Archive for January, 2005

follow up..

January 8th, 2005

As a follow up to the great email message, here's a status report...

bottles

toilet paper format?

January 6th, 2005

I had just fired up gimp today, for those who don't know it, it's supposed to be an Adobe Photoshop clone, only free. Now I don't do a lot of work with graphics for a variety of reasons. It takes a lot of time, I don't know much about it but most importantly because I don't have talent for it. This time around I just needed a simple graphic for a school project when the New Image dialog caught my eye. The screenshot is from the gimp user manual and the interesting entry is highlighted in red. When you create a new image in gimp, you get a dialog asking to input the common properties any image must have (dimensions, resolution etc). There is also a list of predefined image types available to you, in order to make it quicker to create certain types of images. One of these is the "toilet paper" format, out of the US apparently, which happens to be completely new to me. So as the gimp is widely used, apparently enough people were doing toilet paper designs to lobby for a special entry into that menu, interesting.

Everyday you learn something new..

the catalyst

January 3rd, 2005

Why drink alcohol? Why take drugs? Why do people say they are "having a good time" when they're "partying", which implies some degree of intoxication? Is it not escape? Escape from the meaningless or depressing or downright sad existence which meets us every morning. Some drink to feel the alcohol, others just drink to gain the artificial phychological impression of being under the influence, that which they exert on themselves in the spirit of the moment. What is it all for? To not be where they are at this precise moment, to not be who they are right here right now. To be different, to be elsewhere. To escape to more fashionable thoughts, to feel "free". Emotional discharge takes on many forms. It can be sports, it can be chemicals as mentioned, it can be yoga or tai chi. Whatever the form, the goal is to restore a balance to the mind. The mind suffers with imbalance, we must rid ourselves of it. How often do you hear people say they "feel better" when they're doing something specific or they're in a certain place? What does it mean to "feel better", is it not an expression of relief? One way or another we all feel it, there's something not quite sitting right, only the subconscience really knows but we can feel it.

I don't drink, when I do it's not to intoxicate myself and in any case it's sporadic. I don't do yoga (maybe I should), I don't do drugs. But I've found my catalyst. The one thing that dislodges the obstacle at the choke point. That discharges the negative emotions and restores balance. It's writing. Right here. It's not always topical but the tone matches the mood. I don't know why writing makes a difference but it makes you see things from a different angle, helps to move on from a problem area. If you don't like getting drunk, try it.

no commentary

January 3rd, 2005

Ok, so on Dec 29 I spent about 5h in the "place to be" in Lodz, the new mall going by the name of "Galeria Lodzka" and its almost immediately neighboring movie theatre complex. Not because I'm crazy about shopping or I love malls, but we were bored and there was nothing else to do. Do not go see "Wimbledon" out of boredom either, it stinks. Anyhow, on the following afternoon I'm in a car heading for the opposite side of town as we encountered a giant traffic jam. It turns out a couple of the main arteries in the center of town were blocked by the cops, the whole thing stalled traffic for hours. I heard through word of mouth that it was due to a bomb threat in the abovementioned mall, apparently they had evacuated the place and shut down the immediate neighborhood.

Uhm, guess again. Indeed the streets were blocked but the mall was never evacuated. There was a sizeable police force inside but there was no word of any threat and as much as it was impossible to cross any of the main streets, it was entirely possible to enter the mall and stay there. No word of evacuation, no blocking the exits for people trying to enter, nothing. The cops even shut down the parking lots so the people inside the mall trying to get home had to idle.

As it turned out, the bomb threat was phony, someone inadvertently or perhaps maliciously mistook some pipe for a bomb. The cops even called in a bomb squad for the occasion. It seems the whole caramba lasted a few good hours, from 3pm when the prank was called in, well into the evening at 9 or so. In the meantime, no official announcements were made, no information to the public and the people were largely going on speculation. Even now, a week later, it's still very sketchy and the only story I found on it is but a short paragraph.

http://miasta.gazeta.pl/lodz/1,35153,2471488.html?v=0&f=63

Happy new year, biatches!

January 1st, 2005

There is one concept I associate with new year's eve far and away above any other: loneliness. What better occasion to remind yourself that you're alone and not by choice. I have never had an enjoyable new year's eve in my life, they've all been crap ever since I came to think that it might be wonderful to not be alone on this celebrated evening. It is the epitome of loneliness, each year I dread it, knowing it will replay the events seen a bunch of times in the past. This year was actually a bit different, a new air of optimism had come over me, I told myself it wasn't gonna be like all those other times.

The funny thing is, I felt it since the moment I woke up, this is going to be a shitty day. Funny I should feel that at 10am with a full day ahead before the festivities kick in. Nevertheless, the discontent was not long kept waiting, might as well roll out the carpet in the morning to walk on all day. The day was indeed uneventful and quite dull, without any upsets. Then tickets to the threatre to see a tango concert, not my first choice by any stretch of the imagination but it was that evening or none at all. Fair enough, wasn't too bad. The epitome would not be let down, however. 11pm is too late for buses and trams so why not walk from the center of Łódź back home to the suburbs? Just follow the tram lines, no biggie. It's a great shame I did not happen to carry my camera with me at the time to document just how butt ugly Łódź really is. It's like a gray planet, no better way to take in the experience than by walking. If there was an award for the ugliest city, I would nominate Łódź in a heartbeat. It's a bunch of streets with dirty, uglyass buildings, billboards and adverts plastered all over any wall that will serve the purpose, f. up sidewalks you can't walk on without looking where you step cause you'll trip it's so uneven and a general aura of destruction and decay. Actually "decay" would probably best summarize this city in one term. Not that there was much grandeur to fall into decay to begin with, it's always been a gray and dirty city since its foundation in the industrial revolution. I wonder what Bruce Springsteen was looking at when he wrote "My hometown" but I suspect had I written it, it would be less positive.

But I digress, walking home in an ugly city (or any city for that matter, Łódź just happens to put a better spin on the atmosphere) at 11pm on new year's eve, alone, is the epitome brought to life. This time was supposed to be different, sitting at home doing some reading or anything else to take the mind off the moment in progress. And it was different, but not as I imagined. It was one of those glorious "I don't give a fuck" moments. Walking alone instead of sitting home with family, yearning for something more. Pity swapped with aggression, yearning with arrogance. Walking and almost enjoying the lack of enjoyment. Did not manage to reach the house before midnight kicked in, after all it does take an hour and a half to get there so I got a free ticket to witness the fireworks weee. And what a pathetic display it was I start by saying, started at 10 to midnight, over in 30 minutes. Not that people don't make anything out of it, quite the contrary. My warmest regards, first of all, to all those who permanently damaged their hearing in the proceedings tonight. You really have to see it to believe it, not unlike any other city, Łódź suburbia is an array of uglyass apartment buildings, which on new year's is useful as it compels people to aim their fireworks at the opposite building facing their own. They probably aim for the living room, thou few projectiles actually assume the intended course. About 100m from myself was a group of half a dozen people, one of them lit a projectile right where they were standing but it failed to launch and blew up in the middle of them, raining the resulting lights on them from 4m up. Quite a funny sight it was, thou I was less amused to breathe the smoke from the fireworks as it was inevitable walking in suburbia. As far as smog goes, it doesn't really do much cause you can't see the sky anyway.

On this wonderful of nights when people live life to the fullest, my greetings go out to all those who contract hiv tonight. Hell, why discriminate, all those who contract any sexually transmitted disease. Optimism? Got bucket loads but new year's eve invariably sucks. I really need to find something to do with this dreadful day.