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Monthly Archives: January 2018

Het Kerstdiner/ The Christmas Dinner

‘Fucking hell, Juultje, knoei eens niet zo!’ Renate onderbrak haar gesprek met de schoonvader van haar schoonvader om haar vierjarige dochter terecht te wijzen, die de oerlelijke, net nieuwe servetten van de dochter van deze schoonvader gebruikte als canvas met haar bordje ossenstaartsoep.
‘Dat is niet érg hoor’, sprak Renate’s schoonvader Theo daarop goedgemutst.
‘Nou ja, het vlekt wél’, Bettina, Theo’s vrouw.
‘Dan had je maar iets moeten maken wat bij de servetten matchte, schat’, sprak Bettina’s vader, lonkend naar Renate. Iets waar zijn vrouw niets van moest hebben, maar gezien de hoeveelheid drank die hij al achter de kiezen had, maakte het hem nu niets meer uit.
Hoe zijn dochter zo’n pietlut had kunnen worden was ‘m een raadsel.
‘Wat zou er eigenlijk voor gerecht pássen, bij zo’n kleur als deze?’ deed Harry, Renate’s man en Theo’s zoon, een duit in het zakje.
‘Perzikkots’, Sem, Bettina’s oudste zoon.
‘Getverdémme!’ riep Juultje met een vies gezicht, om daarna in lachen uit te barsten. Het werkte aanstekelijk. De hele tafel deed mee, zelfs Tanja, Harry’s zus, die toch altijd moeite had met sociale situaties.
‘Ik denk dat kaassoufflé er ook wel goed bij kan’, vulde ze bovendien aan. Tanja was als enige vegetarisch.
‘Of…’
‘Genoeg! Ik begrijp de hint, en nu weer lekker eten graag’, stoorde Bettina zich teveel. Wat Renate onzin vond.
‘Hoezo, wat is er mis met wat gezonde conversatie tijdens het eten?’
‘Niks, maar dit was geen gewone conversatie, dit ging over iets smerigs’
‘Hypothetisch gezien’.
‘Ik word er toch een beetje onpasselijk van’.
‘Volgens mij ben jij de enige, ik vond het een creatieve uitspatting. Bedenken welke kleuren er bij servetten passen. Er bestaat volgens mij niet eens wat tuttigers?!’ bekritiseerde Renate stiekem het onderwerp.
‘Nou….’ begon de Trees, Bettina’s moeder.
‘Ja? U had meteen beeld?’ nu had iedereen beeld. Wat Renate dondersgoed wist. Harry kon een proestlach niet onderdrukken.
‘Renate, kom op, laat het gaan’, sprak Theo dreigend.
‘Goh, wat klink je vaderlijk. Werkt dat bij jullie zo? Jij spreekt haar berispend toe en…’
‘Renaat, kom op’, Harry onderbrak haar, ‘we zijn nog niet eens aan het toetje toe’.
‘Oh ja, wat was dat ook alweer?’ Renate pakte de menukaart erbij.
‘Ambachtelijk bereide appelmoes met biologische slagroom’, las ze.
‘Nou, dat kleurt tenminste wél bij de servetten’, concludeerde ze.
‘Mag ik dat dan op de servetten smeren?’ vroeg Juultje.
‘Ja hoor schat, maar eet eerst even je soep op’.
‘Jij zei poep!’ schaterde Juultje.
‘Nietes, ik zei “eet je soep op”’ herhaalde ze, om te horen dat het wel net léék of ze dat zei.
‘Poep! Poep! Poep! Poep!’ riep Juultje.
‘Nou ja, zeg, Juul, dat zég je toch niet tijdens het eten?’ Harry, hulpeloos. Hij keek voor hulp naar Renate. Die nam een hapje ossenstaartsoep, raakte, per ongeluk expres het bovenbeen van haar schoonvader’s schoonvader aan, tot groot genoegen van deze, en deed net of ze het poep-geroep van hun kleuter niet hoorde.
Het was goed zo, anarchie.
Een vrolijk kerstfeest werd het.

