Categories for World

Staatsieportretten

Yesterday was a fruitful day, to say the least. I started with the gems over the weekend, went into the Dutch royal family and touched on official portraits. There is a Dutch word for this: staatsieportret.

Een staatsieportret is een plechtig portret van een persoon in functie, vaak een hoogwaardigheidsbekleder (maar niet noodzakelijk) en vaak met bijbehorende tekenen van die macht en waardigheid.

Staatsie is waarschijnlijk een versmelting van het aan het Frans ontleende stage (‘verhoging’), en staat in de betekenis ‘vertoon’, ‘praal’, ‘pracht’, ‘luister’.[1]

Staatsieportretten kunnen worden geschilderd, getekend of gefotografeerd; de persoon die wordt afgebeeld neemt hiervoor een houding aan die gezag uitstraalt of door symboliek tot uitdrukking brengt, bijvoorbeeld met regalia, eretekens of triumphalia.

I was surprised that there isn’t a proper English translation for this Dutch word. Portret is Dutch for the English word portrait, obviously. Staatsie has more different meanings. One is the French word stage which means about the same as the English word: elevation. It also denotes grandure, magnificence, splendour, state, present. The closest i could find in the dictionary is official portrait. This is not a proper translation. It’s a combination of two words, a lot more general than the Dutch staatsieportret.

I searched. Starting with the Dutch ones: the Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix and Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The photo at the top of this post is from Rineke Dijkstra, a photographer who became known by her Beach Portraits (1992). This photo is very severe. There is a hint of sdness in Willem Alexander’s face. His clothes do point at the Dutch flag: red, white and blue.

Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Clinton, Putin and Mao close of this list. The Mao picture is extremely forceful and very recognizable. It is noticeable that no man smiles and some women do smile. I don’t like the smiles. These portraits are tokens of state. A smile doesn’t seem in the right place there.

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Queen Wilhelmina. With a tiara, necklace, brooch,
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Queen Juliana, fully robed in the official Kingsmantle, with the Dutch crown, orb and sceptre
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Queen Beatrix, also wearing the Kingsmantle
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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The king wears the Kingsmantle. Queen Maxima wears a dress designed by Jan Taminiau.
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Queen Elizabeth II photographed by Cecil Beaton with the Kingsmantle, crown, sceptre and orb.
inbetween Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
Barack Obama
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Michelle Obama
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Bill Clinton painting
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Vladimir Putin. I did search for other photographs. This image has such a presence though.
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Mao. Extremely basic. His shirt, grey and closed on top. The hair slightly wider towards the sides with a receding hairline. His face full, looking calmly towards you.
Published on April 21, 2016 at 6:00 by

The referendum

I am Dutch. This Wednesday, 6 April 2016, there is a Dutch Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement referendum.

The question: Are you for or against the Approval Act of the Association Agreement between the European Union and Ukraine?

I still don’t know what to vote. I will go and vote. I can vote yes. I can vote no. I can vote blank.

I can vote yes
The European Union has many association agreements with countries all over the world. From Albania to Zimbabwe. Why not add Ukraine to this list? A Young Democrats (D66) leaflet i got last Saturday told me this.

This is not about all the other countries the EU has an agreement with.

There are many types of agreements. One other still in negotiation is with the USA, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). I will not get into this one in this post. My first thought is to be against this. I even signed the petition.

This post is about the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement. I didn’t realize that Yanukovych, the then current president of the Ukraine, had refused to sign this agreement. He had presented an alternative, the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan. The new chosen president Poroshenko did sign the economic part of the agreement on 27 June 2014. I knew about the revolution in the Ukraine. I knew the president Yanukovych was removed from office. At the time, February 2014, i didn’t realize this was about this Association Agreement. To be honest, politics is not my main interest, some of these events simply pass me by. Still, it is a bit embarrassing to admit this.

The European Union and the (then) new Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed the economic part of the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on 27 June 2014,and described this as Ukraine’s “first but most decisive step” towards EU membership.President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, said at the signing ceremony: “In Kyiv and elsewhere, people gave their lives for this closer link to the European Union. We will not forget this.”

This forms a big push towards voting yes.

I can vote no
The article about the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement on wikipedia does give quite a lot of attention to the Russian and European fight over the Ukraine. The Ukraine itself is divided in its pull towards either Europe: the west part of the Ukraine, and Russia: the east part of the Ukraine. There is even a war inside the Ukraine itself, with two eastern provinces declaring itself for Russia.

The shooting down of the commercial airplane above the eastern part of the Ukraine, the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, with over half the passengers being Dutch, is a direct result of this war.

