Tuesday, June 21, 2011

You don't have to feel bad about yourself

I've been coming across quite a few interesting quotes and paragraphs from people - not even necessarily successful people sometimes - and I've been so tempted to create posters out of some of them. But really, there are too many, and they are sometimes too good for me to do justice to them.

Or maybe I'm just too starstruck and looking at them through gooey eyes.

Since I've been reading them over a few days, I don't have them all with me now, but here's one I think is pretty interesting and simple:

Patti Smith, Musician and writer
If you attach anything harmful to the creative process, you have to do that... I've seen a lot of people go down because they attach a substance to their creative process. A lot of it is purely habitual. They don't need it, but they think they do, so it becomes entrenched. Like, I can't go without my coffee. I can go without drinking it, but I can't go without it nearby. It's the feeling of how cool I feel with my coffee. Because I don't feel cool with this tea. [Bollen laughs] You know, there are pictures of me with cigarettes in the '70s, and everybody thought I smoked. I can't smoke because I had TB when I was a kid. But I loved the look of smoking - like Bette Davis and Jeanne Moreau. So I would have cigarettes and just light 'em and take a couple puffs, but mostly hold them. Some people said that was hypocritical. But in my world, it wasn't hypocritical at all. I wasn't interested in actually smoking them. I just liked holding them to look cool. 
from the99percent.com

I like how honest she is about doing something just to look cool. Not enough people admit their insecurities like that. And what sticks to me is how the interviewer sums it up:

As an artist, you kind of have to buy into your own romance a bit when you are making work.
It makes me feel less guilty about my style of working :)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A day in Antwerp

Today was the first time I've been in Antwerp.

Belgium keeps surprising me again and again. The first time I went was to Brussels (<- link to Part 1 of 3) last year, and if you read my post, I said that I didn't expect anything at all, as I never heard anything about the city or the country when it came to beauty or interesting sights. And boy, was I amazed in the end!

Then later on, I went to Brugge/Bruges, fully expecting a small, beautiful town, since everyone tells me it's so pretty and old and all that, but unfortunately it was a slight disappointment precisely because I had heard so much about it, plus it rained half the time we were there and we could hardly see or visit anything. The highlight of the trip was the big church with organ music and the choir though. That was truly awesome.

So today, Schrobbenmaster and I decided to take Super Harry up on his idea to go to Antwerp for shopping with Doc Vicky. I didn't expect Antwerp to be much since Schrobbenmaster was never really keen about the city and I thought if people just go there for shopping, it must be just a normal city, like any other.

And, yes, it is a normal city like any other, but it's also pretty beautiful (though not as beautiful as Brussels) with their old French-style buildings and wide-ish avenues. And, yes, it is good for shopping! It really makes me very disappointed in Rotterdam when I visit all these other places which are miles better when it comes to the variety of shops and things available.

And here are your hosts for the day! Most of the following pictures will be from the shopping street :P We didn't really venture much further!

It looks like they're heading to the Disney store, but I assure you, they are not. Nice looking store though.

I liked the multi-level depth in this entrance to the Rubens Museum. Looks so cosy in that little garden behind.

They're trying to figure out something about the bell that should have been hanging there.

We decided to discover a new place for lunch (Super Harry and Doc Vicky have been to Antwerp several times already and know the place pretty well) and we stumbled upon this cafe after passing over 3 others which had omelettes for around € 10. I guess omelettes is what we use to determine the price level of a restaurant here.

It's a cafe very close to the Rubens Museum, hence the huge paintings by him (I assume). The cafe is called Klein Verdiep, I think, and I really recommend it because the service is super awesome (okay, so I've lowered my standards after being in NL, but still, the service here really is good, smart and attentive). Just look for the ballet academy and the cafe is directly opposite.

Oh, and I loved the little salty snacks they provided with the ice teas. So yummy!


Pull and Bear. The reason to go to Antwerp.

I ended up with a skirt, a dress and a scarf. Pretty happy with them :) Not so much with the spending of money though :(

Service here wasn't as awesome and my praise of Belgian service standards seemed to be pre... something. Can't get the word in my mind, but what I mean is that I judged it too early.

