Framed Bookshelf by Mark Taylor Design
Oh god yes.
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Some recent (ish) stuff from my Flickr stream. Eresos-Antissa, Lesvos, Greece
Source: Flickr / emmerrrrrrr
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I’m taking this Coursera course - The Moralities of Everyday Life. I think it’s an interesting topic and I’m looking forward to hearing more, having watched the lectures of the first week. But I also just love the tone. For example, here’s the explanation of ‘how to do the quizzes’:
"Unlike much of life, there are no rules except for the ones that you make for yourself. But here are some options:
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-What a busy month you were. Maybe it’s the sharp contrast with the summer holidays, or maybe a lot of new things happened.
-So I started my minor at the Different University. The courses right now are interesting, though sometimes it feels like there isn’t enough time in the lectures to really do the topics justice. It’s kind of off to have a schedule with two days off each week and hear ‘we have to rush through this’ several times. That’s a problem that could very easily be fixed.. Though I’m not complaining about the days off. Obviously.
-There’s more to these courses than lectures - a decent amount of reading, with some fascinating and some way too vague articles and book chapters. I often wonder if I could try to handle the scientific writing differently. I’m terrified that my pieces will eventually become just as off-putting as some things that I’ve had to read. It makes such a difference when the author seems to care about his/her readers finishing the thing.
-In terms of reading-for-fun, I want to start an audio book again (probably going to get Amy Poehler’s but that’s only eight hours so about 5 days of travelling back and forth by train), but I’ve been reading the non-fiction Congo by David van Reybrouck. It’s a rich history of the country. As always with real history, you have to remind yourself every so often that this actually happened, to real people, with thoughts and hopes and dreams (that phrase is what I literally remind myself of when I see an old picture of a crowd somewhere. Every single face represents an individual with thoughts and hopes and dreams. It’s.. overwhelming).
-The different university experience has been good. The differences in terms of education aren’t that big, but it’s in the big city, surrounded by tall office buildings in the business district (in my draft I abbreviated this as ‘biz diz’ - that’s what Tom Haverford would call it) and to be honest I love it. Love seeing all the guys in suits (yup..), the people making Important Calls and a different window cleaner at work every day - watch out or your suit will get wet. I think I’m even dressing a little more formally.
-Some people would interpret that as: oh, look, she’s still Finding Her Style.. I’ve been thinking about this but I don’t see the point in having to choose or define your style. Like, we’re different people in different contexts, or at least we express different parts of ourselves. So why stick to one ‘style’ and have rules and all that? Maybe it’s less narrow than I make it out to be but oh well.
-Parenthood is back. Yay! It’s sad to know that it’s going to end soon. I’ve been watching it in ‘real time’ since early season three. And in eleven weeks, they’re gone. Everyone in the cast loves the show so much. I feel for them.
-Last month I talked about getting in touch with someone about voluntary work. She never replied to my e-mail and when I finally asked her face to face she told me: oh, right, yeah, we don’t need people for that anymore. Is it still on the website? Gotta update that then, I guess.
-And I thought: huh. You get people offering their free time to you every day? She didn’t show any enthusiasm that I was there. So ugh, your loss.. In the mean time, I’m now volunteering to keep the website of our local independent cinema up to date with a small team. It’s fun.
-I got my Fairphone back. Phew. Also got a 3D-printed case for it so before you know it, I’ll be wearing Google glasses.
-TV.. I’ve started watching The Good Wife because Libby Hill is reviewing this season. But I’m catching up from season one, so.. that’s a long way to go. Masters of Sex had a messy season. Felt like a step down from last year, which is disappointing. I finished Terriers and definitely understand all the praise. Also still catching up on Mad Men. That season four finale.. so frustrating, so real, excellent tv. Deadwood is now on Netflix NL, so I’ve just started watching that. I have to keep a notepad to understand what’s happening (same with The Wire, at the start of a season) but I think I like it. Transparent: seen four eps, looking forward to the rest.
-Resolutions for October? I don’t really know. Reach out to an old friend? Let’s go with that, it’s vague.
Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms.
You’ve Got Mail (via carriewintour)
I want a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils.
Anticipated Fall TV - TransParenthood
On US television*: Transparent, Parenthood, The Affair
On Dutch television: Les Revenants, A’dam E.V.A.
*or tablets, phones, etc.
Found via Howkapow.
That is smart.
Your phone is as good as new and ready for you! We are sending your package out today.
