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Archive for July, 2008

Holidays

I went to bed last night at 4:30am. I got up at 5:00am because a bloody swarm of mosquitoes were having an all-you-can-eat buffet and i was paying. With nothing better to do I sat through 150 minutes of Martin Scorcese’s The Departed. Being an avid fan of Infernal Affairs, I was slightly reluctant about watching The Departed because if Scorcese didn’t do a good job I wouldn’t be happy. Though that’s just an excuse; When The Departed was showing in local cinemas (back in M’sia) I was suffering through another semester of architorture and didn’t exactly had the time nor inclination for a trip to the cinema.

Strangely enough, i am suffering through another round of architorture right now, though a very different kind. The torture of doing redundant work; I wrote the essay that i was supposed to, or at least a draft, but i haven’t done anything for the RIBA academic portfolio. I hate the very idea of digging and documenting my old work. It was/is still a weakness of mine to be caught up in unnecessary details and end up doing loads of useless shit, and i guess i have developed a strong phobia when faced with anything with even a whiff of redundancy. I suppose i understand the university’s reasons, but that doesn’t stop me from being grumpy or lazy, which is the operative word here. I mean, give me something new to do, something that makes me think, makes me solve new problems. I don’t want to spend 4-5 days making some nice clean layout in illustrator and then throwing all this old computer drawings and renderings around it while bullshitting about projects long past.

This post is littered with more swear words than normal, but I always feel so futilely angry at all the time-wasting (on my side) that it represents. And also because i wrote this at 8am immediately after the movie. I thought of going to bed after it was light, after all the mosquitoes went away, but there’s something about early mornings that makes you raring to get up and go (at least until you drop from exhaustion, if it was your 3rd (or more) consecutive day – i should know, i tried it more than once)

It’s funny. This pseudo insomnia thingy happens every long holiday i get. There comes a day or two during each long vacation for as long as i can remember where i just don’t feel like sleeping. The best way i could explain this is, while working, or schooling, or university or something, you go to sleep because you need the rest to face the challenges of the next day. You get a good night’s sleep and wake up refreshed for challenges at work or school and that’s a really nice feeling. But when the next day is just as aimlessly the same as today, which was exactly the aimlessly same as yesterday, i mean, what’s the point? yeah sure, it’s nice to spend the days watching movies, reading, having beers at the local bar, meeting friends, go to parties, even do some homework, stuff I’ve been doing the past couple weeks, but after some time it just gets stupid.

Of course, it’s not the holiday’s fault. Don’t get me wrong, I’m merely erm, expressing, my lack of, I don’t know, character or discipline or whatever. Self reliance? Self perseverance? Duno. The fact that i need external motivation, a strong external drive to push me to accomplish something is an indicator of something terribly wrong with me. Maybe it was a product of my environment. Maybe it was a product of the education system. Maybe it was a product of my upbringing. Maybe it’s just me. Anyway, in case you were wondering, I couldn’t get a part-time job here; I don’t have the proper visa. I’m legal in Belgium as long as I don’t do anything productive. That’s called being a student.

I think, the conclusion is deep down, i hate long vacations. On the surface it seems so enticing, so delicious, oh such a lovely treat to be able to “relax” and do nothing, but i think real relaxation only comes after you’ve worked your brain to the limit, after pushing personal barriers, after achievement and accomplishment. I think inertia, apathy, these are the real silent killers.

By the way I liked the movie. Similarities and differences all at the right places. And “Comfortably Numb” is now my favorite song for the time being.

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Rambles

So I have not been updating often, and that is not a good thing, i guess. I also guess the internet service provider that i have subscribed to has gone bankrupt or something, as internet access is still not up and running, and i am still relying on free wi-fi provided by the generous city that is Ghent. Or more likely, McDonalds. Ghent is also very generous in giving gratuitous parties, the most famous among them is of course the 10-days long Gentse Feesten (Gent Festival) which is as of today coming to a close. And really, I’ve never used the word “gratuitous” before, because free of charge is so much more easier. Only right now when i drag that word from the depths of my vocabulary I realize, like a huge chunk of other words, the similarities between West Germanic languages – Gratis is free in both German and Dutch. It’s so strange to also realize that the common English words used today has deviated so far from its West-Germanic roots ( i mean, who really uses gratuitous when you can just say free?) while the other main components of that branch – German and Dutch (as if you couldn’t guess) erm, well, hasn’t. Not that I can tell if they have… That explains why my housemate, Johannes, who is good but not extremely super-competent in English, regularly comes up with super bombastic words on random..

