Tag Archives: Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands

Really Gotta Scoot, Gang!!

It is already super, super, SUPER sunny here today, and it’s going to be very hot. So I want to get an early start into town to get the groceries.

I don’t want to complain, though, because the rest of the week is supposed to be overcast and full of thunderstorms. Of course the crops need the rain. But anyway. I’m going to try to make the best out of the sun today, but stay out of it as much as I can.

Last night’s episode of Endeavor was definitely worth waiting one year for. (I noticed in the opening credits last night that it’s actually spelled the British way: Endeavour. Only took me 7 years to notice this.)

I’m not crazy about watching it on the flat screen TV with the firestick 4, though, because it is so intensely HD that it has that “live” look to it — the “film” quality is completely gone. I actually wound up switching halfway through it, and going back to watching it on the iPad.

But everything else looks okay on the firestick 4, although it still seems so weird to have the TV in the kitchen.  I was watching a special about Viking Warrior Women last evening and suddenly noticed that I actually had both my legs — bare feet included — up on the kitchen table  while I was leaning back in my chair (!!!). Jesus. That’s a little too bohemian for me…

Anyway. Where to put the TV is the worst of my troubles right now.

Today is “reading other writers’ works” day! So I’ll be back in the Netherlands (mentally), reading Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands, by Roger Gaess. Today, I’m going to find out about Zwolle, Eindhoven, Venlo, and Maastricht! (I don’t know if I’m going to find out how to pronounce the names of those cities, but I feel certain that we’re going to find out where all the bars are!!)

Yesterday was a bit of a washout.  I wrote nothing new on Thug Luckless: Welcome to P-Town. I simply could not get the brain to function properly — it just kept drifting away from me (see yesterday’s post re: how the morning started out). That stuff kind of depresses me when it happens, but oh well. The week’s over. On Friday, I can get back to work on Thug Luckless.

By late yesterday afternoon, I finally gave up on trying to write. So I streamed some things on  the TV, waiting for the magical hour of 9pm, when Endeavour came on. I watched the above-mentioned Viking Warrior Women thing (fascinating, actually), and then another great episode of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. And then I also watched Napoleon Dynamite.

I had never seen that movie. It was a huge hit among teenagers back when it came out, but I was 44 when it came out! Anyway, I know that now it’s sort of culturally iconic so I wanted to finally watch it. I really enjoyed it. It was a very sweet & touching film, overall. And I did laugh out loud at a lot of it.

I took a walk over to the cemetery, too. Not to look at the graves, so much, as to see the panorama of cornfields.  The cornfields are everywhere around here, and the corn is really tall now. It’s so pretty to look at it. For as far as the eye can see now, the valleys are filled with rows and rows of corn, and then the valleys are surrounded by green hills, covered in trees. Just really pretty to look at. Helps me forget all the COVID nonsense.

Meanwhile, more wonderful developments re: Tell My Bones. I’ll keep you updated when I can start blogging about it. I’m super excited by the potential prospects.

Okay, that’s it today, gang. I’m going to head into town now. Have a great Monday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting. I leave you with my listening music from this morning — Bob Dylan, “It’s All Good,” from his Together Through Life album (2009). (Below is a live version, the only version I could find, but it’s all good!!!) All righty! Enjoy. I love you guys. See ya!

“It’s All Good”

Talk about me babe, if you must.
Throw out the dirt; pile on the dust.
I’d do the same thing if I could
You know what they say? They say it’s all good.
All good.
It’s all good.

Big politician telling lies;
Restaurant kitchen all full of flies.
Don’t make a bit of difference; don’t see why it should.
But it’s alright, cause its all good.
Its all good.
Its all good.

Wives are leavin’ their husbands; they’re beginning to roam.
They leave the party and they never get home.
I wouldn’t change it even if I could
You know what they say, man, it’s all good.
It’s all good.
All good.

Brick by brick, they tear you down.
A teacup of water is enough to drown.
You oughta know, if they could, they would
Whatever goin’ down, it’s all good.

All good.
Said it’s all good.

People in the country, People on the land.
Some of them so sick they can hardly stand.
Everybody would move away if they could
Its hard to believe but its all good.
Yeah…

Well widows cry; the orphans plea.
Everywhere you look there’s more misery.
Come along with me babe, I wish you would.
You know what I’m sayin’, it’s all good.

All good.
I said it’s all good.
All good.

Cold blooded killer stomp into town
Cop car’s blinkin’, something bad goin’ down.
Buildings are crumblin, in the neighborhood.
But there’s nothing to worry about, cause it’s all good.
It’s all good.
I say it’s all good.

