Quote

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.

E.B. White

Dear Lost-And-Confused,

Don’t we all just want someone to tell us what to do when we’re lost? I do sometimes. And – don’t even try to deny it – so do you. The best advice is given when you sit up straight in bed en someone who really loves and cares for you tells you – while tucking you in – that everything will be fine (maybe add a cookie to the mix). But since we won’t always be nine years old – and at some point you rather take advice from someone else than your mother – it’s a reassuring thing to know there are always people who love to give advice.

Some advice comes with camera’s and a moralistic moustache man who wears a gold watch, but even with millions of viewers, for me it’s just not cutting it. Real advice – for me – should leave something to the imagination. I love eavesdropping on other people’s questions/problems. It’s even kind of a theme on my blog (see post secret post). It’s not so much that I like that other people have problems, but I love the fact that problems make people real. And with everyone trying to paint their own perfect picture these days it’s refreshing to read problems and advice that is given. I prefer to read it sitting up in my bed, something must have stuck.

Didn’t anyone tell you pointing is rude?

Reading an advice column is something that I love and would like to share with you. Reading leaves so much up to the imagination. That’s why TV – for me – is a poor medium for giving advice to viewers. Because I don’t only love to read peoples questions/problems and the advice given, but also the nicknames they choose, the way they work up to their question, the name they choose and if they already seem to know the answer. When advice starts with: Dear Lost In So Many Ways, I’m already hooked. Radio works for advice too, but that’s a whole other story.

Anyroad, my favorite advice column is by Emily Yoffe (doesn’t the tilted head make you feel comfortable?) a woman (it should always be a woman) who gives advice in a way that is honest, interesting and straight forward. I imagine her baking an apple-pie every time before answering questions and that her house is filled with the smell of it. But that – probably is just me. In real life she might as well eat microwave dinners every day. Either way, her weekly advice is called Dear Prudence, (love that) and it covers all kinds of questions from (sometimes desperate) writers. It’s not about being funny or clever, but really about giving good advice to people who want or need it. So you should sign up for the weekly newsletter if you like what you are reading so far.

And to get your attention, here are some of the most bizarre, heartbreaking and interesting questions from the past couple of weeks.

My stepdaughter hit on me after my wife’s death. What should I do?

Should I Leave My Infertile Partner?

My Gay Husband. He’s closeted, but I don’t mind. Should I set him free anyway?

Brotherly Love. My twin and I share an earth-shattering secret that could devastate our family—should we reveal it?

Check it out now!
PS My comments are open to anyone who needs advice… or otherwise use prudence@slate.com.

Skate through ’80 NYC

I will write something really good not to long from now, but right now I’ll just post this great vid that shows what’s skating is all about. Nothing but fun. Or as Kurt Vonnegut once said: “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.”

So enjoy. It’s mandatory!

Skydiving in slow-motion

Everybody keeps raving on about living in the fast lane. I get the appeal, but must admit  I like living in slow-motion sometimes too. Everything seems prettier in slow-motion. But what do you get when you combine both? Right, slow-motion skydiving! Amazing video about skydiving and different other cool forms of jumping that you can’t do in your living room. Plus the best advertisement why skydiving should be on everybody’s bucket list.

The (social) awkwardness of Facebook

Recently I have discovered this great little site to stay in touch with people from all over the world! It’s called Facebook and we should all join to create one big happy community. It’s completely harmless fun! And so informative!

We all know that the statement above isn’t really how it is, but the pros of the biggest social network in the world certainly seem to outdo the cons. Most of you would agree.  Just like most of you use Facebook as a nice-and-easy way to share things and stay in touch. In touch with friends, family and with those we would have otherwise – in real life – unfollowed. Using Facebook is easy, fun, (somewhat) addictive, free and as weird as the people who use it!

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Style Wars – Must See

There are only a few things less controversial than graffiti (on public property, that is). Some find it a criminal act, some see it as art. Others see a bit of both. So before you make up your mind, it’s best to get informed. That is why I would recommend everyone to look at this classic documentary from 1983 called ‘Style Wars’. It’s about so much more than graffiti alone. I see it as a homage to art itself. Finding a way to express yourself in the midst of poverty and violence. Not only through ‘writing’ but also through dance and music. A true Hip Hop documentary. On top of that it’s a great timepiece of New York in the early 80’s. And to think all the people appearing in this film are now in their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. It’s interesting to google them to see what happened. To show you graffiti is still very much alive I added the following documentary about the scene in Berlin (where else?) these days. Enjoy.

Want to help preserve the Style Wars documentary for future generations? Go to www.stylewars.com and see what you can do.

