Sea, sand, and a little sun

We went on a short holiday to Nieuwpoort (New Port), at the belgian coast. I’m not really a beach person, but luckily the weather obliged us to do other things too.

We tried spending some time with our feet in the sand the first day, but there was just a bit too much wind, so we just spent the day shopping.

strandvoeten

And we finished with some mussels (not belgian, they’re late this year).

mosselen

Still no beach weather on the second day, we went to visit Brugge (Bruges). In Flemish, bruggen are bridges, and the city is called Brugge because of the many bridges. The Spanish translation to Brujas, witches, is actually quite funny if you know the real meaning.

Brugge bruggen

Brugge water

Brugge concertgebouw

Back in Nieuwpoort the weather got better while we were away (my family used to kid that whenever I go to the beach the sun goes away and the wind begins to blow) and we still got to witness a beautiful sunset.

vuurtoren

zonsondergang

Our last morning we were in luck, although there was a lot of wind, the sky looked promising and we decided to go to the beach. Hidden behind the cabins to catch less wind we spent some time in the sun and than bathed with our feet in the see to cool off.

strandzicht

We had an Italian style lunch with very green olives.

olijven

Italiaans

And on our way home we stopped in Oostend (Ostend) for some more shopping, where I bought a jacket both for me and for my ereader.

jasjes

I enjoyed my three days off, I did some shopping, I got some colour, and I’m ready to stop being lazy. Now that I renewed my energy, I decided that I will spend next week in Brussels working on my fugue analysis paper. I’ll let you know how that goes.

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Le boeuf sur le toit

This wonderful work by Darius Milhaud as an ode the the Brazilian man who died yesterday after a cow fell through his roof.

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Read: The Da Vinci Code

Da Vinci Code

As I already suggested to myself in my last “read” post, I finally read The Da Vinci Code. I seemed to remember that a few years ago it was a real hype, everyone loved it, it seemed to be the best book ever written, but when I looked up some reviews they mostly told me to not read the book, that it was a bad story and largely overrated.

I did read it. I finished it yesterday night at 2pm, so that says something already about how much I liked it. I had trouble picking it up and read, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to stop. I wouldn’t call The Da Vinci Code the best book ever written, but I did like reading it, it has a lot of great things, alongside some minor flaws that keep it from being a master work.

First of all I think the title is somewhat misleading. This is a search for the Holy Grail, not for some dark secret that has to do with Leonard Da Vinci. That it all starts with two of his paintings doesn’t justify the title.

Secondly the thing that disturbed me most of the story is that the whole story takes only about 24 hours and that the characters just continue as if they’re not human and don’t need to sleep. Of course, that is also the reason that you can’t stop reading, there is just no rest in the story. But still, the overall tempo of the story is too fast.

Meanwhile I don’t see the genius of the codes, and I got especially enervated when it took the main characters, professionals in code and symbology, an awful lot of time to figure out the clues. And then afterwards, Dan Brown explains the solution for the next few pages, which for me seemed to be just page filling material.

I did like the overall story, and even the writing style of the author, which is very unamerican. Recommendable for a good quick read during a warm summer weekend.

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Which esteem?

I’m having a bad day today, because I realised I have no self esteem left. And this realising is actually worse than just not having self esteem. Through the past year I came to accept myself the way I am, with all my little quirks. I was more confident about my qualities and learned that it was mostly just my perfectionism that made me feel worthless, because I set impossible standards for myself.

But then the jury members at my clarinet exam decided I’m not worth it after all. And that’s when I started doubting again. Because even though I still think I am worth it, I suppose that they look at me more objectively and see that I can’t set the same standards other students set.

Than there was that other teacher that, even though I got a decent grade on the exam, couldn’t resist telling me I should change my lazy attitude because that is not how I want my future student to be. This teacher was basically telling me I should be more perfectionist!

And now I can’t decide whether I think they are right or they just don’t see past my problems of underachieving and low self esteem. It can’t possibly be that a few months ago I was finally convinced I am extremely gifted and I even started to accept that I’m really that different from other people, and now they are making me believe I’m nothing more that a dumb girl who doesn’t know anything and doesn’t even try.

Having written this, I’m feeling a bit better already. I should stick to believing how much I’m worth, whatever others say of me, because they have no idea what’s behind all of my problems, how complicated it is to be me.

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More reading

As I read a lot, and I can’t possibly take all my books with me to Spain next year, nor have money to buy as many I’d like, I bought myself a little gift:

Sony PRS T2

The Sony PRS T2 e-reader. I don’t want to start a Kindle/Sony discussions, and I have no experience with Kindly, nor with any other e-reader, so I’m just going to make a list of all the things that I like about this wonderfull invention.

