Page 60-three girl

That IQ interview is out. The picture is ok I suppose. My hair looks funny. ‘So what’s new,’ my colleague J. said. Har har.

Game – set – match

I’ve played a lot of sports in my life. Granted, not much of it in the last 15 years, but I was a regular ‘jock’ in my schooldays. I was on just about every school team, except field hockey. I played softball, basketball, volleyball, handball, football (soccer). At one point, I was aiming to become a P.E. teacher.

There’s nothing quite like hitting a home run or scoring a goal. I guess it releases all kinds of chemicals to make you feel good.

I started playing tennis at the age of 12, and played reguarly until I went to college when I was 20.

In my last year at school, I tore some tendons in my ankle. It was during the finals of the district basketball competition. I had broken through their defence on their half, but was sandwiched by two of them as I was coming down from the lay up. When I hit the floor I felt my ankle twist.

I lost my cool after that. After the operation, the ankle stayed stiff and I kept being afraid I’d twist it again. I stopped playing sports shortly after I went to college. Joined a softball team, but didn’t like the people and I couldn’t get over the ankle thing. Last thing I did was the University tennis championships around 1983. Guess what, I won. But only 3 women competed so it wasn’t that big a deal.

I picked up tennis again this year, at last – it felt good to be doing sports again, but I’m very unfit and my bones and muscles ache a little too much. I play with an ex-colleague, who’s only starting out. She’s fit, but she’s still learning how to play so it kind of evens out. We didn’t play an awful lot, maybe once every two weeks. But I felt confident enough to sign up for the Broadcasting Open. I played my first match today.

I still had stabs of pain in my head, the lingering migraine, but I went anyway. We had to play indoors, because it had rained all night and the outdoors courts were flooded.

During warm up I found out my opponent hit the ball a lot harder than my sparring partner. She told me she played regularly, at least 3 times a week, and she’d gone on tennis camps twice. I’d never played indoors before, so it took getting used to the strange surface and the way the balls skidded instead of bounced. But I like the fast ball, and the better my opponent is, the better I play.

I didn’t really feel like playing or winning – it’s the laziness in me, I didn’t want to have go out to the courts again (they’re on the edge of Hilversum, the town that I work in).

This meant that I was totally relaxed, I didn’t feel much pressure. I usually don’t play that well in matches, the pressure makes my muscles tense and I have never been very good concentrating, or keeping my temper.

So I was 0-3 down in the first set when my arm started warming up. I won the first set easily after that, 6-3. Then I lost it because I am so unfit. I started trembling and sweating and my limbs wouldn’t do what I wanted them to do. I lost the second set very quickly, 0-6!

When I was 0-2 down in the first set, my body started pulling itself together. It got back to 2-2, 3-3, 4-4 and then I started floating. I mean that I was playing without a care in the world, hitting that ball instinctively. All my first serves were in during the last game. In, and hard. My opponent had problems returning them. I won 6-4.

I love playing tennis. I’ve never had lessons, never played competition. But I’m good at it. It comes naturally, like most ball games. When the ball hits that sweet spot just right – especially when it’s your backhand and you can drive that ball cross court, on the line, I tell you… it’s the sexiest thing on earth.

I’m looking forward to my second match, on Monday.

Missed a day

Migraine attack. I think it’s the new laptop – I moved things around on the desk and ended up uncomfortable.
Straight to bed whenI got home, gobbled down a bit of food, watched E.R. re-run, got out bucket – just in case – no need for it, fell asleep.

Explaining Dutch broadcasting

Rule number 1. Never try to explain Dutch public broadcasting to non-Dutch.

I was at a meeting today, where a number of public broadcasters got together to discuss our shared RealMedia server. Yes, we share the same machine – you see, public broadcasting in the Netherlands is… never mind. :)

Take it from me… we kind of work together, except we don’t. Some of us do really cool stuff and are really progressive. Others are still trying to convince bosses and co-workers that this Internet thing isn’t going to go away.

I felt very jealous of some of the people at the meeting. Let’s leave it at that.

P. phoned. Invited to party in Amsterdam on the 19th, very close to the house I want to buy. Next time, hopefully, I’ll be able to walk over and stay late.

Played with new laptop – what a relief: that little 16 mb RAM, Pentium MMX beats the crap out of my G3. Thank heavens we’re switching platforms very, very soon. I’m sure my G3 would be fine if I stuck another 128 mb RAM in it. I think I now have enough experience with both platforms to have an informed opinion. Take it from me… Windows machines are definitely the lesser evil. I’m sure you needed to hear that. Not.

