A journal of TMI

Gather Round the Stove in Winter

The winter of 2010 was really an extraordinary one in Philadelphia. It was bone-chillingly cold with multiple blizzards that continually shut down the city. It was fun on some nights to take to the streets and wander around, as car traffic was mostly at a complete standstill.

Even when people could get out, they tended to stay put, as moving a car meant not being able to find a new parking space, and losing the one you had.  I spent a lot of time watching movies with my house-mates, in between my gigs teaching adults English here: http://www.nationalitiesservice.org/, and providing acupuncture here: http://www.barefootclinic.com/. Some of the best times were when my friend Rob would come over with his daughters Ruby

and Amelia, whom I had dubbed when I met them as Seven and Eleven, because that was their ages, and it made them sound like cool robots. I knew it wouldn’t last, so I let go of the nick-names, but to preserve the moment, I made this little slideshow.

Anyway, when they all came over we would usually cook a huge dinner and invite anyone else within earshot over to eat it, then we would play games, do arts and crafts, put on records and dance, and as I said above, watch a lot of movies.

When it got warmer we would take Ruby and Amelia to different parks and run them around like dogs for an hour to give them exercise and burn off their youthful energy. One night (when the girls weren’t there) we were catching up on our classic Russian Sci-Fi genre by watching Andrei Tarkovsky’s film Solaris. We were transfixed and impressed, but at the same time we had to admit that it had the feel of a boring foreign film. Suddenly I had an idea. Why don’t we re-make Solaris? but as a ten minute ridiculous action film that somehow hit all the key parts? The idea was quickly accepted as the course forward. Now our movie and dinner nights meant making movies! The girls were promised starring roles in outer space suits. They absolutely loved the first night of filming and bravely pulled extra work hours during my last days in town to help finish the project, but it was tough convincing them to stay committed during the long in-between haul. To be fair, it never is much fun to sit around and watch other people’s takes when you want to be in front of the camera.

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