– the small weight is such a relieve after hauling around with the 800 pages and more books I like to read

– internet conection

– note making with text or by drawing on the screen

– configuration with Evernote, so I can make notes while reading and use them afterwards on my computer

– changing the direction for sliding the page, very handy for lefties (me in particular)

– fast zooming in of pdf files

– putting your books in different categories

– SD slot for micro SD

– easily changing the direction of the page

– jumping to any page you want

– being able to change both the standard visualisation as the visualisation of each particular document

And I’m not going to bore you with anything more. If you have questions or doubts you can ask me. Meanwhile I’ll be out on the terrace reading.

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Read: The Secret Supper

La cena secreta

It seems I’m into mystery novels lately. But only good ones. La cena secreta is all about da Vinci’s Last Supper and the secrets it contains. Javier Sierra is not a great writer, it’s not one of those novels you can’t put down. But he did provide us with a brilliant story. The search for secret writing in the painting, the mysterious deaths, the different small stories that are all related to each other. The basics of this novel are put together very well, it’s just that Sierra’s writing style is nothing more than a dry telling of this great story.

I would recommend this book. I really liked it. But for those who don’t understand Spanish, I hope that the translator has a better feel of their language.

And I’m starting to think I should read The Da Vinci Code, as it is also about Leonardo. After reading  La cena secreta I’m intrigued by the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. I recognize in him a bit the person I would like to be.

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Read: The Flanders Panel

La tabla de Flandes

The first book I finished this summer and also the first Reverte I ever read is La tabla de Flandes. Art, history, chess, and a mystery all come together in this brilliant novel. Maybe the characters are a little stereotypical; I would have liked to know more details about Julia’s character and past, instead of having to deal with her smoking habits. “She lighted a sigaret” is just a line filler; if it doesn’t have any relevance to the story, it could’ve been left out to make place for some more interesting information.

The outcome of the story is a big surprise, nobody can argue about that. I devoured the last chapters without stopping, just to know all the details about the master plan of the killer. The very ending seemed a little as if the author thought a lot about the story, but not about what had to come after that. We can only imagine how it could’ve been different.

I often looked up the drawings of the chess board to imagine how the game went, and to understand the psychological meaning of the chess pieces and their movements as Muñoz describes them.

I don’t usually like mystery novels, but I like art, and I like chess, and I like thinking, and the combination of all of those made me really interesting in reading the book. I didn’t regret it. Reverte is a great writer as well as a great storyteller and I look forward to reading more of his books.

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I’m ba-ack!

Summer vacation started and the tough times are behind me. I have a lot of thing to take care of in the next two months, because in September I will me moving to Spain. I’m returning to Vigo, where I went on Erasmus exchange in 2011-2012. I will study composition at the conservatory, and I’m trying to find a job to finance those studies. And meanwhile I’ll have to study clarinet too, because I failed my master exam and will be repeating it next yeart (partly) and the year after (the other part). I almost have my master of arts in music writing, and the next weeks will be all about the fugue analysis paper I have to hand in at the end of August. I hope to be writing a lot more in the future, about my new adventures. I have a feeling next year is going to be great!

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E.T. phone home

It’s been long since I logged in here. And my visits won’t increase much in the coming months. 10 weeks to be exact. In 10 weeks and 2 days I will hopefully have finished my time as a student (for now). It’s been a long seven years. And then, real life is waiting for me. But more about that when it’s due. For now, I just want to apologize in advance for not writing while I try to cope with the work and the stress ahead of me. I’m doing fine, just so you know. Here are some photos to keep you up to date (although there’s absolutely no continuity in my photo making).

First there was snow:

2013-04-04 00.17.54

And more snow:

2013-04-04 00.17.23

Than one day when I was at home enjoying the snow, I had an extreme urge to play clarinet. I had left mine in Brussels, in case I should slip and fall in the snow. But I found my old clarinet in the closet, which had an old mouthpiece (of which I thought it was in Brussels) and a box of reeds (which I thought I’d lost forever) in the case. So I made my own ligature with some kitchen rope:

2013-04-04 00.16.22

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Then let’s not forget the beautiful full moon:

2013-03-26 23.30.43

And my beautiful new shoes:

2013-04-04 00.14.22

And that’s about it, now it’s back to my books. See you!

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Happy (belated) birthday, Dr. Seuss

2013-03-02 15.02.46

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