Oi!Iit’s 9 pm and totally dark outside!


This weekend I found out Painting with Bob Ross is back on television. Bob Ross is the weirdest, campest, eeriest thing I’ve ever seen on TV. I came across it one day, zapping away. It was the voice that struck me, I sat down and watched the whole thing. I had to, I was hypnotized. Ross – he died in 96 – was an gnome-like man with bushy hair, painting the most awful pictures: nature scenes, snow capped mountains, waterfalls and ‘happy little trees’. Trailer trash pictures. It didn’t matter – the sound of the brushes on the canvas and the soothing voice had me captivated… and I was not alone. I’d mention it to friends and colleagues and many of them confessed to being addicted themselves.

I would watch the shows every weekend, and afterwards fall asleep on the couch. Totally relaxed. Then the station was taken off the cable. Now the show is back.

Yesterday I asked myself what I would like to do before I’m old and I couldn’t think of a lot. That’s frightening. Do I lack ambition? Have I run out of ideas? My output is… compulsive rather than driven, I’m sure. I guess I do want to write another book… but the need was satisfied when the first came out, however amateurish it was.

I’d like to learn to relax before I’m old… rather than have to grow old in order to relax.

I lost my interest in finding a partner after the last debacle. It’s like… OK, been there, done that… not interesting enough. I’d rather like myself a little more before I even try to like someone else.

I’ve been overhearing conversations on the train. It’s embarrassing to have strangers’ thoughts and emotions forced upon you. (mind readers must be in a perpetual state of cheek burning embarrassment!). Today, two men were discussing the one man’s problems. He was unhappy in his job and had made the decision to leave. His colleague said that was brave of him especially after having sorted out the problems in his marriage…. *groan*.

I was struck by the language they used. Where on earth do people pick up this self-help, counseling lingo? ‘I need to sort things out for myself in my head and be happy within myself, before I can turn that switch and go forward in life.’ That kind of thing… nobody talks like that! But they do.

On IRC, a bot’s been named after me. The owner does it ‘because it would piss [her] off’, ‘she’d kill me if she knew’. Christ on a horse, am I glad I don’t expose myself to this kind of Kindergarten reasoning anymore!

Nice & easy

Ixcullunt… as they say in New Zealand. Slept well & woke up relevantly refreshed and caught the 8.49 train for the first time in more than a week. Easy going day at work – got word I can go on a course. Didn’t realise it was going to be so long, though! Every Monday and Tuesday in October/November, 14 days in total. It’s a course geared towards tv/radio producers, concerning script writing and development for the internet. Will look nice on resume, hope I can stay focused. Always have problems sitting in ‘class rooms’.

I had ordered Ian Dury’s new album, and it arrived today. I was a huge fan back in school and college – when I first started buying records I suppose. I got them all second hand from a nice little store on Oude Gracht here in Utrecht. It’s since become dance orientated. The new album doesn’t stray too far from familiar paths, it’s fun to hear him again, though he’s – obviously – more mellow than before. I now understand the attraction… it’s the theatre and the music hall idea of it, more cabaret than rock and roll. ‘It’s what you haven’t done that matters when you’re old’. Nice one.

Ice cream & the Lawnmower Man

Half a liter of Italian ice cream (why don’t men like ice cream as much as women do?) and Bullets over Broadway. I should have known better than to get a film with the Cusack bloke. I didn’t think it was funny. Perhaps it’s a film to see in the cinema, not in the comfort of your home where there is a COMPUTER handy. I think I prefer Woody Allen films that he acts in himself.

I will miss that ice cream parlour when I move to Amsterdam. It is, without doubt, the best Italian ice cream I have ever had. They have all the regular flavours and quite a few irregular ones like ‘apple pie’ and ‘lemon cake’ and ‘stroopwafels’ (which will only make sense to Dutch people). I told them how good they were. The girl was very friendly, jolly even- it makes all the difference. Half a liter is way too much, of course, my tongue was frozen through and I couldn’t taste anything halfway through it.

Just sat through Sling Blade, absolutely captivated. Billy Bob Thornton is mesmerizing as a character I’d probably avoid like the plague if I met him in the street. You know what’s going to happen… but that doesn’t matter – you’re caught in the rhythm of the film. Dwight Yoakam might just be the first musician who can act. I’d like to see more of these kind of little gems.