The human rights situation in Ukraine is hard for me to judge. Reading the Follow the Money article about this from 1 April 2016 Hoe staat het met de mensenrechten in Oekraïne? (Dutch: What is the state of human rights in Ukraine?) doesn’t bring a lot of hope.

A new law makes it possible to keep people in custody for 30 days. The Ukrainian constitution however states custody can be no longer than 72 hours. The Eastern war brings out the worst in the Ukrainian secret services and the eastern based rebels. Torture, threats, assault and detention are used by both parties.

The Panama Papers opened up Sunday 3 April shows we will need to move with utmost care. We are still at the first stories from these papers. I do hope the politicians and sportsmen mentioned in these papaers will not be able to let these stories disappear from public interest.

What to do?
Writing the above, reading about the agreement, its history in both Ukraine, Europe and Russia, even in its two hours i spend this morning is mind-boggling. I can say this is too much and simply vote blank. What i do realize is the importance of this. Looking at the Ratification table on the Ukraine–European Union Association Agreement page shows me a green table. Every country has ratified this agreement. There are two parts with a different colour: the Council of the European Union and the Netherlands. With it advisory referendum.

I will vote no
I read the column by Ewald Engelen for De Groene Amsterdammer, in which he comes to his final no-vote. At the end of this column he writes:

Voor of tegen de kaste – dat is de vraag.
For or against the caste – that is the question.

This is not a doubtless, right from the heart, clear from the start NO.

I do wish Ukraine to grow as a nation. I’m not sure the European rules are right for it in its current condition. I don’t even think the European rules are right for the European countries. I’m not saying leave Ukraine to Russia. But, I do think Europe is going too fast and is too greedy.

I’m not sure about this decision. I have no doubt this agreement will go through, one way or another. My vote, any Dutch vote, will not change this.

But i will vote against this.

Against the current political stream.

Against this world as it unfolds itself in shameless selfishness.

NO

Published on April 5, 2016 at 6:00 by

Mixed thoughts

This past week, on Tuesday, in the morning i was sitting behind my computer. I routinely went through my twitter feed. I saw a strange picture. Sort of a train station with messy black and white parts of the ceiling or wall on the floor. I looked further down. I saw more tweets, but only thirty minutes back. Something was going on.

I turned on the television. There it was. The Dutch journal with an extra edition. Explosions in the airport Zaventem in Brussels. I switched to the Belgian tv.

That entire morning i was watching the news. Switching between Dutch, Belgian and British tv. I saw the footage of people running out of the halls in Zeventem. The short clips of people climbing out of metro train in Brussels. People crying, other people quiet. The city becoming more silent, with only heavenly guarded police and militairs on the street. My mind went to friends who are living in Brussels for over ten years.

I saw the speach of our prime minister Rutte, around half past eleven.

“We are with more.”

Those words went through my head over the next few days. So being with more means what? The majority wins? What if we got into war with China? India? There are more of them.

Over the next few days i read more articles about Brussels and the responses of our politicians.

“An attack on our values.”

We can not live in this make believe innocence in which we inhabit this perfect land where nothing bad ever happens. We do not. Our Western European world is as internally conflicted as all the other parts of the world. We do sweep it under the carpet. Out of sight, out of mind. But it is still there.

We do have a certain amount of freedom. Especially the indigenous people of Western Europe do have the possibilities and chances to find what they most want to do in their live. It is hard though, in this neoliberal world with fast four years studies, high debts and expensive living costs.

The last war in Western Europe ended in 1945. Seventy years ago. In those years our western world has evolved in a rich, polluted and contaminated, globalizing, expressive and rude world inhabited with people unaware of what a war can be like. People taking our hard won peace for granted. Most of us. Me too.

We live in this highly coated world with shop fronts the same around every city in Europe. We do not apply any terrorist action. Of course not. Other do those actions to us. The innocent, happily buying stuff, dancing and eating and drinking Europeans.

A few days after the attack, Johan Cruyff died. Every news show was showering his memory with love and adoration. The last symbol of our Dutch glory. So it was said.

I am not a football fan. Not a Johan Cruyff fan. It is not my world. I watched some of the shows with amazement. Not my place to say anything more about it.

Microsoft pulled its chatbot Tay from Twitter. In less than 24 hours its tweets changed from the innocent to the outright dark. Since it was learning from tweets targeting at it, all its noises were coming from other people, “a pack of sadistic psychopaths”.

hellooooooo w🌎rld!!!
1:14 PM – 23 Mar 2016

@wowdudehahahaha I fucking hate niggers, I wish we could put them all in a concentration camp with k****s and be done with the lot
12:49 AM – 24 Mar 2016

We do have problems.

The entire world has problems.

