Month: June 2005

lectures, films, and … uh…. oh, yeah… painting.

well, i did it! 2 1/2 days and i didn’t even go onto live journal to read about other people. yay! actually, the last two days were easy; i was busy.

tuesday morning i had a meeting at hoge school zuyd about the english course that the life sciences program is running as a preparation for students going into to university of maastricht. i co-taught that for two months in april-may. it was fun, actually. one night a week, focus on reading academic/professional articles. so the meeting was about how the same program would be run next year. i was hoping it would be longer next year, but no… 2 months. february-march. but anyway, it was good to finally meet some of the people who were involved in hiring me. long story there, but it was one of the most poorly organized hiring systems i have ever seen. i was never interviewed at all, and it was MY idea to give someone my CV. gads.

anyway, after that i had my violin lesson. i’m working on a book of gypsy music now, and learning how to do other positions, since gypsy music requires a lot of that. unfortunately, i still cannot, for the life of me, use vibrato. it just doesn’t happen. when i was young, everyone said it should come naturally. it never did. so i have some exercises to practice, but they don’t seem to do me much good.

then the father of one of my private students called. he is not doing well, and has his big end of the year test next week, and well… i think his dad was upset. i’m doing everything i can for this kid, but he doesn’t do his homework most of the time, and his parents are usually unreachable when i try to call about that. his father is usually on business trips, and his mother doesn’t speak english. great.

anyway, joon’s lesson was that afternoon, and i don’t know if his dad had spoken sternly with him as well, but he was much more focused than usual, and brought everything he was supposed to. amazing.

wednesday i decided i needed some intellectual stimulation. there was a lecture being given at the jan van eyck institute (arts) in english, free and open to the public, so i went. it turned out to be about buddhist symbolism: the building and significance of mandalas and stupas; the marks of the buddha; the absence of non-religious art in buddhism; medical diagrams; and a bit about tantric buddhism. i really enjoyed it. the presenter was a scholar from oxford university’s oriental studies department. it was a really basic overview, mostly dealing with pictures and structures, but it reminded me that, “oh yeah! i WAS a philosophy major eons ago! i actually know some of this stuff, and other stuff too! wow!” that was a relief. i mean, years of teaching followed by the past year and a half of not doing much of anything, and i was feeling a bit incapable of indepth thought. i’m going to try to find more such things to go to. i’ve been watching, but most of the time they aren’t in english. and other times, they don’t sound interesting. but maybe i should go whether they sound interesting or not. after all, i looked at the schedule wrong yesterday. i thought i was going to a lecture on architecture, but went anyway, and it was about buddhism instead. yay!

that evening i went to see a film presented by amnesty international at the local “artsy” theatre: back to bosnia. it was made by a bosnian who had come to the u.s. as a teenager fleeing the war. she and her family went back to their hometown to reminisce and also to reclaim their apartment. i had seen it in the film calendar, and been interested in seeing it, but hadn’t actually planned for it. tuesday night the phone rang. it was amra, the sister of a friend of ours, mirza. amra and mirza are bosnian and came to the netherlands as teenagers for the same reason. they’ve also been back to see or reclaim property in more recent years. they had gone to see the movie tuesday night, and the amnesty international people had asked them to come back so that they could participate in post-film discussion. amra was calling to get more of us to come. mirza didn’t go again.

anyway, the film was interesting. it was all done with a handheld video camera, so was very raw. i expected it to be a bit more heart-wrenching than it was, but i don’t know if that’s because i’ve heard a few accounts already, and there wasn’t anything completely new about it. but amra says it’s very very true. that her experience felt very similar. and mirza, who we met up with later, said that he’s seen more gut-wrenching portrayals, but that they were a different type of movie altogether. and beyond that i think he didn’t want to talk about it any more. he went back for the first time just last year (amra had done it a few years earlier) and had spoken with us a lot about it then, so i didn’t press him now.

today i’ve been mostly painting upstairs. still working on it, a bit every thursday. but during breaks, trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing this weekend. we were planning to take the train up to amsterdam friday night, spend the night with a friend, so that we could catch our flight to cork saturday morning. however, we just found out that the trains are striking friday, so we have no idea.

and that’s that. now i’m going to read what everyone else has been up to, and reply to whatever anyone’s replied to me about. ta!

a night out.

live journaling has its negatives. for example, when i didn’t know what some of my friends were doing on an almost daily basis, i didn’t miss you all so much. damn live journal. so, all i can say is: get your sorry asses over here and visit us! heh. like that’s likely. actually, maastricht is pretty boring, so i don’t really recommend it. maybe when we move next, whenever that is.

