The fastest week ever

November 8 2004

Dispite three basketball injuries, three deaths of Dutch celebrities that made the internation news, and the worst instability of this country that I've ever seen, I—oddly enough—have been feeling better over the past week than I had the week before. What really makes this week a weird one for me, though, is that it all seems to have happend in a day…

Monday morning

On Monday morning we (Jurriaan, Dan-Vi, Aschwin, and me) discussed the progess (and lack there of) we made with our alternative for the KABK website (KABK kan beter) with Bram Simons, the teacher of Interactive Media class. The teacher didn't seem too positive (yet), but I can see something nice growing here.

The second class of the day was Typographic Design, for which we had to design a cover and three spreads for the Wordt Vervolgd magazine of Amnesty International. According to the teacher, Huug Schipper, I had taken the wrong approach by trying to find a working grid, rather than a concept first. I could see what he was saying and figured it was caused by Petr van Blokland's Design class on grids the Friday before.

On my way home, I passed by some new hip fashion store that I had discovered recently (Puurr), and that had drawn my attention with some amazingly cool shoes in the show-window. In front of the store, there were two very well dressed guys who were obviously employees of the store. One of them looked me in the eyes, looked at my bright pink tie, my black suit, my shoes, and back into my eyes again. He pointed his finger to the spot in the show-window where I knew the shoes I had noticed before were located and said your shoes, man. I replied that I knew but that I had been looked for the same model, but in black and white (the pair in the show-window was brown with purple). He said they have them in brown/white, blue/white, and pink/white. I was very pleased to hear that, but didn't feel like shopping, and didn't have any money on me anyway. I told the guys I'll come visit them soon. He replied I should, and I continued on my way.

I spent the rest of the day playing basketball (both in real life as on console), and working on the post stamp design assigment for the Graphic Design class of the next day.

Right after midnight, I found out my next appointment with the psychologist would be on Wednesday instead of Friday, on which I thought it'd be when I made an appointment with Tessa to work on her interactive presentation at the Academy on … guess what … Wednesday. I quickly sent an email to Tessa to suggest to move our appointment.

Tuesday mourning

When I got up at the end of the following morning, I did something I don't normally do, which is to boot up my computer and connect to the internet before heading to the Academy (KABK). I checked my email, and looked who was online on my MSN Messenger contact list. I was shocked to read Merel Anne's screenname, which announced the death of Theo van Gogh. I couldn't believe it, but all the news sites I then approached didn't only confirm it, but provided all kinds of gory details. He had been slaughtered by a Muslim fundametalist.

While I was reading upon details of this gruesome murder, my mom walked into my room to ask whether I shouldn't be heading to the Academy. I told her I did, and then brought her the bad news. She thought I was joking (a sick joke) at first, but when I showed her the articles, she pretty much lost it.

I asked her to try to stay cool, put on a black suit, a red shirt, and a black tie (I take it I don't have to explain that one), and finally headed to the Academy.

I arrived in class (which was the Graphic Design class of Gijsbert Dijker) a bit late, and asked whether everybody was informed on the bad news. It appeared they had just been getting even more information on the matter via the internet than I had: apparently a letter (NOS brief verdachte van gogh) with fundamentalistic Muslim prophecies and death threads towards other public speakers had been nailed onto his chest with a knife.

Some politically incorrect jokes were fired, followed by a lot of sarcasm and cynicalness, and then it was business as usual (which felt kind of bizarre; much like the day after Pim Fortuyn was murdered three years earlier). Gijsbert liked the ideas and sketches for my transportation themed post stamp series, but I didn't really care.

When I got home, I found out my mom was rather devastated. There was little point in trying to comfort her, and I could understand why. I felt kid of numb myself, and decided to do what i always do when given the opportunity, which is to go outside and play basketball (at Bakkersplein, this time).

There were a lot of kids outside, of which quite a few were Moroccan Muslims. I decided to avoid any form of dicussion with these kids, because I was there to play my game, and really didn't care what these kids thought about what had happend earlier that day. I evaluated this decision when one of the kids started singing that Ayaan Hirsi Ali should be next, but I drew the same conclusion.

