When I Heard the Learned Astronomer

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

Walt Whitman, 1819 – 1892

Integrative Arts Psychotherapy

I was thinking that I should make use of two of my greatest attributes; a flaring artistic temperament and an empathetic, emotional intelligence in order to equip myself with an MA degree in Integrative Arts Psychotherapy.

The synopsis seems encouraging:
“Students will explore the fundamental interconnection between the artistic process and psychotherapy, in terms of their mutual concern with in-depth communication of emotional experience, and with transformation and change. The course focuses on the three-way process of psychotherapist, client and art object. Students therefore will be schooled in facilitating the richest possible relational and imaginal discourse between therapist and client.”

Sadly this demanding course is only available at the University of East London, formerly the Polytechnic of East London and before that the West Ham Technical Institute. Having spent many years in the East End, I do not relish having to live there once again.

However it, might just be worth it – to see the bright, happy faces of previously disturbed children as we resolve their issues re-enacting such calming works as Apocalypse Now, Blackhawk Down and King Lear. I could make a difference!

G-Shock frenzy

Every few years a G-Shock frenzy takes me over. Indeed it has just done so.  I’ve recently been enjoying my negative display, square DW-5600MS and decided to splash out on its sister model, the DW-6900MS. G-Shock Aficionados will be aware that the “MS” stands for Military Series and implies that the watches may be usefully configured for those in the military. They are however far more likely to have been configured for those who wish to be in the military, in high speed, low drag tactical operator kind of way. I am too old for that sort of nonsense.

I do however like a nice looking watch and to my eye, the DW-6900MS is attractive. Yet, it features a pedestrian module, offering only basic time, alarm, count-down and stopwatch functions. There is no solar power or syncing with atomic clocks. The “eyes” above the main display, simply acts as visual counters. The accompanying strap is not inflexible plastic, featuring the module number in faux stencilled military block writing. How naff. Many people find the negative LCD display with its pinkish hue, incredibly difficult to read in many lighting conditions. So why did I buy it?

One simple change to the watch makes it a joy to wear. By adding a Casio – combi-bracelet to replace the rather stiff default strap, the comfort level of the watch increases immeasurably . I’ve already done this to a GW-6900 so I know it works. I’ve also fitted one to my DW-5600MS, again to improve the comfort of the rather ordinary plastic strap. I ordered my DW-6900MS from Hong Kong, as they can be difficult to find in the UK at a sensible price. I managed to acquire one for £62 including shipping. Hopefully it will wend its way past customs, surreptitiously.

It may astonish non-watch fans that the combi-bracelet costs the same as the watch. The combi-strap may not look entirely elegant but it is the perfect accompaniment for a G-shock. It’s incredibly easy to add and remove links as these are held in place with nothing more complicated than spring bars, which normally attach a strap to a watch case between the lugs. It’s a brilliantly simple system, that allows you to use any spring-bar tool, or even a small screwdriver, to ensure a perfect fit. This is almost guaranteed by Casio placing four adjustment points on the clasp. If only every bracelet were this convenient and secure.  It also shows, I hope, how much watch fun one can have with very cheap, yet functional, watches and parts. Who needs a Rolex?

Look into the eyes, not around the eyes.

Utrecht

Recently, I’ve been dreaming – literally – of being back in The Netherlands. The UK (while it lasts) is so fucking shitty at the moment, what with ugly Brexiteers and repulsive Scot Nats making everything confrontational and unpleasant, that I felt the need to get away from it all. Of course I realise that The Netherlands is also riven, with Geert Wilders strutting about causing trouble and the Turks adding to the strife. However, being abroad and in lovely Utrecht, will still be a tonic (with gin) and cause for rejoicing.

This visit I’ll be using the centrally located city as a jumping off spot to travel to a couple of other places. East is Arnhem. West is Rotterdam and Delft. North is Amsterdam. Far north is Groeningen or possibly Leiden. I’ll be on the trains for a while but as most places are only an hour from each other, it will be entirely enjoyable!

Both my flights and hotel have been booked, so the countdown has started.

Veel plezier!