 

[dit was een van m’n eerste deelnames aan een schrijfwedstrijd, die ik, zoals gewoonlijk, niet gewonnen heb. De opdracht was om over een kerstdiner te schrijven, max 500 woorden]

‘Goodness gracious, Jools, don’t spill so much?!’ Helen interrupted her talk with the father-in-law of her father-in-law to correct her four-year-old daughter, who was using the incredibly ugly napkins of the daughter of this father as a canvas with her little plate of oxtailsoup.
‘Oh that’s quite alright’, Theo, her father-in-law shushed.
‘It does stain quite badly’, Bettina, Theo’s wife.
‘Then you should’ve prepared something that matched the napkins, dear’ her father spoke, ogling at Helen. Something his wife quite disapproved of, but since he had had quite a few drinks, he no longer cared for her opinion. How his daughter turned out to be such a nitpicker was beyond him anyway.
‘What WOULD match with a color like this?’ Harry, Helen’s husband and Theo’s son, provoked.
‘Peachpuke’ Sam, Bettina’s eldest.
‘Ew, gross!’ little Jools yelled, followed by such a contagious giggle that within no time at all, the entire table joined. Even Tanya, Harry’s sister, who always had quite a problem with social situations.
‘I think cheese soufflé could match it’ she added. Tanya was the only vegetarian at the table.
‘Or…’
‘Enough! I get the hint! Please just enjoy the nice food now, please!’ Bettina got too annoyed. Helen quite disagreed.
‘Why? What’s wrong with a bit of a proper conversation during dinner?’
‘Nothing, but this wasn’t an ordinary conversation. This was about something filthy’
‘Hypothetically speaking’
‘It is making me feel a bit unwell’
‘I think you’re the only one. I thought it was a creative excess. Thinking what colors might match the napkins. I don’t think there’s anything more fussy’ Helen secretly critized the subject.
‘Well…’ said Molly, Bettina’s mother.
‘Yes? You had an image right away?’ everyone had, now. Something Helen knew too well. Harry couldn’t repress his snort laughter.
‘Come on, Helen, let it go’, Theo spoke on a threatening tone.
‘Wow, you sound like a proper dad. Is that how it goes between you guys? You speak to her strictly and she….’
‘Come on, Hel’, Harry spoke, we haven’t even gotten to the dessert yet’.
‘Ah yes, what was that gonna be?’ Helen took the menu card.
‘Traditionally prepared apple sauce with whipped cream’, she read.
‘Well, at least THAT matches the napkins’, she concluded.
‘Can I smear that on the napkins then?’ Jools enquired.
‘Yes dear, just empty your bowl first’
‘Empty my bowels first??’ Jools started to giggle again.
‘No, I said “empty your bowl first”‘ she repeated, and heard how it nearly sounded the same.
‘Poop! Poop! Poop! Poop!’ Jools yelled.
‘Jools, you can’t say that during dinner!’ Harry said, helpless. He looked for help at Helen. Who avoided eye contact, ate her oxtailsoup in silence, touching on purpose by accident the upperleg of her father-in-laws father-in-law, who so very much enjoyed that, and she completely ignored the poop-yelling of her toddler.
It was a merry Christmas.
Anarchy.
Best served warm.

[this was my entry for a writing context I didn’t win, as usual. The assignment was to write a story about Christmas dinner and to stay within 500 words. As I translated it, the word count may not be the same in English though]

 

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Posted by on January 30, 2018 in Daily life, Humour, Uncategorized

 

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The other side of #meToo

A while ago I wrote here about my own experience in the #meToo flow. This is not about that.

Ever since the movement #meToo became a hit, people, mostly (young) women, but also (young) men have come forward with their stories about what happened to them.

A good thing, because it has so clearly indicated that the time where huge moguls like Havery Weinstein, who thought they could get away with anything because it was ‘their time’ to be alive, is gone. It showed a fist to all those who thought a body they liked was a body they could just grab whenever they wanted. It showed that there were actually consequences for those who said ‘haha I can abuse my power to end you’.

