Monday, June 29, 2009

It's official: you suck.

Here's something I've been pondering quite a bit lately. It's a list of things that used to be cool and new and exciting and special, but that I think are now taking a fast dive into the depths of sucking. And not a moment too soon, might I add.

1. Girls saying stuff like "I've always been more of a tomboy, never getting along with girls, but always really good with boys. When girls were playing with dolls, I was smashing racecars and lusting over that new robot in the toy shop. I'm just one of the guys..." Erm, unless you've got a penis, no, you're not. And if you do, well, that's a totally different discussion.

2. Girls wearing colored dresses at their wedding or Converse shoes instead of proper shoes. Which yes, is a sin I am comitting myself (the latter I mean), but at least I am aware of the suckiness of it all creeping in slowly.

3. The trendiness of celebrities having babies is also living its last days I think. This one doesn't suck actually, it's just not as cool as it has been in the last few years. A lot of babies have been had, a lot of swooning over the little buggers has been done, I guess it's on to the next thing now.

4. Protecting the environment done wrong. I much more respect someone who quietly takes their phone charger out of the plug when the battery is full and all these little things you do around the house out of common sense, than someone who blabs on about how much they love the planet and makes superior speeches about it in public, like they've found some sort of ship they can board to make themselves feel worthy of the space they take up on said Earth. It's just so off-putting it makes me want to set a tree on fire, but I guess this is what happens whenever something good becomes a trend.

More will be added down the line, but to end this for now, let me tell you a little story. A few years back, I bought a skateboard. I wanted to use it as a mean of transport or an alternative to the bike I didn't own then, and obviously not to learn to do tricks or break my neck on some half pipe. Even back then I was too old for that kind of stuff and I am very much aware of the strict limits of my athletic abilities. So I buy it, I ask a friend of a friend a few things about where I should put my feet and such technical details, and I proceed to the park to make myself familiar with the object in question. To make a long story short, after careful scouting for empty alleys where I could suck at it in the process of learning, after countless stupid remarks from random idiots passing by at the sight of a girl meddling with a skateboard, after being banished even from the parking lot of a supermarket because what I was doing seemed "dangerous to the parked cars", I gave up. In total, I think I took that skateboard out ten times. My husband's using it now, so all was not lost. But what I want to say is, sometimes it's okay to let people suck at something. Allow sucking as a learning process.

I guess this is number 5 on my list. Complete morons not letting other people suck in peace. And if you find yourself doing that, well, my friend, you yourself suck.

I conclude with my artist of the day: Travis Louie.

Reading Stephen Fry's "Moab Is My Washpot"

[...] "Music is the deepest of the arts and deep beneath all arts. [...] I don't know if you have ever taken LSD, but when you do so the doors of perception, as Aldous Huxley, Jim Morrison and their adherents ceaselessly remind us, swing open wide. That is actually the sort of phrase, unless you are William Blake, that only makes sense when there is some LSD actually swimming about inside you. In the cold light of the cup of coffee and banana sandwich that are beside me now it appears to be nonsense, but I expect you know what it is taken to mean. LSD reveals the whatness of things, their quiddity, their essence. The wateriness of water is suddenly revealed to you, the carpetness of carpets, the woodness of wood, the yellowness of yellow, the fingernailness of fingernails, the allness of all, the nothingness of all, the allness of nothing. For me music gives access to every one of these essences of existence, but at a fraction of the social or financial cost of a drug and without the need to cry "Wow!" all the time, which is one of LSD's most distressing and least endearing side-efects.
Other arts do this too, but other arts are for ever confined and anchored by reference. Sculptures are either figuratively representative or physically limited by their material, which is actual and palpable. The words in poems are referential, they breathe with denotation and connotation, suggestion and semantics, coding and signing. Paint is real stuff and the matter of painting contains itself in a frame. Music, in the precision of its form and the mathematical tyranny of its laws, escapes into an eternity of abstraction and an absurd sublime that is everywhere and nowhere at once. The grunt of rosin-rubbed catgut, the saliva-bubble blast of a brass tube, the sweaty-fingered squeak on a guitar fret, all that physicality, all that clumsy "music-making", all that grain of human performance, so much messier that the artfully patinated pentimenti or self-conscious painterly mannerism of the sister arts, transcends itself at the moment of its happening, that moment when music actually becomes, as it makes the journey from the vibrating instrument, the vibrating hi-fi speaker, as it sends those vibrations across to the human tympanum and through the inner ear and into the brain, where the mind is set to vibrate to frequencies of its own making.
The nothingness of music can be moulded by the mood of the listener into the most precise shapes or allowed to float as free as thought; music can follow the academic and theoretical pattern of its own modality or adhere to some narrative or dialectical programme imposed by a friend, a scholar or the composer himself. Music is everything and nothing. It is useless and no limit can be set on its use. Music takes me to places of illimitable sensual and insensate joy, accessing points of ecstasy that no angelic lover could ever locate, or plunging me into gibbering weeping hells of pain that no torturer could ever devise. Music makes me write this sort of maundering adolescent nonsense without embarrassment. Music is in fact the dog's bollocks. Nothing else comes close." [...]

I conclude with my "song of the day": The Grit - Straight Out the Alley.

This sequel did not suck

A few words of advice, if you haven't seen it already: it's damn long, so don't go to late screenings because if you're tired it's hard to follow the metal screeching and fusing and battle action. You won't know who's who and who's winning or whatta-whatta's going on. Two, try to sit as far back as possible, that transforming stuff's fast and you totally can't fully enjoy it if you're sitting too close to the screen. Thrice, I wish that ice-cream van got more screen time, but I guess Bumblebee's gotta do.