Gonna whistle and blow it in your face.
This time tomorrow I’ll be rollin’ in your place.
I wouldn’t change a thing even if I could.
You know what they say?
They say it’s all good.
It’s all good.
It’s all good.

© 2009 Bob Dylan

It’s Sort of Been that Kind of Day!!

I went into town early this morning to get the groceries, and then came back home expecting to post to the blog, but then the whole day romped away from me! Followed by a deep need to nap.

The lawn guy was here earlier, informing me that baseball season is officially over for the local kids and now football season has begun. (This is, of course, assuming that none of the kids develop COVID symptoms, because as soon as one of them gets it, the whole team goes into quarantine, etc., etc.)

Well, this switch from baseball to football is an indicator that the summer is as good as gone here in the Hinterlands! How the fuck does that happen, gang?! I mean, come on.  4 seconds ago, it was early June and the world was my (COIVD-19-infused) oyster.

Time indeed marches on. Even though I’m not happy about it.

Okay. Well.

As loyal readers of this lofty blog no doubt recall, Mondays are now my days to catch up on other writers’ works, give them feedback, etc. Today, I am still focusing on the Netherlands travel guide that my friend, Roger Gaess, in Brussels wrote. (Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands.) I really love this book. I’m learning so much about places in the Netherlands. And also a lot about the beer he likes to drink, how frequently he likes to drink it, when & where he likes to smoke weed (and how much), and what he thinks about while doing these things in various locales in the Netherlands. (I haven’t even gotten to the chapter on Amsterdam yet. I imagine that will be of great interest.)

He also notes architecture a lot, which is really interesting, but then it makes me wish he had photos accompanying his comments. (He’s a photo journalist by trade, so he must have photos somewhere!)

But, seriously, I am really enjoying the book. And I am sort of marveling at his bravery — to just go wandering, with only a general idea of what he hopes to find and then usually finding it.

For whatever reason, whenever I am in Europe or the UK, I am almost always staying at the homes of colleagues. And here’s something important to know about me: I have no sense of direction. None. Even all those decades that I lived in NYC, I had to pay extra special attention to which river I was heading in the direction of in order to know for sure that I was almost always going the wrong way.

ME (thinking anxiously): Shit. That’s the Hudson River. I’m going the wrong way! Now I’m going to be late for my fucking meeting!

OR

ME (thinking anxiously): Shit. That’s the East River. I’m going the wrong way! Now I’m going to be late for my fucking meeting!

Always. One time, while staying  at a colleagues house in London, I came up from the tube station and immediately, without any hesitation whatsoever, began going the wrong way. It was after 11pm and it was, of course, dark. And it was just a neighborhood, you know? Just houses and streets. I had no landmarks. Everyone in every house seemed to be in bed asleep. Everything was just dark.

I wandered the neighborhood and sort of began to panic. I had brought my cellphone on the trip but had left it in my room because I couldn’t get service on it in the UK. But thank god, I found one of those things called a phone booth. And I even had British coins in my pocket!

And so I went into the phone booth and realized I had no clue what my friend’s phone number was because I always called him on my cellphone.  I couldn’t even remember his address, although I knew the street name. I had of course forgotten that I would be coming back to his place in the dark of night and that recognizing his house in the pitch dark wasn’t something I had practiced, or anything.

It was really a scary feeling. Thank goodness two young women came down the street I was on and helped me at least find the right street. And eventually I stood in front of what I thought was his house for several moments before going up to the front door and letting myself in (they were all asleep).

But that is just so me. Generally clueless about where the fuck I am, no matter what language anyone speaks. So Roger’s book is really fascinating to me in that regard. He just sets off, in some other language, and arrives generally where he wants to be.

Okay.

I’m guessing you’ve heard by now that President Trump wants someone (like Microsoft) to buy TikTok really soon or it’s going to be banned here in the US, as well. (It’s already banned in India and Australia is considering banning it, as well. And all US federal employees are banned from having it on their phones.)

I hope somebody does buy it because I really did enjoy it, I just didn’t want the Chinese tracking everything I did on my phone…

(Of course a certain NYC-based newspaper that I no longer give much credence to assures us we are all over-reacting, but it was also a NYC-based bunch of officials who assured us that the Coronavirus  (as it was once called) was not contagious. And to date, of the 231,000 people in NYC alone who got the virus, 23, 021 New Yorkers died from it. So, you know. I’ll get my news somewhere else now, thanks.)

Anyway!!!