This latest season six promo asks: do you remember when you fell in love with the Bravermans? I do..
The moment that I fell for Parenthood was Max figuring out that he had Asperger’s through an argument that Crosby and Adam were having in his living room. I admired the way in which several storylines came together in that one scene.
Mind sharing your first favorite scene?
Sharing my first favorite moment of Parenthood. I didn’t love season five, and the finale was so good I would have been fine with it being the series finale. But now that NBC is reminding me of all the best Braverman moments I don’t want it to end, damnit!
I was at the gas station the other day. There were four of us standing in line in front of the cashier: an older man behind me, me, two townie looking dudes (jeans, ripped single-colored t-shirts, leather faces with bulging button eyes), and a woman in jean shorts at the front. The woman was trying to buy a lottery ticket, but didn’t seem to understand what “buying a lottery ticket” actually entailed; the clerk was trying to explain it to her, for what sounded like the fourth or fifth time, and everyone was in a mood.
One of the guys in front of me—let’s call him Gollum, because why the fuck not—looks back at the older man behind me, and says, “You look like you’re in a hurry.” Then he gives this big sarcastic, “Fuck this shit, right?” grin, and I guess we’re all supposed to be teammates now, united against the woman who is clearly feeling the pressure and is starting to get defensively annoyed in that way you do when you realize you’re probably fucking up, but you’ll be damned if you let some asshole rub that in your face.
The older man nods cheerfully. “Yup,” he says. “Yup, I get a bit restless. I just get a bit restless sometimes.”
The woman buying the lottery ticket laughs nervously about something, signs a receipt, and leaves. Gollum goes to the counter. “Stupid bitch,” he says, and does that grin again.
I’m not having a fun time. Crowd scenes like this, I try and go invisible, but you can’t, not really. I’m annoyed at the woman for holding up the line; I’m annoyed at Gollum for his stupid grin and his presumption that we are all now co-conspirators on Team Stupid Bitch; I’m annoyed at the doofus between me and Gollum who isn’t really saying anything, but keeps nodding over and over. I am embarrassed and bored and there’s somewhere else I need to be.
"Do you get restless?" the older man behind me asks.
"Sure," I say. He’s talking to me, he is actually talking to me, and I am not a fan of this at all.
"I get restless sometimes." The older man (who is in khaki shorts and a polo shirt and a baseball cap, and is better dressed than any of us) has a pair of bills in his hand, a twenty and a ten, and he waves them at me. "I’m getting gas. My wife’s driving, and I’m getting the gas."
"I can’t drive no more. I got the Alzheimer’s, so I can’t drive no more."
He’s smiling at me. I’m not very tall, but this guy is shorter than I am, and in his cap and shorts, he looks—actually, he looks nothing at all like a little boy. Not even in the slightest. Maybe a little boy who’s been left out in the sun too long. In my head, I make calculations: if he’s got Alzheimer’s, he can’t be that far gone, because his wife trusts him to come into the store and pay for the gas. And he doesn’t seem lost or confused. Just cheerful and determined to be friends with me in a way that’s slightly off. Like he doesn’t have that barrier you get, that you need, to move through strangers. To him, I am just someone who is still listening, and that’s enough.
I feel bad about these calculations. They seem selfish, ruthless. Also nervous. What if he gets lost on his way to the front of the store? What if he forgets how to pay the clerk? What are my responsibilities here?
"It’s okay," the older man says, right into my ear. You know personal space? He does not have that. "It’s good. My wife is driving. I can’t drive."
I nod. Gollum is buying cigarettes, and he’s waiting to sign his credit card slip; once he’s done, it’s just one more customer, and then freedom; back to my car where I can contemplate what happened instead of living it.
"I had a good run," the older man says. "Seventy… eight, no, three, no seventy. Seventy seven years."
"Oh," I say.
"Seventy-seven years. That’s a good run. But it’s okay. My wife is driving, and I’m going to to pay for the gas. I just get a little restless."
It’s not that he’s standing too close, really. He is, but I’ve noticed people in lines always stand too close. Maybe my standard for distance is too high. The older man, he’s not so bad. It’s just that he’s friendly, and there’s no way to deflect that friendliness. And it’s an empty friendliness, too. Whatever I say, whatever I don’t say, he rolls with it. There’s a person still there, but not completely. It’s not dramatic, but I feel something—something like sand or cracking ice or those bright colorful balls you dive into at the amusement park—slipping away from under me.