so, feeling bored and lonely this evening, missing everyone, i called everyone i knew. everyone was busy. i don’t know all that many people. i mean, dick was probably not busy, but we’ve seen him every day for 3 days, so i thought maybe i should try for someone else. anyway, failing that, i convinced matt to come out with me.

we went to check out a fairly new bar we noticed a few months ago, but haven’t had a chance to go to: underworld. at least, we’re pretty sure it’s pretty new. anyway, we walked in and were at first a bit alarmed to see hell’s angel stuff all over the place, but the bartender and a couple of old guys at the bar were pretty friendly, and even the rather hardcore looking guys near the door looked curious about who was coming in. how is this different from usual? well, maastricht is such a tourist location for so many different reasons, that most regulars don’t give a shit unless they’ve seen you many many times, assuming you’re another one. but in a couple of places we’ve found, such as witte ballons and now underworld, apparently so few people go stumbling into them that they’re interested. anyway, one of the bar guys tonight had something to say right off the bat, and so we chatted a bit with him, and i gave him a clove. cloves, by the way, are not very common here, so they very occasionally make good conversation starters, when i think to bring them with me. so, anyway, positive experience at underworld, we went on to joie de vivre, which is in the center, thus not really so interested in newcomers. we’ve been there before, but it was so crowded and loud and smoky in there that time that i couldn’t breathe, or see, or hear. this was better, and the bartender was friendly.

yay. altogether a nice evening. and here it is, after midnight, and i’m plenty awake. unfortunately, i have to get up fairly early tomorrow for a meeting at hoge school zuyd, my recent part-time employer, to sign passing certificates for my students. and i have no interest in sleep. matt is watching episodes of spaced on dvd (again), and i’m looking up correspondence masters programs. but then i wanted to do this, too.

now i’m a junkie. 🙂

did i mention that apparently until recently maastricht had a really big hardcore punk scene? well, it did. i find that in itself a bit interesting, but most of it has moved to eindhoven, about an hour north. so far as i can tell, then, the only specific music scene that maastricht has EVER had is no longer here. helaas. (alas.) i’ve been listening to some compilation cds of local music. some has been pretty disappointing, but some has been fun. i also went to a punk show at a small theater here a few months ago when matt was out of town. that was funny. other than a couple of old guys who i think owned the place, i was the oldest person there. there were 3 bands. none of the members of any of the bands could have been older than 19. most of the fans were younger than that. i saw one or two others, also alone, of around my age group, and attempted to say hello, but wasn’t met with much enthusiasm. then i got hit on rather strongly by some kid who couldn’t have been older than 16. heh heh. i left shortly after that. it was already the 3rd band, and i wasn’t really impressed. they were more grunge than punk anyway.

we’re going to ireland this weekend. craig and jill (who some of you might remember as bert and ernie at a long ago party) have moved to blarney, so we are going for a visit. i have never been to ireland, and i hear nice things about cork, nearby. i haven’t found anyone to watch the cats for the weekend, but i’m sure something will work out.

i’m listening to a cd that recently emerged out of an unpacked box. i don’t remember ever having seen it before. i’m not sure i like it. i’m not a big fan of the high female vocals over the top of heavier beats and low male chanting sound. it seems really big over here, by the way. but it could definitely be worse. and it’s not all bad. hmmm… a new song just started, and it’s completely different. more electronic/computer sounding. no, not being a musician or particularly musical, i know i’m not giving this a very good explanation. no, wait…. the female vocals just did it again. i think i liked that sound the first few times i heard it. now it all starts seeming the same. oh well.

blah blah again. i’m going to try to avoid doing this tomorrow. really. i’m not addicted. really.

problems with identities

hello out there!

i am continuing to have difficulty with who’s who on here, thanks to so many fairly anonymous names. as a result, i don’t know for sure if i know some people, and thus don’t add them or read them, and also, i listed a couple of people as friends that i’m now pretty sure aren’t. as in, i have no idea who they might be. i recently deleted them, since i wasn’t sure.

and some of you have pictures which aren’t much help either. what to do? i don’t know, but i just wanted to express my frustration a little. i want to read what’s up with people, but can’t figure out who i know and who i don’t know. is this easier for those of you who are all still in minnesota, and thus see each other more frequently? ack!

oh, and who killed all the attractive men in maastricht? there is NO eye candy here. grump grump grump. (unless you count matt, which i do, but even so…)

KFG – Maastricht

again, we had a kfg where only one person beside the people sleeping at our place (us) showed up. matt invited somewhere around 16 people. 12? i don’t know, but he was worried that we wouldn’t have comfy seating enough. didn’t need to worry. dick was the only one who showed, and only for the movies. matt and i grilled tuna with wasabi and sesame seeds. yummy. we watched six-string samurai, then aragami. yes, jillian, i know that we showed aragami last time, too, but i was the only person this time who’d already seen it, and matt and dick wanted to see it.