It’ll be interesting to see. Hollywood is dying to make a truckload of money off of TikTok so it’s really important to not ban it for any pesky national security reasons.  And we need Hollywood to make a truckload of money. It’ll re-assure us that COVID 19 has not ruined absolutely everything in our culture.

Well, sorry this post came so late in the day. I’m going to get back to reading Roger’s book now. I hope that what’s left of Monday is really good to you, gang, wherever you are in the world. Thanks for visiting. I leave you with my jaunty driving-to-town music from this morning. I’ve posted it here before, but here it is again. Einstürzende Neubauten, “Ten Grand Goldie,” from their new album Alles in Allem. I don’t really know what it’s about because I don’t speak German, but the song is still really catchy! So enjoy. I love you guys. See ya!

An “Ab Ab Pro” Kind of Day!!

Yes, that’s how I usually refer to Abstract Absurdity Productions because to say Abstract Absurdity Productions all the time,  can take forever and get kind of annoying…

However.

So, yes. The entire day is now dedicated to Ab Ab Pro stuff. Webinars. Watch some short films that one of our producers produced on the proverbial shoe-string budget. (Same producer who gave us a budget proposal for Lita måste gå! (Lita’s Got to Go!) that was well into the 7 figures…)

Anyway.  We also received our script breakdown from the Assistant Director the other day. So that’s exciting. Technically, it’s an 8-day shoot. But we still have to decide if we want to shoot some of the scenes on location in Sweden and Paris — and now Portugal has become an option. There is some property there that matches what we need, and Peitor has a producer in Portugal who can arrange it. But we’re still just trying to get all our little ducks in a row.

We need to make 2 or 3 of our micro-micro shorts first. Actually shoot them. Which will probably be in the cinematographer’s studio down in Alabama. (The micro-micro shorts are between 45 seconds to 2 minutes long. Again — complete stories, but totally absurd. And still filmed in a style that is an homage to the European New Wave in cinema from the mid 1950s- early 1960s, which, way back then, was an inexpensive way to shoot a film but now it makes your budget go through the roof, even for micro-micro shorts.)

So, you can probably see how this new schedule I’m on, where I concentrate on only one specific thing for the whole day, really helps me make progress on each project. It is definitely bringing me some sanity.

And yesterday, I was finally able to get some notes off to a writer in the UK re: his manuscript. And then I was even able to spend a couple hours reading my friend’s travel book about the Netherlands, which I have been trying to finish for a few months already.  (Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands by Roger Gaess) I really enjoy reading the book so I didn’t want to just plow through it. I’ve never been to the Netherlands so I actually really want to take in what he has to say. (We are colleagues from NYC but he lives in Brussels now.) Plus, I like to get out the pocket atlas and look at these places he’s talking about — see where they actually are. It’s funny how you can think you know a foreign country geographically, but then look at an atlas and realize you are a little bit off (or even wrong, as the case may be!!)

So, anyway.  I was able to really enjoy that for a couple of hours yesterday.

And today is just going to be busy from start to finish. But — I did do the treadmill already, so that’s out of the way!! I’m not going to get to 7pm tonight, all happy & ready to settle down and stream another new episode of “Agatha Raisin” only to discover that I hadn’t worked out yet!!

So, forcing myself to work out at 7am, instead, is really helping me mentally, too.

Okay! Well, there was another — very brief– Red Hand File from Nick Cave very early this morning. Apparently, some of his more zealous fans sent a “tsunami of mail” to the piano company in Italy yesterday, telling them to give Nick a free piano. (See yesterday’s post.) And so he asked people to kindly stop doing that…

Wow. People can get so intense, can’t they? A little militant, I think, but I guess their hearts were in the right place.

On that note, I gotta scoot and get this day underway. I want to take a webinar before I speak to Peitor. Have a terrific Tuesday, wherever you are in the world!! Thanks for visiting, gang. I’m leaving you with a song I am never ever going to get tired of — it was in an Instagram feed early this morning, so it’s been on my mind for a couple of hours. I’ve posted it here many times before, but here it is again!! “Shivers” by The Boys Next Door (1979). Enjoy!! I love you guys. See ya.

Have A Great Memorial Day Weekend!

If you live Stateside, that is!

If not, then, well, just have a great weekend.

Here, today should be even more beautiful than yesterday was — and yesterday was kind of unbelievable, gang. Hence, I never managed to get onto the blog and post anything.  I did get a good bunch of edits done on The Guitar Hero Goes Home yesterday, but other than that, I just didn’t want to be at my desk.

My breathing is FINALLY back to 100% and I just wanted to be out in the sunshine.

