Don’t Wake Me, Amsterdam is Sleeping

“Again last night I had that strange dream, where everything was exactly as it seemed. Concerns about the world getting warmer, people thought that they were just being rewarded. For treating others as theyd like to be treated, for obeying stop signs and curing diseases. For mailing letters with the address of the sender, now we can swim any day in november.” (Postal Service)

I think about that song alot while cruising down the canals or playing a late night of ultimate during this Amsterdam indian summer. Seems like every year this happens. The fall barely exists and we have summer in september and then switch instantly into winter at some point. It would seem that global warming, at times like this, makes this famously bad weather city, into a tropical paradise. That is, of course, as long as you ignore that the water levels are rising and they’ve announced the big dijk that keeps the ocean out, up north, has to be re-enforced and heightened. And of course they’ll do it in a grand way with all the latest whistles and bells as only the Dutch can do… but at some point you have to wonder how long this country can hold its breath against the heating of the earth that threatens to flood it all.

Yet another reason why I live here now. Situations like this, you can’t wait til later, cause there may not be a later. Next time someone asks, how long will you stay in the Netherlands, maybe I can be annoyingly clever and answer “Til global warming swallows it up.” (then I’ll finally move to Berlin)

One classic moment that pretty much represents my life over here came last night, and I thought to share it in this post. I’m cruising towards home after an evening of sailing tamisevans around town, and I receive an sms from the MacDocMan. I call him and he says “Why don’t you come join me for a drink at So-and-So bar.” And I say, “OK, I’ll park the boat and run over there.” To which he replies “Ok, Ill put your name in the book cause its members only.” And I look at my sandles and dirty sleeveless frisbee shirt and I tell him “Wait, I’ll never get in that place. They have a guest list and Im coming in dressed like a beach bum.” He immediately shouts back, “PLEASE, you can wear whatever you want, this is a total leftist club that doesn’t give a shit.” -click.

And indeed, it was.

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Catch Up Weekend

Everything is in a holding pattern as summer that was lost has suddenly returned to Amsterdam. Which means you play catchup. Making up for the lost time. The time you couldn’t go out on the canals, or head to a beach disc tournament and swim in the sand after dropping such a perfect throw. Therefore the podcasts and vlogs are delayed til tomorrow.

Also because I’m often told by the good people that they’re trying to catch up with me. So I’m taking some time so that the audio-visualists can do just that. But we start fresh tomorrow. Which is of course, America’s biggest cliché day. My condolences go especially to all of you media consumers and families of victims, who never asked to be constantly bombarded with manipulative speeches and related themes, every 11th day in September.

If you need escape, follow Tony who is somewhere near Utah. Otherwise, enjoy another photo of my weekend.

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Brecht’s Good Person

After a very long day walking the streets of Amsterdam, I was due to meet friends at the Amsterdam Forest. I’ve seen it on maps and repeatedly ridden around it but never into it, during my over four years here. In my mind’s eye I never imagined it to be anything beyond a few scattered trees, a pond, and many bike paths. So I left very little time for getting through the forest this evening.

Was I ever wrong. Or at least, upon arrival at the forest entrance this evening, as I rode and rode, the streetlights eventually stopped, and it was just me, my dim bikelights, and the moon. Riding riding riding along a path I could barely see, so I turned off the mp3 player to hear the sounds of the tires on the ground, to determine if I was on grass, gravel, or somehow biking into the lake that seemed neverending and always just a step to my right. Allegedly I was riding to a theater, an open air theater, to see a Brecht play. But throughout the ride, as the darkness got thicker and the way back got further and further, I started to doubt I’d see any play on this night, or that there was even a theater. For a brief instance the world was flat again, and I forsaw myself falling off the edge.

But as luck, or a keen sense of direction, would have it… I eventually found the sillouettes of rows and rows of parked cars. I did my best not to ride into them, and when the rows finally ended, there began racks and racks of bikes. Hundreds of bikes, many scattered beyond my field of view, and up ahead, christmas lights strung up in the trees. I could hear what sounded like singing, or shouting, probably both… I had stumbled upon the theater.

The Good Person of Sezuan was the name of the play. And although I was tired and after the long strange ride, felt like I was stoned, the play put me into a tranz. Though the jokes in Dutch are almost always lost on me, feelings of sadness, happiness, and other character struggles came across very clearly. Lucky for me they didn’t try giving their Dutch a Chinese accent… most of them didn’t anyway.

Brecht is interesting as was this play. I understood the question, about being a good person and being taken advantage of, versus being a bad person and getting ahead in life, especially in the professional realm. I know Brecht was a Marxist, and it’s something I love to see in his plays (the few Ive seen).. in this case I saw his commentary about what capitalism forces people into and how desperate it can make people. There was also a sexual undertone, which was illustrated by the main character creating an alter ego which was a mean businessminded man who was very successful, in order to sustain her real self who was a good natured selfless girl who everyone loved and loved to take advantage of.

I was reading about how Brecht went into self imposed exile to the US. Which sounded impressive, until I read that he later faced the McArthy hearings as an accused communist and all that witchhunt. An irony which in itself sound like one of his plays.

After that, I had the long ride through the forest in the dark to ponder this post and the frisbee tournament I must play in 8 hours at the Hague.

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