.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}
Send via SMS

Daze of our lives...

All sorts of nonsense happens in the course of the day... good, bad, indifferent... whatever. Thoughts spring to mind, shit happens, things work out, but often don't... usually I have no idea of what's going to happen beforehand and perhaps its better that way. Anyway, just a little of what's going on and a way of clearing my mind... Read on at your own risk.

My Photo
Name:bart
Location:Hoorn, Netherlands

OK, not all that much to tell... just a slightly insane, very tired but reasonably perceptive guy who's life is filled with "why's" and never knowing why...

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sunday was better though

OK, enough of the self pity thing, I've appreciated the encouragement given... thank you all...

I slept badly, woke up at 7 am and couldn't really find the rest I needed, so I got hold of my camera and went off to town. It's lovely to walk through the city when there's nobody else there, when the streets are silent and the daily confusion has been forgotten for a while.

There are a good many monuments that have been preserved in the city... the council has done an exemplary job of maintaining the 17th century atmosphere of the inner circle of the city, the part that originally enclosed within the city walls.


Statue of Jan Pieterszn Coen, one of the Governor-Generals of the Dutch East Indies and also a former city citizen. On the right, the West Frisian Museum, formerly the parliament building for Northern Republics at the end of the 16th century and also one of the administrative headquarters for the VOC fleet that sailed from the harbour between 1580 and the 1700s

 



Same statue, from the other side, with the Waag where goods and services from the East Indies were traded.

 



Flagstone from one of the oldest remaining buildings in the city which thankfully also survived the Reformation years.

 


Later in the morning, I went to Amsterdam with a friend for a longer standing appointment with some of the people from the Elf Fantasy Forum... one of the meets we have once in a while and a lovely way of getting to know the people you chat to online. There were ten of us today from all parts of the country... the mood was good but the weather was rotten unfortunately. We'd planned on having a picnic in the largest park in Amsterdam, but since it was raining so much we finally found ourselves a place under a viaduct and stayed there until the food was gone and the appetites satisfied.

It's really funny, people you really don't even know except from trading messages on events, books, films and generally fantasy related subjects just manage to get on really well with each other... we had a wonderful day all things told, after wandering through the inner city for a while, visiting a bookshop and Chimera where we were all allowed to visit the upstairs section which was normally closed for most of the public :D

Certainly, a day worth repeating.

Explanation, quick and dirty...

It's been a funny day today, actually it started yesterday which I wrote about slightly. And yes, I was in a totally foul mood, one of those I have occasionally when I'm tired and just a bit down...

It all started yesterday afternoon... we went to see "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" of which only the Dutch, voiced-over version was available. The voice-overs totally ruined any kind of subtleties and ironies that Johnny Depp can put so well into his lines, and the whole effect of the film was gone. OK, it's been wonderfully filmed, the film plot is reasonably true to the book, even though it was "dressed up" at places and with the addition of one or two parts that had nothing to do with the book at all.

It left me feeling rather disappointed and empty... perhaps I was expecting a film of the "Edward Scissorhands" standard or just got pissed off by the lack of authenticity of the Dutch version, but after we got home the ladies just wouldn't or couldn't keep the noise and the bickering down, getting me totally on edge by then.

The mess left behind didn't help either...

Mumbles at midnight (and later)

Everybody's off to bed, it's well past midnight and at long last I can have the feeling as if my mind and my thoughts are my own again. Every day, the whole day long there is such a barrage of noise and information, of sense and nonsense that I just go completely numb and can't process what I'd like to say in the way I'd like to do it.


An example: the PC with an ADSL connection is in the living room, the television is on, people are talking to each other (and to me), the telephone is in use and I'm trying to put something coherent into place that I can at least feel that it was tolerably worthwhile.


Why do I have the feeling I'm going totally mad at moments... my mind is a disorganised wharehouse of images, thoughts and concepts that occasionally crystallise, group and regroup in fleeting instants and chance encounters, leaving me startled at new insights whilst I discard others.


