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|Thursday, December 12th, 2013|
The 12th day of the 12th month, fifteen years ago.
|Friday, June 16th, 2006|
Judging by the wincing burst of guttural niederländischen Sprache excitement that just screeched and bellowed through the streets of Den Haag, one of three things just occurred:
1. Those overzealous Dutch Reformed Calvinists were right: The rapture might happen, and in fact just did. Dus, the Good News has turned out to be Great News for everybody. I've always maintained Holland would be a great place to live if it weren't for the Dutch.
2. The annual € 106,80 Hondenbelasting dog tax has been rescinded, which means joy for everybody throughout the Kingdom. Now the dog owners on my street, which includes all residents save me, will no longer be able to happily watch their dog shit on my doorstep during their evening stroll and then justify leaving it there for me to slip into just after breakfast by claiming it's the city Gemeente's responsibility to use their tax euros to clean it up. Oh, and no more three-year-old boys and girls making shoo-fly pie, and no more 'Spring Melt' happiness.
3. Team Nederland just scored against Côte d’Ivoire.
|Thursday, February 2nd, 2006|
|Where I Wish I Could Be More Than Anywhere Else Right Now...
...at The Church of Jesus's Girlfriend
back in Toronto, where in just five minutes my former church will be celebrating Candlemas, my favourite mass of the year other than, of course, those during Holy Week.
O, loveliest of all Square Eggs
, how was the mass this evening? Did you sing Andrew's
piece again this year? And how was the concert on Sunday? I so much would love to perform the Lauridsen O Magnum Mysterium
again...and how did it go with Jana's Ave Maris Stella
? It seemed like it was a bit of an irritant to most of the Gallery Choir, but I have to admit I found it absolutely fantastic...and not only because of my status as a self-styled "Wannabe Slav."
I have a hunch you secretly loved the piece as well...right? :)
And is there any chance that either an audio or video recording was made?????
|Wednesday, January 25th, 2006|
|Is Anywhere Civil?
A little over a year ago, I became embarrassed
to be an American following a certain election.
Today, I now feel embarrassed
to be a Canadian. Though less so.
Stephen Harper. I don't exactly know why, but every time I see him, I just want to punch him
. Does anyone understand what I mean?
Though it's been a bit cold
in Holland recently, for those of you who don't know, Russia has been teeth-chatteringly cold
For those of you there who are enduring the cold, and everyone else as well, here's a familiar item
from an unfamiliar view
|Thursday, December 15th, 2005|
|My life, fit into a nutshell
How is one supposed to act when a girl breaks up with them? Especially when you have had two girlfriends since then and, to the best of your recollection, the two of you had already broken up? And the break-up was more than a year ago?
|Wednesday, November 16th, 2005|
|Welcome to Holland
I've lost track. I'm not sure if that's the fourth or the fifth time that it has hailed today.
In other news, despite being brought up Protestant I somehow developed the most intense case of Catholic Guilt one could have, this made conversion to Anglo-Catholicism quite easy. But it also makes it rather awkward when one lives in The Netherlands, lives 50 metres from their favourite coffeeshop, lives 10 metres from their parish church, and then bumps into their priest whilst walking out with a 6-pack of joints.
|Friday, October 14th, 2005|
|Greetings From Merrie Olde Englande
I am in the town of Ipswitch (anybody heard of it?) on my way to Aldeburgh
to see Peter McGillivray
, my former housemate in Toronto whom most of you know (and who is Canada's next opera star, for those of you who don't), perform in the Britten-Pears production of Benjamin Britten's Albert Herring
. I will be here until Sunday afternoon, so if anybody would like a postcard from this neck of the wood, please drop your snail mail addie to me at tymothi _ j _ 2 @ yahoo . com
Please be sure to check out the Snape webcam. It will be the most exhilarating experience of your life.
|Wednesday, September 28th, 2005|
When I was a child, like many young boys, I wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut. I remember my parents buying me subscriptions to a couple space magazines geared to kids. And inside one of them, as the advertisement said, you could send away for "Food just like the astronauts eat!". Needless to say, this was my request for the following Christmas. And so underneath the tree that year were paper packages tied up with string and containing tiny tinfoil bags with freeze-dried strawberries inside, my favourite fruit. And because I was going to be able to watch the next space shuttle launch whilst chomping on dried-out bits of "astronaut food," I was the happiest kid in America! Unfortunately, that launch was the 28th of January, 1986
. I don't really remember what the brittle berries tasted like.
And now, twenty years later, there are other options for using such freeze-drying techniques
Perhaps funniest of all to me is that the technique will be inaugurated in Jönköping, the capital of my peasant family's ancestral home of Småland.
No assistance, please, in returning me to my ancestral home to be the first user.
|Friday, September 23rd, 2005|
|Greetings from Kosovo...
I arrived yesterday in Skopje, Macedonia, and visited with my cousin for the first time in 14 years....welcome to the Swedish side of my family.....not exactly a close-knit culture.
Now I'm in Priština, the capital of Kosovo. And it's a very strange thing to realise that there's a very good chance that you are the only person in a city of 750.000 people who is here basically as a tourist. After all, it's not exactly everybody's idea of a vacation spot; welcome to my world. :)
I will be in Kosovo until Monday morning, then back to Macedonia...if anyone would like a postcard from either place, please just toss off an email to tymothi _ j _ 2 at yahoo.com.
|Friday, August 19th, 2005|
|Back From Russia; Off To England
Have been back for a few days from the three and a half weeks I spent in Russia. Thank you very much to liela
for their interpretations and information that made my trip so much better than it otherwise would have been. Spasibo!
And now I'm off to England to hear uzanesque
perform in York with one of her Canadian choirs that is currently on tour. I'll be there probably until Monday or Tuesday, so please email me at tymothi _ j _ 2 @ yahoo.com if you would like a postcard.
|Tuesday, August 9th, 2005|
I just realised that I completely forgot to mention that if anyone would like a postcard from Russia while I'm here, as always, please just drop me an email with your mailing address to tymothi _ j 2 @ yahoo . com.
