Categories for Books, films and TV

What you shall do

This is what you shall do:
Love the earth
and sun
and the animals,
despise riches,
give alms to every one that asks,
stand up for the stupid
and crazy,
devote your income
and labor to others,
hate tyrants,
argue not concerning God,
have patience
and indulgence toward the people,
take off your hat to nothing known
or unknown
or to any man
or number of men,
go freely with powerful uneducated persons
and with the young
and with the mothers of families,
read these leaves in the open air
every season
of every year
of your life,
re-examine all you have been told at school
or church
or in any book,
dismiss whatever insults your own soul,
and your very flesh shall be a great poem
and have the richest fluency
not only in its words
but in the silent lines of its lips
and face
and between the lashes of your eyes
and in every motion
and joint of your body.

Source: Walt Whitman’s Advice on Living a Vibrant and Rewarding Life

Published on November 15, 2016 at 6:00 by

Escape to the country

Escape to the Country is one of my favourite programs on the BBC channel. It shows 5 times a week, usually around three or four o’clock. Dutch time that is, in the UK it is on an hour earlier. I do admit people with a large budget, of more than £ 500.000 are my favourite. Larger gardens, larger houses, larger kitchens. I like that. My favourite presenter is Alistair Appleton. Yeah, i go for the pretty boy.

I sometimes dream away of my special house i would love to live in. An old industrial building? A large loft in New York? A house on the beach? All houses far away from my little apartment in the center of Rotterdam. Which i do love! It’s like, i hardly can imagine myself living anywhere else. I am living in this same house for the past 21 years, so yes, it is hard to really see myself living somewhere else. But dreaming does take me away sometimes.

To be honest, I don’t really see myself living in the countryside. Maybe when i’m older and live a more relaxed life. But i’d like to see myself living in cities, as i do now. Amongst the people.

Grand Designs
Grand Designs is another program i enjoy watching. It is not on that much now, and mostly on repeats.

First of all, I do love the presenter Kevin McCloud. Very sympathetic, knowledgable. A good face, pleasant voice. Seems to get along with most of the people participating.

When i did some searches i found this all time favourite episode with Ben Law and his woodland house. I even remembered his face. Not the house though.

There is one other episode which i do remember, the one with an old industrial building, no longer used. Completely redone by the people who bought it. At the end they drove a car into it and used it as furniture. I did do a search, twice. I went through all the listing hoping to see the episode quickly, but i missed it. Most likely it is no described the way i remember it.

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I do love both these shows. I don’t always watch it. But when i can, i enjoy it. A few shows i found on youtube. There are loads more on.

I don’t think much about alterior motives to make these shows. They could be good for houses retail. They could be good for showing the countryside. For showing landmarks. But i don’t think about that a lot. I prefer to sit on my couch with a cup of tea or some fruit and yoghurt. Dreaming away a bit.

A short selection. Feel free to either watch it on tv, or do a search yourself in youtube or vimeo. Or watch in live on the BBC or Channel 4.

Enjoy.

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Escape to the Country – Hampshire [16-68]

Escape to the Country – North Devon [16:59]

Escape to the Country – Dorset [15:36]

Ben Law’s Woodland House

Grand Designs | Season 16 Episode 4 | Worcestershire 2015

Popular Videos – Grand Designs

Published on August 10, 2016 at 6:00 by

Distance and precision

By separating the knower from the known, writing makes possible increasingly articulate introspectivity, opening the psyche as never before not only to the external objective world quite distinct from itself but also to the interior self against whom the objective world is set.

Walter J. Ong
Orality and Literacy
page 104

Published on June 9, 2016 at 6:00 by

Paul van Ostaijen, 22 February 1896 – 18 March 1928

Music-Hall, a anthology of works from Paul van Ostaijen. I bought this book 3 June 1978.

Today, King’s Day here in the Netherlands, i was thinking about my post for tomorrow. I really loved bumping into Lucebert’s poem yesterday. So i was thinking of making a post about him. It’s just, i don’t have a history with Lucebert. Apart from the line alles van waarde is weerloos. So my mind jumped to one other person i know. This book i have for a very long time. His poem Polonaise is used in a book from Tonke Dragt, Torenhoog en mijlenbreed (High as a tower and miles wide).

