Monday, May 31, 2010

Farewell, My Love

Our lives were moving in 2 different directions.

But I would've given it all up if I'd had a stronger commitment from him.

So after 5 beautiful years in 3 different countries together, we find ourselves apart.

I have no idea if what I'm doing is the bravest or stupidest thing I've ever done for ME. But... As a wise friend said: If we're not living in the moment and investing everything we are into this, then we should invest nothing. So, what's a girl to do but keep on keeping on.

Not like he keeps up with this blog, but...
My dearest Kelly, thank you for being my best friend, biggest fan, shoulder to cry on, sharer of fart jokes, and biggest love of my life. I don't know how I'm going to get through this without you around.

In grieving love's loss, I'm reminding myself of the intention I set at the new year: Joyful Surrender. It's been coming in very handy for everything life's thrown my way this year innit.

Through all this, I still believe in "love conquers all". Maybe one day, but not today. Silly me.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Pratyahara Over Water

Look what I found! The Yoga Slackers were in Amsterdam.

They're basically people who do yoga on a slackline (kinda like a tightrope). Found the video on the original article here.

What a gorgeous shot! That's some serious pratyahara and dharana going on there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Two Learnings From On the Mat

Hi again from London. It's been busybusybusy since Tuesday when we got here, but I managed to squeeze in a blog post today. Hurray!

Warning: This is gonna be a boring magnifying-glass-on-my-practice post today.

I went to AYL today for the first practice I've had in about a week since I came down with a cold last week. Was severely dreading it since... well... the first practice after a break is always a tough one, innit.

I was pleasantly surprised. And came away with 2 new things I learned today.

The first is: I make a lot of excuses for my dropbacks. HAHA. I always think "If I haven't practiced Intermediate, my dropbacks are going to be lousy coz my back isn't as open." Or... "Since I haven't practiced in a while, my dropbacks are going to be lousy." Y'know.. generally being defeated before I've even tried it. And today I wonder how much of that is true and how much of it is just a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Since today's the day before the moon day, it's Primary practice only... Which suited me just fine. By the time I came to backbends, I was already thinking "OK, I don't think I'll do dropbacks today, just backbends." Y'know... thinking I'd take it easy since it's the first practice back on the mat after a week. Besides, my dropbacks are ALWAYS terrible after a break from practice for < insert whatever back/ chest opening reason/ excuse here >.

But somehow after backbends I decided "Screw it, I'm here now, I might as well try, right". I mean - the first time I was at AYL, I'd bonked my head on the floor in the first dropback ever... so what did I have to lose now. The first dropback was OK - I was just so afraid to bonk my head on the floor that I lifted my heels just as I reached the floor. But I did it. Standing back up again was a little sloppy, with a bit of a backward bounce as I stood up. But I did it.

Okaaaay. That was different. Usually the first one is the worst one, and that didn't turn out too badly. The other 2 progressed along rather uneventfully too. So... I did it. No fanfare, but the self-realization that so much of the "I can't do this or that without first going through some other ritual" is all just stuff I've made up in my head. Reasons I give myself that hold me back from just getting on with it.

So... From now on, I don't really have an excuse not to do dropbacks, nor expect they'll be crap and not try. Right?

The second realization is more of a physical-body one. I need to get me back to an Osteopath, pronto.

Today, my backbends didn't feel terribly tight, but they felt extremely off. "OFF" in the crooked sense. I have this pelvic rotation which leads to a slight scoliosis in my tailbone... So I'm always a little bit OFF in the spine somehow, but today felt especially MORE OFF. As in: In the backbend, it felt like I was pushing more through my left side and had to work hard at getting the left heel to stay grounded on the floor. It felt absolutely crooked.

After dropbacks, Teacher H came round to help me with assisted dropbacks. On the final one where I dropped all the way back to the floor and walked hands in, he did something a little different - put his arm under my left back and pulled on it. That gave me an instant "A-HA!" moment. What kind of A-HA... I have NO IDEA, but it felt like an expansion in the left side and it almost felt a little weirdly crooked.