At every turn, when I try to discuss something, want to write down what's crossed my mind or try to give a substantial form to an issue or idea that's bothering me, there's so much interference that I lose track within seconds... I'm living my life with the feeling that I'm just hanging on in self-preservation mode, instead of being able to enjoy it....


I hope this makes sense, I've sure managed to confuse myself right now... it's almost 1 am, still need to tidy up the chaos the ladies left behind this evening but don't have the energy or the wit any more...


Keep well...

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Quote for the day

Seen in town this afternoon... good for a laugh :D

A man and his parrot

Once in a while those strange coincidences happen... I came across this man at Waagplain, on my way back to the station yesterday. We had a bit of a chat, i told him I liked the subject, especially the idea of the photographer being photographed and I asked if he objected, and he didn't so I did (grin)


 


A few minutes ago, whilst reworking, cropping and adjusting the photo's, Lynn said... "Hey, that's Myrthe's uncle" and suddenly I remembered... we'd seen him last April as well at the Elf Fantasy Fair although he didn't make all that much impression on me at the time.

Saturday morning, quietly

I woke up this morning to the soft sound of rain again on the bedroom window. It was quiet, almost nothing was to be heard outside as if the world has just stopped for a few minutes.

I love Saturday mornings like this, timeless and peaceful...

Friday, July 29, 2005

Stuck

The temperatures still up and the brain's not functioning all that well today... can't concentrate, just at a moment I really need to.

I landed a nice assignment for a booklet but all inspiration has vanished for the afternoon. I did manage to work out the background structure though, very quietly and unobtrusively incorporating a subtle Auryn motief, hardly noticeable but putting my own signature into something I care about...

Where do we go from here? (part 2)



Click here or on the image for an enlargement


Confused?... you will be...

Melting

It's so warm, I think I'm going to melt pretty soon... need to seriously think about going swimming with the girls this evening. Since the rain a couple of days ago, the humidity has shot up beyond belief and is just killing.


A little more "bearable"...

Thursday, July 28, 2005

See who I am


 


See Who I Am
- Within Temptation -


Is it true what they say,

Are we too blind to find a way?

Fear of the unknown cloud our hearts today.

Come into my world,

See through my eyes.

Try to understand,

Don't want to lose what we have


We've been dreaming

But who can deny,

It's the best way of living

Between the truth and the lies


See who I am,

Break through the surface.

Reach for my hand,

Let's show them that we can

Free our minds and find a way.

The world is in our hands,

This is not the end.


Fear is withering the soul

At the point of no return.

We must be the change

We wish to see.

I'll come into your world,

See through your eyes.

I'll try to understand,

Before we lose what we have.


We just can't stop believing

Because we have to try.

We can rise above

Their truth and their lies.


See who I am,

Break through the surface.

Reach for my hand,

Let's show them that we can

Free our minds and find a way.

The world is in our hands,


See who I am,

Break through the surface.

Reach for my hand,

Let's show them that we can

Free our minds and find a way.

The world is in our hands,

This is not the end.


I hear the silence

Preaching my blame.

Will our strength remain

If their power reigns?


See who I am,

Break through the surface.

Reach for my hand,

Let's show them that we can

Free our minds and find a way.

The world is in our hands,

This is not the end.


An afternoon at the Palace Square

The Palace Square, in the heart of Amsterdam, is one of the liveliest places in the city during the summer months. It's a meeting place, a stage, a congregation of tourists enjoying themselves and the occasional photographer wandering in between them.


Musical interlude.

 



Balloons and contortionism...

 



Street performances by Superfrank

 



Quietly absorbed, oblivious of the masses, just painting...

 



Pigeons everywhere...

 



Living Statues.

 

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Introspective

Today Milamber posted a comment that really got me thinking... yes, my self-analysis retort was a joke but nevertheless it got the mental machine back on track and working for a change...



Milamber wrote:
...What's even more amazing is that your pictures are often taken in the middle of a very busy city, but that never really shows on camera. It's serene and quiet a.k.a. beautiful....


It seems I have particular fascination for static situations, events and locations that I can control. I seem to have an enormous amount of trouble assessing people and reactions, what I can and can't do... for whatever reason I've tried more than my best to filter the people out of my photos and create a still-life I can be happy with.