Gollum leaves. The doofus in front of me buys a single beer, which the clerk puts into a small brown paper bag, and if you ever wanted a perfect image for “loneliness,” you could do worse. Then it’s my turn, and when I had over my credit card, the older man behind me waves his handful of money at the clerk over my shoulder, and the clerk says “Forty bucks?” and I think fuck, no, it’s thirty you idiot, don’t make this worse, and the older guy keeps waving the money, and finally they figure it out. It’s fine. I pay my money and go.
It’s only later that I realize I never saw the older man’s wife. I didn’t even think to look for her when I came out of the store. Which is okay; I doubt she needed strangers gawking at her. But she’s the one I keep thinking about. That older man, who gets restless and doesn’t drive anymore and talks like he keeps rediscovering his teeth—he seemed happy. And she’s driving him through Maine, to wherever they’re going, probably listening to him talk most of the time, maybe sighing on occasion when she can’t help herself. Maybe she’s mean to him, or maybe she still loves him and she’s learning to adjust. Maybe it’s somewhere in the middle of that. I hope they were good together, I really do, and I hope that there’s enough left of the man he once was to make what time they have left more for her than what it felt like to me in that gas station: like being a wall someone kept bouncing smiling tennis balls against.
I’m not sure there’s a point to this. To any of it. But it made me sad to think about it; the sort of warm, sweet sadness you only feel when you’re by yourself, thinking about strangers.
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-Thanks, I guess. I’ve really been able to feel the summer holiday rhythm. And I just spelled that crazy word correctly.
-A brand new year, study wise, starts tomorrow and I feel really ready for it. Even though I’m going to a new place for a few months - that does make me a little nervous, but also excited. Not going to say “to meet new people” because I hate the expression. As if new, and more, is always preferable.
-So what did I do? The figuring out stuff about volunteering didn’t go quite as planned because the person in charge is apparently on some very long holiday. But it’s still on my to do-list.
-My mum and I transformed a garden bench together - which means painting it - and I really like how it turned out. I also painted a small side table. It was a somewhat slow process (we used a lot of different colours for the bench) but also rewarding.
-We also took care of the neighbours’ cats while they were away. Those were some pretty sad cats because they had to stay inside the whole time while they’re usually out all day. I sang Regina Spektor songs along with my phone to recreate their noisy household for them. And cleaned up some pretty disgusting stuff but oh well.
-I’ve also started to cook a bit more often. It’s weird. It’s one aspect where I can still learn something straightforward from my parents. The times when they could help me do my homework are over, but I still have this. And on the other hand, it’s bringing me one step closer to moving out. Actually, every day is bringing me closer to moving out, even if I don’t really know when it’s going to happen.
-Less fun side of this month: I broke my phone. And I felt really bad about it the first few days, before I could send it off for repair. Here I am, with a fair(er) smartphone that I had been waiting for for months when it finally arrived in December of last year. I cherish the thing and drop it on the floor once - bam, gone is the touch screen functionality. That was a case of bad luck. I haven’t got it back yet, so that’s one reason to look forward to September, but I’ve also already adjusted to living with my old phone again.
-Books. I’ve read a few. First of all, Invisible Hands - Voices of the Global Economy, a non-fiction collection of stories from people who are/were involved with production processes in all parts of the world, from mines to clothing factories. This is a subject that is really dear to me and it’s a great (read: frustrating) collection. It’s made me curious about the other Voices of Witness books. I’ve also read Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig, after reading a fragment of it in The Society of the Crossed Keys. You can totally see how Wes Anderson was inspired for his latest movie. And, well, I just enjoyed reading it in general.
-TV: The Wire. I’ve just started season two, but man, that season one finale - the song Step by Step will be in my head for a long while, I hope.
-The Leftovers is almost over, so that’s good. So ready to stop watching that, even though I liked the previous episode.
-I also just watched Mad Men - The Suitcase yesterday. Eeeep. It’s weird to watch this weeks after Masters of Sex - Fight while they aired four years apart.
-Okay, I think it’s time for some sleep soon. First day at the new courses tomorrow, so..
-Resolutions for September: Get a case for that damn (lovely) phone.. talk to the person who surely can’t be on holiday forever.
-See you next year, August. I’ll have a bachelor’s degree by then. And be twenty-one. Oh well let’s not think about that.
I just realized that the Mad Men episode that I will watch is The Suitcase and oh god I’ve heard that title come up so often, I’m pretty excited!
Photograph by Sam Jones.
Can I sit next to you?
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