, this another one of the WOM World / Nokia adventures. This one will involve Industrial Design + Manufacturing + Photowalks, which means it will be AWESOME. I love factories, esp. if I can take photos and ask lots of questions.
Rather than flying back to LA after 4 days in Europe, I have requested that I get dropped off in London. I plan to be in London until the 28th of June at the very least and I will be attending Tuttle Club at the ICA on Friday, June 26th. Thus, if you are in London-town from the 25th to the 28th and want to go for a photowalk or to dim sum or to a museum with me, let’s meet up.

Sex in the City or Extensive Handholding in the Countryside, I Prefer the Second

The movie “Sex in the City” was released today. My reaction is “meh.” A friend sent around an email to a group of us asking if we wanted to go to lunch or to see “Sex in the City”. I voted for lunch. Date to be determined.
Now let me make a few caveats:
1) I have not ever owned my own TV. In fact, I have not lived in a household with a TV since college. That is nearly two decades of TV-less living. I am VERY behind in my TV watching by choice. So, I have never, not once, seen the HBO TV series “Sex in the City“.
2) In recent months, to not appear to the the serious computer savvy luddite or jacobite that I can be at times, I got a Netflix subscription of 2 movies a month, of which I watch on my MacBook Pro with headphones. My Netflix movie subscription has most comprised of Bollywood romantic comedies (no kissing, no real handholding), Jane Austen movies (Extensive handholding in the countryside), an odd happy indy foreign film, and a few indy cinema classics.
Basically, I did not grow up in a happy, intact family in the ‘burbs, so I really don’t like horror movies, film noir, serious complex indy films, and throw away sex movies. I grew up in a constantly divorcing & moving family in the sometimes burbs and now I like nice, happy movies with redemptive endings. Mock me all you want to, I lived the shit and now I want a happy ending.
3) New York is a foreign country to me. London and Mumbai are much more familiar cities to me. I have been to NYC a number of times and could not wait to get out. My last visit, I stayed for only four hours to go to dinner & see a band, and then got out as fast as possible. I love London, I go there all the time. I fell in love with Mumbai this February and plan on going back soon.
Movies and TV shows about New York are odd to me. It is another culture, a bizarre one at that, that I really don’t get. Los Angles, London, Istanbul, and Mumbai, I get and like. I will watch films about those cities.
4) If you have met me then you know a very important fact about me, I have a case of terminal nice girl. Forget the funny colors in the hair (honey, that is all about art & color), forget the tendency towards loud & fast music, forget the tendency towards outrageous stories (I am a Hanen after all!), but remember I am a nice girl despite the colorful external trappings. Viva extensive handholding in the countryside!
End of caveats.
One thing I have done for years, to make up for my lack of TV watching and movie attendance, is to read the LA Times’ film review section in the Friday Calendar so that I can at least know some of the plot and the critics’ opinions on the latest movies. I surprise friends with my skimmed knowledge of the latest flicks at times even when I have no intention of seeing them at all, not now in the theatre or later on DVD.
After my friend’s email and all the hype about “Sex in the City” to women of my age group (post-25, pre-60), I made sure that I read today’s LA Times review about the movie. It was glowing. It made love to Carrie, Samantha, et al. The LA Times critic, Carina Chocano, seems to think even though they would deny that they ever stepped into the theatre that men would like the movie. The LA Times asserts that the film is quite revolutionary for Hollywood, in that it depicts middle-aged women (40-50) having a complete, fulfilled independent life.

“Sex and the City” can’t rightly be called a romantic comedy in the dismal, contemporary sense, though it is at times romantic and is consistently very funny. It’s also emotionally realistic, even brutal. Carrie (Sarah Jessica Parker), Miranda (Cynthia Nixon), Charlotte (Kristin Davis) and Samantha (Kim Cattrall), now in their 40s and 50s, continue to navigate the choppy waters of urban life, negotiating relationships, work, fertility and friendship, only now the stakes are higher, the risks are bigger and decisions feel more permanent.
For a film that delights in indulging in frivolity at every possible turn, it examines subjects that most movies don’t dare graze for their terrifying seriousness. And when it does, the movie handles them with surprising grace, wit and maturity. In other words, it’s a movie for grown-ups of all ages. The press and industry screening I attended was uncharacteristically packed with women in their 20s, and my guess is that their interest had zero to do with the inclusion of Jennifer Hudson as Carrie’s personal assistant — though her character, Louise, is likable and allows the writer to expand the scope of the film from a story about four friends living in New York into a tale about the contemporary lives of urban women from early adulthood to maturity.

After I read this review, I thought, “Hmmm… maybe I will put it in my Netflix queue to watch much, much, much later.”
But then the New Yorker’s film critic, Anthony Lane, panned the movie as an extendede TV show on steriods, ending his review with this quote:

In short, to anyone facing the quandaries of being a working mother, the movie sends a vicious memo: Don’t be a mother. And don’t work. Is this really where we have ended up–with this superannuated fantasy posing as a slice of modern life? On TV, “Sex and the City” was never as insulting as “Desperate Housewives,” which strikes me as catastrophically retrograde, but, almost sixty years after “All About Eve,” which also featured four major female roles, there is a deep sadness in the sight of Carrie and friends defining themselves not as Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, Celeste Holm, and Thelma Ritter did–by their talents, their hats, and the swordplay of their wits–but purely by their ability to snare and keep a man. Believe me, ladies, we’re not worth it. It’s true that Samantha finally disposes of one paramour, but only with a view to landing another, and her parting shot is a beauty: “I love you, but I love me more.” I have a terrible feeling that “Sex and the City” expects us not to disapprove of that line, or even to laugh at it, but to exclaim in unison, “You go, girl.”