When I came back up again, H asked me "You have one leg shorter than the other?" ...At this point I need to digress and say that question stung me in a really weird place. I felt awkwardly imperfect and exposed and a bit embarrassed. Yeah, it was a completely harmless observation about my body but I felt really inadequate (I know, like WTF, right? I was amazed I had that kind of a strong, weird reaction too)

So anyway, I explained about my pelvic rotation which gets my left sacrum stuck and yes, it gets my left leg a bit shorter sometimes (usually an Osteo or Chiro can sort the sacrum out and the legs are the same length again). H had seen it in my last backbend and what he did was straighten my back out. That was the weird expansion on my left side that also felt crooked, of all things (even though I was technically straight). It's all relative, right... when you've been used to "crooked" feeling "normal" for a while... then when things go back to "normal" they won't immediately feel "normal" again. Know what I mean. But I felt a split-second high.

It was kinda cool seeing just how crooked I am, in a yoga environment. I mean, usually it's the other way around... where I'm on the Osteopath's table trying to make sense of what's going on within the pelvis, trying to envisage it working in 3D. This time I felt it all working in the body.

So... yeah, I think because I haven't been to an Osteopath since moving to Amsterdam, it's all gone wonky all over again. Sigh.

Sorry for the long and boring post. They're just my very personal insights from today.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Therapeutic Blue Underpants & Mysore Registration

Hello again from Amsterdam! (Sorry, that post title combo is still cracking me up.)

HAHAHAHA! Yes, I am back here again. Basically, at the end of the work day on Friday in London, we were told we weren't needed in the edit suite till 3 days later, Tuesday morning, the following week. So I deliberated - stay in London over the weekend or head back? Heading back to Amsterdam would've worked out cheaper for the job too (see, I am ever the Producer here)... but to be honest, I was sick and tired of staying in a soulless hotel room with windows that can't open. The thought of possibly staying sick in bed with a cold there just gave me the heeby-jeebies and I was outta there on the first flight out on Saturday morning.

I am coming to a realization about myself. Much as I love the buzz and vibe of London, I think I'm getting old coz it all just gets to be TOO MUUUUUUUCH after more than a week there! I realized this after touching down in provincial little Amsterdam... I was really glad to be in a place that had less people, zero billboards and surrounded by water all over. Boy was I glad to have flown back. :)

I think maybe I missed having my morning routine of ginger lemon tea and muesli with soy milk. You can't quite make your own breakfast in a hotel, and looking at the room service prices just makes me lose my appetite anyway. Even though it could all be expensed on the job, it just doesn't feel right to be paying so much for a simple meal. Know what I mean?

So what have I been doing the past couple of days? In between blowing my snotty nose and resting at home (ie: watching TV), I'd get my arse off the couch and go for a walkabout when I got cabin fever. I think I watched too many episodes of makeover shows like "How to look good naked" and "What not to wear" while on the couch, coz I suddenly got a bee in my bonnet about... er... my underwear.


Y'know those terrible makeover show hosts ALWAYS do that? They raid the poor Before/After Lady's wardrobe and ALWAYS, ALWAYS make fun of her grandma knickers, bras with holes and any undergarment that's short of "stylish". Not like I'm planning to take part in any makeover reality show soon, but I suddenly got panic'd about the state of the stuff that's sitting in my underwear drawer. The fact that I couldn't remember when the last time was that I'd gone bra & knicker shopping meant that it was time to TURF IT ALL OUT!

See... I HAVE been watching too many makeover shows. HAHAHA.

I contemplated taking a picture of my haul, but that would just be a wee bit too close for comfort. Nobody's allowed to picture me in my underpants.

What really struck me was the overwhelming majority of what I bought was in the colour blue. OK I confess: I didn't buy JUST underwear... got some summer tops and scarves too and EVERYTHING was some shade of blue to it. It wasn't a conscious decision at all, I just gravitated to those colours. I wonder if there's something Ayurvedic about that? ...I mean, I've got a cold and sore throat and blue is the colour of the 5th/ throat chakra. Right?

Maybe that's why I felt better after that retail therapy... I got me some colour therapy at the same time!

I've been a bad yogi. Haven't felt well enough to practice... but then come to think of it - I've been out SHOPPING?! Tsk tsk. Thing is, every time I get into a downward dog, my nose gets ultra-blocked and I can't breathe at all! And breathing through the mouth feels WEIRD. So... then what? (yes yes, I've gotta find me a neti pot.)

But in the meantime, I did the next best thing other than physically practicing yoga. I thought about practicing the yoga. Hehe. And I finally printed out the registration form for KPJAYI. And filled it up, ready to head to the post office tomorrow.

Yes folks, I am finally knuckling down and... GOING TO MYSORE!!!! For 2 months in September. WOOHOOOO!! Yes, that's TWO MONTHS. Coz I've been convinced that one month is not enough. And yes, this is also my first trip to Mysore... I figured: Go large. Heh.

