29 January 2009

Internet safety confuses Impa

'Log in to webmail by entering your username and password.'
'Internet service provider KPN will never ask for your password. Should you be asked for your password, don't comply.'

Dear KPN. I want to log in to read my mail, but you say I shouldn't. What do I do now?

27 January 2009

Impa and the mysterious sock

You know that thing with socks dissapearing in the washing machine? That's something that drives a lot of people nuts. Rightfully so. Because you don't get it and it's impossible and still it happens. Those socks simply dissapear. Which is hard to accept, which in turn feels horrible. And so we bite our nails and peer around frightened over our washing machines without ever living to see an end to our existential despair.

Those were the socks that dissapear. Now I'd like to have a little word about socks that... Appear. That's right. From nowhere, without an owner, trace, or explanation. If dissapearing socks make you crazy, neurotic and paranoid, how does the human mind with all its shortcomings deal with a sock appearing? After the neccessary questioning of male friends staying over and every other man person in my life who could possibly have anything to do with it but all swear they have never seen the thing and have no socks gone missing anyway. I ask you. How does one deal with that? 


I rest my case. 

25 January 2009

Impa in Museum Boijmans van Beuningen

The building of Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam is simply beautiful. The light is white and soft and all the shapes are just right. Two floors around a courtyard make for wonderful wandering.


Impa comes to a grinding halt next to an informative piece of text on the wall. It says the artist has 'enlarged a remnant of polyurethane foam with mathematical precision and transformed it into an intriguing sculpture'. But I'm absolutely sure no one's ever asked my opinion on this. And unless everyone in the whole, wide world finds this sculpture intriguing, it's a rather subjective description. Which makes me ever so slightly rebellious. As it happens, I might find the work tedious. It might make me fall asleep with boredom. It might intrigue me so little I almost fall over when I pass it by. (Although that could be the Orval from the museum cafe too.) Or could this text be instructive? Should I take a long, hard look at myself if I pass it by without being intrigued? The interesting thing, in that case, is that the sculpture should be percieved as 'intriguing' by English readers and 'stimulating' (prikkelend) by Dutch readers. Would that only be native speakers of Dutch? Or does it also go for non-natives who -perhaps secretly- read the Dutch bit anyway?


O yeah: they had art in the Boijmans museum too. Beautiful things. Such as an exhibition on the work of Charley Toorop. Life can be such a treat.


At the end of the day, we took the train back home to Utrecht with heavy museum feet and all lightheaded with new impressions. Home to sauerkraut.

Bye, Rotterdam.

22 January 2009

This is the bloody limit

Having to get up for work at four in the morning once or twice a week isn't a problem. You get used to it. I'm a pure-blooded early bird anyway, and with a tight regime for getting up those mornings always pass quite smoothly. But setting the alarm for 04.00 a.m. and waking up without it at 03.58 a.m. is too much even for me. That is the dead of night, for heaven's sake.

19 January 2009

Impa isn't bothered

It turns out today is Blue Monday. According to British researchers, the third monday in January is the most depressing day of the year. The weather is foul, people are running out of money after the expensive Christmas festivities and it's a long time yet untill the next holidays. New Year's resolutions are failing utterly. And the fact that it's a season with suspiciously little daylight undoubtedely has something to do with it too, as well as monday generally not being most people's favourite day.

But all this is good news. I have nothing to worry about. It's not my restless dream of last night, with everybody wanting something from me and things going wrong. It's not waking up all stiff this morning. It's not having to work on my bookkeeping all day today. And it's not even almost tripping over doorsteps, bags of waste paper and my own feet holding cups of hot coffee. No, it's Blue Monday! And that's no problem, because I'm not taking part.

The world looks a lot more attractive, suddenly. I'm already looking forward to the rest of the day.

16 January 2009

Impa and the night

A robot came. A terrifying, hyperintelligent droid of shiny steel; a skeleton with huge claws. It seemed very obvious we'd have to be dealing with the thing, but I couldn't decide whether to panic because I was distraught with fear or to wait and see if I could let matters take their course and somehow deal with things.

(Have a ball, Freud.)