I've actually been here since 23 July, and will return to Holland on 15 August. I have only been online about three times since then, which is probably healthy, but I will be sure to check it at least one last time the evening of the 14th.
|Saturday, July 16th, 2005|
|je dans le Russe
Apparently there are several Russian variants of my name. These include Тимофее
, and Тишa
(Timofee, Timofei/Timofey, and Tisha). The first two remind of Ebonics. And the last makes me sound like a toddler.
Who likes which best?
|Friday, June 24th, 2005|
|Tuesday, June 7th, 2005|
|THANK GOD FOR ALL DEAD SWEDES!!!
Hmmm, as a person who is half Swedish, I wonder if I have escaped His Wrath?
I am planning an upcoming trip to Russia later this summer. And for those of you who have ever tried to look up information about Russia, you will already know that such searches mean that you will end up with at least 1.4 million pop-ups about escort services. Most of them tend to be pretty lame, a girl (or two) sucking a big cock, a girl (or two) playing with themselves, a girl (or two) trying to split themselves as wide open as possible. While I certainly have my moral shortcomings, I really don't know how anybody can take such images seriously, let alone prevent themselves for bursting a gut with laughter.
So all that is background to say that I just ran across one of the funniest little set of links pertaining to such things, ever. The first came courtesy of the somewhat disturbingly named World Sex Archives
." To quote its aim:This web site is an interactive discussion and archive database dedicated to providing information about prostitution, escort services and sex tourism. Here you will find articles both past and present providing information about escorts throughout the world. This is not a porno site that boasts millions of "hardcore" images. Rather, it is a place where fellow hobbyists gather to share information with one another through real time discussion boards on a variety of topics that deal with prostitution, escort services and sex tourism.
Umm, "hobbyists"? And the way they phrase it, it just sounds so darn genteel
.THE HOBBYISTSHi Bill! How're ya doing these days?
Oh, not so bad. Just working a bit on my seashell collection. Currently I'm showcasing it on all the beaches around the world. And you, Jim? What's up with you?
Oh, not much. I just got back from Thailand. The palm trees and beaches were great, and I banged the living b'jesus out of a whole bunch of whorish, cock-sucking teenagers. It was so much fun!
But that's not all! It gets even more funnier
Whilst perusing the site for the purposes of researching this entry, I noticed at the bottom a warning to those under the age of 21, that they should not enter. Very common, and seen all over the web, yes? But then there was a second line added saying Those who would like to lecture me on morality, click here.
And where does that link take you? Ah, yes, none other than to the domain of that pork-and-lobster-eating, cotton-and-polyester-garmented, shorn-haired
Moron of the Midwest, the Least Reverend Fred Phelps
For those who might remember, this is the same silly slug who put up a "memorial" to Matthew Shepard
, the American university student who was murdered back in 1998 because he was gay. The memorial still features a daily counter of how many days Matthew Shephard "has been in hell" which is now up to 2431 days. The memorial still has the virtual sounds of Matthew Shephard being tortured in hell.
But now, that clever Mr Phelps has expanded the site! And it appears God's wrath is increasing! Did you know that in addition to Americans, Canadians, and Fags, God now hates Swedes, too! And those quarter million people who died from the Tsunami? Yeah, apparently God killed them because of Swedes
I'm glad there is still a web-hosting company that is still willing to host him. Partly, this is because of my very strong belief in freedom of speech, no matter how deplorable the subject matter. But the reason why I am most happy is for how it will play into his ultimate destiny.
I know these people. They're all over the Midwest, and this is where I grew up. Pastor Phelps believes, quite strongly, that what he is preaching is true. He believes that all practising homosexuals will be condemned to hell.
And just for a moment, let's assume he is actually correct. If he is correct, then there is a very good chance that there will be a handful of people whom he will reach and whose souls he will save.
But then let's consider the obverse. Let's assume he is incorrect. In that case, he will have done little or nothing concerning the souls of homosexuals. But what about the peoplewho find such ravings deplorable? The people, such as myself for most of my life, who give up on religion altogether because they do not want to be associated with somebody dropping hate seeds wherever he walks, somebody who purportedly believes in a Messiah who said "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." What then?
I can't wait to see God pounding his ass.Moral indignation is a technique used to endow the idiot with dignity.
— Marshall McLuhan
|Friday, May 13th, 2005|
|Democracy in Egypt
As it presently stands, the Egyptian presidential candidate is selected by the Egyptian parliament, which is then offered to the voters throughout the country to either say "yes" or "no." Recently, there have been some indications that more than one presidential candidate might be allowed during this September's Egyptian election. But until this change is implemented, there will remain but one candidate for the leader of that country.
Now, Hosni Mubarek may be a bit on the authoritarian side but, using practically any barometer one might like, Egypt is certainly doing better than just about any other country in the Middle East. And with these recent announcements, I have been hearing quite a number of people giggling about what they perceive as a system currently lacking democracy.
"Ha! So they're going to allow
more than one presidential candidate! That’s so funny!"
What I find interesting is that most of these people are from Western European and Commonwealth countries functioning with parliamentary democracies. And in a parliamentary democracy, only those in the region (or "riding") from which the prime minister comes are allowed to directly vote for or against the leader of their country. Which means that 95 per cent of the population has no real, direct influence in voting for their leader.
Democracy in Egypt? Even if there is only one candidate, at least they get to vote directly either for or against their leader.
In other news of Stupid People Doing Stupid Things, can anyone please explain to me why Canada is going to call an election over the most minute of "scandals"? I mean, do Canadians really think having an election because of a $100 million "scandal," an election that will cost more than that amount in and of itself, is really worth it? An election that will result in the westerner Stephen Harper as the new prime minister in a coalition with the separatist Bloc Québécois? Have Canadians decided they want a three-front civil war?