It also has cast a shadowside over an important thing: telling the truth or not.

It has shocked me how many big names have been smeared who tried to stood up for someone who they believed was being smeared. Catherine de Neuve tried, Angela Lansbury tried and so many others.
‘You’re just as bad as the rapist himself if you defend him on this matter?!’ they were told, stunning them, forcing them to apologise to rape victims of others, because it is now a trend to believe ANYONE who comes forward with their ‘s/he touched me inappropriately!’ story. With or without evidence.

A bad thing, I’d say. Because the judging of most of these people doesn’t happen in court. It happens in the streets, online, it attacks their families if they have them, it attacks their friendships, it jeopardises their job perspectives and so on. And not everyone who makes the claim ‘s/he touched me!’ is ACTUALLY a true victim.
It is still very tricky business.
For cases to be judged by a judge, you need witnesses, evidence. Let’s be honest, people like Harvey Weinstein will always make sure that there aren’t any. So that it seems like you have no case. Unfortunately, a victim can do the exact same thing. Claim that something happened that didn’t happen, because they are disappointed in the said man or woman, or whatever reason they might have. Or because they crave the attention.
It happens more now than you might realise. It’s a game of power.
And no, I’m not saying ALL of the people coming forward should be doubted, I’m saying that every story should be met with caution. You would do that with any case, so why not here?

So if an actor or actress comes forward again and says they’re with someone who has been accused of acting badly, do give them the benefit of the doubt until a judge has actually slammed his hammer in court. You are not the judge, you didn’t hear all the evidence and you can’t be sure as you weren’t there, period.

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

The Frozen Dead

This French series on Netflix is an interesting one. The first episode so clearly reminds you of The Silence of the Lambs, you’re sort of wondering if it can really be that good? The answer is: it depends on how you look at it.

The detective part of this story isn’t too strong in my opinion. What investigation, after all, doesn’t start with a list of suspects, or develops one during the course of it? One of the missed aspects is, in my opinion, when it’s become clear that one than more person was present somewhere. The investigators don’t really check on any of them. It goes seperate each time. Because they believe they have to follow the leads of a total psychopath.

The lack of certain background facts is in such a way, that by the end of the series, you’re like ‘geez, well this is the weakest backup story ever?!’ Or at least I was. I was very disappointed by how it ended, and not because of the obvious, but because it’s so far off anything that would ever happen in real life. You watch stories like these with a certain expectation. As I said, the first episode was looking quite promising, but for me, the promise didn’t become reality.

It’s definitely worth a watch though, because the acting isn’t bad at all. It’s just that at some point, reality comes to check around the door, and it’s impossible to believe such a thing as that would ever happen for real.

 
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Posted by on January 9, 2018 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized

 

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Black Mirror, Arkangel

This episode had me bored out flat. Funny, because the essence of the story could be a very interesting one. What if you could indeed inplant your kid with a device that makes it impossible for them to get lost? And if they get lost, at least as a parent, they could be retrieved by a searching system?

But no, this episode, probably based on a book or something, actually doesn’t touch any moral guidelines here. Instead it just shows the life of a solo mother with her only child who briefly gets lost. The mother then decides to get her daughter an implant to always be able to track her down (a concept that I’m sure lots of parents, if not all, would heartly welcome in itself) and you see their lives going on as usual afterwards. There’s no tention of any kind, it’s like watching a reality show that hasn’t been edited properly. Aren’t there ANY hiccups? Yes, there are, but not nearly enough to make it truly interesting.  It’s just a mother and a daughter living their lives, sometimes making a timehop, but still nothing interesting happens.

In former episodes of Black Mirror, at least surrounding details of environment or houses were equipped with something futuristic excitement: not here. The only device is the sort of iPad that keeps track of the daughter.

Aren’t the players playing well? Oh, they are, but since there’s no drama or thrill here, there’s really no need to bother.

Nothing to see here, folks!

 

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2018 in Opinion, series, Uncategorized

 

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