I wonder why that should be... need to dig a little deeper on this one...

Patience

This bicycle has been standing here for days, patiently waiting for its owner to turn up and pamper it a bit.

It was left standing out in the rain today, and I bet it was in a foul mood by the end of the day... wouldn't you be?

Softness of rain

Today's turned into a bit dark, rainy, slightly introspective day... not much activity on the streets, only those rushed few who accompany umbrellas when venturing outside, no fuss, no noise, just the gentle swishing of car and bicycle tyres through the puddles and water making its way down to the sides of the road...


I love it... there's a quietness I appreciate...

A place of quiet

On my way to the station yesterday evening, close to the Botanic Garden in the evening sun... the long shadows and play in colour was amazing, almost impossible to capture with a camera.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Tensions

Although cities aren't particularly people-friendly environments at times, nature still has it's own way of talking back and making sure we realise not everything is made of concrete and bricks...



Where do we go from here?

Please proceed in an orderly fashion to the emergency exit when the alarm goes off...


Yeah, sure...

Very considerate

Amsterdam's a city of waterways... canals crisscrossing the city with a couple of major freight routes from the North Sea Canal to the waterways inlan, with bridges everywhere.


 


Of course, this leads to more than enough traffic stoppages in the course of the day, especially in the summer when a lot of people are touring as well.

To make travelling in the city a little more interesting, the Amsterdam city council decided to make waiting just a little more interesting for those stuck in front of an open bridge, close to where I work...



Click here or on the image for an enlargement

 


It ties in rather nicely with the history of the former Jewish quarter of the city which is close by... both a puzzle and a short story about life in that area written in a vaguely Semetic typeface.

The more I look around here, the more I'm surprised occasionally...

Monday, July 25, 2005

The balance of nature

Everything in nature happens for a reason... Newtons second law states "for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction" and we shouldn't forget the laws of cause and effect, karma or whatever.


 


Just something to think about next time you're out camping...

The next round

Thank you all for your concern and kind words. It's been pretty ragged weekend, all things told.

Katie slept restlessly but reasonably long (better than I did though, but no matter. I left at 6.15... need to call later and hear how things are, my wife's staying home today because she's sick as well now so I'll probably have to leave earlier this afternoon and get dinner ready and the rest of the household organised. Thank heavens Lynn's old enough to be able to do the shopping as most of the food seems to have miraculously disappeard in the course of the weekend.


I'm glad we've got supermarkets though...

 


All my life, I've been troubled by premonitions and feelings I can't explain let alone control. Whenever something important is happening in the world, for some reason I submerge into some kind of indicisive half-world and just get bothered by disquiet and restlessness, preoccupation whatever.

The bombings in Egypt last weekend were one example, I've had far too many of these incidents across the years (the night before the Challenger exploded I had a particularly terrifying dream) but the most intense ones concern people I'm particularly attached to or in one case a person I loved deeply years ago (and still do in a way) and with whom I still feel very bonded in a strange kind of way. We haven't seen each other for more than 25 years, but far too often know when things are happening in each others lives and I even had a series of dreams in 1979, 1980 which came out years later...

I hate it, it's like I'm not always in control of my own life, I know something's coming and have absolutely no idea where to look or what to do about it. I hope this is making sense because I hardly understand it myself.

Time to go and do something "useful" and "constructive"... off to feed the monster. Keep well.


Hehe... don't mind Mondays mostly...

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Mixed-up Sunday

Poor kids... the things they have to put up with once in a while. Katie caught a really nasty bug that's doing the rounds at the moment... started with ear and throat pains and suddenly the temperature shoots through the roof for a few hours.



 


We brought her downstairs and made her comfortable on the couch, where she's spent most of the day just drifting in and out of a kind of half sleeping state, hallucinating a little at moments, almost unable to eat or drink anything and bringing it back up half an hour later. Temperature dropped back to more or less normal later in the afternoon, but she still can't even hold water down as of yet and only producing some kind of filthy green stuff.