I ceased keeping my mouth shut when they started throwing fire works and starting a fire at the other end of the court. I walked up to them, kicked out the fire (against protest), and basically told them to fuck off. They did (fuck off), and I went back to play basketball. A bit later, some of the kids came back, apologized, and hang around to fire some shots themselves (with the basketball, that is).

The rest of the day (and the days since then, for that matter) consisted of absorbing an seamingly infinite stream of information from both TV as the internet (not only about van Gogh, but also Gerrie Knetemann who died of a heart attack the same day), and making my own contributions to the (inter)national discussion as a graphic designer (with Uiten van mening is dodelijk, for example).

In the evening, I finally got an answer back from Tessa by email. This meant I didn't have to go to the Academy to cancel our appointment, and could head straight to Parnassia the next day. This meant I could stay into bed longer, and go to bed later, which gave me the opportunity to follow the presidential election special of Barend & van Dorp.

Although no winner was declared during that show, it seemed as though the worst of the two evil was going to win, meaning Four more years…lost.

nth visit to Parnassia

Dispite all the horrific news of the day before, I felt pretty good the next day. I put on the same combination as the day before, and headed to Parnassia. The session with my psychologist started out rather difficult as I was feeling a bit anxious (what else is new?), but the longer we were busy, the easier it got. By the end of the 45 minute session—during which we went through some evalution form of sorts—I was feeling much better.

NBA Jaw Jam

Obviously, the rest of the day was spent playing basketball at Bakkersplein. There were a lot of people, so we played full-court again. I was playing pretty well, and having a good time untill the horror of the week before repeated: again I was hit in the jaw hard by Enrique. This time by his elbow instead of the ball, but the result was the same: a slightly dislocated jaw and a lot of pain.

Petr smart, I stupid

Friday morning I overslept, and arrived in class late. I felt bad because I consider Petr van Blokland's Design class one of the—if not the—most interesting classes of this semester. I was pleased to find out he was just about to start a presentation. The presentation was long … very long, but also very interesting. It approached design on a very theoretical and phylosophical level, drawing comparisons to infomation technology, artificial intelligence, and social/cultural issues.

After class, Roos, Jurriaan and I met up to discuss the KABK kan beter project. After this, Jurriaan asked me to join him for a lecture by a famous letter designer, but I figured I could use some rest (sleep), and headed home. Of course, I didn't go to bed before playing basketball outside.

I don't know if it was the lack or sleep, but I didn't really feel like playing basketball, so I went to use the swings for a bit. While swinging, a gorgeous Indian girl walked by. She looked at me, I looked at her, our eyes locked. Judging from her height and face, I figured she could be pretty young (16? 17?) and looked away. After a few seconds I looked at her walking away, and noticed one of the kids on the basketball greeting her.

I got up, walked up to the kid, and asked whether he knew her. He said he doesn't know her personally, but that she lives close to his gandmother's house. I asked him whether he knew how old she is. He said 20. I am a fucking idiot.

Bejeweled Saturday

Saturday, I played a lot of Bejeweled Deluxe in order to try and beat my uncle's record. The day before, he'd said he has a high score of about 60,000. I had a tough time beating it, but eventually succeeded (with a score of 101430).

Sunday ☹

The next day (Sunday), I played basketball with Enrique and some kids at Jenny Plantsoen all afternoon. The basket is slightly lower than the official height (12') there, which allowed Enrique and myself to put our vertical leap and hangtime to use in some dazzling dunk displays.

When darkness had kicked in, we agreed to have dinner at our respective homes and meet up at Bakkersplein later that night to play some more basketball.

Not much later, we met up again outside. This time with more people, so we could play four-on-four (full-court). Again, I was playing well and having a good time, and again, the fun was abruptly spoiled for me. This time it didn't involve my jaw or Enrique: instead, I landed on some guy's foot and heard my ankle crack. My bad ankle. Not good.

I went to the floor while yelling game over, and that's exactly what it was: the end of the game. The rest of the night was spent throwing basketballs at eachother, trying to dish out as many head-pops as possible.



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