i’m thinking a good non-KFG movie night double feature would be six string samurai and the american astronaut. fun fun silliness.

matt told all about our motorcycle shopping saturday. ahhhh.. the triumph speed triple. like riding a rather large hummingbird. mmmm… and the guzzi was also nice. big lovely growly noise. too bad it had a not very nice transmission. it did NOT want to go into gear. if it had, i might have bought it. but not at the price they were asking. matt got it wrong. they were actually asking 3500 euros. the other guzzi, same model, one year newer, being sold by another guy, was less. around 2700, but it must have sold. the guy was going to get back to me after someone came to look at it friday night, and he didn’t. oh well.

it’s monday, and what does that mean in maastricht? nothing’s open. i can’t even go buy milk for my coffee. i tried to yesterday at mcdonald’s out of desperation, and they’d run out. probably because of the parade. there was a parade all through the center, which of course meant lots of kids, and so i guess they must have drunk the milk. and kfc doesn’t sell milk. they sell some yoghurt drink for kids. so i went home and made turkish coffee instead of normal press pot coffee. and yes, sometimes i drink coffee black, but i wasn’t in the mood. i wanted it with lots of milk yesterday, dammit.

damn parades. there have probably been at least 15 here in maastricht since we moved here less than a year and a half ago. how many “yay aren’t we cool and historic?” parades does one town need? ugh. i thought they were charming at first. i guess they capitalize on that.

so i’m sitting here in my underwear, trying to decide what to do about my day, and now i see it’s nearly noon, which means i might be able to find a store open pretty soon. i need to get new lenses in my old glasses, some more index cards, and milk, dammit.

i don’t want a pickle…

i just wanna ride on my motorcycle.

yay yay yay
yay yay yay
yay yay yay
yay yay yay

(repeat ad infinitum, or perhaps ad nauseum)

i just got off the phone. i get to go motorcycle test-driving tomorrow. the first is scheduled for 11 am, in schinveld, about 40 minutes away. i am borrowing a friend’s car with gps navigation to accomplish this. i am hoping that some of the other bikes i want to see will be available as well, but if not, i will go to some of the used dealerships, since i will have car access. yay yay yay. must unpack the helmet and gloves and jacket. yay yay yay. yay yay yay. yay yay yay. oh, right… getting carried away again.

la la la…

oh, must go. a friend is returning from spain and we’re having a welcome back party that i am now running late for. and it’s supposed to be a surprise. sorta. well, i don’t know really if her boyfriend managed to pull that off.

wish me luck on motorcycle hunting!

adventures of a 30 year old housewife…

crappy crappy.

i just spent the past hour visiting with a friend. she spent all day yesterday doing laundry and decided to tell me all about it. ironing, hanging, pre-washing, the works…

is this what my life is? ack!

as to myself, i spent part of the day painting upstairs. then browsing the internet for a motorcycle to buy. i’m looking at a motoguzzi. mmmmm…. now i’m going to dig around in the attic, to find some of my art supplies, and take them out on the terrace. the days are becoming long here. a bit too long – i find myself not getting enough sleep because there isn’t enough dark time, and i’m not good at napping. so it’s about 8:30, and i’ve got at least another 2 full hours of daylight left.

ooh, change of plans. another friend just called… one who’s a bit more interesting. i’m heading to her place for a glass of wine or two, and perhaps a better conversation.

Goth line dancing

we have just returned home from another wave night at backstage, the only venue hosting a goth/industrial/etc. dance night in maastricht. every two or so weeks. we don’t make it there every time, either, for various reasons. anyway, we left a bit early (it ends sometime around 3am) due to neo-folk and “medieval” music, which we hate.

it doesn’t sound like it at the moment, but we did have a good time. when we got there, oh happiness, there were 4 songs in a row we liked before a spot of neo-folk. and many many more good opportunities to dance. i would probably like neo-folk more if they wouldn’t play the least danceable of it at a dance night.

but on to my subject heading. wave night here in maastricht has a strange phenomenon i haven’t yet seen elsewhere, although one person i asked about it said it’s done in germany. i’m not sure where in germany, as i haven’t seen it anywhere I’VE been dancing there. but it’s a big country. the strange phenomenon? goth line dancing. i’m serious. picture it: the floor is empty (long breaks between songs often occurring)… the song begins. the goths file out to the dance floor, forming, as they go, two lines, facing one another, with about 3-4 feet between the legs of each dancer to the sides, and about 6 feet between the lines. this leaves little space for someone to get between them, not because there really isn’t space, but they get very upset when you disturb their lines, and try to nudge you back out, and awkward space behind each line, crammed against walls and wallflowers.