 


She's back upstairs now, but I'll be staying up for another hour or two, just to keep an eye on things... my wife's been asleep for a while and we'll swap over then so I can at least grab a few hours of sleep before I go to work.

These are the moments that really get me worried... not being able to do anything and just seeing how things run out of control for a short time. Mostly there's nothing to worry about after a while, but we had an episode with Lynn two years ago of throat infections, high temperatures, inability to eat and extreme lassitude which finally evolved into a particularly aggressive glandular fever with all the attendant festivities, which left her totally wrecked for almost 8 months. Talk about nerve racking...

Oh, and in the meantime I managed to bring some semblance of order back into our tiny back yard and now it's raining... love it, perfect end to a somewhat chaotic day...



... and get me ready for the next...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Sleepless in Sesame Street

I've always had my suspicions about these two...


Bert?

Bert, Bert... I can't sleep, Bert...

...because there's a banana in my ear...

That's no banana, Ernie...

Friday, July 22, 2005

Once upon a lunchtime...

This guy seems to have enjoyed himself immensely though ;-)

Hmmm...

I'm in a really wierd mood today, stranger than most... as if something's happening or is going to happen, like the tension before a storm breaks loose. I hate it, I can't do anything about it, I'm preoccupied and a little apprehensive for whatever reason.

Going out for lunch, perhaps that will help...

Transitions

Raindrops fall, leaving nothing but ripples in the puddles around me. I'm fascinated by the patterns that come to life and disappear again almost instantly.


 


Endlessness, the circles that surround us, no beginning and no end, fractals of existence descending into singularity yet coming back to life like the phoenix from its ashes when re-examined.


 


Descending into insignificance, yet every part is important and carries its own meaning both apart and together with the rest of the pattern, like life itself...


 


Chaos combining, recombining and dissolving into nothingness again, worlds of transition ever moving, existence captured in timeless mandalas.


 

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Congratulations

Just a short word of congratulations to the Belgian people, for whom I've had a quiet form of appreciation for so many years now. A little late, perhaps, but don't mind me ;-)

Today is the 175th anniversary of nationhood of Belgium, after the southern provinces of the then Netherlands seceded to form a new country in 1830. Much has happened in the meantime... famines, wars, ethnic rivalries between essentially different cultures, but always the spirit of well naturedness and good living have survived, leaving an imprint in Europe that most people would do well to appreciate.

Beam me up, Scotty...

James Doohan, who played Scotty in the earliest Star Trek series passed away yesterday at 85 years of age.


 


He was one of the better actors in a series that always intrigued me, left me both bewildered and fascinated as a child. Opening new ways in the science fiction film genre, bravely going where no actors had gone before, with cheap decors and overinflated egos, the crew presented us with the enormous possibilities of "what if..."


 


Since then, the science fiction scene has become a high-tech industry full of special effects and almost magical possibilities, but for the children of the 60's and 70's, Star Trek was the beginning of something totally new.


 


Of course, I can't resist mentioning a very silly song a few years later, part of which goes...

Star Trekkin' across the universe,

On the Starship Enterprise under Captain Kirk.

Star Trekkin' across the universe,

Only going forward 'cause we can't find reverse.


Hi hi...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Unusual lunch spots

On the roof of the Science and Technology Museum, where deckchairs have been set out for the visitors by the restaurant staff.


 


An interesting building incidentally, built in the form of a ship protruding into the harbour and also forming the entrance to the tunnel under the waterway to the northern shore of Amsterdam. Take a look here as well.

Here's an alternative, above the hustle and bustle of one of the major roads near Central Station.

The musical

Last night, the musical presented by Amy's class. Parents and teachers were treated to a one and a half hour show, a bit science-fiction story of children who got sucked into the future through a computer screen.


Nadia, who sang surprisingly well... was complimented by many people.

 


Unfortunately, most of my photo's of the musical itself were badly underexposed, which was a real pity.


Amy, after the performance, now with calmed nerves

 


After the performance, there was the traditional swim in the lake nearby... confusion because some had either lost their keys or forgotten their swimming stuff, and later in the evening the party for parents, teachers and children...