This is the weekend that I usually plant my flowers. But I’m not 100% sure I want to go get the flowers today, since this whole area has come out of lockdown and, even though we still need to wear masks and only a certain number of people are allowed in the stores at one time, there will likely still be a crowd at the store since the weather will be ideal for gardening and yard work, etc. And that means waiting in a long line to get inside.

So I might just wait until Tuesday, when the holiday weekend is over. But I’m feeling that having my flowers out and about will make it feel like life is finally back to (the new) normal around here.

Nick Cave sent out a very brief Red Hand Files reply-thingy yesterday — it was quite cute, and heavily implied that we should not kowtow to the cat… (You can read it at the link there, it should take you about 4.6 seconds.)

And speaking of cats — every one of them was just so happy around here, yesterday. It was just so sunny and warm, they were having the best time at all the open windows. (And so was I — I love the way this house feels when all the windows are open again.)

Well, for some reason, I’ve been in a real poetry-reading mood around here lately. Even though I still have two books I’m in the middle of reading (Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands by my friend & colleague, Roger Gaess; and The Judas Brief: A Critical Investigation into the Arrest and Trials of Jesus and the Role of the Jews by Gary Greenberg), I’ve just been wanting to read poetry.

Currently, I’m reading Anne Sexton’s Live or Die (1966 — winner of the Pulitzer Prize); Sharon Olds (The Father: Poems (1992) and Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002); and The Poems of Octavio Paz (English translation -2018).

And, since I long ago ran out of Mr. Moto movies to stream, I switched over to the Charlie Chan movies. I have seen all of the Charlie Chan movies that star either Warner Oland or Sidney Toler a bazillion times. I love these movies. (Racial stereotypes galore, notwithstanding.)

Out of the couple of dozens of Charlie Chan movies made, my favorites are the ones from the mid-1930s, that starred Warner Oland, and often Keye Luke as his son.  Charlie Chan in Egypt (1935) is great — if you can come to terms with Stepin Fetchit (the actor, Lincoln Perry’s, stage name). It helps to not try to lay contemporary cultural standards over top of these movies from 90 years ago.  If you’re not able to do that, than just don’t even try to watch these films. Otherwise, Charlie Chan in Paris (also 1935) is also really good, followed closely by Charlie Chan on Broadway (1937).

All of these movies were only an hour long and low budget and relied heavily on stock footage, which is one of my favorite things about these films. Actual footage of Luxor and the Valley of the Kings; of Paris, and of Broadway from the mid-1930s. Pre-WWII and moving out of the Great Depression. I especially love the footage of Paris.

Which reminds me — I decided to continue studying French, now that I have the Mondly app for another year. It seemed to me that it would actually be useful to me, instead of undertaking an entirely new language just to do it, without any reason to think I would actually ever use the language anywhere. At least my new friends in Switzerland speak French, so I will have reason to use it all the time.

The Mondly app also lets you have conversations with it and can correct your accent. So far, my accent has been reasonably good! You can hear yourself have the conversation with the app, which is a native-speaker of the language you’re studying. So you can actually hear your own accent immediately. It is a really fun app. However, if you’re trying to seriously learn a language from scratch and are only using the app, I’m not sure how effective it actually is.

Well, anyway! I’m yet again “studying” French — which means 52 years now of “studying” it. Perhaps I should have the epitaph on my tombstone be en francais!! That way, when I stand in front of my own tombstone, in Spirit, I can look at it and cry out: “What does it say??!! I don’t speak French! I’m still studying it!!”

Perhaps I should have the epitaph read:

Qu’est-ce que ça dit? Je ne parle pas français. (“What does that say? I don’t speak French.”)

And then when some non-French-speaking person happens upon my grave here in Crazeysburg, looks at my tombstone and says: “What does that say? I don’t speak French.” I can stand next to them (in Spirit), chuckle softly and say to them: “Au contraire — apparently you do!”

All righty!! Let’s get this day happening here, okay? Thanks for visiting, gang. Have a terrific Saturday, wherever you are in the world!! I love you guys. See ya!

A Most Perfect Morning!

Man, it felt great.

As always, I awoke several times during the night, but this time I kept waking up, knowing there was something I was excited about, and then I’d remember: Oh yeah! I get an extra hour in the dark!!