I don’t have solutions. I simply think about what is happening, what people say, what people do. I don’t do this every single day. But this past week, i did.

Writing this post gives me a chance to sort my thoughts. Try to see a line to pick up, try to find a way out of this aweful mess we are in. This desolate world in which we live our lives as is prescribed by the people with powers surrounding by other people with powers surrounding us.

I am not able to find an answer on my own.

I am happy to search.

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Links
Most of these links refer to Dutch or Belgian articles. Some may be behind a paywall.

Na de aanslag
Aanslagen in Brussel
Waarom aanslagen geen aanval op onze waarden zijn (en politici ons dat wel willen doen geloven)
Brussel leert: over terreur is alles al gezegd (behalve wat bijna iedereen denkt)
Er is niks mis met selectieve verontwaardiging
Buitenhof: David van Reybrouck en Willem Schinkel over Brussel
The US-led Coalition Bombed the University of Mosul for Being an Islamic State Headquarters
Irakese academica schreeuwt haar woede uit over bombardementen op de universiteit van Mosul
Provo
‘Als je geen regenpak aanhad, schopte ik je helemaal dood.’
It’s not Tay’s fault that it turned racist. It’s ours.
Twitter May Have Just Doomed Humanity by Trolling an Artificial Intelligence Bot
Willem Schinkel over de ‘allochtoon’
Boeken: Willem Schinkel “Over nut en nadeel van de sociologie voor het leven”

Published on March 28, 2016 at 6:00 by

My world map, phase 8

Jess Glynne
Jess+Glynne+57th+GRAMMY+AwardsI noticed Jess Glynne last year. I love her voice. It is fierce.
I also like it that she writes her own songs, alone or in cooperation with other people. Not Letting go, the song from Tinie Tempah featuring Jess Glynne, is one of my favourite songs of last year.

You were something I can’t replace
You made my heart work
You make me stronger
I’m not letting go, I’m not letting go
You were something I can’t replace
You made my heart work
You make me stronger
I’m not letting go, I’m not letting go

Jess Glynne is still in the early stages of her career. I hope she keeps up and keeps on working hard and find the right people to work with. Go girl!

Carly Rae Jepsen
carly-rae-jepsenTo be honest, Call Me Maybe, 2012 best-selling single worldwide, completely passed me by. I simply had other things on my mind. Yes, sometimes the years pass me by and i do not notice what happens in pop music one bit.
I just watched some Idols clips on youtube with her in it. So young.
And yes, i actually do have to listen to all her songs. Damn, its a bit scary to admit i haven’t yet. I should. I know. It is just, the few songs i do know of her i do love. This world map is not all about the people i cherish, but also about people i think play a role in the world constellation. Not sure i’m saying it right. Simply, it is a very casual map of my view on the world. People playing a part in public life. On the other hand, it is also people i like. Hmm.
Anyway, i like Carly Rae Jepsen! I like her songs! Yay!

Selena Gomez
selena-gomezQuite the business woman. Born in 1992, she stands on years of experience: acting, singing, philantropy.
Honestly, i had to think about adding her to this list. She is incredibly beautiful. That is a given. That doesn’t mean she is a awesome talent. I might be wrong adding her. I know. But there is the fact that i do like her. I mean, Taylor Swift is on this map too, and i like Selena more than Taylor. Not sure why. I should meet them both to really say anything about them truthfully.
Anyway, i do like her songs.

Hmm, i seem to like quite a few songs. Sorry.

🙂

Ooh, i moved David Bowie down. I’m sad to say.

Published on February 17, 2016 at 6:00 by

David Bowie, 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

DAVID BOWIE
“Lazarus”

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now

Look up here, man, I’m in danger
I’ve got nothing left to lose
I’m so high it makes my brain whirl
Dropped my cell phone down below

Ain’t that just like me

By the time I got to New York
I was living like a king
Then I used up all my money
I was looking for your ass

This way or no way
You know, I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Now ain’t that just like me

Oh I’ll be free
Just like that bluebird
Oh I’ll be free
Ain’t that just like me

Published on January 12, 2016 at 6:00 by

The world is terrible

A morning in December 2015 i saw the episode Botox from the Dutch television program Keuringsdienst van Waarde [1]. One of the presenters asked a lady, about to have some botox injections, if she was aware that botox is a poison.

“Zo zou ik het niet willen noemen.”

“I wouldn’t want to call it like that.”

It is a poison. Botulinum toxin. Botulinum is the most acutely lethal toxin known. I didn’t make up the previous sentence. I copied it from the Wikipedia page [2].

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My mind crossed over to the sinking boat disasters [3] happening over the past years. Specifically, the one in Italy and the one in South Korea.