A couple of kids decided to give their own performance afterwards.

 


It got to be far too late, far too late than I'd planned... the kids received their yearbooks, they all signed each others (and took ages about doing it, but nobody really minded in the end)


The blackboard, with some of performance instructions.

 


In short, a lot of happy kids, a fair number of parents who had a nice evening out and good memories all round :D

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

An afterthought


Hmmm... the things we worry about sometimes...


Once again, for me a reminder to get my priorities straight.

Nature resounding

After a few days of opressive warmth, a long-awaited thunderstorm broke loose for a few hours yesterday evening. The quiet rumbling of thunder and the approach of dark clouds rolling in from the sea a gentle reminder to those who cared to take notice of the forces of nature soon to be released.


Thunderstorm over Sydney

 


The lightning follows, the rain in torrents, the world becomes a plaything, where trees seem no stronger than matchsticks and creatures venture outside at their own peril.


Lightning strike above the Brindabella Ranges, close to Canberra

 


A thunderstorm is almost elementally fascinating, there's so much power, so much natural violence in play it's frightening, exciting, intriguing and I watch in wonder, awed.

For all of mans' achievements, there is no way we can stand against the forces of nature... how can we hope to stand in the way of a raging gale, presume to ignore a lightning strike or put down as insignificant the thunder that has the whole house shaking on it's foundations. For all our presumptuousness, we are just part of the creation around us and not the self-proclaimed masters. The earth owns us, we are part of it for we were born of the earth and we will return there again some day. A little humility once in a while wouldn't be so bad, I guess.

Monday, July 18, 2005

A little aside

OK, so I shouldn't be complaining I guess... things could be worse and in the end, it's little things that make a big difference.

Made it...

... but as they say, only by the skin of my teeth. If you have any idea what skinned teeth feel like, you'll know what a crappy feeling that is.


Want to avoid that run down feeling in the morning?
Look both ways before crossing the road...


Slept very badly last night, even though I'd managed to get pretty well everything done that needed doing, I couldn't quieten my mind before I went to bed and kept on tossing and turning, making endless lists in a dreamworld where everythings seems to become larger than life.


I don't have any idea, I haven't read anything by Edgar Allen Poe for ages, but the poem "A Dream Within A Dream" came back to visit me during the night... it was one that made a considerable impact on me when I was a teenager, but it had faded away in the meantime

**********
A Dream Within A Dream

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep–while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?




**********


This morning, still dreaming... time to find coffee, take a look at whats supposed to be going on and get myself organised...


And avoid unnecessary complications...

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Bit rushed, very tired

It's gotten to be a bit of a strange weekend, all things told. After our late night shopping spree at the bookshop, we all woke up very late the next morning (and I'd fallen asleep on the couch and woke up feeling terrible...).

Cancelled gymnastics, it was the last lesson of the season anyway, dragged myself off to do the weekly shopping (fun all round... sigh...), went swimming for an hour with Katie (she managed 21 lengths this time) and went to visit friends in the afternoon. They used to live down the street from us, their youngest daughter was in the same class as Lynn.



Katie and Amy playing a game in their garden...

 


Today, more or less getting the things done that needed doing yesterday... I was pretty slack for a change, knowing full well that I still should be working on Amy's yearbook (which is almost complete, just a few finishing touches).

Except... some of the image files are damaged for some reason, so I've got to get a lot of them rescanned. Damn, I didn't need that... (especially after a rather nasty argument with my partner). Book goes for a final presentation tomorrow, production on Tuesday and Wednesday and gets handed out on Thursday (last school day here) if all goes well...

OK, got to get going... too much to do, and too little time in which to do it all.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

The HP6 has landed

We went to the bookshop in the middle of the night (1 a.m.) for the first copies of Harry Potter, part 6. The girls enjoy the fuss and excitement, and we weren't the only ones waiting either.. there was a respectable crowd(let) who were all in a good mood.


Waiting, patiently...

 



A rather motley crew, one might say ;-)

 



Katie got to do the unveiling of the stand.

