Adonis Diaries

Archive for August 21st, 2016

An open letter to my new baby girl Alex
Christine Khodeir posted this link

Lettre ouverte à ma petite-fille Alex.

La courte histoire de mon court séjour auprès de toi du 4 au 28 Juin 2016.

Tu es née en ce beau matin du 4 Juin 2016 les yeux grands ouverts, comme si tu etais déjà inquiète si ta mère allait bien après la souffrance et les heures interminables que ça lui avait pris pour te mettre au monde.

Je te voyais sortir, t’agitant déjà, dans une petite couveuse pour aller subir les premiers soins de ton arrivée à ce monde, à la vie extérieure, pendant que moi je suivais du coeur derrière une porte fermée, le rétablissement de mon bébé, ma fille, ta maman qui t’a mise au monde.

Il est tard, tu es enveloppée dans ton berceau comme une jolie confiserie rose.

Tu dors dans la chambre de ta maman et de ton papa effondrés et morts de fatigue.
Tout le monde sommeille sauf moi. Je suis réveillée et je pense à toi.

Je pense à tout ce qu’il faudrait que je te dise, à tout ce qu’il faudrait que tu dois savoir.

N’est-ce pas le rôle d’une grand-mère? Dans ma tête, oui, c’etait celui de la mienne et pourtant je ne suis pas sûre de ce que je dois te transmettre….

D’abord, je tiens à parler de ta petite famille, nous tous, ta maman et ton papa.
Cette drôle de petite bande.

Pas si différente de la plupart des familles finalement. Mais nous sommes uniques à notre façon.

Les familles sont comme les bébés. A la surface, elles se ressemblent, mais en y regardant de plus près on s’aperçoit qu’il n’y en a pas deux pareilles….
Tu mettras un certain temps a t’habituer, mais tu y arriveras.

La principale chose à savoir sur nous est la suivante:
Nous allons t’adorer.

Alex, ah si tu pouvais nous voir comme nos yeux s’illuminent à la mention de ton nom, nos voix s’attendrissent quand nous parlons de toi, nos yeux brillent et nos coeurs fondent lorsque nous te portons!
Nous sommes ta famille pour toujours. Nous prendrons soin de toi et t’encouragerons.

C’est ça l’amour, Alex. Il est indestructible, sans limite et se moque de la distance. Surtout pour moi qui serais loin de toi, mais malgré la distance, dans mon coeur pour toujours et à jamais…

Je vais t’offrir un petit conseil. A prendre ou à laisser.

Mais rappelle-toi toujours, la vie est un jeu. Tu es une novice et je suis une pro. Ecoute ces quelques trucs:
Prends soin de toi, dis la vérité, aime les hommes de ta vie et cheris les femmes avec qui tu riras, pleureras et qui seront à tes côtés, prête attention au monde autour de toi et surtout:

Appele ta mamie (moi) et compte sur elle. Elle sera toujours ravie d’entendre ta voix, de te voir et tu verras comme elle va te gâter.
Et maintenant, je vais me coucher, il faut que je prenne soin de moi pour pouvoir, demain et pour toujours (pour ce qui en reste), prendre soin de toi et de tes futurs frères et cousins.
Dors bien ma douce petite-fille Alex. Je veille sur toi, maintenant de près et même de loin, chaque jour avec mes pensées, puisque je ne serais pas chaque jour à tes côtés.
Et si tu as besoin de quoi que ce soit, réveille ton papa.

Ta mamie, Chrisitne qui t’aime.

Raised By A Strong Mother?

What did You Learn?

You learn that she still knows more about love than you do? (on the Taxonomy of love?)

1. You learn the value of independence. You don’t need a man to save you or anyone to take care of you, you learn by example that you are capable of living a full and happy life without having to share it with someone else. You learn that you can build a home, raise kids, cook, and do the dishes all while having a thriving career. You pretty much learn how to be super woman.