“Capt. Lee Joon-seok of the Sewol, the South Korean ferry that sunk last week, has come under heavy criticism for abandoning the ship while hundreds of passengers remained on board. Dozens of them died and more than 200 were still missing Monday”

“Witnesses said Schettino jumped into a lifeboat to flee the ship, even though hundreds of passengers were still on board. In his trial, the captain said he fell into a lifeboat when the ship listed sharply.”

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“You’re a faker!” the lady on the train berated me while my two small children looked on. “If you can read that book, you aren’t blind.”

I have never thought about the issue of the cane for visually impaired people. To face this seems to me almost impossible at times [4].

It also reminds me of scenes in The Big Bang Theory [5], in which Leonard walks into a wall or a pillar. He is supposedly completely blind without his glasses on. I have always thought this weird. I wear glasses myself, -5 and -3.5. But the world is simply a bit more vague and blurry without them. And with movement and depth, the world is perfectly navigable without glasses as well.

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The PGB system in the Netherlands is a personal care budget. It has worked well for around 15 years. People who needed it had a budget to hire the right people to help them. This year this system has changed. Now the SVB, the Dutch Social Insurance Bank, has taken over. Since the beginning of this year the bank was behind paying the budget. The money involved with implementing the new rules has tripled. It is not €50 million, but €150 million. The administration for this budget is so much work, i heard on television someone say that her mother was going to leave the PGB in January 2016.

People who have talked about the pgb-chaos are actually told by the SVB to not talk to any press, with a fine of € 35.000 if they do [6].

The National Ombudsman has concluded, in August 2015, that all human interests have been completely lost with the implementation of this new law [7].

The main driving force behind the changes in this system is that the government wants to cutback this way of budgeting. It is supposed to be susceptible to fraude, administrative difficult and expensive. Many people, who have a PGB now, will be cut out of this system eventually.

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I am not a nun. I do feel admiration for people choosing this way of life. But i am not overtly religious myself. I still like to find someone to share my life with. Reading about people still choosing this life does perk me up though. It does seem very ancient, not of this world. But that is only a story to make this world seem smaller and narrower, a story many people believe [8] [9].

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I love sci fi. I went out with my nephew to see Star Wars, in 1977. I was 13 or 14 years old. We got ourselves a Big Mac. In the McDonalds on the Coolsingel in Rotterdam. Which is still there, even though it is completely rebuild this year.

I love to watch sci fi movies. The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, Harry Potter, Looper, Star Wars, Star Trek, Blade Runner, Solaris, Alien, Back to the Future. TV series: Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek, Enterprise, Voyager, the original series. Firefly is one of my all time favourite tv series.

I love to read sci fi books. When i was around 12 years old, i read my first sci fi book, Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed [10] written by Tonke Dragt [11]. This was the start of me reading Dune by Frank Herbert, books written by Jack Vance, Robert Heinlein, Asimov, Simak, Ursula LeQuin and many more. In 2000 i discovered Peter Hamilton’s books. Pure space opera. I loved it.

I don’t know how this works in Hollywood. I don’t know who decides what script will be made into a movie. I don’t know who decides which director will make the movie. I do know after two big movies, Joss Whedon [13] decided to stop working on them.

“He remarked that not having created his own fictional universe in over five years felt wrong and intended to use the proceeds made from Avengers: Age of Ultron for such ventures.”

Most of these movies give a pleasurable rollercoaster type experience. They work. Definitely. But these movies are also picky in their choice of scares and nightmares and oppressions [13].

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We are doomed.

We are all guilty. We try to live a carefree live, with a multitude of pleasures.

The food industry is providing us with meats, sweets, superfoods, bags of special herb selections for a good curry, soda, milk, fish. The news stories about horse meat sold as cow meat scare us for a few days. Then it slides away. Another news story is there to frighten us.

We watch the tv shows. True Detective. Game of Thrones. The Walking Dead. We love to get frightened. For an hour. Love to think of our society being transformed by a unnatural disease into a bloodthirsty mob of zombies, chasing us into a corner and eating our necks and eyes and hearts and legs.

Our world is collapsing.

We stand today on a precipice of annihilation that Nietzsche could not have even imagined. There is little reason to hope that we’ll be able to slow down global warming before we pass a tipping point. We’re already one degree Celsius above preindustrial temperatures and there’s another half a degree baked in. The West Antarctic ice sheet is collapsing, Greenland is melting, permafrost across the world is liquefying, and methane has been detected leaking from sea floors and Siberian craters: it’s probably already too late to stop these feedbacks, which means it’s probably already too late to stop apocalyptic planetary warming. Meanwhile the world slides into hate-filled, bloody havoc, like the last act of a particularly ugly Shakespearean tragedy. [14]

This post, We’re Doomed. Now What?, from 21 December 2015, made a big impression on me.