Further news of Stupid People Doing Stupid Things: I was speaking to an Iraqi friend of mine earlier today and invited him to come along to listen to my housemate DJ-ing at our local neighbourhood coffeeshop tonight. Instead, he had already been invited by a couple of American friends to see the movie "Kingdom of Heaven."
Americans inviting an Iraqi to see a movie about the Crusades?
And don't even get me started about the American who's trying to buy the Manchester United football club. He already owns an American football team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and I'd be willing to bet a month's salary that he doesn't even know that "football" is what Americans refer to as "soccer."
|Thursday, May 5th, 2005|
|Sunday, May 1st, 2005|
For those of you who are into women's handbags, what do you think of these
|Thursday, April 28th, 2005|
|The White City
I am in Belgrade, yet again, mostly to observe this weekend's Orthodox Easter with a friend of mine.
When I arrived at the hotel I'm staying at, there were two Serb policemen at the reception, and another two on the first floor smoking and typing up a report of some sort. Not quite sure what that was about, and I'm not sure if I really want to know. And then when I got up to my room, after passing a large framed picture of clogs and another of canal in Amsterdam (the Dutch are haunting me, I'm sure), I turned the TV on to see what might be playing. And in perfect Arkanian fashion, there before me without even changing channels was the beginning of Miller's Crossing
. With Cyrillic subtitles.
And just before updating this, I tried googling for the club I'm going to be meeting a friend at later tonight. This
was the first thing that came up. Oh, the joys of the Balkans.
As per usual, feel free to email your address to tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com if you'd like a postcard.
|Tuesday, April 19th, 2005|
So, following Pope John Paul II, perhaps best known for being an Honourary Harlem Globetrotter
, we now have a new Pope: The Blessed Pope Benedict XVI
Yeah, he's conservative. But he's a very smart guy. And although I would have liked to have seen the new Pope to have come from Africa, the reality is that there simply was not a superior candidate from that continent. And anyone from Africa who might have been elected Pope would have been much more conservative than Joseph Ratzinger anyway, despite the ignorant belief among Western liberals that a Pope from Africa would have been behind any of their causes.
All in all, I'm happy with the choice.
But watching the coverage on BBC
, I couldn't help but to grimace listening to The Faithful turn St Peter's Square into a spectacle of tackiness with a Frat-Boy-cadenced cheering of "Here's the new Pope!" or something like that, as though they were cheering on their favourite athletics team. I kept remembering back to walking along the Via della Conciliazione in 1999 and seeing hundreds of postcards that made the rather noble Pope John Paul II
look like little more than a pop star. With a 2000-year history of inspiring some of the most beautiful art and music ever created, I will never understand how or why the average Catholic reverts so frequently to such low brow dalliances.
Perhaps most important of all, though, is that we now need a new mould for Pope-on-a-Rope
|Thursday, March 24th, 2005|
Whan that Aprille with his shoures soote,
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licóur
Of which vertú engendred is the flour;
Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye,
So priketh hem Nature in hir corages,
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially, from every shires ende
Of Engelond, to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
So....I arrived in London a few hours ago, and will be off for Canterbury at 5.45 (!) in the morning. The trip is primarily to celebrate various tail-end-of-Holy-Week masses at the home of Anglicanism, Canterbury Cathedral.
And before I depart, I plan to walk over to the area in Southwark where the Tabard Inn once stood. :)
Anyone wishing to receive a postcard, please just email me your mailing address and I'll put one in the mail for you. tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com
Also, I accidentally left my book with addresses at home, so for those of you who usually just request a postcard without your address, please include it this time!
Happy Easter Everyone!
|Saturday, February 19th, 2005|
|Waking up at 04.00 in the morning sucks...
...but it's redeemed by the fact that it was in order to make an early flight to Dublin. First thing I smelled when I got off the plane this morning? Not surprisingly, potatoes. What I |am
surprised about is the dearth of pubs in this city. Did they all close when Ireland went smoke-free or something? I mean, isn't Dublin supposed to be the centre of the pub-lubbing universe?
As always, if any one would like a postcard, toss me an email with your address to tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com. Hurry, though, as I'm flying back to Holland in less than 24 hours...
|Wednesday, February 16th, 2005|
"The invention of the wheel merely allowed for humanity to go downhill faster."
|Saturday, February 5th, 2005|
|Something I Wonder About
Which is more scary:
1. George W. Bush because he is the dimmest of all American presidents.
2. Condoleezza Rice because she is the most brilliant woman in America.
A selection of her quotes from today's copy of The Independent
"We're going to seek a peaceful solution to this. We think one is possible" - 20 October 2002 On Iran
"The question [of a military strike] is simply not on the agenda at this point in time. We have diplomatic means to do this." - 4 February 2005
Oh, the fearful symmetry.
Really, though. I wish she was on our side.
|Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005|
|Monday, January 31st, 2005|
If you are planning to confess an affair you have been having behind your pianist wife's back, you might consider it imprudent to reveal it whilst her fingers are being hacked off one by one.
If you are a ten-year old girl in a circus and perform with your more-talented sister, reconsider knocking over a canister of kerosene on the box into which you've just padlocked her.
Do not eat Chinese dumplings.
|Friday, January 21st, 2005|
|The Martial Plan?
I think my favourite part of the BBC coverage of the Inauguration was when, during one of Bush's many exultations of liberty and freedom, a group of protesters were arrested whilst protesting from one of the now-common-in-America "designated protest zones."
And then came Cheney's warning to Iran. And I began to wonder how many Americans who voted for these two could point that country out on a map.
After that, I needed a break. And luckily one of my housemates was DJ'ing at Cremers, our local neighbourhood coffeeshop. That made things better.
A brighter news item: I am leaving in 11 hours to spend the weekend in Slovenia. We'll be in Ljubljana for a while, but probably spend most of our time on the Adriatic coast. Where hopefully the sun will be shining.
If you would like a postcard, email me your snail mail address to tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com
|Monday, January 10th, 2005|
|Does This Qualify Me As Part Of The, Um, "Jet Set"?