2. You learn the meaning of unconditional love. You saw your mom sacrifice her time, health and youth for you and your siblings, yet she never complained or gloated about how much she is suffering or how much she is doing. She always had a smile on her face and was happily giving more and more of herself. She taught you what selfless and unconditional love looks like, and you know you won’t be able to find that love anywhere else.

Noor Khalil to Jeanine Fakhoury shared this link

3. You learn how to love yourself. You learn how to walk away from the things that are not meant for you, you learn how to keep going even when the whole world is against you, and you learn how to believe in yourself when everyone is doubting you. You learn that bad grades, heart breaks and failures don’t define you; what defines you is how you bounce back from all the setbacks and how hard you fight for the life you want.

4. You learn that you can be both strong and soft. Strong mothers are usually very sensitive they just hide it better, but you saw your mom silently cry over your pain, or stay up all night taking care of you when you were sick, or the nights she couldn’t sleep because something was troubling you. The way she hugs you when you are down shows unmatched compassion and tenderness and sometimes in a quiet corner you saw her shed a few tears.

5. You learn that it’s not easy being a woman. You learn that your opinion will be discounted, that you will be taken lightly when you’re being serious, but you will also learn that you can stand out in a crowd and force everyone to listen to your voice and accept your ideas. You learn that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

6. You learn never to look back. You learn to let all the “what ifs” and “could have beens” go. You learn not to look back and wonder why life turned upside down. You just keep looking forward and let the past redeem itself. You learn that everything that happened got you to where you belong even if it is nothing you ever wished for.

7. You learn the importance of patience and faith. You learn that God is looking out for you and your struggles, that everything will be OK in the end. Storms will pass and tomorrow is a new day. You learn to be patient with life, patient with timing, patient with success and patient with problems. You learn that patience is strength.

8. You learn how to create your own happiness. You can find happiness in a difficult life. You can still be happy even if  you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. My mom taught me that I can always find something to smile about all I have to do is look closer.

9. You learn that she still knows more about love than you do. Even when you are generations apart, even if you are not fond of her love choices, if she doesn’t approve of someone you better listen to her. She knows what she is saying; moreover, she doesn’t want to see you get heartbroken. As much as I hate to admit it, she got it right every time.

10. You learn how to be a good mother. You’ve been raised by a mom who showed you how to truly take care of a family, who showed you that hard work pays off, who showed you that you can love someone unconditionally. She showed you how to be protective, loving, kind, compassionate, strong and resilient. She was leading by example, and whether you know it or not, you are following in her footsteps one step at a time.

Note: Strong or less strong mothers, they are a species of their own.

Werner Herzog on the future of film school, critical connectivity, and Pokémon Go

‘Unfortunately, film school is not going to go extinct. I wish it would.’

Don’t wait for the system to accept you

By Emily Yoshida. on July 28, 2016 03:25 pm

Repetition is a powerful tool for both filmmakers and teachers, and Professor Werner Herzog wants you to know two things:

1.  he doesn’t have a cell phone (later he will tell you that he does, but only for emergencies) and

2. he didn’t know movies existed until he was 11.

He’s dropped these facts both as humorous anecdotes and boastful claims at screenings of his upcoming documentary Lo and Behold, in the video lectures for his recently released online filmmaking course with MasterClass, and in our conversation two weeks ago in Los Angeles.

It’s a provocation of sorts — who would trust a man without a cell phone to direct a documentary about our connected world?

Who would trust someone who didn’t grow up dazzled by Star Wars or Spielberg to teach filmmaking?

These are questions nobody asks because this is Werner Herzog.

As a documentarian who has traveled to the furthest reaches of the indifferent wilderness to ponder humanity’s place in it, there are very few filmmakers whose perspective on our digital lives I’d be more interested in.

Lo and Behold, which was financed by a network management company, examines the myriad ways our nature as humans has adapted to, and sometimes violently resisted the constraints and freedoms of online life.