 



The corpus delictum itself

 



Running off into the night with the prize...

Friday, July 15, 2005

Serious issues

Two beer, or not two beer, that is the question...


Except, it became three after a while


**********

To be, or not to be: that is the question:

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,

And by opposing end them? To die, to sleep.

(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1)

Between acts

What do you do, as a very well trained, but also very tired tourist at the end of the day...?

Quiet corners

Amsterdam yesterday, in the most inconspicuous corners. I was once again pleasantly surprised.


Concrete, bricks and flowers.

 



A waterfall, a mirror, a window.
Motion frozen, static yet moving, a delight for the eyes and ears.


 

Think different

This was one of the Apple slogans a few years ago, and one I took to heart. In other words, dare to challenge your own mindset (or anybody elses for that matter), the complacency and the indifference of a society that demands conformity to survive.

I love it when people dare to be different, getting others to think again. Yesterday, in a showcase near my work, an exhibition of helmets and associated materials.


The Don Quixote approach?

 



Interesting combination of ideas and forms...

Take a look at the website, there's a lot more there.


 

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Time for breathing

Yay, it's almost 4 p.m., time to come up for air and go home :D


OK, which wise guy has taken off with my butane cylinder...

 

Shooting gallery

Just a couple of pictures, taken yesterday afternoon in the city centre and at the station. Will seriously have to look into buying a digital SLR sometime soon, having too much trouble with shutter speeds and depth of field issues...


My favourite lunch spot, on the bridge...

 



The Waag, a former trading house in the 1600's and 1700's

 



The Dockworker, a tribute to the Dutch resistence for their work during the 1941 general strike.

 



An interesting place for a picnic... in the middle of a roundabout?

 



Café close to Central Station, with a unique collection of Ken dolls in the window...

 



Waiting, but for what...

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Trial by media


If things come to the worst, we can always find a scapegoat somewhere...

Sinking feeling

It looks like it's going to be one of those days again... there was a lot of work waiting for me this morning, most of it in the category more of the same.



Don't get me wrong, I enjoy working and what I do, but my job it rapidly turning into a horridly dead-end way of filling my day. The management has decided, in all its wisdom, to slowly shed most of the designing and creative accounts and concentrate more on the short order, high volume repeat customers. It's driving me nuts!



Shouldn't complain I guess, there are enough who are worse off than I am, but it doesn't feel right somehow. I was hired to do as a designer and had a wonderful time the first two years that I was here, but since then it's been downhill all the way.

Just to finish off todays gripe, and get it all out of my system (and that's what a blog's good for too :D ), a new policy of "policing" the departments has been put into place recently, in order to to boost effectivity and ensure maximum results...


I wonder why it doesn't seem to be working so well...


Think I'll go for a long walk at lunch time, and do some photography again... perhaps work's just a way of filling in the day, in between the things that are really important...

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Workplace ethics

In any workplace, the hierarchy eventually boils down to two types of people...


Managers (and the wannabees)...



...and those who get to do the work.


Almost 16.00, and time to go (phew...) :D

A little rambling

Every morning I walk through the inner city, on my way to work. It's not all that long a walk, about 20 minutes and in the afternoon I walk back... a bit of exercise before and after a long, usually tedious (and occasionally very annoying) day of sitting on my butt and staring at a monitor.



There's a lot to be seen here, every day is different and in the summertime there's so much going on... in the morning it's usually pretty quiet, but in the afternoon the streets are filled with tourists and people enjoying themselves, the cafés are busy and the people who've escaped from work for the day looking visibly relieved and relaxed ;-)

Yesterday, once again, I was startled by one of the regulars. I know it's silly really, it's just a mannequin belonging to one of the clothing shops nearby, but he gets dressed up differently every day and most days I have to look twice, first thinking something like "what's that guy doing there" and once again realising it's just him.



And once again, I realise things aren't always what they seem, we're often extraordinarily busy with things we think we saw, perhaps had heard or had assumed we'd understood in some way. Each of us does that in his/her own unique little ways, with a good deal of overlap, but an even larger personal part which nobody has any idea of. Communicating is probably one of the most difficult activities we ever undertake, the traps are large and numerous, the rewards great if you get it right.