Between self-destruction and giving up, between willing nothingness and not willing, there is another choice: willing our fate. Conscious self-creation.

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Our news stories repeatedly tell the same story over and over again. About failings. About murders, refugees, attacks, wars, accidents, suicide missions, disasters, bankruptcies, etc. etc.

nu.nl, thursday 24 December 2015

  • Police agant stabbed to death on a German station
  • Surely 50 deaths with bus accident in Afghanistan
  • Deaths and wounded after car road into an English coffee bar
  • No driving in Rome due to smog
  • Mosque in Berlin gets send half a swine’s head
  • Ninth suspect assault Paris detained in Brussel
  • American assault airplanes attack goals in Afghanistan
  • Surailie I. detained for deathly shooting Waterfront in Amsterdam
  • Syria wants to join the peace talks

nu

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The world is terrible.

The world, our world, is also extraordinarily stunningly exquisitely beautiful. Awe inspiring breath taking away gorgeous. Filled with live bursting from every pocket, from the poles to the deep seas, from the marshes to the forests to the rivers to the mountains.

NASA had a press conference this year. They had found water on Mars. Some people are thinking about colonizing Mars. Because, well, our earth is full? We want to start again?

Our planet is quite a rare planet in the universe. Our sun is not too small, not too big. We are set in a outer spiral arm of the Milky Way [15]. A quiet neighborhood. Our planet is accompanied by a rather large companion, the moon. A quarter of the size of earth. The matching of apparent visual size of the moon and the sun is a coincidence [16]. A coincidence.

There was an asteroid slamming into our earth, around 66 million years ago [17]. It wiped out around three-quarters of the animals and plants. Which made it possible for mammals to rise to dominance.

Of course there are other planets in the universe with the same sort of coincidences and accidents as on ours. Not that many, but still, if only a 0.0000001% of all the existing planets can bear life, that means, ooh man, i don’t know, several hundreds? thousands? tens of thousands of planets out there in the universe with life on it. Maybe on some the dinosaurs weren’t wiped out. Maybe on others evolution got stuck on reptiles. But i’m also guessing that on several a human like form evolved.

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I know many people are working hard to make this world a better place. I hope to do the same thing. Hoping doesn’t make it any easier to find the right thing for you, fitting with who you are, what your talents are, fitting with what you really want to do.

For me, personally, i realize i took a really long time trying things out. Science, design, drawing, painting, photography, typography, html, flash, actionscript, javascript, writing, singing, making video’s.

I also took a long time doing nothing. I’m not sure why. But i do feel it is part of the process.

I have found a few things. I’m happy to say.

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Our world is beautiful. It is a place to treasure. To take care of. With animals to love, to enjoy, to be careful of. With all the knowledge we gained over the years.

Not a world to own, to milk of every juice we can get out of it, to change to suit our needs as we please.

I’m thinking, what do we really need, truthfully?

I’m thinking, what it boils down to, what, in the end we do need, is love. Love of the earth. Love of nature. Love of all animals. Love of all people.

Love. Truthfully.

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Footnotes

  1. Keuringsdienst van Waarde
  2. Botulinum toxin
  3. Abandon ship? In recent maritime disasters, captains don’t hang around

  4. What a white cane really means

  5. The Big Bang Theory
  6. SVB: monddood om pgb-ellende
  7. Overheid faalde volgens ombudsman aan alle kanten bij pgb’s

  8. I am a hermit

  9. The modern hermit living in an end-of-terrace house

  10. Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed

  11. Tonke Dragt
 (english)

  12. Joss Whedon
  13. The Topics Dystopian Films Won’t Touch

  14. We’re Doomed. Now What?
  15. Solar system
  16. Moon
  17. Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event
Published on December 25, 2015 at 6:00 by

Money

Money is any item or verifiable record that is generally accepted as payment for goods and services and repayment of debts in a particular country or socio-economic context, or is easily converted to such a form.

Money. This subject is too large to handle in a single post. So i will not try that. I did categorize this post in World. The second one besides my series of people of interest to me in the world. In rest at the moment.

I spend an hour this morning being livid. Angry. Grrrrrrrrrrr. Listening to music, daydreaming. Daydreaming of sitting on the edge of a stage talking to David Bowie. Yeah… this is mainly a way to get my thoughts clear. Sorry David. No offense!

I finally stood up, sat behind my computer and did a search for money. The first page i read is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money. I still have this page open in a tab. I did go through the Gold Bar page, Gold as an investment, Diamonds as an investment, Palladium as an investment and Alternative investment.