Of course, I've gotta wait till they reply and tell me if they've got a place for me or not, but I finally pulled my thumb out and filled up that registration form. Not like it's a difficult form to fill, mind you. I was gobsmacked impressed at the brevity of this thing. It's just like a traditional led Primary class: brief and to the point. But I'd been stalling for a couple weeks now in filling it up coz... I dunno, maybe I'm nervous? I'm nervous to FILL UP THE FORM! HAHAHA!

Can I please confess what an absolute DORK I am? I was so excited to fill up the one-page form (with only like, 5 lines of info on it)... that I kinda messed up the spelling of my name.

Is that "M" or "N" or... am I just retarded?

So I printed out a brand new form to start over again. Coz it had to be PERFECT. Y'know, coz it would have been completely dorkier to have to use Tip-ex (or Liquid Paper) to white-out over my own name. There I go, completely over-analysing this simple one-pager that KPJAYI only uses to make their administration process easier... whoever picks up the form probably wouldn't give a toss how my name's spelt (they'd probably misspell it like everyone else anyway - Jamie)... and I've gone and stressed myself out, wasting a piece of paper in the process, making mountains out of molehills.

Hey, I'm a Mysore virgin. So shut up! I'm excited. OK?

The last thing on the bottom of the form made me laugh. The line says: "Please, keep this form clear of any unrelated comment."

See... there are other people who are more chronic than me, prompting a footnote just like that. It made me wonder what kind of nonsense they've received before to have included such a clause in the form. HAHA.

TA-DAH! Completed form. It's a no-brainer. Please excuse the awkward blacked-out lines. I've just realized that on this Mac I've got no Photoshop for tweaking my pictures. Ah, the irony... my PC had Photoshop Elements on it but not this Mac.

Who cares?! I'm (applying to) go to Mysore!
P.S. I'm back to London again tomorrow morning so will get to see the UK yogis again this weekend. :)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


It had to happen. I am officially sick. It started with a sore throat between my ears and then a runny nose. But I ran over to Boots (BOOTS! I LOVE BOOTS!) and was loaded up with all kinds of chemicals, so seemed to be OK yesterday.

Right before a major client presentation this afternoon, I had to race back to my hotel room coz I felt like I was either going to pass out or throw up. I think sitting in stuffy edit suites with zero ventilation doesn't help as well.

It now feels like I've got a fever that needs to break. BLERGHHHH.

Was gonna fly back to Amsterdam tomorrow for the weekend, but since we have to be back here again on Monday morning and I'm not exactly in the best travelling state, I think I'm gonna stay put in London.

I can't figure out how to open the double-glazed windows in this room either. Dear Lord, I just need some fresh air, please!

Needless to say, no chance to practice the past couple of days. :(

On a less WahWahWah, poor me note... I spotted this sign that made me laugh. Some how the thought of Queen Victoria and rifles just seems so disconnected and random.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Intermediate Rocks And Sucks At Once

I'm realizing now that the Ashtanga Intermediate Series makes me ANGRY.

Like... balls-out PISSED OFF.

Not at anything in particular, but I think more at the series itself. "GODDAMNSTOOPIDBACKBENDS! WHY DO THERE HAVE TO BE SOOOOOOOOO MANY BLOODY BACKBENDS? And then finished off with EVEN MORE closing backbends, MORE dropbacks and MORE assisted dropbacks?!? Why the heck did anyone think up all of this?!"

As they say in Mandarin: TA MA DE! (translation: Your Mother!) Goodness gracious, I'm not even well into the series yet, can you imagine when I get even further?

It was pretty apparent coz it's been A WHILE since I've practiced the second series. I've just been concentrating on the Primary series since I've been travelling and have had an irregular practice.

So on Sunday, Susan said to go up to wherever I felt like I could, since I was hesitant if I should even be going past Primary yet. I figured since I was at a shala with teacher assistance, I might as well take the opportunity and go for it.

I got up to Parsva Dhanurasana and everything in me just yelled STOOOOOOOOOP!

So I stopped. (Not stooped. Ha.)

On Sunday, I was OBLITERATED up to there. I knew I had 2 more poses to go, but thought: Fuck it.

This morning at AYL, I tried again all the way up to Laghuvajrasana. By the time I was at Ustrasana, I thought I was ready to yell out loud. At what, I have no idea. I probably wanted to shout: THIS IS TOO DIFFICULT!!

