About week 1644: Back to work

The first week back at work after prolonged time off (in my case three glorious weeks) isn’t the easiest. One of the benefits of having time off is being able to relax and wind down and view your life from afar. The downside is that you reset your rhythm twice: once when the holiday begins and you don’t have to get up before anything good happens – and then once again when you have to wake up early again. So I won’t say it was the easiest of starts, especially when my normal rhythm (my 4-day-work-week with a day off on Wednesday was disrupted due to other nice engagements), but by Friday I found somewhat of a rhythm again. Though I look forward to the time when there’s something resembling daylight when the alarm goes off…


This weekend I got to hang out with Pablo, the cute dog that barks loudly sometimes. He’s nice and cuddly most of the time though, and he has nice eyes. But sometimes he barks really loud. When I was a child I was a bit afraid of dogs, so I’ve come a long way to sort of befriend an animal creature like this. But I still can’t get used to the (loud) barking. I remember going to see the first Lord of the Rings movie way back in the cinema. In the first half of the movie there’s a scene that made me jump up to such an extent that the whole row noticed in because their seats moved too… It didn’t have anything to do with orcs or Sauron. It was a barking dog that made me jump…


  • I completely forgot to mention I saw Spider-Man: Into the Multiverse in London. It was absolutely glorious, poking fun at the many Spider-Man origin stories we’ve seen in cinema (and comic books) in the past decades, but also paying homage to different art styles and comic books in general. I don’t remember when I last saw an animated film that felt so fresh and unique. Whole-heartedly recommended, even if you feel like you saw one or two too many super hero films in recent years.
  • My girlfriend made an animation (with her friend) which is available for your viewing pleasure here. I did some funny / weird voices for the philosophers. It’s in Dutch, mind you, so you might not be able to make sense of it. But it looks good, right?
  • We finished the Netflix adaption of A Series of Unfortunate Events on Saturday. I thought the ending was rather satisfying and the last season brought some real depth thematically. Enjoyed that a lot.



  • Three albums I’m looking forward to: Rosie Carney’s Bare, plus the new Jessica Pratt and Cass McCombs albums. Yes I’m now on the Cass bandwagon.
  • Andy Shauf and his band made an album under the name Foxwarren. I’ve only just discovered it, but it sounds pretty good. Check it out.
  • A bit late, but I really enjoyed this Slate podcast about Christmas no. 1 in the UK. Besides racing past some nice, awful, weird, wonderful songs that made Christmas No. 1 in the United Kingdom (or nearly made it!), it tells some nice tales about how some of these songs came to pass. One of the songs included came to because of snarky comment by a mother… I’ll leave the rest to your imagination.


  • This recipe of sweet potato, spinach en lentil dhal worked out pretty well. Obviously we used way more garlic than the measly single clove mentioned in the recipe and I may have gone a bit overboard with the turmeric. But hey, it tasted good. Also I have no clue where to get Thai Basil here. So we changed it to parsley. Not the same I know, but that leaves something to be discovered the next time we eat it.


  • I picked up bullet journalling again this week. I fell of the wagon last Autumn, and initially didn’t think I would start again, but then, suddenly, I did. So, yea, hopefully these notes will benefit from it.

Three times the cinema: Three Billboards, The Shape of Water & Black Panther

I went to the cinema three times so far in 2018. I saw three excellent films, all in their own way. Here are my (shortened) thoughts on them, in the order I saw them.

Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri

This film is the third Best Picture Oscar contender I’ve seen (the other two being Dunkirk and The Shape of Water, more on the latter below). There are more contenders that I really want to see, with The Phantom Thread being top of the list. Closely followed by Lady Bird. But yeah. Three Billboards was such a great, intense film. I liked the humanity of it, after all the dark humour and violence and exaggeration, it never tried to oversimply the characters in it. After the great and funny Seven Psychopaths, The Guard and ofcourse In Bruges, this one is both funny and thought-provoking. And Sam Rockwell keeps on growing as an actor. Loved it.

The Shape of Water

This is a lovely film in a whole other way. Like Three Billboards, it combines violent and funny elements with humanity, but it adds elements of fairytale, fantasy and cold war thrillers in the mix. The result is a very nostalgic, colorful experience that nevertheless hooks you in all the right ways. Guillermo Del Toro outputs has been meandering a bit for me, Pacific Rim didn’t do too much for me, Crimson Peak was alright, but this was a fascinating film. Call it escapism, call it a labour of love, I call it brilliant. I loved how the relationships never overtook the politics of the story. And I loved the ending too. Sally Hawkins is an absolute delight and I’d give her the Oscar, though she’s up for a whole lot of competition.

Black Panther

I must say I thought I was pretty much done with the Marvel universe for a while. The recent Netflix series were mostly disappointing after a promising start. I remember watching Doctor Strange and Guardian of the Galaxy 2 in theaters being perfectly entertained, but not that blown away when leaving the cinema. Having not seen Thor: Ragnarok yet (I did hope for this to be an improvement), I went along to see Black Panther and I came away pleasantly surprised. Yes, this is still a Marvel superhero film, but it’s also thoughtful, it has a great villain with an actual thought-provoking mission and statement. So, alongside the great visual trickery and cinematography, there’s an actual absorbing story here. And sympathetic characters. So, yea, if this is the standard from now on, consider me back in, Marvel Studios…