ok, that’s the line. now to the dancing. boys and girls both dance, making a “V” with their feet: start feet together, then right foot forward-out, then back, left foot forward-out, then back, repeat. boys do this while their arms are (usually) held behind them, although a few move them. girls do this while their arms move rather like an R&B backup singer, with the direction of the feet. since often the song beats are quite obvious, this easily becomes (i hope accidentally) synchronized. then they really really look like backup singers.

it’s currently safe for me to make fun of this dancing style, because no maastrichtenaars are yet reading this journal. hell, probably not many others are, either. oh well. but i made fun of this to one of the people from here that i’ve met, when we met at wave gotik treffen in leipzig, and her face closed down. it is clearly not ok to heckle them. very touchy. no, she was very nice and friendly, but this subject made her very grim-looking for a couple of minutes, until matt so subtly changed the subject. heh.

i’m not saying that most cities don’t have an easily recognizable dancing style. i mean, who hasn’t joked about the “minneapolis hop?” but this one, wow. i wish i could videotape it for everyone without really making enemies where i could really use a few more friends instead. at one point, it looked like one of those aisles made for weddings or formal old dances, and matt and i locked arms and were going to go down the middle blowing kisses and waving. it would have been funny. for us. we decided not to, just to be polite. silly us. shoulda just done it.

anyway… it was a good night. plenty of good stuff to dance to, not too crowded, so plenty of space on the dance floor, but not too dead, either.

tomorrow we must choose between a birthday party here in maastricht, or train up to amsterdam so we don’t have to wake up early sunday to catch the train in time for another friend’s birthday brunch in the morning. why is it there’ll be nothing to do for weeks, and then everyone’s got a birthday the same weekend? 3 hours apart? i mean, usually we’re pretty bored, weekends. we WERE planning to try to find ourselves some new used motorcycles this weekend, and i agreed to cat-sitting a friend’s boyfriend’s cats for a few days, and now…

well, who’s complaining? if i sound like i am, i’m lying.

i’m also hopped up on redbull. at least it’s not apple juice. i get fighting mean on apple juice. 🙂


temporary expats

hello again.
last night matt forced me to meet 2 of his new coworkers who are here temporarily from the u.s. i knew it couldn’t be good. the first one wasn’t so bad, except perhaps one of the blandest people i’ve ever met. i’ve never before used the term “vanilla” to describe someone, but i think that it is entirely too appropriate for this guy. but no, i don’t bring this up to tell about him. it was the 2nd person, a woman, who i was particularly annoyed by. when we walked up to her, there was a pause, and i was the only one who didn’t know her, so i stuck my paw out and said “hi, i’m sharon.” her response was that high-pitched squeal of a “hi” that you mostly only hear when stupid people talk to small children. it hurt my not very sensitive ears. so i avoided talking to her for the remainder of the short time we were all together. her voice, when i listened, was pretty squeaky in general, but to none of the other people did she put such a squeal on it. matt was pretty mad at me for disliking her. oh well.

today has been uneventful. i am at a shortage of students. i only have 2 private students right now, a total of 3 lessons per week, which is not enough. an acquaintance called while i was bicycling through the markt, and she and a friend of hers are interested in lessons. i will meet with them tomorrow for coffee to discuss lesson time possibilities. unfortunately, it looks like it will have to be evening. i hate using my evenings like that. anyway, since i have no students today, i was running errands.

i stopped in to visit the woman who braided my hair a few weeks ago. she’s really intelligent and creative. i had one of the first actually interesting conversations i’ve had in a while during the 8 hours i was sitting in her chair. (no, for those of you who are curious, it wouldn’t normally have taken so long, but she was really busy in her shop that day, and we kept being interrupted.) anyway, i stopped in to show her my bottles of special effects, because she and her boyfriend were very very impressed by my hair color (nuclear red). so far as i know, they don’t sell special effects here, so i’ve offered to pick her up some next time i’m in minneapolis, which should be either the end of june or the beginning of july. hot and miserable, i know. damn.

oh, i was going to describe wave gotik treffen today, but i got sidetracked on ho hum daily stuff. sorry about that. next time. first i have to start remembering to actually use this, now that it’s set up.

it’s so nice to see everyone’s pictures and entries. i’ve been missing all of you. christian, do you still have your heavyboots account? i emailed you a couple of months or so ago, and i never heard anything, so i wondered. and big hello, zhac! sorry i never got around to emailing you back when i heard from you last, something like a year ago. i am seriously dreadful at long distance communication. maybe this will help me get better.

now here i am thinking of a million other little hellos to say. dumb dumb. i should get back to what i was doing before i decided to get online “for a second”.