With fear and trembling, things seemed to go rather well. I kept a low profile and made sure the table was between me and the beast at all times. Every now and then I hid on the lap of the other person, next to me, to be able te pretend the monster didn't exist for just a moment. The steel robot mostly occupied itself with others, out of sight, and I came away unscathed. I discovered I could keep it at bay if I stayed calm when it got close. I even found its power switch, underneath a paper sticker on the table, for those moments its gleaming claws came all too close. Somewhere in the core of the beast I started to sense a smile and a wink.

When we boarded the plane they let us scoop cut fruit in a bowl at the entrance. I took the only whole, unpeeled and uncut apple that was there. I looked up and asked if I could have the monster that came with it. I was looking forward to the mixture of fear, courage and curiosity I knew the steel skeleton would make me feel. The air hostess said she knew nothing about any monsters. The other air hostess took a plastic bag from a cupboard behind her and said: "Wait a minute. She's right. That apple does come with a free monster. I think it's in here."

It'll be quite the flight.

9 January 2009

Impa watches TV

I wish I were Jessica Fletcher. Having a coffee with both Peter Boyd from Waking the Dead and Captain Janeway in one week. Who said the eighties were sooooo eighties?

And another thing I want off my chest after my screen cocooning of the past week: If I ever get really ill, please don't make me see Dr. House.

8 January 2009

Impa and the tomatoes

All I want is to grow tomatoes. I want to have my own children, a house with a garden and to grow tomatoes. And make coffee for al my sweet girlfriends coming to see me. And in the evening I will make delicious tomato soup. With my own tomatoes.

Somebody sighed: "You are so sweet".
Someone else looked from him to me and said: "Can't something be arranged here?"
I smiled and shook my head.

I'd gotten a card around New Year's Eve. When I took it out of the envelope, a tiny plastic bag fell out. On the card there were sweet wishes for the new year, a degree of latutide and a degree of longitude and an invitation to come eat and talk. In July, when the sun shines.

In the plastic bag were tiny seeds. I Googled the name on its lable today.

6 January 2009

And then Impa was the cool pool chick

Friend G. hands me a full glass and says: "How many beers have you had?"
Impa wonders what he's getting at. "This will be my fourth?"
Grinning, Friend G. points at the pool table. In the light of the lamp there's a tight triangle of shiny, coloured pool balls. Snugly enclosed in the middle is the white cue ball. All the way on the other side of the table the black ball is on the spot. Ready to be shot.
Of course not, Impa. Nobody saw that, in all that time Friend G. was ordering at the bar and you were getting the balls ready in the middle of a crowded pub.

Thankfully, I slaughtered Friend G. completely Friend G. sweetly let me win at playing pool after that.

4 January 2009

Impa and the soldiers

I can't help it: I'm looking forward to this new year. I'm on the sofa near the heater, curled up with my lovely new computer and a mug of green lemon and ginger tea. And in this calm I turn on the radio and I hear of the current new episodes of darkness in Gaza. 

When I started this blog, there were a few things I promised myself it wouldn't be: A diary, a constant flow of annoyances (however persistent life seems to be throwing annoyances at you sometimes), or a political blog. 

So this isn't a political entry. As I think about their ordeals, my heart goes out to all Palestinians and Iraeli in Gaza. To soldiers, mothers, fathers, children. Whether they be Jewish or Muslim. And irrespective of my political position. 

In the German film Cloud 9 a woman in her sixties, a mother and wife on the search for hapiness and love, watches the news on TV and says: "I think there should be no more soldiers. If a man wants to be a soldier, his mother should be asked for permission. If she says no, the man cannot become a soldier. Worldwide."

3 January 2009

2 January 2009

Happy New Year

'Happiness is taking things as they are.' My Yogi Tea comes with lovely little tags carrying inspirational chunks of truth. My friend H. said: "How can you take things as they are if you don’t know what they are?"
The trick, I think, is not to wonder about the ‘how’ or the ‘why’.
Live. Give. Be kind. Be happy.

For 2009, I wish you happiness.

Breathe in.
Breathe out.