tue 07 jun 2011 05:06:31 witte de withstraat
i don't write in my journal very much these days, and that's bad. my membership in facebook is the culprit. i write remarks and observations on the facebook web site, and they float away forever into the froth, instead of being recorded into this file.
ok so what's been happening lately, hmm ...
i've been doing a lot of design practice in google sketchup, trying to get good enough to use it to explore some urban design ideas of mine. sketchup is 'easy' to use and yet hard to use. but my biggest problem is knowing what to do next. my skill using the software has actually improved a lot in the last couple months. but i despair that i've wasted a lot of time.
people close to me in america, including family, seem to be having a tough time financially. i'm worried about them.
right now i'm working on a short film welcoming new companies to hologic. needs to be done by friday. pani ani came here again on her way from poland to ireland and helped me with some filming -- of flowers, and of some chinese women.
ewa m went to the US consulate to get a visitor's visa for america. pretty soon she's leaving amsterdam and going to canada. she needs to go to america for a wedding or something. the visa requisition was maddening for her. for example it costs 15 euros just to make a phone call to the consulate to make an appointment for the interview.
the dutch government refused a visitor's visa to nicole's friend hamza. i was so mad about that, i wrote a letter to the minister of buitenlandse zaken. nicole and hamza are appealing the decision. another maddening thing about that: they told him to come back in 10 days for the decision, but made the decision the next day after his interview -- ie, did not investigate him at all. but said they thought he was an illegal-immigrant risk, because of his personal situation and the situation in his country (jordan). we're like, what? all the guy wanted to do was come here for a two week holiday. nicole stood as guarantor for him. it seems to be all about his not being rich enough to compensate for being middle-eastern. fucked up madness.
sean enriques, whom i once met at mulligan's, is now in ams and has decided to stay. i hear that he's moving in downstairs with jon.
starting in mid may there has been a lot of renovation work in the house. there were many things that needed to be fixed prior to some inspection jk needs done soon by the authorities. the stairwell is newly surfaced and painted. they re-plastered my front balcony wall and replaced a missing brick. the downstairs doors have been refinished and we have new name plates. i think maybe the work almost all done now.
monday night i had dinner again w crazy wendy at the chinese restaurant. this time wendy paid for me. it's always kinda depressing having dinner with her. she has no empathy and no social skill. she's intensely curious to hear about matters in which she has a personal stake -- which sometimes seem obscure and far-fetched -- but she is uninterested in whatever you really have on your mind. she sits there at dinner playing with her phone, etc, making notes, doodling etc. this time i even asked her if she'd rather i wasn't there, and she responded: 'mhruhww'. as we were finishing eating, i started telling her how i no longer recommmend that people come visit amsterdam or come live here, because i'm so disgusted with the institutional racism, and that that people haven't seen fit to put down the racism. i got that far into my polemic when wendy interrupted me: 'collins, you go to toilet?'
i think she may have a form of autism, never detected because of the confusing social-cultural environment. but anyway i got a free meal out of it. (usually i pay for her dinner.)
after dinner on my way back to the tram i ran into sasja, a guy i met years ago via djox. very enthusiastic man. he walked for a block with me and wanted to recommend someone to me that i should listen to. the author of 'newswipe'.
i am sorry that i don't get to see djox and joana very often any more, now that they live in haarlem.
haven't seen henryk in a long time. several months ago i got angry with him about how he treated a woman friend of mine. again he refused to believe he had behaved wrongly. it was the zoveelste keer, and i'd had enough. so i kinda took a break from him. i got over being mad at him, but i'm still on break.
the other day i was talking to pani ani about this: is there something the the polish language system that causes polish people to feel wrongly accused if you tell them (in english) something like 'you made her cry' or 'you made me feel bad'? apparently the answer is yes. i guess the polish equivalent of the construct 'you made her cry' only works for things you did on purpose. so if he made her cry but didn't mean to do it, he'll be very indignant if i say he made her cry. anna also said something about how people's reactions are causationally detached in polish. i'm not sure if i have this right, but i think she was saying that somehow the polish mental construction is different, so that each person does what they do and other people react however they do, and that's it.
this makes me wonder: do people's minds work differently because of what sets of constructs their language supports? or is it the other way around, that the language only evolves to support the exigencies of their experience? one would think that over time, a frequent experience would call up a way to describe it in language. so if the polish have no expression for 'you made her cry' then why don't they? and what things can they express that maybe i can never understand? of course i am extremely reluctant to suggest that polish people's minds work differently just because they're polish. and it's clear that polish people do care a lot about other people. it just gets differently mentated i guess.
the other night i was sitting at the 'treffers' bar with pani and victor. and they were arguing to me that maybe it isn't urgently necessary to rethink urban design after all. victor said that population is going down in the developed world and therefore will go down in the developing world too. victor was saying that it's population density itself that he doesn't enjoy: having all these strange people around his kids. the discussion got pretty passionate at some point. both victor and anna were unwilling to acknowledge that sprawl is a basic problem. it was as if they believe that some version of the way things are going now -- riding the wave of 20th century folly till it peters out on the shore -- will be just fine for the foreseeable future.
fair enough. that's probably what will happen anyway. but it was interesting to hear arguments that maybe i should not even be bothering trying to visualize how urbanization could work better. i feel like it's a fundamental urgency of our time: to envision a method for civilization that will give back more open land, and yet house all the people humanely.
okay i feel a bit better now that i've written in my journal. i think i'll go design a window or door.