Thursday, 26 November 2009

Don't you just hate

...how just as you write something nice about a person they drive you absolutely insane?

K is hard up right now, so I've been paying for groceries whilst I'm staying here - not that I have much more to spend - and that's perfectly fine. This afternoon we were going to stop off at De Engel van Amsterdam for a drink and then get his meds from the pharmacy.

As my salary was transferred into my account today I got some money from an ATM and gave most of it to him, so he'd have some money after I leave tomorrow. Big mistake.

Once at De Engel we found out they'd be having turkey tonight. Fine, we picked up K's medication and came back to the bar. But in the meantime K just kept drinking and before the turkey arrived he was pretty damn drunk and insisting we go to the sushi bar across the street. There he spent the other half of the money I gave him - I told him in no uncertain terms that I was not going to pay for it.

Fortunately I did manage to extract him from there after only a few, exorbitantly priced, pieces and from De Engel after only a little bit of turkey and, more importantly, no booze.

But on the way back he was telling me "Could you just get me a bottle of wine? And some cigarettes?" as if it was the most obvious thing in the world that I (this goes for anyone else who spends time with him) would keep on spending money on him. After being so frugal for the last couple of weeks it's just such a waste. I already knew I'll probably be eating bread and jam for all of December after I've paid my bills...

I love him and I want to strangle him.

I love this man

I always fall for the smart, gay ones.


(No, I don't mean Ann Widdecombe who you'll see first.)

Dear K

Thank you for being my friend. Even though you drive me crazy sometimes and I roll my eyes a lot (more than you know: sometimes I roll them at you, but most of the time it's behind your back, at other people, who in turn give me comiserating looks) I love you a lot.

You know I find it hard to acknowledge when you say nice things about me or call me your "one succesfull project" or "savant smart" and I may say something dismissive, but I want you to know I do appreciate it. Thanks to you I get out of my house and even out of this warped mind of mine at least some of the time.

Because this is written in advance, I don't know what we'll be doing today, but if we do the old couple thing and just sit together and read and watch TV, that'll be enough for me.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

blowing in the wind

tree shirt

Christoph Niemann has a new blog post up. Go check it out, this time he does great things with leaves.

I've always been obsessed by Autumn and the leaves. Just in the last couple of months I've written (not all of it may have made it onto this blog) about the golden stream of leaves that's flowing along the canal outside K's apartment right now and has been for weeks, the shower of leaves from the tree outside his window, the conkers (horse chestnuts) falling from trees in my neighbourhood, the storms... And I've made many more remarks to friends and family about the beauty of the season.

There's a real storm blowing outside right now. Part of the fun about sleeping on K's sofa is watching the elm tree outside and today it is swaying in the wind like craz. It still hasn't quite lost all its leaves, just most of them. Until just a couple of minutes ago it was a dry storm, but now the drizzle has started. Yesterday, K told me we had a busy day today, but so far he hasn't shown much initiative to do anything other than sleep. Awake or not, it's a perfect day to be holed up inside.

If I had a clue of what to do with them, I would have given in to the impulse and collected many leaves myself. Obviously it's better to leave it to those who know... Go to the link I posted above, it's much more interesting than me rambling on and on.

Note to self: learn more about trees. At least to recognise which is which...

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Compassion

Charter for CompassionThis is not going to solve all the world's problems at a moment's notice, but if you have a little time, please read the following:

The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate an informed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.


It's a collaborative effort from thinkers of many religions and the result sounds strangely Unitarian Universalist to me. We did a quick check for all the seven principles of UU at the service today and it's pretty much all there.

I read the first paragraph in our service.

Ideas galore

The little black book of ideas I started carrying around is starting to yield its first pearls of wisdom. Here's something I wrote down the other day:

"If you want to relax, don't drop your Xanax behind the washing machine."

You must agree that, for its profundity, that is almost on a par with Evilganome's observation on Neti pots.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

woke up this morning...

...but not at 11.11. The first time I opened my eyes was around 8.30 AM, but although I turned on the TV, I fell back asleep and didn't get up until 12.15 PM. When I opened the blinds, still wearing pajamas, the first thing I saw was a Zwarte Piet walking by.

Zwarte Piet

Either I've missed it, or the racism debate seems to have died down. I hardly think kids are going to associate negative thoughts to the man that brings them presents and candy each year...

PS. I told you I turned on the TV. When I woke up the second time, Bear Grylls was peeing on some skis and then got naked to cross a stream.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Spelling

This is why I like some of my colleagues better than others. Besides sending me this quote, he also understands the need not to buy all T.P.'s all at once - we'd read nothing else for a couple of months and then we'd have nothing left to look forward to.

Bad spelling can be lethal. For example, the greedy Seriph of Al-Yabi was cursed by a badly-educated deity and for some days everything he touched turned to Glod, which happened to be the name of a small dwarf from a mountain community hundreds of miles away who found himself magically dragged to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated. Some two thousand Glods later the spell wore off. These days, the people of Al-Yabi are renowned for being remarkably short and bad-tempered.
-- (Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad)


P.S. we're also both saddened that there won't be too many more Discworld books.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

home (at K's)

Too tired to blog, here are a few New York Times articles I've managed to read during the retreat this weekend. As you can see I stayed away from current affairs and concentrated on background and opinion. The top one I've only just found and although

One Hundred Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1)

The Carnivore’s Dilemma

French Ideal of Bicycle-Sharing Meets Reality

Ayn Rand’s Revenge

I have also started John Irving's new book, Last night in Fall River, borrowed from K. Two two-and-a-half hour train rides helped make a respectable dent into the story.

And finally, last Thursday I started something I am desperately trying not to call a journal. "This is an idea book," I wrote in it, so as to not feel guilty should I neglect it for some time. But I suspect that having no ideas is actually worse than not writing anything down.

Correction: The John Irving belongs to Eyecandy, which I didn't know when I took it to Maastricht, I asked K if it was okay to take it and he said yes. I now have permission from the actual owner to take it home with me to finish reading it.