It just felt so wonderful — like it was an hour that belonged to me and to no one else in the world. And my bed was so snuggly. And it’s not as if I did a single other thing differently this morning then I ever do: I got out of bed at 5am, fed the cats, ate my breakfast while listening to music. Then watched as Huckleberry promptly threw up her entire breakfast all over the kitchen floor…

Huckleberry sitting outside my bedroom door, earlier in the summer. She throws up a lot. But when a cat is as sweet as she is, you just deal with it…

So my morning is pretty much just like any other morning,  but that extra hour we got still felt like it belonged just to me.

And now I’m at my desk and life resumes!!

Before I forget, a friend of mine, Roger Gaess, a long-time  journalist and photographer who lives in Brussels, Belgium now, just wrote a new book. Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands. It’s on his own imprint — Aurora Editions. It’s about, oddly enough, his travels in the Netherlands.

Roger Gaess, Whatever Comes My Way: Travels in the Netherlands

I have not had time to read past the preface yet, but part of his opening paragraph, where he explains why he left New York, I couldn’t have agreed with more:

Gentrification had hit New York like a cancer, eating relentlessly away at its diversity and culture, leaving large parts of the city habitable for only the moneyed and dull…

Roger and I were colleagues back in New York, and like so many of us from those days, we wound up leaving it after the true backlash of 9/11 sank in — meaning the rapidly downward-spiraling economy there, and then the only thing people felt safe in investing in anymore after the devastation of 9/11 was real estate and so the cost of everything in NYC just skyrocketed and everything that had any character was torn down to make room for Disney-esque type monoliths, making New York safe for stupefyingly wealthy families everywhere.

Anyway, Roger got married and moved to Europe. I got divorced and moved to Easton, Pennsylvania and rented some rooms in an old Victorian house on the Delaware River (where I wrote Freak Parade and three other novels, some memoirs and probably about 20 short stories, before moving back to Ohio because my adoptive mother got very sick, and for some ill-informed reason I thought she needed me but I was terrifically misinformed about that and then my whole entire life unraveled into a great big bunch of awful Hell that I am only now recovering from…) But Roger and I have kept in touch! For one thing, he travels constantly and even dropped in to visit me a few times, even once at the house I had before this one. However, Roger is primarily a photo-journalist and travels into war zones and equally threatening, non touristy places, so his travels in the Netherlands is not a basic “tourist guide.” I am very eager to read it.

My Inner Being journaling this morning was very interesting. I’ll quote it in part in case it also resonates for any of you. (And yes, my Inner Being uses italics a lot! Just like me!):

“Allow for freedom. Allow choices. You are entitled to choices. You are not a prisoner of a rigid reality. It flows. Allow BEING-NESS to answer your call, you request, your perceived need. Allow the energy of BEING-NESS to be there for you. Do not pinpoint how, where, or why. Simply request and allow it to flow. It will flow regardless. Allowing it to flow unhindered brings rapidly to you experiences you prefer. There is nothing to fear in simple allowing.”

I just thought that was so cool.

Okay! I leave you with this wonderful old gem I was listening to this morning. If you’re too young to know this album, it was a monster hit for Art Garfunkel back in the mid-1970s: Angel Clare. The production on this album was just exquisite. I was always more of a Paul Simon kind of gal, because  big bunches of words and constant anxiety are usually more my thing. However, Art Garfunkel does indeed have a really lush voice. (They were Simon & Garfunkel, in case you’re too young to even know that!)

(For a very brief time, when I was a singer-songwriter in NYC, I was managed by Art Garfunkel’s manager– through a VP at Columbia Records, who was trying very hard to get me signed at that label. But the manager would often say to me that I was “not Art Garfunkel” — meaning that I was indescribably unknown and therefore not entitled to anything!!)

Okay, anyway! I leave you with my breakfast-listening music from this morning, “Traveling Boy.” If you’ve never heard it, listen to it!! It is so beautiful. The whole album is like this.

All righty! Thanks for visiting, gang. Enjoy your beautiful Sunday, wherever you are in the world. I love you guys! See ya!

“Traveling Boy”

Wake up, my love, beneath the midday sun, alone, once more alone.
This traveling boy was only passing through, but he will always think of you.

One night of love beside a strange young smile, as warm as I have known.
A traveling boy and only passing through, but one who’ll always think of you.

Take my place out on the road again, I must do what I must do.
Yes, I know we were lovers but a drifter discovers…

A traveling boy and only passing through, but one who’ll always think of you.

Take my place out on the road again, I must do what I must do.
Yes, I know we were lovers but a drifter discovers
That a perfect love won’t always last forever.

I won’t say that I’ll be back again because time alone will tell,
so no goodbyes for one just passing through, but one who’ll always think of you.

No goodbyes…

c- 1973 Paul Williams, Roger Nichols