By the time I was done with all of it, I lay down on my mat before the closing backbends for a while to catch my breath. And that's when I got totally and completely BALLS OUT ANGRY. It's pretty funny now, thinking about it. I probably would've thrashed around in a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming in a rage if no one else was around. I think the thought of doing MORE closing backbends, dropbacks and assisted dropbacks also didn't help my irritation.

OK, so maybe backbends brings up all this stuff... Maybe I'm full of latent anger. HAHA. You know what? I vaguely recall going through this when I was first given intermediate. And I even found the post from then to prove it. This is very interesting. It's like I hit the rewind button coz I'm going through THE SAME EMOTIONS all over again.

This sucks.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Yogi Tea Party Weekend

Had a very nice weekend!

London is PROPER SHOPPING, and I thought I was about to have a nosebleed or pass out from excitement at simply looking at the store windows. HAHAHA.

On Saturday evening, I had dinner with Mel and Sam. Coz Sam had to rush off to take the train home, I forgot to take photos. Oops.

Then yesterday, after morning practice at YP, taught by the one and only Susan (she said I have a nice practice, YAY!) (at least that's what I THINK she said. HA), we all had breakfast, then moved over to another joint around the corner to have lunch. HAHAHA! I think we must've been sat around for at least 5 hours chatting and eating.

Good times with the London Ashtanga bloggers. We all took turns taking THE SAME photo. I think that's about 5 photos with the number of cameras we had. But there are variations coz the person taking the picture didn't end up in the shot of course. We didn't think to ask our bossy waitress to take ONE group shot where we all appeared in it at the same time. HAHAHA.

Here's my shot.

(From left to right: Helen, Kevin, Mel, Jenn, Angeline (aka AC), Susan)

Here's Kevin's shot.

Here's Jennifer's shot.
(Dudes, does Jenn have a blog? I dunno her link!)

And when Mel and Susan post their photos of the SAME SUBJECT, I'll link to them too. We can have a photo-off on who takes the best shot. Heh. (My flash was off, so I lose already.)

I've tagged this under "yoga - inspiration" coz that's what you all are to me. Thank you for a great day. :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Papped The Killers

...or at least attempted to.
("Papped" is now my official verb for "pulling a papparazzi"... y'know... when you sneak a picture like the paps do. See, it also can be used as a noun.) *word nerdiness over*

I make a terrible papparazzi. But I'm blaming my Blackberry's slow response time to take photos.

There I was, waiting in the hotel lobby for some stragglers on my team to come down before heading out to work. And there they were. The Killers. Checking out.

In all honesty, I have no idea what they look like. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Someone on my team pointed them out. This was the same guy who had also hung out with them in the hotel bar the night before. And arm-wrestled the drummer. What a stupid idea, of course he lost (my guy, not the drummer!)

Anyways... so a bunch of well-dressed but very hairy guys (with flat-tonged hair, I might add) in super skinny jeans were standing around in front of us, while we were sat on the lips couch. I kid you not - the couch is a pair of lips.

And I was trying to make it look like I was on my Blackberry while I was trying to pap them. But with the lousy Blackberry camera, you need to hold the phone in position for 5 seconds before you get a clear shot. There's no way that would look like I was innocent. Nobody will pay me for these photos, I'm sure.

This is one of The Killers' legs, on the left.

So I tried again, but the stupid phone camera makes a LOUD *SNAP* sound as it's taking a picture so of course I had to put it away quickly. And got this shot instead.

That's an arty shot of The Killers.

We went to the bar to go pick up more stragglers before heading out, and as we were walking to the entrance I tried again! You can kinda sorta see the guy on the left in black. Y'know... the one in skinny jeans and flat-tonged long hair. You just can't see his hairy beard coz his face is turned away.

Papparazzi FAIL.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Greetings from London (again!)

Greetings from Londontown!

It has been a whirlwind from the start of the week, but things are starting to slow down a little bit. I think this is the calm before the next storm.

Kelly and his family were here from Monday till Wednesday, so it was really good catching up with him and the rest of them as well. His dad's memorial was a little bit sad for me, but it was great to see what an inspiring person he was... from the calibre of people in the room, to the things they all had to say about him. He lived a truly remarkable life.

Can you believe I didn't take pictures of Kelly and myself? I guess we were so busy talking that everything else was forgotten. It was good to connect with each other again. Even though we've been together for 5 years, and even with the likes of Skype video... a long distance relationship is tough.