Since 10 December, I have been on 11 planes for 7 flights, travelled nearly 14,000 km by air, more than 1000 km by car, and nearly 300 km by bus, all while traversing 6 countries on 3 continents and sleeping in 13 different beds...and almost all of it done while hacking away at bronchial pneumonia.
Is it any wonder that I am a tad bit tired?
|Monday, January 3rd, 2005|
I arrived in Ben Gurion airport overnight and am now in Tel Aviv, about 50 metres from the Mediterranean. After several days of -20 in Toronto, the warm and gentle breezes blowing off the water is quite the respite.
While searching for an internet cafe, I passed a store selling all sorts of tack. In the window was a plaque for an entrance door that said "Shalom," and underneath the same was presumably the same in Hebrew letters. Next to it was the one of the same exact design, although the Hebrew letters had been replaced with "Y'all." So, in the spirit of Rehov Ben-Yehuda: "Shalom Y'all."
I will be in Israel until I return to Den Haag on the 10th. While here I plan to spend a couple days in Jaffa/Tel Aviv, three or four days in Jerusalem, cycle around the Sea of Galilee, swim in the Dead Sea, and then see Nazareth, Masada, and Mediggo (Armageddon). If any one would like a postcard from any of these places, please just email your address to tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com.
I had been wondering why nobody requested any postcards from Indiana or Toronto. (Well, maybe not Indiana.) Now I see why: I had somehow forgotten to update my livejournal to say I was going there. Sorry about that. But I do have an extra Toronto postcard, should anyone like it mailed to them from Holland?
|Monday, December 13th, 2004|
I'm in Belgrade now and have been here since Saturday. I forget to mention, but if any one would like a postcard, please toss an email to tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com. I will be leaving tomorrow morning local time...
|Wednesday, December 8th, 2004|
A Dutch company I have done business with over the past year sent me an email today. At the end of it, they wrote "Have a great Xmas and 2005 full of defence!".
I'm scratching my head right now. I have no idea what this is supposed to mean.
|Friday, December 3rd, 2004|
I just realised that if Jat
changes its name to reflect the country it's a carrier of, they might be called Sat. Or maybe even Scat.
I'm finding that really funny right now and am giggling to myself. I'm not sure if that is objectively funny, or funny due to such a lack of sleep the past couple of weeks.
|Saturday, November 20th, 2004|
| Nobody chooses cynicism; cynicism is a result.
|Wednesday, November 17th, 2004|
|Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004|
As I go to sleep here in Europe, the fate of the world may be determined while I doze. And I suspect that upon waking, returning someday to my birthplace, America, will either be a distinct possibility or a frightening prospect.
I rarely post about political things, as I use LJ as a vehicle for more personal items. For the few of you who know well the real-life person that I am, this may be surprising. In real-life, for those who only know me virtually, I am actually a very politically opinionated person.
The primary impetus for me moving away from America more than a decade ago was what I now refer to as "Gulf War I". A teenager at the time, I was pretty sure that Bush Sr.'s war was going to my generation's Vietnam. And I had "no quarrel with the 'Viet'raq'."
Incidentally, I was somewhat right, though few people are aware of it. The bombing never stopped in the interim between Gulf War I and Gulf War II.
Fearing a draft I made my way to Canada, the land of my mother's birth, and stayed there until my move a year and a half ago to Holland. Not entirely because Canada is a great place, but because the more I observed America from a distance, the more I feared it. September 11th, and the accompanying ignorance of the typical American. The repeated plea, "Why do they hate us?", that morphed inexplicably into "They hate our freedoms" as those same freedoms were being (and continue to be) systematically torn away. These were the things that made me realise that I could probably never return to my country.
Until a month or so ago, my biggest fear about this election was that President Bush would refuse to step down if he were to lose. This predicament has happened to more countries than not, and I don't think the typical American would have a clue as to how to respond. "Call in the military?" Perhaps. But whom do you think the military would back in such a situation? Kerry? Or Bush? A country that hasn't seen war in seven generations, in 150 years, would have no idea how to respond to this. And the masters behind Puppet Bush know this.
Although I no longer believe this will happen, mostly owing to how tight the race has become since the debates, I still think the next few days will be very interesting. The tightness of the race has made it (nearly) impossible for Bush and Co. to look the American public in the face and say, "How could this have happened?" Although, with the antiquated Electoral College system that allowed Bush to become president whilst winning fewer votes than Gore, something like that is always possible. And the combination of the ridiculous Electoral College and easily fraudulent computer voting makes me almost certain that there will be numerous "Florida 2000's" this time around.
I will sleep, and then wake. And when I wake, I hope I will stop fearing a return to my country.
|Saturday, October 16th, 2004|
it appears the my roommates in the hostel have transformed from three grunting english lads to three cute german girls who giggle at my attempts to speak their language.
|Friday, October 15th, 2004|
Two new people on my friend of list. I definitely know I know tamsavvy.....Welcome!
And a cursory glance makes me pretty sure I know narratrice as well, yes? Welcome!
|Well, The British Do Like Their Mushy Peas....
Things I've learned since arriving in London:
Jacques Derrida est mort
.Take a condom and slip a handful of frozen peas inside. You'll only need about ten. Slip it on then let your girl climb on top -- so she is facing your feet. Ladies, lean forwards and move your hips in a slow, thrusting motion. The peas act like little pressure bombs and stimulate your G-spot as you move. He'll love the frosty feeling too.
-A Sex Columnist in a London Tabloid
I'm in London for a couple of days, and probably will go to Cambridge on Sunday. If you would like a postcard, please email your mailing address to me at tymothi_j_2 @ yahoo.com.
|Monday, October 11th, 2004|
|Friday, September 24th, 2004|
A few of my friends send me a ridiculous amount of forwarded emails. I just received a sappy one I've seen at least 20 times previous. It's the one about the woman who stops caring about things, starts spending time in the garden without worrying about the weeds, etc. You know the type of email, the "Every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God," blah, blah, blah.
Anyway(s), the person forwarding it wrote, "This was written by an 83 year old...The last line says it all!".