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Paul van Ostaijen is a Belgian poet and writer. He died young, when he was 32 years old. Polonaise and Marc groet ‘s morgens de dingen are the main poems i know. I’ve read more, but these two have stuck to me.

Enjoy 🙂

Polonaise
Ik zag Cecilia komen
op een zomernacht
twee oren om te horen
twee ogen om te zien
twee handen om te grijpen
en verre vingers tien
    Ik zag Cecilia komen
    op een zomernacht
        aan haar rechterhand is Hansje
        aan haar linkerhand is Grietje
            Hansje heeft een rozekransje
            Grietje een vergeet-mij-nietje
                de menseëter heeft ze niet gegeten
                ik heb ze niet vergeten
                    ei ei ik en gij
                    de ezel speelt schalmei
voor Hansje en voor Grietje
Hansje met zijn rozekransje
Grietje met haar vergeet-mij-nietje
zijn langs de sterren gegaan
      Venus is van koper
      de andere zijn goedkoper
      de andere zijn van blik
      en van safraan
      is Janneke-maan
            Twee oren om te oren
            twee ogen om te zien
Twee handen in het lege
en verre vingers tien

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Polonaise – Gerard Kockelmans (1925-1965)

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Another poem i really like.

Marc groet 's morgens de dingen
Dag ventje met de fiets op de vaas met de bloem
                                    ploem ploem
dag stoel naast de tafel
dag brood op de tafel
dag visserke-vis met de pijp
            en
dag visserke-vis met de pet
         pet en pijp
      van het visserke-vis
         goeiendag
Daa-ag vis
dag lieve vis
dag klein visselijn mijn

Marc groet ‘s morgens de dingen

Published on April 28, 2016 at 6:00 by

Lullaby

The library used to be one of my favourite places to go. But it’s been years since i’ve been inside. To look for books. I don’t read that much anymore. And really, i do think i read most books i wanted to read and which are available in the library.

I loved poems from W.H. Auden. There was this thick book, it might have been Collected Poems. I got it like three four times, at least.

I do admit, this was how far my poetry went. Over the past year i did read the poetry page in the NRC on Thursday. But i never really dived into it.

Today, when i was going through my old present pages on lfs.nl, i came across this poem i published there on 31 December 1999, Lullaby.

Lullaby

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit’s sensual ecstasy.

Certainty, fidelity
On the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell,
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of sweetness show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find the mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness see you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

W. H. Auden (1907-1973)

Summary and analysis.

I had to think about the category into which i would place this post. First i picked Beauty. Still good. But i decided against it and picked World. And then i thought stupid me! it should go in Books and TV!

Published on March 22, 2016 at 6:00 by

Reading

Still in a bit of a in between world right now. An easy post, about stuff i read.

Yesterday i read this post What World Are We Building?.

It’s easy to love or hate technology, to blame it for social ills or to imagine that it will fix what people cannot. But technology is made by people. In a society. And it has a tendency to mirror and magnify the issues that affect everyday life. The good, bad, and ugly.

It does remind me of the early days when i was online. I started around October 1995. At my work we had bought a modem, which i took home with me over the weekend. I loved it. Looking around, reading stuff. I was intrigued by muds and muses. One of the first ones i entered was MicroMuse. The first person i talked to was a journalist living on the west coast of the US. A far cry of the biollions of people being online right now.

This afternoon i went into Donner, the biggest bookstore in Rotterdam. I went after a book from Frissen. I asked someone there working at an info box. Frissen. He was on television in the book program Boeken (Books). He walked up to it straightaway. Het geheim van de laatste staat. The secret of the last state. I don’t know if i agree with him, but i do think the book will give me lots to think about. I will take this book with me to London. A book to read in the bus on my way over there.

