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Archive for November, 2008

Mind Boggling

You know you really have a problem with procrastination when you even procrastinate thinking. On my old uni projects I always delayed making decisions. Even when drawing something I’d draw the easy lines first and refuse to ponder about the difficult, critical lines. It got so bad I’d spend hours fixing tiny details that are completely useless Just so I could delay getting to the hard parts. It’s not that I intentionally avoid making decisions, it’s just that it became a habit, a very bad habit that I’ll reflexively think “I’ll do that bit later” or “I’ll just get this out of the way first”. Of course, when it’s finally time to do that “bit”, I”m usually too exhausted. Hence the results – unfinished drawings, crappy models, unbalanced results. In one project, the plans were highly polished and resolved, taking about 10 full days to design and draw, but everything else was so crappy – because they had to be done in 2 days.

That was fine most of the time, because most of the projects were individual projects and so I’d only end up failing myself anyway. Recently, for most of this year, almost everything is part of a bigger group, and I’ve had to finally take my own advice to get priorities right and work on the important bits first (sure took my time about it) if I wanted to still have a group to belong to. I sure like to learn things the hard way… These days though, I am just trying to form new habits – For sure old habits are hard to break, but bad habits HAVE to be broken, one by agonizingly slow one…

In a starker way, I don’t really have any other choicenow, especially in the office… This in itself again indicates I don’t move until when push comes to shove, but at least I am moving….

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Tiny 15″ monitor and a mess of drawings at work.

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Labour Day

On Labour day Johannes woke me up in the afternoon (with a hangover, no less) with the news that I was going to cook a meal for 11 of his friends that evening. It was for VCF, the “Flemish Cooking Federation”,  a practical (and political) inside joke they played on no one in particular. Every fortnight one of them would cook some traditional Flemish food and everyone would come, which is really just an excuse for a party. I went to one of their dinners, and somehow Johannes decided I would return the favor by cooking during his turn.

All the supermarkets are closed on account of the holiday and our fridge was full of weird stuff. So we went out, still suffering from a hangover (all 3 of us – Johannes, Me, Lies) and spent the afternoon going from one Turkish store to another to look for food.

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Note the fries-frying oil above the cooker hood I mistakenly bought when I first arrived (friktuurolie…). As far as I know, it’s still there, untouched.

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Our house isn’t very big. As you can see, it’s never a problem.

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After the dinner we started moving all the furniture about.

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And that’s the reason why! Dessert was some cake made by one of the friends and some “Indian Chai” from India which tasted exactly like teh tarik.

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Last Weekend

Today I managed to buy a bottle of Laphroaig single malt (a present for Johannes, mind you) without the guys at the local Sainsbury asking any pesky questions about my age. Either I look old or the staff were lax. Both aren’t good news.

Last weekend was an extremely expensive one. It was the fortnightly dinner + drinks with the other classmates. You know it has been a while since you last stepped into a bar when you completely forget to caution the bartender not to destroy your whisky with cube after cube of ice, though he bloody well should know that already. I ended up drinking what tasted like ice water; What a waste of £2.80.

Me and Flora also went for the Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern. My design studio 2 project was rubbish, but at least it exposed me to the world of modern art (I researched Andy Warhol, as well as related/adjacent movements and -isms, as my precedent study). The exhibition was everything I hoped it would be; inspirational, emotional, delicate, soulful. The feelings that went through my mind was nearly indescribable – stepping into the main gallery, the room with the murals designed for the restaurant in the Seagram skyscraper (note for architecture students: Mies Van der Rohe), I took a look at the first mural on the wall, and I just stood there for minutes in silence. After that, Flora got annoyed. Hahah.

I also bought some books. Normally it’s always Amazon, but I have been waiting for this book for 2 years, and I couldn’t be bothered to go through Amazon when the book was just right in front of me. Speaking of books, I’ve just finished Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller, and the guy is really good. Try them if you are looking for something different, something more poetic than the generic fiction you find on bookshelves.

And that’s the weekend… back to Monday, mugs of coffee and the office. I couldn’t concentrate today, making my sketches worse than usual, and that made me feel like crap. What a way to start the week…

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The stuff dreams are made of

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Credit Crunch Christmas

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Santa couldn’t afford the reindeer chauffeurs.

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Belgium Preview

It’s just been 8 months, but it seems ages ago that the 4 of us, all of a sudden and without precedent, trooped off to Ghent, Belgium for a 6 month student exchange program. This friday I shall return for a weekend… and, very soon, I shall be reunited with my beers! oh my precious beers

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In the land where each beer gets its own special glass. Tripel Karmeliet on the far left is one of my favourites, tastes just like a proper beer should. Next to it is Poperings Hommel Bier, which is rather not to my taste (ack). One’s man meat is another man’s poison though… If i remember correctly, Barbar was the one brewed with honey or something. (Don’t expect me to remember obscure facts during a night of drinking)

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Party Fodder – Saroe and her drinks. Not really just kidding haha. Jupiler is the students’ drink of choice as we are way too poor to binge on expensive beers.

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Too many Stellas a night and strange things happen…………. don’t ask…

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Eat your heart out

Two weeks ago I dropped by the newly-let studio after work and spent a couple of hours unpacking and fixing the furniture. During a heated session of screwing (ehem) I lifted my head up to grab the sheet of DIY Instructions and saw through the window that it was snowing. Lots of snow, falling steadily, heavily. I stared at it quietly with unblinking eyes for a second, and bent down and resumed my work.

A short while after that I left to catch one of the night trains back to king’s Cross. Snow was still falling steadily, and the ground was rapidly being covered by patchy quilts of snow. The people I passed had a look of slight disbelief. I wondered if the same look was on my face.

Prior to last year, I’ve never seen real snow before. I waited the whole of last winter in Glasgow, only to have some utterly miserable snowfall, more rain and hail and slush than anything. Nothing during the first weeks in Belgium, except brief snowfall during Easter, happening outside the De Lijn train windows, while I was on my way with Eliska to Brugge.

Throughout that night, in both WGC and London, it snowed steadily. By next morning, London was mostly dry and back to normal, but in the outlying towns the snowfall remained thick, heavy, a dominant presence on the ground. From inside the morning train to work I could see patches of farmland cloaked in white. Passengers entering the train dressed in thick clothes, hats, boots. The footbridge that I use everyday to get to work was caked with ice and slush. The cold seeped through my tropical loafers, left my feet bitterly cold. There was also ice on the metal handrails; I had to pick my way carefully to avoid slipping. I saw a colleague, a Brazilian, also picking her feet through dry patches in the slippery ground and we commiserated with each other about the unfamiliar cold.

The best word I could think of to describe my mind at the moment was a feeling of detachment. Wonder may be stretching it a little – perhaps, optimistically, but even so, wonder with a significant tinge of detachment. It is not just food and perishables that comes with an expiry date; That morning was a time where I could feel, so clearly and with such tangible properties I could almost reach out and grab it – the cold, impersonal, stark understanding that when some things come to you too late, it is never the same. Sometimes, it doesn’t even matter anymore. And when the snow melts and the world returns to normal, I forget, and move on.

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Brugge in Easter

*Edit: something is wrong with the pictures. Too sleepy to fix them today. Tomorrow.

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So, apologies for disappearing for almost 3 weeks – I’ve been busy uprooting myself from the 2 month stay in Camden and moving elsewhere. Already Camden seems so distant away

The entire Internet registration thingy took about 30 hours from stepping into the store – efficient? I’d just like to think we got lucky.

Anyhow regular updates will resume soon.

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