The last line says: "If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message."
|Sunday, September 19th, 2004|
|My Day As A Dad And Psilocybin Interviews
I spent yesterday strolling around Delft
with Mary Poppins and her two charges, Jane and Michael. Being that Mary and I had briefly dated, and considering Jane and Michael are aged 10 and 5 thereby making it quite plausible for them to be our children, it was a little bit like being a dad for a day.
One of the more interesting aspects for me, besides walking around in a town that I could walk around in just about every day and never get bored, was the children's language abilities. Their mother is Croatian, and their father is French. In addition they attend an international school here in The Hague that's taught primarily in English, though partly in Dutch as well. Which means that they are both perfectly quadrilingual. Mary is Serbian, so when the three of them are talking they typically use Serbo-Croatian. Among themselves, the two children alternate between English and French, and when we were passing through an antique market, they were speaking perfect Dutch with the vendors.
Not of particular interest to most, since the majority of people in the world are bilingual
, but these sorts of things are endlessly fascinating to monolingual English-speaking North Americans, especially Americans.
Incidentally, I was able to successfully argue in Dutch at the train station over a ridiculous aspect of ticket pricing for children. While I'm sure the guy spoke English 50 times better than my Dutch, he apparently felt it was not necessary to switch to English with me. Pat the bunny on the back for that.
When I got home, my housemate Claire and I decided to go out to our friendly neighbourhood coffeeshop, Cremers
, for a puff of hash and a couple of beers. Claire worked for a radio station for nearly a decade and has a host of interesting stories from that time. One of the ones I had never heard was about her interview of Jason Pierce
, the yummy lead singer of Spiritualized
Before the show she had been told that there would be no interviews so, since it was her birthday and her boss had presented her with a gram of magic mushrooms, she decided to eat them. It was an apparently excellent show, as almost all shows are while one is on mushrooms. Following the show, though, somebody from the band's entourage asked if she wanted to do an interview with Jason. The interview began with her crawling along the floor trying to find a socket for her tape recorder, which apparently had the already drunk Jason in stitches. Apparently they babbled on for the better part of half an hour. Half an hour that had to be edited down to just a few broadcastable minutes.
O, Hedonism. How I miss you.
Just looked at the clock. Must get to church.
|Wednesday, September 15th, 2004|
This poem has always reminded me of you, especially of our weekend in Keene with 5:17 and Tricia, James and Nancy, and Tristan.
And now it has been five years.
I miss you, Kymbliss, and I love you.LINES COMPOSED A FEW MILES ABOVE TINTERN ABBEY, ON REVISITING
THE BANKS OF THE WYE DURING A TOUR. JULY 13, 1798
Five years have past; five summers, with the length
Of five long winters! and again I hear
These waters, rolling from their mountain-springs
With a soft inland murmur.--Once again
Do I behold these steep and lofty cliffs,
That on a wild secluded scene impress
Thoughts of more deep seclusion; and connect
The landscape with the quiet of the sky.
The day is come when I again repose
Here, under this dark sycamore, and view
These plots of cottage-ground, these orchard-tufts,
Which at this season, with their unripe fruits,
Are clad in one green hue, and lose themselves
'Mid groves and copses. Once again I see
These hedge-rows, hardly hedge-rows, little lines
Of sportive wood run wild: these pastoral farms,
Green to the very door; and wreaths of smoke
Sent up, in silence, from among the trees!
With some uncertain notice, as might seem
Of vagrant dwellers in the houseless woods,
Or of some Hermit's cave, where by his fire
The Hermit sits alone.
These beauteous forms,
Through a long absence, have not been to me
As is a landscape to a blind man's eye:
But oft, in lonely rooms, and 'mid the din
Of towns and cities, I have owed to them
In hours of weariness, sensations sweet,
Felt in the blood, and felt along the heart;
And passing even into my purer mind,
With tranquil restoration:--feelings too
Of unremembered pleasure: such, perhaps,
As have no slight or trivial influence
On that best portion of a good man's life,
His little, nameless, unremembered, acts
Of kindness and of love. Nor less, I trust,
To them I may have owed another gift,
Of aspect more sublime; that blessed mood,
In which the burthen of the mystery,
In which the heavy and the weary weight
Of all this unintelligible world,
Is lightened:--that serene and blessed mood,
In which the affections gently lead us on,--
Until, the breath of this corporeal frame
And even the motion of our human blood
Almost suspended, we are laid asleep
In body, and become a living soul:
While with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things.
Be but a vain belief, yet, oh! how oft--
In darkness and amid the many shapes
Of joyless daylight; when the fretful stir
Unprofitable, and the fever of the world,
Have hung upon the beatings of my heart--
How oft, in spirit, have I turned to thee,
O sylvan Wye! thou wanderer thro' the woods,
How often has my spirit turned to thee!
And now, with gleams of half-extinguished thought,
With many recognitions dim and faint,
And somewhat of a sad perplexity,
The picture of the mind revives again:
While here I stand, not only with the sense
Of present pleasure, but with pleasing thoughts
That in this moment there is life and food
For future years. And so I dare to hope,
Though changed, no doubt, from what I was when first
I came among these hills; when like a roe
I bounded o'er the mountains, by the sides
Of the deep rivers, and the lonely streams,
Wherever nature led: more like a man
Flying from something that he dreads, than one
Who sought the thing he loved. For nature then
(The coarser pleasures of my boyish days,
And their glad animal movements all gone by)
To me was all in all.--I cannot paint
What then I was. The sounding cataract
Haunted me like a passion: the tall rock,
The mountain, and the deep and gloomy wood,
Their colours and their forms, were then to me
An appetite; a feeling and a love,
That had no need of a remoter charm,
By thought supplied, nor any interest
Unborrowed from the eye.--That time is past,
And all its aching joys are now no more,
And all its dizzy raptures. Not for this
Faint I, nor mourn nor murmur, other gifts
Have followed; for such loss, I would believe,
Abundant recompence. For I have learned
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels 0
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things. Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being.