Now, I'm onto the second leg of this trip: editing our commercial.

But first - I must tell you about this hotel we're staying at. Can I please just preface that this is the only place our company has a corporate rate with, and all other hotels in Soho worked out to be DOUBLE the price of this place? So we are staying here relatively "cheaply" ("Cheap" is relative. Especially when you're in London).

This is one of those designer WANK places. Designed by Phillip Stark or some such... there are Papparazzi hanging out in the streets outside for the celebs that come through these doors, and for the past 2 days there have been lots of models hanging out in the lobby, filling up casting forms. I think they're either holding a casting session in one of the board rooms, or a wardrobe fitting for an upcoming shoot. Or something.

Last night, someone from my team ended up having drinks with the band, The Killers, in the hotel bar coz they were the last ones left in the bar together (we spotted the band checking in yesterday. Oops, should I have said that? Here come more paps!) And the night before, I got into the elevator with a little old lady who excitedly turned to me and said "Did you see Boy George? He just walked into the bar!"

Er... No, I hadn't seen him. Because I was too distracted by the ridiculous elevator. It still cracks me up. It is PITCH BLACK inside, except for 3D hologram images of the universe on the walls. Seriously, you could pop magic mushrooms and ride the elevators up and down all day. Actually, you don't even need any hallucinogenics coz being in the lift itself is a trip. It's a bit hard to photograph coz there's no frame of reference when everything in there's so dark. I still get spooked walking into the lift and suddenly realizing there's someone else standing in the corner. I feel like I'm about to get mugged in the hotel elevator! HAHAHA!

And the room itself is more of a laugh... all these modern, contemporary designers and their clean lines. It drives me insane! The bathroom walls are all glass - so there lots of different kinds of curtains and shades for privacy. What ends up happening is the bloody curtains get EVERYWHERE - sucked into the shower, caught in the draft of the doors. It's just so impractical.

Look at what's hanging on the ceiling directly above my bed?

(I am paranoid it's going to drop down on me in the middle of the night). It's a pastoral landscape, so I imagine it's supposed to calm me down before bedtime? It's got the opposite effect!

The piece de resistance must be this contraption that's stuck to the wall.

Yes, ladies and gents... they're designer barbells. Can't you see the graphics showing you which muscles you can work out with these barbells? The weights are HEAVY. Oh, and of course they're also signed "Stark. xo" One of my colleagues says she has stayed in a room here before where there has been a TREADMILL in the room.

I mean... Seriously?

There's an entire gym downstairs in the building. Why bother with these random exercise equipment in the rooms? It almost makes you feel guilty for wanting to order room service!

The one thing I'm enjoying are the portraits of dogs they've got hanging all over the lobby. Yeah. The dog portraits are human-like, and it's a great piss-take on the portrait genre. Like this one.

(That silly dude kept looking over and smiling coz he thought I was photographing him!)

I think we should do a gigantic painting of Hank and hang it up too. I suppose even though this place is HIGHLY PRETENTIOUS, it is fun being in an environment like this. Coz we are just making fun of all the people here who are taking themselves very seriously (like the Doormen, who keep asking us "Are you staying here?" as they open the doors for us... coz we look like the riff-raff!)

This place is a close enough walk to AYL, so yesterday I went to check it out. I LOVE IT! Hamish's adjustments are gorgeous, and the place has a similar vibe to the old YogaMoves in Bondi Junction. It was lovely being in a group environment again, and just that familiar sound of Ujjayi breathing and the air heavy with humidity made me realize how much I missed having a teacher and a shala to go to.

I'm surprised by how small the space is (it's slightly smaller than Eileen's old space above the health store), and there's literally 2 inches between mats. The edges of my mat on both sides were kissing the wall too... so getting used to being cramped into a small practice space was another thing to get my head around. I had shitty dropbacks - bonked my head on the first go, then on the second go I couldn't even stand back up again and ended up whacking the girl next to me as I was trying to stand up. I have no idea what happened!

It was all good though, I was BUZZING as I walked down the street, and ended up walking back when I realized I hadn't paid for my class! Hamish chuckled too coz he hadn't even thought to collect payment. Can't wait to get back there again. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Upside Down Practice Times + Giromania!

My practice times have done an about-turn. Maybe it's coz I'm now in the Northern hemisphere, after having spent the last 3 years in the Southern hemisphere in Sydney and Cape Town. HAHA. NOT.