Told in short, episodic acts, the film’s subjects range from a family that was targeted by unimaginable harassment after the death of their daughter, to an internet addiction rehab facility, to the UCLA basement where the very first message was sent over a network.

Andrew Bossone shared this link. The full interview:

It’s a delight to be taught by one of our least cynical filmmakers

Herzog has become almost a meme in recent years, his signature dour voice-overs sent up by Samantha Bee and in maudlin teen movies.

But the reason he has a loyal following, and why thousands of eager filmmakers from all walks of life have signed up to access his MasterClass lectures, and applied to his more rigorous, in-person Rogue Film School, is his transcendent empathy as a filmmaker. This also makes him a great teacher.

Come for the hyperbolic throwaway lines (“I do not use a storyboard, I think it is an instrument of the cowards”), stay for the uncompromising creative pep talk.

I had doubts about how this would be conveyed through a series of videos and a PDF course book, but when I did sit down to watch Herzog’s MasterClass, suddenly the interface didn’t matter — it’s a delight to be taught by someone who, despite the surface morbidity, is one of the least cynical filmmakers currently working.

Of course, interviewing him was another matter, and I soon realized that when you’re talking to Werner Herzog, you have to throw your questions out the window. Maybe that’s how we ended up discussing the inherent violence of Pokémon Go.

You’re now the teacher of two different film courses. How would you quantify the difference between what someone gets for $1,500 at the Rogue Film School, and for $90 with your MasterClass?

The Rogue Film School is a very intense encounter, direct encounter with aspiring filmmakers. All of them are actually professionals already. I would not choose amateurs.

It’s much more about the guerrilla style filmmaking including things that go outside of the limits of legality.

Sometimes I would teach them how to forge a shooting permit in a military dictatorship, which I’ve done twice. It’s a different approach, and of course much more [focused] since it is in such direct contact with the students. They have their voice and I listen to them and they can talk about their problems and obstacles and doubts.

You see, with the Rogue Film School, everybody has to send me a written application — which I read, every single one — and everyone has to send me a film. I’m the committee who checks out the film. I watch them all, hundreds and hundreds and I would make a very tight selection of a maximum of 50 people.

Whereas the MasterClass is something where I do not have anyone in front of me with the exception of a couple of cameras.

I have to try to speak from my experience and get something across that would be helpful for those who are aspiring filmmakers. MasterClass is also meant for young people, people of any age who have not made films yet.

Have you seen any changes or shifts in the work and in the submissions over the past seven years?

There are always surprises. All of a sudden there is a film that is not really accomplished, but in the film there is a minute of utterly new unseen stuff that just makes you sit down and take a deep breath.

Those are the [filmmakers] I would invite [to Rogue Film School], those who are not following on the trodden path. The MasterClass speaks to you in the same way.

Find your own voice, do not just stupidly and blindly follow the so-called rules of storytelling in terms of screenplays, the three-act theory, all these things. Find your voice, find your own identity, don’t be afraid just to step into it.

Because today it’s fairly easy; you can make a film with a very high caliber camera that’s not expensive anymore.

You can record sound on your cell phone if you add a good microphone and you can edit your film on your laptop.

you can make a feature film for $10,000 or under. And that’s what I keep telling the students or those who watch the MasterClass: don’t wait for the system to accept you. You create your own system, create your own [budget] and make your own first feature film or your first own documentary.

More and more that DIY spirit is the dominant attitude of young filmmakers, especially those putting their work directly online. Do you think traditional film school will ever go extinct?

No, unfortunately they are not going to go completely extinct; I wish they would. I wish everybody would come out of nowhere and be self-taught by life itself, by the world itself.

No, [film school is] going to stay because there is a general demand for content, let’s say, on television. And the film industry has some sort of a permanent demand for content. Let it be like that. I do not want to challenge it. But when you look into my MasterClass you better be out for something else.

Have you seen the MasterClass?