If I were not thus taught, should I the more
Suffer my genial spirits to decay:
For thou art with me here upon the banks
Of this fair river; thou my dearest Friend,
My dear, dear Friend; and in thy voice I catch
The language of my former heart, and read
My former pleasures in the shooting lights
Of thy wild eyes. Oh! yet a little while
May I behold in thee what I was once,
My dear, dear Sister! and this prayer I make,
Knowing that Nature never did betray
The heart that loved her; 'tis her privilege,
Through all the years of this our life, to lead
From joy to joy: for she can so inform
The mind that is within us, so impress
With quietness and beauty, and so feed
With lofty thoughts, that neither evil tongues,
Rash judgments, nor the sneers of selfish men,
Nor greetings where no kindness is, nor all
The dreary intercourse of daily life,
Shall e'er prevail against us, or disturb
Our cheerful faith, that all which we behold
Is full of blessings. Therefore let the moon
Shine on thee in thy solitary walk;
And let the misty mountain-winds be free
To blow against thee: and, in after years,
When these wild ecstasies shall be matured
Into a sober pleasure; when thy mind
Shall be a mansion for all lovely forms,
Thy memory be as a dwelling-place
For all sweet sounds and harmonies; oh! then,
If solitude, or fear, or pain, or grief,
Should be thy portion, with what healing thoughts
Of tender joy wilt thou remember me,
And these my exhortations! Nor, perchance--
If I should be where I no more can hear
Thy voice, nor catch from thy wild eyes these gleams
Of past existence--wilt thou then forget
That on the banks of this delightful stream
We stood together; and that I, so long
A worshipper of Nature, hither came
Unwearied in that service: rather say
With warmer love--oh! with far deeper zeal
Of holier love. Nor wilt thou then forget,
That after many wanderings, many years
Of absence, these steep woods and lofty cliffs,
And this green pastoral landscape, were to me
More dear, both for themselves and for thy sake!
-William Wordsworth, 1798
|Tuesday, September 14th, 2004|
|Beer And Dictators
Here comes the dictatorship
I've been expecting.
I went to Antwerp
, Belgium, on the weekend. I had a beer called kwak
. The server said it was "speciaal". When it came to the table in a wooden stand, I thought it was just odd.
But it did taste good.
|Wednesday, September 8th, 2004|
|For Those Who Know Gus And Marcie...
As I just now noticed the notice in one of my junk mail folders, their first baby was born on 29 August. She was 49 cm long, 3.35 kilos, and they have named her Audrey Hélène.
Of course those of you who know them probably already know this, since those of you who know them probably check their junk email folders more frequently than I do.
Presumably there will soon be pictures here
Many Congratulations! Gefeliciteerd!
|Monday, September 6th, 2004|
|Excerpt From A Conversation
Tymothi: J: I really have to be careful who I sleep with. Because if I sleep with someone, I usually end up falling in love with them. I'm a bit like a duckling that way, the way they think the first thing they see after hatching is their mother. Friend: See, that's your problem.Tymothi: J: That I'm a duckling?Friend: No. That you sleep with them.Tymothi: J: Ducks?Friend: No, that you sleep with people when you have sex with them. You should just have sex with them, and then leave. And if they're at your place, then just kick them out when it's done. Whatever you do, don't sleep with them. That's your problem.Tymothi: J: Oh.
|Tuesday, August 24th, 2004|
|Well, Why Not Prague?
After a few hours in Budapest, and memories of formerly lovely times whilst walking along the Danube, I decided it was not a good thing for me to remain there.
So I went to the train station, and Prague sounded like fun. I arrived last night, had a good Czech meal and then checked into what turned out to be a pretty crappy hotel.
Walking around today, I realised that the exquisite beauty of this city is great for people in love, as I was the last time I was in Prague.
But it's a bit of a different city if you're not. It seems to exacerbate whatever loneliness one might feel. As I found out last summer when I accidentally ended up in a brothel here, this city is absolutely packed with brothels and, as Ripellino wrote in his excellent book with a silly name, Magic Prague
, it seemingly always has been.
I think there might be legitimate reasons why this city is so filled with brothels. And I'm also beginning to think there are probably good reasons why Prague's most famous citizen, Franz Kafka, slept exclusively with prostitutes.
Perhaps if things had gone a little better with a certain someone I had so anticipated spending time with in Serbia. But as too frequently seems to be the case, I think I screwed up yet another potential relationship.
Or maybe I'm thinking too much. I tend to do that.
Time to go home.
|Monday, August 23rd, 2004|
|So Remind Me Again...
...how I got on a train from Belgrade to Vienna and ended up in Budapest?
Of course, there are worse places to be stranded in. Like Perkovic.
|Friday, August 13th, 2004|
|Belgrade? I'm in Belgrade?
Moral indignation is a technique used by the idiot to endow himself with dignity.
First of all, I think my last update may have been a bit misunderstood. I wasn't actually upset or angry or anything like that. I was a little disturbed by the cheering and jeering that went on during the film about Knin, but I laughed after Mr Jackass at the reception informed me that he wasn't my "personal walking dictionary". What I was more trying to do was to write semi-cynically, Balkan style. Dry, like Livanjski cheese.
I would have been
upset if these things had happened in either America or Canada, and would have in fact been furious, livid, and had even written a letter of complaint to Mr Jackass's manager, etc., etc.
But I didn't opt to go to America to enjoy Americans' proclivity for service. I opted to come here because I like going to Eastern Europe, and am enjoying myself in the Balkans precisely for the reason that life is in so many ways the antithesis of the West.
Which brings me to the last couple of days.
Zagreb got much better by the next day, and I had no problems whatsoever the rest of the time I was there. In fact, I can't even remember anyone else who was even marginally rude the next day and a half before I departed. The best example of the courteousness was a lady in an Optika shop spending nearly 15 minutes rummaging through her wares before finding the specific type of contact lens case that I had requested.