What I mean is - I seem to be practicing in the afternoons and evenings these days, rather than at the crack of dawn that I got so used to. I used to think "there's NO WAY I could practice any other time than at the crack of dawn anymore!" ...and look at me now, eating those words.

In the past week since I've been trying to get my ashtanga practice back up to speed again, I've just come home from work and done evening practices. This morning, since it's Sunday, I thought I might as well do a nice and leisurely early morning practice.

No such luck.

Monkey mind to the max. It was really unusual coz isn't your mind supposed to be less busy early in the day? ...I got up to Pada Hastasana only and jumped right off the mat after that. I couldn't concentrate AT ALL. The body felt so stiff and sloth-like... Hmm, I'd had about 9 hours sleep, maybe those comments on Susan's blog about more sleep making you less bendy have a point.

So later in the afternoon, I decided to go for Round 2 of my practice and what do you know... everything fell into place! Quiet mind, supple body... got through all of Primary without a hitch. Except for Marichyasana D - I've been trying to work both sit bones down on the floor, like Cary at YP had adjusted me in... taking the Mari D a little further. Sometimes I'm anchored on both sit bones only on the left side, but most times, I end up rolling around on the mat and having a good laugh. I'm blaming my rotated pelvis. Ha.

On the Amsterdam front, I decided to go watch Iron Man 2 at the cinema yesterday. The only time I go to the movies on my own is usually when I'm watching a chick-flick or a rom-com (they're kinda sorta almost similar innit). But over here, I'm Billy-no-mates... or how does that phrase go again? Johnny-no-mates? Billy-no-mates? Whatever... I had no friends to go watch a movie with, so I went anyway.


Sorry Rob. I love you and you're hot, but this in no way matched up to Part 1.

I had to fight my way to get to the theater though, coz the roads were all closed up. There were people cheering at what looked like cars with bike racks on the top whizzing past every other minute or so. Or from what I could see amidst the crowds, that is. It took me 15 minutes to cross the road via an overhead pedestrian bridge, and it was only then from the high vantage point that I realized what was going on.

It was the start of Giro d'Italia, the cross-country bike race!

I have a confession to make. All month, I've seen the huge banners all over town that said "Giro d'Italia!" or "Giro Mania!" and just assumed that it was for a food festival. HAHAHA! I mean... Giros... kinda sorta sounds like Gyros... y'know, those wraps? I mean, even its nondescript logo conjures up images of food more than a Tour de France rip-off. No?

On top of the bridge, I finally saw that it wasn't just the cars with bike racks on top whizzing past. Those cars were actually following behind the bikes in the actual marathon! Check out the picture below - on the bottom left corner you see a guy in a blue lycra suit on his bike? And behind him is the car with bike racks.

So here's the other question... if it's an Italian bike race, why the heck is it starting in Amsterdam?!

Anyways... tomorrow morning I'm off to London for about a week. I'll get to see Kelly for the first few days, YAY! But it'll be a little bit sad too coz we'll be attending another Memorial for his dad in London. After the Memorial, I'm back to work on the edit of our commercial, also in London. So... if it's a tad quiet around here, you know I'm busy.

Have a great week ahead, guys! x

Friday, May 7, 2010

Street Art Love

While I'm on a street-art appreciation roll, check out what I found over at High Over Happy's blog!

Didn't realize there'a a whole documentary out on Banksy! I CAN'T WAIT!!

...If you didn't already know, Banksy's one of the grand-daddies of anonymous street art. And the documentary's made by the cousin of Space Invader, yet another anonymous street artist. (you might remember I found one of Invader's artworks on an Amsterdam street recently.)

It's these people who have paved the way for the likes of Laser 3.14 (pronounced "Laser three-point-one-four").


You lucky Americans get to watch it in theatres. Check out screenings here. (I haven't found any Netherlands release info yet. Someone mentioned driving to Berlin just to watch it in a cinema!)

Here's the same trailer linked to over on High Over Happy's blog. :)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Laser 3.14

Over the past couple of months in Amsterdam, I have been playing a little game. I'm not sure if I'm playing this game by myself, or with the artist involved, or perhaps a number of other people in this town are also playing this game. But maybe that's the artist's whole point.

It all started when I first spotted a really interesting slogan spray-painted on a construction hoarding. "No Bearded Guy in My Sky".

That's pretty deep.