Yes, but I haven’t seen all of it. I watched about three of the lessons and then it started getting to the assignments and I thought, “I kind of want to actually do these.” Rather than just watching the videos straight through.

No, you shouldn’t watch it all at once. That would be completely mad.

And be careful with the assignments, because sometimes I would say you do not need to follow them. Create your own assignments, be intelligent. Giving assignments, it reeks of high school and getting homework…

Some people respond to that though, some people like that.

Yes, but I always was reluctant to give any assignments. But it’s fine. Let it be as it is.

It’s part of the format and it’s part of the charm of it. When it comes to assignment I’m not the one who should be a high school principal.


I’d rather jump from Golden Gate Bridge if that happens.

I asked about film school because I graduated from a film program less than a decade ago, and already many of the technical skills I learned are outdated. And it seems the things that remain are very personal lessons that usually don’t come from the curriculum itself.

Yeah, certain things you can neither learn in film school nor let’s say the MasterClass nor in the Rogue Film School. It’s just life, raw life as it is has to give you insight and has to allow you to make the right decisions and ask the right questions and gathering enough courage to do something.

Do you think that’s harder to have those sorts of life experiences now that so much of our lives are mediated by devices?

If you are too much into the internet, yes, because it’s a parallel surrogate life. It has nothing to do with the real world or examination of the real world, if you delegate too much to your cell phone and applications.

It’s very interesting that you are releasing Lo and Behold at the same time as this completely online, digital class. What convinced you that you’d be able to get your ideas across in an online course given all the doubts you’ve expressed about the connected world?

I never knew that it was online. I always thought that you would subscribe and you would buy some Blu-rays or DVDs.

Maybe it’s even better than depending on something physical. You see, I come from a world where you touch things, like a roll of celluloid. But I have to get better accustomed to the virtual world.

It’s not only the tactile experience that’s different, it’s also the act of going to a place to learn. Setting aside specific time over the course of weeks or months where you have this curriculum that you hold yourself to, instead of fitting it in in your spare time on the train or something.

Yeah, it’s better that way, I think. Because when you look at TV series there’s such a thing as binge watching. You watch a whole series in two days or three days. Here I would advise not to do binge watching of my MasterClass.

Lo and Behold is officially being released in August, but in the meantime you’ve had the chance to screen it several times. What kinds of reactions have you gotten, especially from people who are perhaps more embedded in the “connected world” than you are?

Well, everybody has been enthusiastic so far and the buzz is enormous. I never expected it, because in the beginning I was to do some YouTube tips on texting and driving.

The financiers of the film, NETSCOUT, understood there was something much bigger and they supported me with that. The response has been totally unprecedented for me. What is also remarkable I get a lot of emails nowadays [from] 12, 14, 15-year-olds.

And that’s something really surprising because they speak a different language, the language of their age group. And yet [they are] making some very intelligent remarks.

They’ve grown up never knowing life without this constant connectivity.

Yes, and they are excited that there’s something like conceptual thinking which will create a filter and an understanding how to use the internet and how to deal with it. In other words, taking a step away from it, looking at what it does and what the possibilities are your choices.

I really enjoyed the film when I saw it earlier this year. I also felt like there should be 16 sequels.

In a way, it’s unfinished business I’d like to continue. I’d like to continue, for example, with a segment about Bitcoin.

That’s something I’m completely mystified by, a fantasy of currency, of cash, that you cannot touch and yet it exists. I’m interested how can I commit a bank robbery holding up the bank and getting away with loot of something that you cannot even touch.

And countries like Estonia, which is going completely and systematically digital now — it’s very fascinating. There are many more aspects. And NETSCOUT by the way, is not completely done with it yet.


That’s my feeling. It depends a little bit on after the release of the film; what are the big reactions and if there is still demand. If there’s still a demand, I have a couple of things I’d like to continue with.

Do you know about Pokémon Go?