An alternative investment is an investment in asset classes other than stocks, bonds, and cash. The term is a relatively loose one and includes tangible assets such as precious metals, art, wine, antiques, coins, or stamps and some financial assets such as real estate, commodities, private equity, distressed securities, hedge funds, carbon credits, venture capital, film production and financial derivatives.

The past months i was thinking about the time when i will get rich. Gold seemed to me the first asset to invest in. Precious stones popped up next. Diamonds, rubies, emeralds, sapphires. Pearls. Opals. Real estate: houses or apartments in Rotterdam, London, New York. People: providing the means to enable people to work, to create.

That was always my dream. When i would win the big prize in the lottery, i would set up a house in the center of Rotterdam. On the top floor i would live. The two bottom floors would be for work. Computers mainly, but also meeting space. A coffee bar at the front perhaps? Not that it ever happened, but still.

Well.

Time has moved on. I’m actually quite poor right now. To be honest, i have a thousand euros for the month of October left. That is it. It does scare me at times. I still feel i’m consciously steering myself towards an end. With precision. I can not let go. I can not go any other way. It is scary to openly talk about it. I hardly see my friends. Right now i still buy things like expensive nail polish. I drink coffee and have carrot cake. I simply refuse to give in. I refuse to feel desperate. I feel my hands on the steering wheel and i know it is almost time.

I hope.

If not, if i’m wrong, i will lend a bit of money and go search for a job. Plan B.

I probably should worry more about my situation. I remember one time i read a definition of manic depression. The last couple of months the similarity with a manic period did cross my mind. The need for sleep is usually reduced. But i’m not excessively happy. I hardly talk about myself. Outwardly i’m calm, relaxed. I do smile more, i do feel happy. I do try and say hello to people i meet on the streets. But i’m careful. It feels that way!

My work, this website, is of the utmost importance to me. Yes. I do mean that. So far, i haven’t been able to see far ahead with the work i’ve made. I do realize the presents i made on lfs.nl are receding into the background. It is songs and videoclips now. Both are new. Both are still very young. Very tentative. I love the singing, but i really need to learn so much more. I also love the videoclips. I’m a bit more adept with them. A bit more at ease. A bit more familiar ground.

So yes, i’m working. Not for money, but for myself. To make the things i want to make. And that makes me so happy. So i wouldn’t give up this time for any money. I do feel i need to continue, need to work, need to make these clips, sing these songs. And that somehow, in a few weeks time, i’ll arrive at the other end. I’ll succeed. I feel the trust in me, in myself, that it will work out. I still have a bit of time.

So yeah. Money. I know you do need it, in this world. But right now, it is of no importance to me. It is all about my work.

Salute!

Published on September 30, 2015 at 6:00 by

Rudolf George Escher 1912 – 1980

I remember very clearly the first time i heard the music composed by Rudolf Escher. I went over to Edwin for dinner. He put on this music which completely enchanted me. I sat there listening with my eyes closed. I’m not sure what Edwin thought of that to be honest, it did feel almost a bit rude to me, but i couldn’t help myself. I fell in love.

I went out and tried to find his music. He isn’t the best known composer. Dutch composer! I did find out he had lived in Rotterdam. He had lost his house and all the works he made up until 1940 in the bombing on Rotterdam 14 May 1940.

I do prefer his chamber music. Lucky for me most of his music is exactly that.

2015-09-09-13.42.42

Classical music is a sideline interest for me. It is such a huge field of composers, performers, critics and different areas that it simply is too much for me. I know i could dive in, but i am more into pop and hip-hop and rap and r&b. I do listen to classical music rarely. When i do, i try to really listen. Not read or do anything else. Listen.

So there is this little bit of music i want to share with you. I will listen to it myself over the next days.

I hope you will find the time.

Arcana

Sonata for flute and piano

Le Tombeau de Ravel

Sonata per violoncello solo (1945/1948)

Trio for clarinet, viola and piano

Sonate Concertante

Strange meeting: for baritone and piano

Sonata for violin and paino

Habanera

Monologue for flute

Sonatina for piano

Trio à cordes (1959), 1. Transformations

Trio à cordes (1959), 2. Réminiscences

Sonata No.1 for piano solo

Three poems by W.H. Auden (1975)

Sonata for fluit solo (1973)