I conclude with my "cool person of the day": Invertebra.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's in a name

Let's face it, every word and therefore name has a unique personality stigma attached to it. You hear it and it triggers a certain mood, or instantly gives you a certain feel of the said word or name. If you're Romanian, when you hear the name "Vasile" you think of a thick-skinned, sun-burnt man from the countryside, if you hear "galoshes" you think of a posh English man trotting about on a rainy London day, if you hear "cinnamon" you think of warm childhood mornings and your grandma's cooking. Of course, every interpretation of any word depends on the hearer's perspective on things and life experience, but there is, as in all things, an agreed "general" opinion established by the majority or if you will, by the so called "normal" class. The reason I'm going on about this is that this past week-end my perception of one certain name has done a very unexpected 360 on me. I'm talking about The Hague.

I'm not sure what imagery others get in their heads from hearing of this city, but for me it used to be, until this past Saturday, international politics, trials, Queen Beatrix and Milosevic. When I thought of it, I pictured something dry, grey and boring, resembling the UN quarters in Vienna. Which shows how much imagination I have.

On Friday, the husband, kind of tired of my moaning about how because of the wedding costs we can't really afford to up and fly to wherever we feel like when we're bored of Düsseldork, said he'll take me out for a roadtrip. I like roadtrips, especially because I get to pick the music and we make numerous stops at gas stations to buy guilty pleasure snacks under the pretext of "hunger". So on Saturday morning we left the house armed with our cameras, CDs galore freshly picked off the shelf and an assortment of beef jerkey he brought back from the States. We drove and drove (I had no idea to where, and as it turns out, neither had he) until we hit a roadblock and I fell asleep. I tend to do that in cars.

When I woke up we were stopped in a gas station in The Netherlands and the husband was getting directions. He shyly admitted he was going to take me to this one place, but it's so remote it doesn't even show up on the GPS, so the man in the gas station told him to take me somewhere else, really close. This is how we ended up in The Hague, the Scheveningen district to be precise.

Now, I've never been a girl to get excited by the sea, the beach, a colorful pier, a lively promenade, pink candy stalls, rainbow pillows, lime-flavoured drinks and carousels. And by never I mean always. And this is exactly what we found here. I kept asking Timo if he's sure we're in The Hague. He said yes. And I'll tell you what, it wasn't just the beach. We drove around the city a little before heading back home and I literally wrote down names of streets I want to walk down when we go back. The harbor looked cute, the area next to it was full of little bars where locals were playing poker while tending to a jug of beer each, then we got lost on some little residential streets that were quiet and looked like a film set, then the posh streets with expensive houses so beautiful and different, yet harmonious and understated. Yes, I am officially a fan and officially pleasantly surprised, for the first time in a long time. This is so not how I imagined The Hague. And I can only hope these accidents will keep happening in the future, otherwise there's a lot of little gems that I'll lose in the travel dust due to some unfortunate name mishap.

I conclude with my "song of the day": Bouncing Souls - Sounds of the City.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beautifulness, with a cherry on top

Inchei cu "song of the day": No Doubt - Stricken.

Monday, June 01, 2009

What I love about Düsseldork

First off, let me mention that I'm slowly switching to English so that my husband can understand what I'm going on about around here. I actually thought about translating the whole thing in English a long time ago, but since it's not exactly literature, I can spend my time doing more useful things. But I digress.

I had a sweet week-end. Not easy, because I've been husband-less for more than a month, since he is in the US for work (or so he says). But my mom was visiting, so I went out more than I usually would. There was a Jazz Rally in town, which meant the whole center had different spots where various bands, groups or individual musicians were performing. It was pretty cool to just walk around and switch to a totally different mood and music at every corner. We had pretzels (twice, damn they're good... the guy at the booth already knew to put out the ones with lots of salt when we appeared), enjoyed an old man and his banjo (amplified by his "i am a man who should play the banjo" look) then walked around until we got to one of the bigger stages. A band was just starting, so we stopped to see what it was about, and it turned out they were about being awesome. It was a highschool big band, and I love big band music. That aside, I looked around. There were people aged from 16 to 60, with Slipknot patches on their schoolbags or perfectly matched vintage suits, all drinking altbier from proper glasses, smiling, listening and tapping their feet. No BS, no labels, no pushing, no noses in the air, no negativity, no fakery, just people listening to the big band and tapping their feet together. And just when I was thinking, well, this is pretty neat, they started playing Oasis' Wonderwall big band style. +1 to that one.

On Saturday we decided to go to the neighbourhood communal garage sale. I don't know if it was the sun, or the smell of thirty kinds of homemade cakes or the colours of the vintage dresses, and let me stop before I start sounding like a hippie, but it was pretty freakin' charming. Of course there was a lot of junk too, but after I resisted the urge of buying an awesome bright yellow Fornarina felt hat for a fiver or any of the toys or the old paintings or the odd kitchen contraptions, my mom gave me a treat and bought me the funnest skate scooter for 20 euros. I came back home riding it, laughing my ass off, while my mom was shaking her head telling me to stay off the road and wondering if she didn't buy me enough toys when she should've.

We got home and I took full advantage of the fact that we have a huge living area, by riding my scooter in the house, annoying my mom who was trying to watch Come Dine With Me on the TV. We had tickets to an American football game that night, but we both fell asleep on the sofa... we could afford the luxury because on Sunday we had more stuff to do, namely a Jazz Festival in a nearby city. And that was pretty awesome too, but a totally different story for maybe another time.

See, this is what I love about Düsseldork. No matter what you like or what your mood is, there's always something to do. And it's no big fuss, no trendy bells, it's just something natural. It's just the way it is.

So I conclude with my "song of the day": Dan Black - Wonder.
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