Starry Night – In Motion

The romanticism of Vincent van Gogh’s work – to me – is undeniable. His paintings and drawings are great examples of someone who sees things differently . One of his most famous paintings is Starry Night (1889) and I believe it comes close to catching the beauty of a star filled night (the one you don’t see on E!). People these days look at starry skies way to little. But that’s a whole different story. Anyway, the video above is a interactive animation of this painting (you can look at the original painting in the Museum of Modern Art, New York). Animated by Petros Vrellis. Enjoy.

Solving stuff-that-really-matters (X)


Sometimes it’s nice to think about all the really important things we – as humankind – have accomplished. I’m not talking about Crocs, all-you-can-eat-buffets, reality t.v. or [insert random country] Got Talent. No, I’m talking about going to the moon, being able to get a heart transplant, 747′s getting off the ground or wireless data communication. Technology and dream driven achievements. Not only to meet (or create)  consumers needs, but really life changing inventions. We have all that possibility and yet it still proofs impossible to get everyone clean drinking water. Strange right? So are we going backwards in a way? What things are we working on right now? What will change our future? Interesting questions and important questions. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear some great new ideas and thinkers about these subjects? It would wouldn’t it? And yes, I know it’s not the most sexy thing to see or listen to, but that’s okay, it’s not intended to be sexy. So if you’re still with me I’d like to tell you about:

A forum to encourage and amplify technology-based moonshot thinking and teamwork.

Like that sentence? Me too. The forum is called ‘Solve for X’ and on their site you can listen to different speakers who talk about – and tackle – things that can and/or should be. So, no science fiction hocus pocus… really. Well, maybe a bit, but that’s where great idea’s can come from too. It’s thinking outside of the box that really brings us forward.

Beam me there, Scotty.  

I just love letters. Just letters, love letters… all of them!

There is something magical about letters that email cannot offer. Forever lost when a shoebox of memories is thrown away, instead of forever on some chilled servers in silicon valley. The history of correspondence is almost as rich as modern history itself. Most letters are quite personal too. So, if you aren’t a big writer yourself (or born in the 90′s), chances are you missed out.

That’s where the site Letters of Note comes in. It’s dedicated to give you ‘correspondence deserving a wider audience’. And that’s about as broad as you can get. From replies to fan mail (Lennon, Iggy Pop, Conan) to correspondence between ‘famous people’ (Bob Dylan and Jeff Buckley) or an instruction to baseball players from 1898 to use less offensive language (see below). Well, you get my drift, there is a lot to read. Just wonderful stuff really. So if you’re ever in need of spending your time online, with this site procrastinating just got better.

My personal favorite letter from the site is one with great historical value. A real important piece of history. It’s from a former slave who writes back to his ‘old master’ who requested him to come back and work on his farm. But don’t take my word for it: read it here!

And don’t forget to keep writing yourself. Because the world would be much less interesting without (handwritten) letters, and – be honest now- who doesn’t get a wee bit excited when they find an old-fashioned envelope with your name on it on the doormat?

Oldskool ads, like mid 1800, early 1900 oldskool.

Wouldn’t you love to live in a time where all advertisements were still in black and white? Outdated? Only in print? And sexist? No? Me neither, but would it be nice to see what these advertisements looked like back in de mid 1800 until the early 1900? Yes, of course it would! Luckily some people just love old advertisements, collect them in abundance and share their collection online! Guys like Jay Paull give us a great insight in a certain era of advertisement (and thus life). He just saved you a trip to your local library archive. So check it out here:

Oldskool advertisements

From all the things that were undoubtedly better ‘back in the day’, one stands out the most: collars and cuffs.

Opposed to some ‘currrent day trends’ (haha!):

Great Gritty (80′s) New York City

70′s and 80′s New York City was nothing like the Big Apple as we know it today. Much grittier, more dangerous and a real urban jungle. Some are happy the city changed, some miss the good-old-days when the city was not yet turned into a big theme park and housing was still affordable. Some are just happy it’s save now.

My grandparents went to NY in the 70′s, 1976 to be exact. I know the exact date because they took a picture of a street with an adult cinema in it where they were playing movies including an ‘adult comedy’ (Ha!) named: Dear Pam (4.2 on IMDB, 14 people rated it) which they only played in 1976. (see picture above)

My grandfather used to write everything down (except the date on this trip, obviously) and he did not really like New York that much. ‘Too dirty and too many hobo’s’, he wrote. And to think that everything got worse with the 80′s recession (and crack). Anyway I would like to offer an original picture from my late grandfathers collection before you can check out the great work by Steven Siegel and other artists who captured NY (and the subways) in the 80′s. This is how I imagine how this (quite sad) picture went. ‘Look, a dirty hobo!, quick take a picture and make his misery last forever *click*

See the pictures by Steven Siegel and more here:

Great Gritty 80′s New York City Pictures

Great 80′s Subway Pictures

Detroit, what?!

