Week 3 – Yours, mine, ours: REMIX

Before getting into the nitty gritty of what I actually produced I’m writing this short preface so that, if you so desire, you can gain an insight into my thought process behind this assignment.  Out of all blog posts I’ve ever done towards my degree, this is the one that I’ve struggled with the most.  Creativity, and sharing what I have produced, is not something that comes easily to me.  Perhaps I was intimated by the idea of taking the work of someone else or taking something perfectly suited and established within one context and moving it around into another.

After struggling with this concept and three written blog posts later, I decided that enough was enough and that it was time to go back to basics – a strait line.  When I was in secondary school, my maths teacher used to encourage us to play with mathematics, just briefly, if we were ever getting bogged down, fixating on a single problem, and frustrating ourselves at a lack of understanding.  So it was likely out of habit that I decided to remix 16 vertical lines, into a parabolic curve (shown below).

After having completed that, and honestly having given up a little because I still felt as though what I had produced was not sufficient, my brief talk with you Ravi lead me to my final remix.  Although if I’m honest I see it as more of a reverse remix. Stories, as much as they can live in great detail and complexity within books, on the stage, and in video, can all be traced back to the stories that were shared verbally and passed down through the generations by oration and simple human interaction.

Consequently, and considering my final project for this course, the final remix I am submitting for blog post 3 is an audio recording of me reading Oh, The Places You’ll Go. A story first read to me by my mom, which conveys a message I think we should all carry with us and be reminded of once in a while.

Week 2 – Making a scene

Standing at the sink looking out the window at the bird feeder, with a dishtowel in his hands Kevin turned to Teddy,  “Okay… the floors have been vacuumed, you went for a nice long walk, the bathrooms are all clean  – no thanks to you I might add.  The laundry is in the dryer, dish washer is running, dinner is in the crock pot… I thinks that everyone, time to pick the girls up from school. What time is it?”

Hanging the dishtowel over the side of the sink, Kevin patted his pockets, “Where’s my phone?  Teddy, have you seen my phone?”

Teddy looks up at Kevin, head slightly cocked to one side. “You know you could at least try to help out a little.” Kevin sighed in exasperation, as he moved around the kitchen muttering to himself. “Ah! Found it.” Kevin exclaimed as he put is phone into his pocket.

“Okay Teddy, phone, check.  House keys, check.  Car keys, check.  Wallet, check.  Grocery bags…check. Time to go, I’m going to pick up the girls Teddy. Be a good boy until we get home.”  Dashing out of the house, Kevin shot strait to the blue minivan parked in the driveway of large bungalow.  Tossing the grocery bags into the front seat of the van, and with practiced ease, he pulled out of the driveway and went to pick up Samantha and Clara from school.

Pulling into the Chase Elementary School parking lot, Kevin walked around to the back of the school towards the playground where the children were busy squeezing a few more minuets of play.  Sighting the girls on the climbing frame, he decided to head towards the group of parents – or more accurately the group of mothers – gathered in the shade along with his twin’s teacher.

“Good afternoon, how is everyone doing today?” Kevin asked as he approached the women.  The group turned to him as he approached, and like always, opened very reluctantly to allow him in.

“Hi Kevin, today is a good day thank you.  The girls were absolute angles today, as always. I’m going to miss not having them in my class next year” Ms. Lioné said, directing a radiant smile towards Kevin.

“We were just talking about what a crazy day I had at the office. Oh and look at the time.” Jennifer said.  Turning away from the assembly of adults and projecting her voice out to the playground, she bellowed “Jasper! Jasper! Come on, we need to leave for gymnastics honey because mommy needs to get back to work.”  Turning back to face the group of women she was talking to previously Jennifer said, ” I’d love to stay and but someone’s got to put food on the table. Have a great rest of your day girls. Kevin.”  Walking away from the adults, Jennifer went to get Jasper from the playground before heading away towards the carpark.

“Gosh, some people. Don’t listen to her Kevin, we really admire what you’ve done.  Why is it expected for a woman to give up her career when they have kids, but it’s considered lazy when a man does it?” Ms. Lioné said.

“Thank you ladies, I appreciate it.  But at the end of the day I don’t care what people think Alexandria and I are happy, and most importantly the girls have someone to come home too at the end of the day. Them being happy is all we want. If you’ll excuse me ladies, I better get my girls and head home – they want to make a surprise for their mom before she comes home from work today.” Saying his goodbyes, Kevin excused himself from the group and went towards he climbing frame to take Samantha and Clara home.

Week 1 – The truth is a lie we tell ourselves

In an academic environment such as university it is almost surreal sitting here and being asked to construct a believable lie about myself.  So Ravi, what lie can I tell you about myself?

As you know I’ve had the good fortune of moving around a lot as a child and have lived in a few different countries.  What you may not know about me is that for a few months my family and I lived in Shanghai, during this time we were moving around a LOT, and to make sure that I did not fall behind in school my mom homeschooled me.  She pushing my along at my pace rather than that of the ‘normal’ school curriculum, which resulted in a few delays in me getting into the correct class at an international school. We were in Shanghai for almost two months when I was finally enrolled in a school and the timing of my enrolment meant that I was in school for a grand total of one day before the holidays started.  After that we ended up moving back to the UK, so despite living in China for three (ish) months, I can say that I went to school for a grand total of one day.

Now even though I was only there for such a short period of time, it was all still strange and eventful enough for me to remember it all vividly, well kind of.  In the morning I was kept in this little side room by myself, with a few different teacher coming in and out as they made me do a bunch of tests to evaluate what section I needed to be placed in.  After that I was sent to the lower school, to have a Mandarin class with the kindergarten students – to this day  I’m almost certain that at least a quarter of them actually were smarter than me.

Once Mandarin class was over I was sent back to the middle school so that I could have lunch with students my age.  It was interesting though because the school did not have a main cafeteria, instead this trolly was brought up to each classroom with the rice and all the other side dished, and this big pot of soup.  Everyone would line up, grab a tray of food and a bowl, get the bowl filled with soup, and then sit at their desks and eat.  A few of the more social students would push their desks together so they could eat and talk.

Chinese school lunchVery confused by this all, and more than a little disgusted by the strange food, I sat in the corner by myself – pushing questionably smelling meat around on my tray – until I decided that the best course of action would be to hide in the bathroom until lunch was over. Excusing myself from the classroom, I went to the bathroom and was even more horrified when rather than individual stalls it was rather a trough with a few dividing walls that greeted me.  A sight similar to the one below.

Chinese trough bathroom

I suppose than normal behaviour for a bewildered child would be to walk in, see something strange and walk back out.  For some reason though I decided to sue the bathroom even though I really did not need to.  Perhaps it was because there were other girls in there and I did not want to seem strange walking in and just walking out. Perhaps it was because I felt adventurous and as though this was an element of the culture that I need to experience.  I’m not really sure why, but on that faithful day I decided to use the trough bathroom.

Now not to get into any unpleasant specifics, but that is also they day I learnt that it is truly a skill to be able to squat and pee into a trough whilst wearing uniform trousers… needless to say, things got more than a little messy, I got to go home early, and that was thankfully my first and last day at that school in Shanghai.