See, Doc Vicky had tried on some clothes and decided to buy a few pieces, when she saw a few more she wanted to try. So she went back to the changing rooms, but the girl there said she could only bring a maximum of 6 pieces in. So Super Harry offered to hold the clothes for her while waiting outside the changing cubicle. However, the girl insisted that it couldn't be done, and said that she'd keep the clothes on the table with her. So they left the clothes with the girl.

When Doc Vicky was done, she came out and looked for her clothes, but the girl had already kept them back on the racks! Understandably, Doc Vicky was really annoyed, and apparently Super Harry gave the girl a bit of his mind. Luckily, Doc Vicky found her clothes eventually and went to the cashier, while Schrobbenmaster heard the girl at the changing rooms complain about the incident to a colleague, calling Doc Vicky a "Dutch bitch". Sigh.

If you're going to be upset about customers just because of an incident like this, you shouldn't even be working in the service industry. There are soooooo many people who shouldn't be servicing the public, but they don't seem to realise how unsuited they are.

Anyway, next, we went into Urban Outfitters, a really cool shop with cool things, except they are not at easily affordable prices. Where in places like Pull and Bear, you can pick loads of things and just buy them without thinking too deeply, at Urban Outfitters, you have to really, really like what you're buying so you don't feel too guilty about the money spent.

Urban Outfitters is in a really nice old building with a nice roof.

That's not the old building with the nice roof, it just happens to be a building on the next picture I took.

I think Doc Vicky and I were walking a little too slowly and the boys needed a rest. Schrobbenmaster there very kindly carrying my shopping bag while I was occupied snapping photos with my camera.

There's a really nice building in front of them, but the dang garbage truck wouldn't move and was still there when we walked back an hour later.

Just liked the red door and high glass windows.

Antwerp Central station. Rather nice, eh?

Still the central station. I really like the multiple globe lamps of varying sizes and heights in that shop.

Towards the left of the central station, just thought it was a nice view of a big space. Not very common in NL.

Random shot. It was super windy on that street.

Another random, but completely natural shot. After which...

... they decided to pose in a really angry/grumpy/sad fashion.

And then attempted a happy, jump shot. Except my camera is faster than I thought (I'm more used to really basic, small, slow digital cameras where I have to say "Three!" and press the snap button at the same time. Not with this camera though, apparently).

Third attempt successful!

Pretty cool champagne bar ahead with pink origami cranes hanging down from it. This building used to be a big party hall/ballroom kinda place.

That used to be the highest building in the country/Europe/world, or something like that.

Then of course we had to go for Belgian waffles!

Walked a bit looking for a small authentic Belgian chocolate shop, but ended up only at branded, expensive chocolate shops :(

I found a nice cafe banner thingy though. I like the mosaic style. Maybe I can figure out some kind of art piece or decoration like that for the new house...

Anyway, hope you enjoyed this little tour of shopping in Antwerp :P I made a lot of effort to actually be up-to-date with my blog post for once!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Big realisation that came late *doh!*

Our house is SOLD!!! It's such a big relief to know that it's off our hands shortly and we don't have to worry about paying double mortgage anymore. Well, we have to pay it for a couple of months because the new owner wants to move in only in September and we start paying for our new apartment in July. But, small matter!

Now the funny thing is, the new owner is none other than Schrobbenmaster's friend, Super Harry! All these months talking about moving and selling the old house and not a peep from him about buying a house. I guess it came as a sort of surprise to him as well. He currently lives with his parents quite close by and this house will be his first step to property ownership.

So I was congratulating him yesterday on getting a foot on the property ladder, and only today - now, in fact, I realise that I've also just climbed a rung on the same ladder! I guess it's because I lived on my own before for a few years that it doesn't feel like anything new. But I never owned any of the properties I lived in (my parents own my apartment in KL, although I completely redecorated it and renovated some parts of it).

So here's to my first property *cheers!*. I never, ever dreamed that my first property would be located in The Netherlands. Life's funny that way :)

Well, back to packing for now. It's really amazing how I have filled a big box for the kitchen, and yet when I look around it, it still looks the same. It's gonna be a nightmare, considering how much hidden storage space we have in this house :P