It’s this…

I don’t know what Pokémon Go is and what all these things are…

It’s a…

You’re talking to somebody who made his first phone call at age 17. You’re talking to someone who doesn’t have a cell phone, for example, for cultural reasons.


Tell me about Pokémon Go. What is happening on Pokémon Go?

It’s basically the first mainstream augmented reality program. It’s a game where the entire world is mapped and you walk around with the GPS on your phone. You walk around in the real world and can catch these little monsters and collect them. And everybody is playing it.

Does it tell you you’re here at San Vicente, close to Sunset Boulevard?

Yeah, it’s basically like a Google map.

But what does pokémon do at this corner here?

You might be able to catch some. It’s all completely virtual. It’s very simple, but it’s also an overlay of physically based information that now exists on top of the real world.

When two persons in search of a pokémon clash at the corner of Sunset and San Vicente is there violence? Is there murder?

They do fight, virtually.

Physically, do they fight?


Do they bite each other’s hands? Do they punch each other?

The people or the…

Yes, there must be real people if it’s a real encounter with someone else.

Well, it’s been interesting because there are all these anecdotes of people who are playing the game, and they’ve never met their neighbors, for instance. And when they go outside to look for pokémon they realize they’re playing the same game, and start talking to each other.

You’d have to give me a cell phone, which I’m not going to use anyway, and I have no clue what’s going on there, but I don’t need to play the game.

No, I think it’s plenty to read about it… in the end, it does seem to be evidence of how easy it is for people to accept AR into their lives, as opposed to VR.

Yeah, but these things are very ephemeral, they come and go.

I read an interview you gave maybe a year or two ago about the potential of virtual reality for filmmaking and I wonder if you’ve seen anything else recently that’s changed your assessment.

No, nothing that has convinced me that there is clearly a type of content that we should focus on. Still, it makes me uncomfortable. You have this… how do you call it? This mask on, for more than five minutes. I feel uncomfortable, and no content whatsoever has taken this discomfort away from me.

There’s this persistent idea that virtual reality has this potential to be an “empathy machine.” That just by sitting someone virtually in another space you can convey the experience or give someone some sort of cultural epiphany.

You’d probably understand it better by reading a book about some of the phenomena out in the world. Or by traveling on foot.

I think a lot of people are “addicted” to their connectivity out of this need to understand the world, or find some kind of truth. It just speeds up the process. I’m thinking of the situation recently with the sniper in Dallas, and how in minutes, just because of social media and video, an innocent man was the target of a manhunt. But then, in another hour, he was exonerated — also through social media.

I think what is remarkable about it is that police immediately zeroed in on the real shooter, and they killed him.

With a robot.

Yes, also interesting. But they didn’t kill the wrong one. No matter what sort of false clues came via social media… it was solid, normal police work. If somebody opens fire you better shoot back when you have a clear target.

“Technology doesn’t have any qualities.”

What do you think about the use of technology in these sorts of cases? Video, and live video is becoming so integral to reporting of incidences of police violence and it’s a very powerful, perhaps unforeseen use of this technology.

Yes, in many cases it’s been very helpful, for example, for women under attack — all of a sudden you have a tool to verify what is happening. Even if, say, someone wants to assault you… if you turn on your cell phone and take photos or video of the guy he would probably be deterred.

At the same time the real atrocities are happening.

There was a case of three teenage girls going out with a young man who was something like 10 years older. He rapes one of the girls and one of the girls not under attack films it and streams it live and does not help and cannot switch off because she told police she couldn’t take her eyes off the comments.

That’s where your heart stops and you better do some hard thinking what we should do and what we should do not.

Like so many other tools, it only amplifies the highs and the lows of human nature.

Sure, and the question — is this technology good or bad? — is an incompetent question. It’s humans who are good or bad. Technology doesn’t have any qualities, it has technical qualities, yes. The internet is fast; the internet has many ramifications worldwide, and so you can quantify certain things, but you cannot endow it with qualities like good or bad.




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