And then I started spotting more and more of the same kind of graffiti - slightly twisted, with a hint of darkness in its words, and all spray-painted in the same kind of handwriting, always signed off with "Laser 3.14" on the top.

Sometimes his/ her words made me laugh.

Sometimes they made me wonder what he/ she was smoking.

(Other people have sprayed over his words - "As we tumble down the rabbit hole")

Sometimes they made me wonder if he/ she is a little bit sad.

"A harvest of broken dreams"

It seems like construction hoardings aren't the only things Laser 3.14 would target. This piece of construction cloth was also not spared.

"She feared his gloved hands"

A few days later, the construction site had put up wooden hoardings over the yellow cloth, and guess who was back in action? (The pix below are at the same construction site)

("Ich habe es nicht gewusst" means "I did not know" in German. I wonder which modern day genocide he's referring to now? ...Or maybe it's not a genocide Laser's referring to. If not, then... what?)

And on the other side, Laser also made him/ herself comfy:

"How over-tolerance shot itself in the foot"

All of Laser 3.14's words are ALL OVER Amsterdam. I'd be on the tram further away from the city centre, when we'd pass by another familiar scrawling on an unfamiliar wall. Every single time, it would be a different phrase... But always a little dark and twisted, a little humourous, and always a little deep (well, deep to me, at least).

I am a Laser 3.14 fan!

So... imagine my surprise one day when I walked past an art gallery and spotted something hanging in there that looked vaguely familiar.

HOLY MOLY! An entire gallery of Laser 3.14's artworks, BEYOND GRAFFITI!

So I got chatting with the gallery owner and found out that Laser 3.14 is an anonymous artist who is based here in Amsterdam. Of course he/ she has a cult following. And a website. And Laser 3.14's artworks have a bit of a surreal edge to them too. I feel like buying a piece!

I love living in a place where you can discover such little nuggets.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Hank in Puppy Training

It's time for a Hank update!

Actually, these photos were taken when I was back in Cape Town the second time in March. We took Hank to Puppy Training.

HAHAHA! That just sounds like an oxymoron. But apparently puppy training is possible.

The photos of puppies are just too cute, I had to share them. It was held in a big school field on a weekend. When we got there, there were all kinds of different training sessions going on already, with dogs of all ages and sizes.

Behind where all the older dogs were being trained, was a little walled off area - kind of like a massive play pen - for the younger dogs (up to 15 weeks old only). As you can imagine, it was the cutest sight. Hank was one of the smallest dogs, but man oh man, he's so cocksure of himself... he was strutting up and down, wrestling with all the other doggies. (Yup, he's that tiny black and white Boston Terrier)

It was more like "puppy training lite"... or kindergarten... y'know... the idea is to get your puppy there and socialize them with other dogs so they get used to all kinds of different and new things (animals and people too). There is some minimal training involved... so minimal that I've already forgotten what it is. HAHAHA. Parts of it involved swopping dogs with other people too, so your dog gets used to being handled by different kinds of people. Apparently even if you're looking for a guard dog, it needs to be socialized and be friendly with people first. Only then can you train it to be an attack dog. Or something. (See, that's Kelly in the checkered hat "training" the baby German Shepherd.)

This place is serious about its training! Check out the number of dog trainers going through training too!

Then the puppies got to try out a mini obstacle course. There was a huge traffic jam when some puppies were too scared to go further. Hank was just bored with it and couldn't understand what the heck us humans were trying to make him do.

Frankly, I got bored too, so I turned around and watched the other dog training classes in action, and caught a mock-fight between a Greyhound and Standard Poodle. These dogs are HUGE, and it's pretty amazing watching them wrestle. Check out their size in relation to the other people around them.

Hank had a good first day in puppy training. He curled up on my lap and passed out on the long drive home.

Since this trip, Kelly has taken him to another 2 training sessions, but he's pretty happy with how Hank listens and has decided Hank doesn't need anymore training (famous last words). HAHA! At this point, Hank is now about twice the height he is in those pictures, and still nice and trim. He is growing into such a handsome doggie that a photographer friend of ours wants to take photos of him for Hank's own book. Like seriously, a "model portfolio" book. HAHAHA!!

Some people have expressed interest in using him in their ads. Boston Terriers are rare in Cape Town, and good-looking ones are even rarer. Hank's got a really good disposition to begin with, so he may be manageable on a set (again, famous last words). Hmm... if it happens, it sounds like it could be loads of fun!
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