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Last weekend was my dad's 65th, so my mom, sister, aunt Carol, and uncle Chunk all showed up for the weekend; mom and dad first, arriving Thursday afternoon, then Carol and Chuck showing up at our apartment (where my parents were staying that night) as a surprise later in the evening, and my sister meeting us at Greenfield Village Friday. Greenfield Village was better than I expected--the demonstrators seemed pretty knowledgeable, and there weren't a lto of visitors, so I got to ask a lot of questions. We saw a Jacquard loom and talked to the guy restoring it for a while.

Saturday was Belle Isle--also more interesting than I expected--followed by stops at Cederland and Shatila in Dearborn to stuff ourselves. Sunday we had lunch together at Seva, then everyone went their separate ways.

This last weekend I got obsessed by a subtle (hence fun!) file locking bug in the kernel that someone reported, and spent most of Friday night and Saturday writing a test-case (more fun than expected since I normally don't write that much non-kernel code) and trying to figure out what to do about it.

Sunday we went to watch the Sandhill Crane migration--there's a preserve not far away where they congregate for a few days before setting off for Florida. It's impressive to see groups of them soaring back in after their day foraging, but they were kinda far away, it was getting cold, and the whole thing went on a little long. Worth seeing, though.

I made it to my French conversation group the last couple wednesdays and had a good time. I think my comprehension is slowly improving, but producing sentences is still difficult--I'll rush headlong into one, realize half-way through I have no idea how to finish it, then get lost. But I guess talking in English is a little like that for me too sometimes.

November's book group book is Clive Barker's "Weaveworld", which I liked more in the end than I expected to. I think the thing I find most difficult is that the characters (especially the two protagonists) are total blank slates--they have no personality at all. But by the end I was almost wondering if that was intentional--as a story about stories (fairy tales especially), maybe that's how it should be. I dunno. His writing also seemed really verbose. I had the feeling it could have been half the size if he'd just stopped telling us how earth-shaking each new event was supposed to be.

I watched "Fauteuils d'Orchestra". The part that amused me most was a bizarre bit of stunt-double choreography in an extra: the goal was to give the illusion that a certain character was playing the piano, during a continuous take that started with the camera stage right of the piano, then circled around it downstage ending stage left, showing as it did the pianists back, his hands on the keyboard, then the pianists face over the open piano. They did it by using the (pianist) double at the start, then (as the camera crossed in front of the piano) having him slide under the keyboard, where he continued playing, hands above his head, as the actor mimed playing along with his hands hovering just above the pianist's. That allowed the camera to get a view of the piano with the actor's face and the hammers still moving in time to the music.

Then last night I finished Truffaut's "La Mariée etait en Noire", a Hitchcock tribute. I like Truffaut a lot, and Truffaut was a great admirer of Hitchcock, whose movies I detest--so apparently this sort of relationship isn't transitive, alas. Anyway, Truffaut's take on Hitchcock has characters that actually seem like humans instead of icicles. I didn't feel like there was much to it, but it was worth seeing once.