Published on February 3, 2016 at 6:00 by

The end of a beautiful dvd collection

April 11, 2003, at 21.40 CET i published a present: The beginning of a beautiful dvd collection.

dvdcollectie

Donnie Darko, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Buffy season 1 / 5, Lord of the Rings Extended Fellowship of the Ring, Angels season 1.

Today i’m writing the post The end of a beautiful dvd collection.

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I do think the last dvd i bought was either Dollhouse s2 or Caprica. That must have been the end of 2010. Five years ago. I was downloading already. But yes, i did enjoy having the dvd’s, of special shows i love. I enjoy the packaging, the special features.

My favourite dvd’s still are the extended ones form the Lord of the Rings. The bonus features! The first one, which i already had in 2003, had this special bonus on color correcting, which i loved. I should watch these again soon. Not the movies itself i’m afraid. These were broadcasted on television so many times, i can probably dream these. But yes, the special features!

The movies are mostly from the mid 00’s. Cube i haven’t watched entirely. 24 i liked. True binge watching. I stayed up until around 5am, thinking every time i pressed next that it was going to be the last one, but i couldn’t resist. But 24 did fade away , especially after season 5 or 6.

My Joss Whedon fandom is clearly visible. Buffy, Angel, Serenity, Firefly, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Most of the first year Buffy comics. I am curious what Whedon will start up next. Even do i did enjoy the two Avenger movies, i’m happy Whedon has stopped working on these and is back to creating his own world once again. I’m curious!

And of course Battlestar Galactica. I missed the first two seasons when it was broadcasted here in the Netherlands. But once i got to see it, i was hooked. I love the story telling, the acting, Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonnell especially. The human Cylons were great, and delivered a special view on humans and how they were perceived by their own makings. Since two days i’m watching the series once again. Friday i watched the mini series. Yesterday, saturday, i watched the first season until episode 8 Litmus. I will watch the rest of season 1 this evening. I’m also reading the reviews on the A.V. Club website. It does give many insights into the episodes which i only half noticed. Or not have noticed at all!

…my interpretation is that it’s the first time the show makes clear to its humans, through a web of subtext and semiotics, that humans will have to be something other than human in order to survive. It’s not clear what, for sure. But this transference of sexual imagery to the machine—and then Kara’s transformation from a ground-crawling human to person that can kind-of-sort-of fly, using her feet and hands — is not an image that is just thrown into the story for funzies. There is something very intense here — a meditation on humanity, a meditation on survival, a reckoning of the very drives that make us people. And an exhortation, perhaps, to walk in someone else’s shoes — or to fly with their wings — or to look through their eyes, after you’ve given them over to the Commander. (from You can’t go home again)

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My second bread! With sunflower pits and flaxseeds. I did knead it longer this time, around 10 minutes. The rising went better. I ate the first slices straight after it got out of the oven. I had two slices with butter, and two with tuna salad i made half an hour before, with self made mayonaise. Gorgeous!

Published on January 11, 2016 at 6:00 by

David Foster Wallace

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This article from the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, published 14 December 2012, has been hanging on my board for the past three years. It is about Wallace himself, about his books, about his recently published biography. It is a Dutch article, i won’t be translating it. Sorry.

The last two sentences

In a world of pure panic, of smouldering suffering, artificial irony doesn’t have a place anymore. It doesn’t even scratch the fucking surface.

Published on January 8, 2016 at 6:00 by

Infinite Jest: Page 3 – 31

The title. Infinite Jest. It is taken from Hamlet. The play written by Shakespeare.
Hamlet holds the skull of the court jester Yorick and says:

“Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is!”

I’m guessing the best time to search for an explanation of a title is at the end. So that is what i will do. But i do want to state the thought of the title at the beginning. It is an easy element to forget. Important though.

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Year of Glad
Page 3 - 17
I read this part three times. Once when i bought the book. Once later on, trying again to read this book. And finally this time. So yes, i know this part. And yet, like with any book, which you simply won’t memorize completely, it is new to me.

I am seated in an office, surrounded by heads and bodies.

The first sentence of the book. It is strangely worded. Heads and bodies. As if the person is surrounded by marbles, disconnected from each other. This part describes someone very aware of his surroundings. Aware of himself, in a distant way.