Whatever, I’m rambling. As for the job-hunting process, today i got 2 more rejection letters, among them a really, erm, eloquently-worded one. “No suitable vacancies in the context of your aspirations” was how they put it. Really, you gotta imagine the positive effect. It made me a wee bit happier than if they have just went with “sorry, no vacancy”. They even wished me good luck in my future career. Very nice and diplomatic, them. Alas, it was still a rejection. The applying goes on…

Bye

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Fries and Coffee

I guess i am in awe of people who can find the energy and effort to blog constantly. I would like to spend time writing and updating and talking about stuff but i can’t believe that i am actually busier than i thought it would be. Heck, i am busier now during the summer hols then i was during the semester! damn this Erasmus exchange thingy which makes you think you got the larger slice of the pie when you actually got duped into having some fun while other people are studying and stuck doing super amounts of work when everyone else is having fun.

Of course it is not really anyone’s fault or that exchange program is a bad thing. I’m just complaining cause i am stuck in Mcds or some coffeeshop day after day doing my stuff when the festivities rage outside all around me because it’s the city center and heart of the festival. And why am i in Mcds or some coffeeshop? Because the lousy internet isn’t working. It’s so crap. It’s so frustrating because it cuts efficiency into half. or less. You might infer that oh, no internet, no surfing = more productive but I keep on needing the internet for this small matter or other, and you have to collect all the things you want to do into a to-do list for the next day when you are finally again in a free wi-fi zone. Bah. And to think i paid 2 euro for each gig of bandwidth for an Internet Service Provider that isn’t working half the time, and now i have to pay some euros for fries or a coffee each day just to use the internet for a few hours.

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Back in Ghent

I am back in Ghent safe and sound, except for a terrible toothache in the final days of the trip that was really the only bad thing about the past two weeks. The change in the city in preparation for the festival is palpable. The construction of great temporary stages of steel and plastic in marked areas of the city center, with the largest one constructed over a waterway of all places. A sudden influx of young people crowding the streets, and notable are the sudden increase of foreign faces and languages. Posters and flyers decorating walls and street lamps and just about everything, free timetables of the events being distributed to eager youths. Security is out in force too – extra patrol cars, key roads prepared to be closed, the presence of extra security personnel… all sorts of subtle reminders signaling the start of the festival.

It’s time to party!!!

*no internet access at home (again) which explains the short update.

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Berlin

We’ve just arrived in Berlin, the last big (and my, how big) city of the trip, also the super highlight and climax of the past 11 days or so. For two nights we are staying in a huge youth hostel part of the Hostelling International chain, the same one we used during the first weeks in Ghent. It’s the first time we are actually sleeping in a proper room with our own beds – past nights have either been depending on the hospitality of Alex’s friends or in a tent.

Internet time is running out; bye

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Stuttgart

I’m in Stuttgart now, the birthplace of Mercedes Benz, Porsche and the guy who made lots of hot-air balloons for traveling.

Last night we spent the night at a friend’s place where 3 out of 4 guys were named Alex. Alex Tee, Alex Schumm, Alex Lang. Talk about originality..

Wanted to post some photos again, but was 5 minutes late, all of them are in the external drive now, safely packed away..

Got to go!

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Guten tag

About two years ago I was doing some research on the Commerzbank tower in Frankfurt by Norman Foster. Well, two days ago I finally saw it in real life. That’s one wish achieved…. I was gonna post some pictures of Germany, but in the end I couldn’t. Complicated story.

Anyway, tomorrow we leave Mannheim, where Alex stays and where we have been for the past 3 days and go erm, lots of places… First stop, Schwarzwald – otherwise known as the Black Forest.

An important thing i learned – the ß in the German language actually stands for ‘ss’. So, schloß is not actually the German version of ‘slob’, but Schloss; or castle in English.

Might have no access for internet for awhile, and I keep my phone switched off most of the time, so email me if you need me.. probably not.

I wanted to write more, but as usual i have been procrastinating and now I have to go to sleep… Early day tomorrow.

Guten Nacht!

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