Got a spare 30 minutes? Yes? Great, because this is one of the best short documentaries about a city I have ever seen. Imagine an apocalypse, the end of days and then some. Murder City, empty houses, lost glory, Motown, Eminem all of those have something to do with – or are – Detroit. Once the poster city of the American Dream, now has to be reinvented. And who can do that better than a bunch of young people? Right, no one! Take a look at this great insight on Do It Yourself (D.I.Y.). In the midst of all that is wrong and broke great opportunities appear for those who have the right mindset to make things happen. And just WOW to old and abandoned buildings! Amazing stuff. And we didn’t even have to wait for an apocalypse to happen to see this. Thanks to the guys from Palladium Boots who made this!

It’s all about moments

I love the small things. But then again, who doesn’t? Come to think of it it’s an empty phrase, isn’t it? It’s similar to saying: I enjoy happiness. Or I enjoy good food, hanging out with friends, stuff like that. Because who doesn’t? You could say life is an enormous chain of occurring and reoccurring moments, but all new and once in a lifetime. Some moments prettier, sadder, sweeter or nicer than others. And some more important than others. It’s weird to think about what you remember and what you seem to forget instantly. First memory as a child? A weird one? … Mine is about walking hand in hand with what I thought was my father from judging his legs (I was still small then), but then all of a sudden my world collapsed when the guy I was holding hands with said: ‘I have to go the other way here’. I panicked and my father – who was right next to me – was my safety zone so I grabbed his leg and never wanted to let go again. More than twenty years later I still remember that vividly, while the other man probably found it a funny moment. So, no clear rules on what you must do with a moment. Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I love to remember those small things that mean something to me, but probably seem totally unimportant to you. So when I am going home from a day at the office I might be thinking about mundane tasks, workload and deadlines, but when a girl passes me by with a flower in her hair and she smiles at me, I’m glad my mind is made up in such a way that that image cancels out all the work related stuff. Why is she wearing a flower in her hair? Why is she smiling? Is it a special day to her? Does she really love flowers? Did she miss her connection to San Francisco? Questions like that. I like to – none violently – occupy my mind with such questions that come from the small things people do. The guys from Everynone made a great video about (such) moments. Check it out and see what sticks with you.

Some old movies I love

It’s somewhat of a hipster statement, but I do enjoy watching old movies. They didn’t come up with the sentence ‘those oldies but goodies’ for nothing. Yes, they are slow, yes they are often in black and white and yes they seem a bit outdated. Well, actually some of them are really outdated, moralistic or racist even, but so are many movies these days. It’s all about choosing the right movies to watch. And with decades to choose from it’s like a treasure that you have finally found (on X). Watching them is a bit like going back in time and seeing what people were mad and passionate about then. That without the sex, product placement and CGI (computer-generated imagery). But hey, that’s why god invented porn, James Bond and Avatar, right? So you might think where to start. Good, that’s where I come in. I would love to present you five great oldies to start with (in random order) from different genres.
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Sweetest love song (and video) ever: Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life

I really, really love the band Bright Eyes with singer/songwriter Conor Oberst. They make the most beautiful and thought provoking songs. And because this blog is all about sharing the good stuff, I believe you should really listen to (and watch) this. I remember the first time I heard First Day Of My Life… (nice romantic cliché, isn’t it) It was during an interview with writer Jonathan Safran Foer, he told about this song as a song that really captures the beauty of love. And he knows what he is talking about. Anyway, I couldn’t agree more. It’s a simple song and the video is too, but those can be the strongest. The lyrics are just breathtaking too. The song is from the album: I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning (2005, my Bright Eyes favorite). Get it before the world ends! Maya’s would approve.

This is the first day of my life
I Swear I was born right in the doorway
I went out in the rain
Suddenly everything changed
They’re spreadin’ blankets on the beach

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1000 Awesome Things :)

Some ideas are just great. Or awesome even! The site 1000 Awesome Things is a direct result of one of those ideas. It’s a simple idea, a blog that celebrates the little joys in life – in a countdown from #1000. So it all comes down to the content of the things that are great. And the content is very refreshing and you can say that Neil Pasricha – who created the blog – is a master in enjoying the small things in life. And more importantly describing them. 1000 Awesome Things kicked off in June 2008 and is updated every weekday, which means the countdown is now at #67, the awesome thing of today is: ‘When cats do stupid things.’ A classic, if I might add. Something YouTube thrives on. Who doesn’t love cute kittens? Well, maybe butler Edgar from the Aristocats, but that’s about it. So when you need a cheer me up, for whatever reason, it’s a joy to go through all the awesome things. Enjoy!

1000awesomethings.com GO