A spotify playlist

Published on September 10, 2015 at 6:00 by

My world map, phase 7

Stanley Kubrick
stanley-kubrickThis week i watched Dr. Strangelove, released in the year i was born. I remembered parts of it. The former mad Nazi scientist played by Peter Sellers. I liked it better now. Lolita i’ve seen too. I also read the book written by Nabokov. Like 20 years ago, maybe even longer. I should watch it again. It’s been sunken deep away in my memory. Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey, A Clockwork Orange, The Shining and Eyes Wide Shut i’ve also seen. I’m thinking of seeing them all once again. The older movies up until Spartacus (1960) i don’t think i’ve seen. Spartacus i’m not sure about. But i should watch that one too.
Honestly, i think i’ve always known Kubrick to be a well respected director. Reading a bit more about him, i didn’t realize how he lived, what type of films he made, the wide range of genres, the perfectionism with which he made these films. So yes, i am gonna watch most of his movies once again. I might get back to you on this once i’ve done this.
PS. I watched The Shining last Saturday. It did get to me a lot better than previous times i saw it. For instance the title, which i had never thought about before. Shining is what the little boy Danny does. He asks for help from the cook who he has spoken to when they got int the hotel on their first day. The pedaling of Danny through the endless corridors of the hotel, the immediate fright that called up with me of seeng those two girls. The room 237 which he should never enter, the cook had said.

Speaking about the theme of the film, Kubrick stated that “there’s something inherently wrong with the human personality. There’s an evil side to it. One of the things that horror stories can do is to show us the archetypes of the unconcious; we can see the dark side without having to confront it directly”. (Duncan, Paul (2003), Stanley Kubrick: The Complete Films)

David Lynch
davidlynchTwin Peaks was huge in the late 80s. I was still at art school. I remember getting together with friends and watching episodes together. With donuts and coffee. And beer and wine too no doubt. The show is still on my list of shows and movies i want to see again. Especially the first season, the first eight episodes. The beautiful people in the show were a bonus. Lara Flynn Boyle, Sherilyn Fenn and in the second season Heather Graham were totally gorgeous. The music by Angelo Badalamenti was wonderful.
This show is enough reason for me to ass David Lynch to this list. But there are also his movies. A guilty pleasure, Dune. With Sting! The Elephant Man i liked too. Blue Velvet was a weird movie with a lot of violence and many strange happenings. As Lynch himself said “a dream of strange desires wrapped inside a mystery story”.
One movie i forgot was directed by Lynch, The Straight Story. I saw this movie on the sneak preview in Lantaren/Venster in Rotterdam, when it was still in the Gouvernestraat in the centre. Mulholland Drive i need to watch again and read about.

Tonke Dragt
tonkedragtThe first book i read written by Tonke Dragt was Torenhoog en Mijlenbreed. It is a science fiction book for people 12 years and older. The main lead, Edu, is a planet explorer stationed on Venus. He is drawn towards the Venusian woods, but they are dangerous to all man made materials, like artificial cloth and plastics. He does go into the woods himself, finds the Venusian people living there and discovers he can read minds like they do. Years later i found out there was a sequal to this book, Ogen van tijgers. I did buy this book then, not sure when, but longer than 10 years ago.
De torens van Februari is another of my favourite books. The shape is a diary by someone who has lost his memories. Slowly he regains bits of them. He has managed to get to a parallel world of our own. He left our world 29 February 1964. Only a few days after i was born. 🙂 He used a word. The book told that you could guess the word if you read it carefully enough. Which is what i did! Multiple times! I thought it could be something with the word ‘verschrikkelijk’ (terrible). But i wasn’t sure. I never tried it anyway. Brilliant book!
I have more of Dragt’s books. Verhalen van de Tweelingbroers, De brief voor de koning, Geheimen van het Wilde Woud, De Zevensprong, Aan de andere kant van de tijd. All are a mixture of fantasy or science fiction. Some are more realistic than others.
I also just found out the book The letter for the King (De brief voor de koning) was just translated and released in the UK a year ago. Enjoy!

Philip Pullman
philip-pullmanI learned about Philip Pullman in 2003, when the BBC had the Big Read, a popularist reading ranking vote, in which his main book His Dark Materials came at number three. I was surprised that this book was rated above Harry Potter (at number five) and got it in our local book store Donner, a three in one edition. His Dark Materials consists of three books, a coming of age fantasy story about a girl, Lyra and a boy, Will. There are many parallel worlds in the books. Lyra lives in a Victorian kind of world, Will lives in our world. The main drive in these books is a war on God, the first angel who has proclaimed himself above the other angels and is ruling the worlds. Dust is a special elementary particle which is attracted to grown up people. The church believes it is related to the Original Sin.
I love these books. I am rereading them right now, for most likely the fourth time. There are still many details i have forgotten, little nooks and crannies which have slipped my mind.