There was also a fairly humorous incident when a Danish guy named Lars, whom I met at the hostel, wanted to go to a Croatian "Strip Club" that we passed.
I'm not a particular fan of such establishments, but not because of moral or feminist reasons or anything like that. I just think attractive girls become much less attractive while they're simulating sex with a pole and pulling their various lips open in front of a bunch of guys they could care less about.
So I went to a strip club for the third time in my life. And it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen. There were four "performers". Three of them were what you might call "strippers", but only in the most tangential of ways. They danced around a pole like other places, but all they took off was a scarf that they had had around their waists. And underneath that scarf was just a basic bikini, not even a thong or anything like that. The other girl sang Croatian pop songs with a guy in the background playing a cheesy electric piano. And nothing at all came off of her body.
As I was laughing at the tameness of the strippers, Lars was getting a little frustrated. One of the four girls came over and I asked if he wanted to buy her a "lady drinks", which you could buy for 200 kuna:Lars: Sure, that sounds good. And what's it all about?
Girl: Well, you buy me drink, and it's about 37 euros.
Lars: And then what?
Girl: Oh, we just talk.
Lars: We just talk?
Lars. I pay you 37 euros so we can just talk?
Lars: That's crap.
This was when I burst out laughing. Lars was not impressed. Neither with the "strippers", nor with my chuckles. So we decided to go.
The whole experience was about as tame as flipping through a Victoria's Secrets catalog.
After Zagreb, I decided to take a train down to Split, which I'm split on whether or not I like. Split centers around a palace built by Diocletian about 1700 years ago. Though it was quite an interesting structure, all marble, about the size of six football fields, and intersperses with mediaeval and Venetian architecture, it was also just about the most crowded with tourists of any place I've ever seen. So the next morning I woke up at 6.00, and it was much more pleasant to stroll through.
Leaving Split was much less pleasant. I decided to go to Knin, and bought a ticket for a 15.00 bus there. Upon presenting my ticket to the bus driver at 15.00, he shook his head, indicating "no". I pointed to the sign in his bus that said "Knin", and he shook his head again. Then he shut the door and drove off. I found this very confusing.
Back in the bus station, the only thing the girl whom I told what had happened could say was, "Maybe he not goes to Knin." Although his sign said he did. Still, there might be very good reasons for some people not to want to go to Knin. And she gave me my money back anyway, so nema problema.
Being that the next bus wasn't going to Knin until 22.00 or so, I then went over to the train station to see if there were any trains going. And, in fact, there was one at 15.25. The girl I bought the ticket from said that there was a change of trains along the way in Perkovic. I got off the train in Perkovic around 16.00, and looked for a train to Knin. Not finding any platforms indicating this, and not finding a time table, I asked at the ticket counter. There was in fact a connection to Knin, but it didn't leave until 22.30. So, I spent the next six hours in Perkovic.
I take great pride in being able to find something interesting in almost everything. You will never hear me declare "I'm bored." I think people who get bored are merely boring people themselves. It's internal, not external.
But Perkovic is boring. Boring like Jewels say "boring". Perkovic has one road. On that one road in Perkovic is a bland cafe. There are also about ten houses along the one road in Perkovic. And a train station. And nothing else, at all. Perkovic is the most boring place I've ever seen. So after six excruciating hours of reading through the guide to Split I bought, about ten times, I went back to the train station.
A train came in from Knin at about 22.25. I asked the conductor if this was my train. He said it wasn't. There were no more trains to Knin. I was scared shitless I was going to have to spend the night in the Perkovic train station. But I finally found someone who knew that there was a bus arriving from Split en route to Knin, and that I could use my ticket for that. When that bus arrived, I realised it was probably the same bus from Split that was to leave at 22.00.
So I probably didn't even need to ever see Perkovic. And I don't think I'm exactly a better person for having experienced it.
No offence to all the Perkovicskis out there.
Knin was one of those places that had some pretty bad stuff happen to it during the war. But it's actually recovered quite a bit, and the ancient fortress up in the hills is very nice. As is the Lašva Valley that it sits in. If you didn't know anything about it, you might not even notice anything bad had happened there, that there were just a few old, crumbling, neglected buildings scattered throughout. Except for the rather heavy military presence.
When I arrived in Knin, it was around midnight or so. I had a coffee, and noticed that there was almost no possibility of accommodation for the evening. So, I climbed up the hill to the fortress, and ended up sleeping on the ground in front of the fortress. Which was a rather odd experience, in and of itself.
From Knin, there was only one bus to my next destination, Banja Luka, Bosnia, and it wasn't until 17.00. So I wandered around the town to get a feel for it and took quite a few pictures along the way before returning to the bus station.
This was when the fun began.
The ticket office had sold way more tickets than the bus could fit, and the driver wouldn't accept all the people wanting to go. Most of them just left and seemingly decided to come back tomorrow, but there was one lady in her 60's with what appeared to be her two grandchildren who was bawling her eyes out about it. I thought it was because she didn't have a seat, so I offered her mine. Another person then told me that it had nothing to do with having a seat; it was just that the bus driver wouldn't drive through the border with people standing. After half an hour of begging and pleading, she and her two grandchildren exited the bus and we left for Banja Luka, quite a bit behind schedule.
Once we had gone through the border, and after I had had my first glance at members of the MUP, there was the lady and her grandchildren waiting for us. I then remembered hearing the word "taksi" a few times, so I assume they ended up taking a taxi across the border, and then meeting up with us then. And because there still was no seat for her, I gave mine up to her.
While I was looking at Bosnia for the first time, whilst standing for the next four hours as the bus was zigzagging through the Bosnian mountains at about 25kms/hour, I got to see quite a few villages and towns that had been hit pretty hard by the war. In particular, Drvar seemed to have been whacked pretty bad. And when we were in some of the rural areas, I noticed a lot of people who looked pretty inbred.
