Child

My mother died when I was 12 years old. I had been sent on a holiday to Indonesia because she had been ill for a while and she was in hospital. Halfway through my trip I was rushed back to the Netherlands. She died the morning of the day I arrived.

As we drove away from Schiphol airport, my uncle stopped the car on the hard shoulder. I had gathered from my relatives’ puffed up eyes that something was very wrong – I think I could guess what it was, but I denied it until they told me.

One last time I saw her. The nurse ushered me into the room where she lay on that hospital bed. I didn’t want to, but I did kiss her forehead when the nurse told me to. She was pale and cold.

I have pictures of myself on the day of her burial. I’m playing with my niece and I’m smiling. I’m wearing the black slacks I had insisted on getting made for me in Jakarta. My aunt thought that was creepy.

I don’t think I fully grasped what was going on or I wouldn’t have been smiling. I probably shut myself off from everything, protecting myself from the pain and avoiding the thought of the gaping hole in front of me. What was going to happen now? Who was going to take care of me?

It’s raining outside, it has been raining for weeks. I’m pissed off and moody. I’m 35 years old, I have learnt to take care of myself. I don’t miss my mother but I wish I knew who she really was.

On my stereo: Echo and the Bunnymen – Ocean Rain

Beautiful people

I last remember seeing Pam Grier in the film Fort Apache – The Bronx, starring Paul Newman. That was 1981. Since then she has apparently appeared in a number of films including Escape from L.A. and Mars Attacks! but I hadn’t seen her since she played th drugged out, razor toting hooker ‘Charlotte’ who ends up rolled up in a carpet on a dirtheap in The Bronx.

What a waste of a beautiful woman. True, make-up may be doing the trick, but who needs supermodels when there’s women out there like Pam Grier, or Sophia Loren… aging, and beautiful in their age with strong, expressive faces that have seen and lived a real life.

Quentin Tarantino casts the best people for his characters. He’ll stick the star in the supporting role, and find the right face for the main parts. Pam Grier *is* Jackie Brown, she’s lived that life, she’s had those setbacks. She worries about her bum size… and looks great in a bathrobe & with her hair undone.

Women like Pam Grier remind me of my mother, my grandmother and my aunts. My very own beautiful people.

Seen 26th June – with Diana.

Popcorn must be the most inflated snack in the world. Last night I paid 5 guilders 50 ($2.75) for a half decent sized carton of it. I cut my gums on its salt.

Obsessive

Yesterday evening as I came home after watching Holland mess up a 2-0 lead over Mexico I switched on my computer to download my mail. Dialling in to my account I received the error message ‘no dial tone’.

I fiddled with the modem. I fiddled with the computer. I fiddled with Win 95. I fiddled with the phone… the cables… I took bits apart and put them back together again. No dial tone.

Eek. I had a sickly feeling in my stomach. I phoned maintenance on my mobile, but they couldn’t fix anything on the spot. I’d have to wait. No mail.

Annoyed, I grabbed the remote and watched tv, trying the phone every few hours. But the line remained dead.

This morning I checked my mail from work. There was absolutely nothing of real interest in there. I almost wished I hadn’t called maintenance, and had just left it till Monday. A weekend without the internet… that’ll be the day.

I’d like to be obsessive about snail mail again. I used to run down to the mailbox every 5 minutes to see if something had arrived. I guess I’m just obsessive by nature.

ps. Upgrade to Win ’98? No way.

Apple Tart II

… I’m wearing an Apple T-shirt today, so I’m the apple tart. Yesterday’s seminar (a glorified Tupperware party… they were gracious to admit) was lively, informative and entertaining. Apple were trying to sell Internet technology to the print & graphics branch and they did a fine job.

But towards the end of the day when the speaker asked the audience to comment on the differences between a stylesheet shown on IE4.0 and NS 4.0. someone obviously unfamiliar with the web said ‘that gray bar at the top’… confusing the browser itself with the page shown in it. Mr Apple (a hired gun) laughed in his face and ignored the question.

The same guy had dismissed a completely relevant comment I made earlier as being ‘uninteresting’. The audience disagreed with him so I didn’t feel like a complete moron.

Halfway through Mr Apple got Freudian. Talking about file size he said: ‘You’ve got to keep the customer small’.

It might be juvenile, but I can’t leave out his other slip of the tongue: ‘You can pull your part without much damage’.

Wanker.

World cup, yada yada yada

I’m watching it, yes. There isn’t much else on and what else are you going to talk about anyway for the next three weeks?

The game itself is o.k., it’s the hype, the violence, the ‘experts’ and their banter that piss me off. The banter especially… sometimes I wonder what makes people think they’re qualified to open their mouths in the media. Last week, a ‘journalist’ with Dutch broadcasting company EO interviewed a forward with the American Soccer Team. The young man claimed to be a simple player – to which the journalist replied ‘but most black players like to show off!’.


Who let this moron have his own program? And which editor decided he could air it?

Same sport – other job: one of the De Boer twins – I don’t know which one, they’re equally annoying and both are in the Dutch Football Team – was asked what he knew about the South Korean team he was about to play against. His answer was ‘Not much… I know they’re all slanty eyed.’

I give up.

The final will be between Argentina and Brasil… Argentina will win.

on my stereo: Moloko & All Saints compilation tape made by Stuart

The World is my Oyster

Oysters are probably an acquired taste. I don’t understand just why I have no problem eating them, when I would rather top myself than have to eat locusts or other creepy crawlies. But anything from the sea is fine with me.

I would never have thought of oysters as a chinese dish, but last Saturday I was introduced to them by a co-worker.

Steamed oysters – on the half-shell – in black bean sauce, garnished with finely chopped spring onions and red chilies. They were huge. The biggest one approximately 8 inches wide. The shells were piping hot and the taste of the oysters themselves shone through the spicy sauce.

The small chinese restaurants on Amsterdam’s Zeedijk have nothing to go for them as far as atmosphere is concerned -but a plate full of decorative oysters draws attention, and before you know it, you are chatting with the other customers, obviously ‘foodies’ like yourself. It makes up for the barren tables and neon light. No frills. Just food.

At 2,75 guilders a piece the oysters make an excellent starter cum converstation piece. The Peking Duck that followed… would be a journal entry in itself.