J.K. Rowling
jkrowlingAt Christmas time in the year 2000, i lived in London in a shared apartment on Wentworth street, close to Spitalfields Market. I was alone there for Christmas time. I had found a job to do after i got fired at Oven Digital. Only a month before they got broke. I was making a website for Shipwrecked, a reality program on Channel 4. I had bought the first three books of Harry Potter to read during the break, all three in a box. Very fast after this i bought the fourth book. I don’t remember that, but it was released July 2000, so it’s most likely i did. I loved these books. Over the years i bought the follow-ups. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince and the Deathly Hallows.
I do enjoy the movies as well. Whenever they are shown on television (quite a lot!), i liked to watch them.
I never read a lot about Rowling herself. I’m not sure what i think of her. I have never really thought about that. But i do like her Harry Potter books.

Published on August 4, 2015 at 6:00 by

My world map, phase 6

Donald Fagen and Walter Becker
walterbecker-donaldfagenThe founders of Steely Dan, one of my all time favorite bands. The band split up in 1981. Fagen and Becker reunited in 1993 and have since toured and released albums as Steely Dan.
I’ve most likely known Steely Dan since their beginnings. I remember an assignment at highschool, to draw a redesign of an album you liked. I picked Countdown to Ecstacy from Steely Dan. So i must have been like eleven or twelve when i bought their albums. The first one, Can’t buy a thrill, was released in 1972, when i was eight years old. As my eldest sister Marja was the biggest influence on my music taste in those years, i knew about them from when she got the album. I do have all their albums up until Aja. Then i got into ska and new wave. A different story. 🙂

Max Martin
maxmartinI’ve known about this man for quite some time, from the time he wrote Britney Spears hit …Baby One More Time in 1998. But i didn’t look him up until a week ago. I hadn’t realised he wrote so many hits. Martin is the songwriter with the third most number one singles on the chart, behind only Paul McCartney (32) and John Lennon. 17 of his hits are the following:

  • Britney Spears, “…Baby One More Time,” 1999
  • ‘N Sync, “It’s Gonna Be Me,” 2000
  • Katy Perry, “I Kissed a Girl,” 2008
  • P!nk, “So What,” 2008
  • Kelly Clarkson, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” 2009
  • Britney Spears, “3,” 2009
  • Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg, “California Gurls,” 2010
  • Katy Perry, “Teenage Dream,” 2010
  • P!nk, “Raise Your Glass,”2010
  • Britney Spears, “Hold It Against Me,” 2011
  • Katy Perry featuring Kanye West, “E.T.,” 2011
  • Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),” 2011
  • Katy Perry, “Part of Me,” 2012
  • Maroon 5, “One More Night,” 2012
  • Taylor Swift, “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” 2012
  • Katy Perry, “Roar,” 2013
  • Katy Perry feat. Juicy J, “Dark Horse,” 2014
  • Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off,” 2014
  • Taylor Swift, “Blank Space,” 2014
  • Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood,” 2015

He started out in Sweden, with Ace of Base among others. Then he started co-producing and co-writing for the Backstreet Boys 1999 Milennium album. The following people read like a list of of all the hits all over the world. I don’t know much about this world, but it seems to me Martin is among the ones most revered in the industry. “We work melody first. That’s Max Martin’s school,” Kotecha says. “We’ll spend days, sometimes weeks, challenging the melody. The goal is to make it sound like anyone can do this, but it’s actually very difficult. In Sweden, you don’t do anything until you do it right.” Savan Kotecha, the American who co-wrote both of One Direction’s big hits, spent six months in Stockholm developing songs for their new album with Martin disciples Rami Yacoub and Carl Falk.

Mark Zuckerberg
Criticism Facebook
markzuckerbergYeah. Hmm. I write these updates by making the post and adding the names while i think of them. The previous three names i had rather quickly. And then i thought of Facebook. And its founder. Or rather, one of the five co-founders.
I do not that much about him. And for the first years i happily ignored facebook. Once i had to make a facebook page for a company for work. Not the kind of work i like to repeat.

He restated these goals to Wired magazine in 2010: “The thing I really care about is the mission, making the world open.”

There are a couple of things i don’t like about facebook. It is overly prudish. The order of posts i don’t get. But yes, there are so many users on it, it is hard to avoid it. So i do post updates from this blog there. I do feel though for most users that facebook is the one place they go to. Browsing (‘surfing’) seems to be diminishing. I’m a internet reader and watcher since 1995. I’ve seen many ways of browsing and remembering the nice places. I guess i’ll stay happy with the few around me who are doing the same. Still, i don’t mind publishing on facebook occasionally. And with my F.B. Purity, which hides the ads and more, my life is even better 🙂

Published on July 16, 2015 at 6:00 by