OK, it's time to get down to doing something serious... takes shoes off, puts music on, finds coffee...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Monday morning mumbles

Hmmm... ever had that funny feeling that you're looking in the wrong place for whatever it is you're looking for?


(Tell me about it...)


And perhaps even worse, you don't even know what you're looking for in the first place. The vague feeling that something's wrong, but you can't quite pinpoint what the problem is, let alone being able to do something about it.

Am I the only one who's so f*ing confused at the moment?


Hehehe...

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Sadness

I received a news item via Yahoo this morning, concerning the missing Minnesota children. A distressing story and every parents nightmare I suspect. I don't think there is anything worse than the uncertainty of knowing what has happened, if your child is alive or not and if you will ever get to know the truth. As father of threee daughters, I do worry about them a lot and can't bear the thought of anything happening to them.

What never ceases to amaze me, though, is that people are so willing to pass judgement on their fellow men. One man has been singled out by authorities as a prime suspect on the basis of his writings on his own weblog.

I've been along to read what has been written and the comments that have been made along the way. It makes me sick to realise that a person could be a potential sex offender, it makes me even sicker to read so many people (anonymously) pouring out so much hate and anger, already delivering judgement whilst nothing yet has been proven at all.

Take a look here, and judge for yourself. Confused ramblings, perhaps done deliberately, but an interesting and frightening excursion into poisoned minds, on all sides.


IMPORTANT UPDATE / July 11th: Last Saturday I wrote this post and as noted in the comments for this post, I got part of this story badly wrong, partly due to lack of information (for which my humblest apologies), partly due to getting entangled in two different arguments which really needed to be separated. A friend whose input I value very much supplied me with a lot more factual evidence than I’d been acquainted with up to now.

I have several options at my disposal now:

- I can remove the post (and/or all the comments) altogether (a coward’s approach)

- I can ignore anything being said and act as if nothing’s the matter (a hypocrite’s approach)

- I can try to put forward what I meant and if necessary let the firing squad do its work anyway.

I’ll start by separating the two main issues...

Firstly: I had been stupid enough to offer my comments after having read a rather woolly and very incomplete news article which was written in the assumption that the reader was already familiar with the longer running background. Big mistake.

To make things perfectly clear, and I think those who have been reading here longer already know, I don’t condone any forms of violence whatsover: physical, sexual, mental, social... whatever. That adults can misuse their power over, and the trust of, children is particularly distressing and disgusting in that children lack the necessary frames of reference to resist effectively. There is no justification for violence, never, ever (with the possible exception of self-defence then, but that’s not the issue here...)

Secondly: following on, I was trying to argue that, no matter the hideousness of the (alleged) crime, a person is still innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. There are no exceptions, and even though gross injustices can still be made, it’s all we’ve got to keep ourselves safe. Otherwise the rule of force takes over and the dictates of the most powerful in society become a law unto themselves. No witch hunts, no lynchings, no vigilante actions, no hate sessions, no hounding... the law needs to take it’s own course taking into account all the evidence available, in whatever way necessary to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt what really happened and impose an appropriate sanction. Put yourself into place of the accused... you would appreciate the same concerns for yourself if you were in the same situation.

Thirdly: please do not fall into the same trap as I did... read carefully and bear in mind that perhaps something else was meant than what you read...

Keep well...

Friday, July 08, 2005

A quiet request


Please handle with care

(it's the only one we've got, no replacements, no refunds)

Again

It's said we should expect the unexpected, but when the unexpected happens it frightens the crap out of you. Bombs explode, words fail and I wonder why it needed to come so far, there are much easier ways of getting a message across.



- Like talking and being honest with each other, for example, and respecting each others views.

- By not putting your own or your own countries interests first, at the expense of others.

- By recognising that all people and cultures are inherently different.

- Counting to ten (or hundred or ten million) when you feel antagonised and work to resolve the basic issues and not just hit out blindly.