I believe i appear neutral, maybe even pleasant, though i’ve been coached to err on the side of neutrality and not attempt what should feel to me like a pleasant expression or smile.

The I in this chapter is Hal Incandenza, eightteen years old. Hal is a ranked tennis player. He is at his admission talk for the University of Arizona.

His experience of his own body, his own speech is vastly different from how others perceive him. Other people people hear subanimalistic noises and sounds. Hal is taken away by paramedics into an ambulance. Strapped.

I’m not what you see and hear.

Unknown words
wen / harmless, usu permanent, tumour on the scalp or other part of the body

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Year of the Depend Adult Undergarment
Page 17 - 26

The years have weird descriptions. The Year of Glad? Depend Adult Undergarment? Strange.

Well, this seems another year. I’m not sure what the name is of the man in this chapter. Erdedy? Not a name i have heard before. Well, he is waiting for a woman. He has made an appointment with her. She had said she would come. She will bring along 200 grams of marijuana. His mind wanders. Watching an insect. Thinking about how he wanted to stop doing drugs, how each time he calls another person to get it once again. How he had prepared his house for a couple of days of being completely out of it. How this time would be the last time. How he would force himself of taking too much. Each day.

The woman still hadn’t arrived by the end of the chapter.

Unknown words
girder / wood, iron or steel beam to support the joists of a floor

debauch / cause to lose virtue, to act immorally; turn away from good taste or judgement

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1 April – Year of the Tucks Medicated Pad
Page 27 - 31
Hal is ten in this chapter, eight years younger than in the year of Glad. He is having a talk with a professional conversationalist. Hal drinks soda. Hal can cite the dictionary. Hal’s dad has made the appointment with the conversationalist.

And are you hearing me talking, Dad? It speaks. It accepts soda and defines implore and converses with you.

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These first chapters are hard. Difficult to read. The unknown words list should be longer, but i only list the words which struck me, and of which i have no idea what they mean. Other words have a vague meaning, still giving a clue to what they want to say. I know the story plays in the United States. I don’t know what years. The years are not numbered, but have weird names.

I’m guessing the first pages of this book are hard to read, the story isn’t set yet. The characters are not known. This is still the introduction.

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After i wrote this part, i went through the posts on Infinite Summer. I discovered the next bit:

How do you know Wallace can deliver before you’ve already blown the whole summer?

We have a number of reasons to trust Wallace. We have the word of smart people who have read the book, like Marcus, Jason, and Matt. We have almost 15 years of people reading and rereading, mining the book for its pleasures. We have the place to which this book has rapidly ascended in my generation’s unconscious.

But best of all we have the first ten pages.

The first ten pages of this book are remarkable. The first 100 pages are very good (if sometimes frustrating) but the first ten are amazing, and he deliberately put them there, right at the front, in order to make you a promise.

‘I’m not a machine. I feel and believe. I have opinions. Some of them are interesting. I could, if you’d let me, talk and talk. Let’s talk about anything. I believe the influence of Kierkegaard on Camus is underestimated. I believe Dennis Gabor may very well have been the Antichrist. I believe Hobbes is just Rousseau in a dark mirror. I believe, with Hegel, that transcendence is absorption. I could interface you guys right under the table,’ I say. ‘I’m not just a creatus, manufactured, conditioned, bred for a function.’

I open my eyes. ‘Please don’t think I don’t care.’

I look out. Directed my way is horror. I rise from the chair. I see jowls sagging, eyebrows high on trembling foreheads, cheeks bright-white. The chair recedes below me.

‘Sweet mother of Christ,’ the Director says.

He could have just said this: Listen up. I have a freaking great story to tell you.

If you feel yourself getting frustrated in parts, or lost. If you feel Wallace has lost your trust, stop, go back and read the first ten pages. You’ll find a promise.

I had forgotten about this passage. I just looked it up again. It was what came after it that threw me off. The rejection. The complete lack of understanding.

Talk to you again soon.

Published on December 14, 2015 at 6:00 by