I really am not interested in watching a movie about NYC consumerist fashion obsessed women. If I wanted to watch something vaguely similar, even if the West Coast version, I could go to any upscale bar or restaurant in Newport Beach or the Westside of LA and watch it live and in person. Bah.
What ever happened to hand holding and true love or at least love that is concerned with others as well as self? I guess I will be missing “Sex in the City” and I could watch a Jane Austen flick or a Mira Nair movie. Or maybe I will read a book instead.

Nokia’s Urbanista Diaries: The Countdown Begins

Gratuitous Dog Nose Photo - Belle
Gratuitous Dog Nose photo taken by Jen Hanen with her Nokia N95 in Dec. 2007

Tues 01.29.08 – One week from tomorrow afternoon, I get on an airplane and start the start of my portion of the Nokia Urbanista Diaries!
Hee hee hee… Can we say excited? Yep. Can we say extra excited about traveling to Europe -> India -> Europe with a Nokia N82 in hand? Yep. Can we say that there is too much to do before next Wednesday? Yep!
Here is my Urbanista Diaries schedule:
Wed. Feb. 6th : Leave LA for London
Thurs. Feb. 7th : Arrive London – Trot around London for the Day.
* Celebrate Chinese New Year with Steve Marshall at the Jade Garden in Soho for a Dim Sum lunch!
Fri. Feb. 8th : Depart London for Chennai, India
Late Friday / Early Sat : Arrive Chennai
Sat. Feb. 10th : Meet up with Urbanista Jay in Chennai, receive mobile ‘baton’
Mon. Feb. 11th : Depart Chennai for Bangalore
* Hangout in Bangalore for 2 days. Take photos.
Wed. Feb. 13th: Depart Bangalore for Kochi, Kerala
* Hangout in Kochi. Trot around taking photos.
Fri. Feb. 15th: Depart Kochi for Goa
* Goa. 2.5 days. Photos. Old Goa.
Mon. Feb. 18th: Depart Goa for Mumbai
* Mumbai (aka Bombay). 2.5 days. Photos. Have fun.
Early Thurs. Feb. 21st :Depart Mumbai for Vienna, Austria
*(Hello! One small suitcase. Tropical climate to European winter! Hello! Crazy!)
Sat. Feb. 23rd: Pass off mobile ‘baton’ to Urbanista Ryan
Sun. Feb. 24th : Depart Vienna for London.
*Attempt to stay in Oxford and London for a few days before departing for home (SoCal).
Wed. Feb. 26th : Fall into a puddle and sleep for multiple days.
* Then go to Austin, Texas for SXSW to speak at Interactive and enjoy Music from March 6 – 16th. ;o)
I will mind getting the two client websites I need to finish before departure on the 6th, as well as take my anti-malaria pills on schedule, and you all can mind your bits by doing the following:
1) Don’t forget that there is a contest to win a Nokia N82 every week during the Urbanista adventures. Just go to the website, look at the photos, log in, and identify the photo of the week. And hopefully win a kick ass camera phone.
2) Download the Urbanista Ms. Jen Widget and add it to your blog, iGoogle, Facebook or MySpace. If you can’t find the embed code to work for you, I have posted a plain text version here that can be copied and pasted onto your blog or MySpace space.
3) Hey, I am going to be in India from Feb. 9th to 20th. If you have any friends or connections in Chennai, Bangalore, Kochi, Goa or Mumbai who would like to go out on a mobile photo walk or show me the wonders of their city, please email me at ‘blackphoebe at gmail dot com’. Any recommendations would be lovely! Let me know!


Tue 11.27.07 – Doris Salcedo’s “Shibboleth” in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern.

London – Day 3 – Red Poppy Day

Fall Colors Hyde Park Feeding and Photo'ing the Fowl The Serpentine, Hyde Park Bright Tree Horse Guards 1914 + 1919 War Memorial and the Wellington Arch The Australian War Memorial Leaves at the Australian War Memorial The Flame Memorial for Commonwealth Allies Remembrance Day Parade Route Bright Yellow Trees in St. James' Park The Welsh Guard March

Sun. Nov 11, 2007 – Today is Remembrance Day in the UK, Veteran’s Day in the US, and “Red Poppy” Day according to Ms. Jen.
Starting this Thursday, while at Chicago O’Hare airport, I saw a few red poppies pinned to coat lapels. Growing up in SoCal, I don’t remember red poppy pins as a way to symbolize the Great War (WW1), although my Mom says they wore them to school when she was a child in the 1950s in Los Angeles.
The first time I can remember noting them was in Ireland two years ago. Ever since arriving here in the UK early on Friday morning, I am have been seeing Red Poppy lapel pins en masse.
Walking around Hyde Park, the Great War Memorial, the Australian Memorial, and St. James’s Park this afternoon, red poppy wreaths and lapel pins were everywhere. I apparently just missed the big parade, but was just in time for the Welsh Guard veteran’s march.