And that's when it dawned it me. Bosnia actually looks an awful lot like the area I spent my teens in, southern Indiana. The mountains are significantly higher than southern Indiana's hills, but the landscape strewn with abandoned, rusting cars, dilapidated houses, and the inbred people are all very reminiscent. In certain parts of America, such as the Ozarks, it's almost identical. If you've ever been to the Ozarks, the Ozarks are
Bosnia's considered one of the poorest countries in the world, and America is considered one of the wealthiest. Bosnia had a devastating war throughout the 1990's. America hasn't had a war on its soil in 140 years. I understand why Bosnia might look like this. I'm not sure why America does.
Back on the bus, we kept passing through all these small towns, and averaging about 25 kms per hour due to the roads hugging the sides of hills. I knew it would be a long time to travel the 100 kms or so between Knin and Banja Luka, but by the time it had been about six hours or so, I began to wonder how much longer it would be.
By the seventh hour, I decided to look for a town name and then check out a map to see exactly where we were. This was when I noticed we were passing through Brčko. If you know where Brčko is, you'll also know it's pretty damn far from Banja Luka. This was when I realised we had in fact passed Banja Luka quite some time ago.
When I entered the bus way back in Knin, the destination board had had "Knin, Drvar, Klujc, Banja Luka" written on it. Silly me, I had taken this to mean that the bus would finish its journey in Banja Luka. And, silly me once again, I had assumed that the bus would be stopping at the bus station in Banja Luka. Silly, silly me.
There was a girl who spoke a bit of English, and she told me that we had long passed Banja Luka. I seem to recall one of the places that the bus stopped and let off a few people having been a largish-looking town. And the place we stopped at certainly was not a bus station. It looked more like a Bosnian version of a McDonald's parking lot. But that was probably the stop for Banja Luka.
Why a bus wouldn't use a bus station, since I am certain there is indeed a bus station in Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia, I have no idea.
But it is, after all, the Balkans.
I had wanted o visit that town, and I'm sorry to a certain someone that I will not be able to send you a postcard from your home town.
The bus driver didn't seem particularly concerned by the fact that I had not paid for anything past Banja Luka, so I decided to sit back and let the bus take me wherever it was headed. After Brčko, we went through Bijeljina, so I figured we were going in a southerly direction. I had considered going to Tuzla, and that was pretty close, so I figured that must be where we were heading. Silly me.
It was a little after this that I noticed the bus make a left at a road sing that said "Beograd" in Cyrillic. It appeared we were going to be crossing the border into Serbia, and then making our way to Belgrade. Nema problema.
When we finally arrived in Belgrade, the bus driver let us off in the middle of all the communist concrete architecture of Novi Beograd. About 5-10 kms away from the bus station.
Since taxis in Belgrade are cheap, I decided to take one into the centre. While chatting with the driver, I told him I was planning to go to Sarajevo the next day:Driver: You go to Sarajevo? I take you there for 250 euros.
Me: Hmmm, and I'll probably be coming back to Belgrade in a few days.
Driver: No problems. I have friend in Sarajevo. I stay with him and then drive you back to Belgrade. Another 200 euros. But more comfortable than bus.
Me: You're right. I'll think about it.
So here I sit in Belgrade. And I'm contemplating taking a taxi to Sarajevo and back.
|Wednesday, August 11th, 2004|
I just realised I had forgotten to add moon_moon to my friends' list. And when I went to add her, I noticed a new person, kattykatt, has added me to her
friends' list. Your livejournal is enigmatic; I wonder if I know you in real life?
|Friday, August 6th, 2004|
|Yugoslavia Thus Far
Ljubljana was just a wonderful little city to have gone to, and I'm so glad to have been there. Exceptionally friendly people, and a very well-kept town. You wouldn't even think it was formerly part of Communist/Socialist/State Capitalist Eastern Europe. It felt more like Austria, at half the price. Enchanting, like a fairy tale.
And then I arrived in Zagreb. There were steps leading down to some shops underneath the train station, so I went down. On the entrance doors, there were circles with lines through them showing what was not permitted. These included three things: Rollerblades, Dogs, and Handguns.
Next, I went to the Youth Hostel, where I was abruptly told simply to come back in two hours. For no apparent reason. Just to do it.
So I wandered to the main square where they were showing moderate propaganda films about the war, specifically about the battles in Vukovar and Knin. Hissing whenever there was a Serb shown, and cheers as Croatia regained Knin. Very disturbing, and it made the war seem, for the first time, incredibly real.
Then I went back to the Hostel. When asking about a word that pertained to the guests, I was told by the next guy, "I'm not your personal walking dictionary. You can buy a dictionary."
I don't expect you to be my personal walking dictionary, sir. Nor my standing one, nor my sitting one. I just wanted to know one word. A word that is important to my stay at your establishment.
Welcome to Zagreb.
|Monday, August 2nd, 2004|
|The Travails of Travels....Venice and Former Yugoslavia
First of all, it's so cool to see my friend Amy, a person otherwise known as moon_moon and a friend of mine in real life who goes back farther than any other friend I have, has added me to her Friends list! Wish these keyboards in Venice gave me the option for an apostrophe rather than a à...
But welcome Amy! Lovely to see you here!
I am currently in Venice, and paying about 8 euros an hour for internet, so I an writing as quickly as possible...
Tomorrow I am off to Trieste for a day, and then I will be off to see former Yugoslavia. First up will be Ljubljana, followed (in probably order) by Zagreb, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Mostar, Dubrovnik, Srebrenica, plus a whole bunch of small towns throughout Bosnia. Then I will be off to Belgrade, Nis, Novi Sad, and then back to Den Haag either from Budapest or Prague.
Or, depending how certain things go in Belgrade, I will be departing from Belgrade...
If anyone would like a postcard from any of these places, you know the drill. Just send me your snail mail address to tymothi _ j _ 2 @ yahoo.com. Just be sure to take away the extra spaces. I will probably grab a few extra cards from Venice and Trieste, so feel free to request these. But they will likely be sent from Bosnia or Serbia.
Will write all about either the travails or the travels, depending how it goes, when I am back in The Hague in September...