- Sharing, not being possessive of something you can't take with you anyway. How can you possess the earth? It'll be around a lot longer than you will, for starters.


Isn't this what it should be about?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Out to lunch



Click here for an enlargement


Looking for a little inspiration higher up...

 

Freedom

On wings of softness

floating on the summer breeze

unknowing, uncaring, just being.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A little quiet time

As I often do, after dinner I went for a long walk on a warm evening with Katie, along the IJsselmeer dyke to the nature reserve and the bird sanctuary.


View out to sea, in the direction of Amsterdam, with an oncoming storm.

 



Nature reserve, minus the spoonbills plus a couple of cows this time.
In the background a row of houses, one of which is ours.

 



Rosa's house, along the canal down the road.

 

Wondering

What do you call a short-sighted dinosaur?


(A Doyouthinkhesaurus)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The music of life

Music's always been part of me, as long as I've known I've been fascinated by melodies, rhythms, harmonies and the interactions of sounds at the most basic levels of my life. I'm so glad my parents almost forcibly pushed me towards music lessons when I was a child, I loved the music but hated it being pressured into any kind of formal approach. And I wasn't even a teenager then... sigh...

A couple of photos, taken at the community centre during a workshop for children, acquainting them with instruments from Asian and African cultures.


Gamelan

 



Djembe

 



Darbuka

 


In hindsight, probably one of the most valuable gifts you can give your children is the tolerance and perspective to see that all people have different needs and forms of expression, and that we all need to reserve judgement of that which we aren't able to understand or appreciate.

Monday, July 04, 2005

The State of the Union

I can read letters, and you can too. Just fill in the spaces to spell your new word for today...


 


Quote of the day:

I cannot tell a lie, I cannot tell the truth

(in other words, if you can't convince 'm, confuse 'm)

Independence Day

As so well said by Will Smith on Saturday during the Live 8 concert...

The Declaration of Interdependence
We hold these truths to be self-evident,
"we're all in this together"...


I think you can think the rest through for yourself...

Monday again

Even before I've gotten used to the fact that it's weekend, it's Monday morning again (yawn). A lot has happened, but can't comment all that much here at work at the moment... will save that for later.


 



 


This weekend has raced past so quickly it's not funny. This morning, pouring rain, thunderbolts and lightning (very, very frightening)* to liven things up a bit a bit, an attic and an umbrella leaking, fellow commuters drenched and by the time I got to work the performance is over and cautiously sunny...

OK, down to work... it's going to be a wonderful day (I think?)


Yeah sure, and pigs can fly...

 


* (and thank you Liesl, Queen is and remains one of my favourites :D)

Friday, July 01, 2005

Lost and found (1)

Just a little something I found whilst tidying up and archiving... thought it was rather nice.


 

Think different, feel different

I get to wondering about how to make things more simple occasionally, partly due to my work as I need to create designs which are appealing, crystal clear in meaning and as no-nonsense as possible but also because I see that there's an enormous amount of energy and time wasted doing things or trying to figure out things that wouldn't have been necessary in the first place...

(Phew, that was a long sentence and I think I've just broken one of my own rules here.)


 


What I'm talking about is useability, a subject which has been on my mind for longer than I care to remember but one that is so very necessary. Have you ever succeeded in programming a new video-recorder first time round or managing to understand your new telephone without having to have taken the evening course "Mobile Telephones For Dummies / 101"?


 


The fact seems to be that technology is almost by definition anti-human, needing to be tamed in some way. Things just need to be damned simple so I can get down to work. Which, incidentally, is also the reason why I've been an Apple Macintosh addict for almost 20 years.


Letting the facts speak for themselves.

 



The thought had crossed my mind...

 


The Apple people seem to have understood that users just want a product that works, easily and effectively without having to figure out all sorts of nonsense beforehand... the concept of Plug-and-Play vs. Plug-and-Pray. The concept seems to have caught on, so people are producing all sorts of products that...


... are practical and easy to use...

 



... fulfil a certain need ...

 



... look good ...

 



... and increase job satisfaction.

 


I wonder what else they've got in store for us.