Wednesday, October 27, 2010

the 8 that is a 10

October is a bit of a mad month, innit? It can combine the gentlest and warmest of light with the fattest and coldest of rains

october rain

or that very same lovely light with goddamn hail

hailstorm on steps on a sunny day

and even the saddest little tree can shine in this light and its reflection


while the gloriously big ones can blush beautifully at the thought of their impending nudity


The whole experience of october, not just that light fantastic or the crazy precipitation, but the air and the smell and the moodiness of it all, i think warrants at least a temple

the temple of autumn

where melancholy angels ponder whether hail is actually damned -and light sent- by god


or that it is just the stuff all these freaky spiders that crowd this month pull out of their arses

spun from light

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cornelis Verhoeven, Symboliek van de voet, 19 oktober 1956

54 years ago today my father promoted on his thesis 'Symbolism of the foot'. Though he rarely did anything special on his birthday, october 19th was a day he always made sure to celebrate with friends or us. He was quite proud of that book, and also of the speed with which he'd promoted, proving to his father and the rest of the world he was no slouch -though no one thought this of him, the guilt of being allowed to study instead of working on the farm like the rest of the family stayed with my father all of his life. To have a book proving your hard work and acknowledging your efforts worthwhile (he promoted cum laude) must have been a big relief for him.

He describes how he came up with the idea of the book as follows; he had written three essays of together more than 300 pages, the third and most lyrical being the one for history of religion, called 'symbolism of the foot':

"The idea for which i'd come up with a few years earlier, walking in the street behind a girl who had something devine in her movements and who also in other ways highly fascinated and confused me. I was surprised that the asphalt under her feet remained indifferent, that it wouldn't wave under the clatter of her sandals, and that no flowers sprouted forth from it, such as it happens in mythology when a goddess approaches and strides past. Of course i fell in love with this goddess, followed her ways and found her address, but my careful and shy advances were not appreciated. And with the first surly glance i had already set for the horizon. Maybe she dreamt of a young god in a red sports car  who would take her with him to the full life on beaches far away. As far as i know he never appeared. I myself started to suspect that also in amorous ways i was not born for a grand and thrilling life. But my enthusiasm about the idea of a carpet of flowers underneath the feet of a goddess did not suffer from it; it had in the mean time gained its own meaning and undisturbedly followed its own dynamic. A bit of a broken heart is also intellectually interesting."

From 'De glans van oud ijzer' ('The shine of old iron'), Cornelis Verhoeven.


First fruits of his intellect dedicated to the author's father

Monday, October 18, 2010

Thursday, October 14, 2010

the fool full of falafel love

A fool fully fell for falafel
Full of the love of falafel he fell
Had five falafels to fulfill his falafel love
Then filled up with four falafel waffles
Half a falafel waffle fell;
Having to have half the falafel
The full fool felt the floor
For the fallen waffle
But so full of falafel he felt
The fool full of falafel fell over


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

gossip from Dahab

Because i'm a pro, i can't reveal my sources

the gossip

but some juicy stories came to the surface


the persistent story that fresh new world record holder Annelie Pompe and Halle Berry's stunt double Hanli Prinsloo are actually becoming one person -Hannelie Pomploo- was affirmed once again


Linda can actually smile

Linda and Canon

but it physically hurts her and she needs her middle finger to hold up the corners of her unwilling mouth

Linda as we know and love her

her male pet, Jacques, has taken over this habbit of flippin' the world


but the most shocking story about Linda is about her dog, Lua Flexi. It turns out that this seemingly fearless defender of the Freedive Dahab shop and fellow extreme adventurer to Paganelli is, in fact, afraid of water!!!

Lua Flexi Paganelli wants to be like mommy

Now if this isn't mind-blowing enough, the truely spectacular part is Linda's reaction to her canine representation of self's ironic phobia

Lua and Linda

She doesn't give Lua any shit about it! She's downright sympathetic! Could it be she actually has -i almost daren't say it- a... heart? Very disturbing, that.

Also disturbing: Chris Marshall's continuous eating

the coach and the breakfast

and perhaps even more so, you wouldn't believe what i'm doing to Hanli here

you wouldn't believe what i'm doing to Hanli here

and ultimately disturbing, this one enjoys statics


athletes' preparations for statics, by the way, can be classified into three categories

three types of preparation for static

but we all know the real athletes are the safety guys

blissful are those able to sleep on busses

By the way, Arjen and Adrian insist that, despite sleeping together, they're not a couple. Or at least, Adrian insists.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

the stupid decissions that led to a national record

List and pic of me being stupid:

Photograph by Linda Paganelli
  1. Timing: fourth freediving trip in four months, while being out of a job and having some actual family obligations
  2. Destination: Egypt is not a smart place to visit if you value the solidity of your stools or the cleanliness of your sinuses, leading to:
  3. Diving with a cold: little untalented kid playing violin in forehead
  4. Waiting till last day of training to realize how the mouthfil works: no real practise
  5. Announcing 55 FIM, a PB by 10 meters and 15 meters deeper than i'd been this year, then spending  almost 10 seconds there in surprise i made it and not knowing what to do with a tag
  6. Announcing 55 CWT with fins i've never dived deep in before, then not making it due to excessive squeekyness of ears
  7. Announcing 55 CNF, a pb by 11 meters, despite having failed reaching 50 in competition 5 times already
The stupidest mistake is actually on this chart:

Graph thanks to Eric Van Riet Paap

See that bit on the graph just before 40 meters and just after 40 seconds, where it goes horizontal for a couple of seconds? That's where i decided to squeeze myself. Up to that point i was falling quite happily, equalization working fine despite snottyness, when suddenly i swallow the air in my cheeks and am left with no air at all to push into my ears. I'd mentally prepared for this so i flip myself around and head-up, i try to fill my mouth again, knowing that this will put too much pressure on my throat and ribs and that i will squeeze myself. Very very stupid decission. In theory i'm all for clean dives, but when it comes to competitions and records i turn out to be quite dumb and hurt myself. So with that in my mind i get to the bottom plate, and as you can see i'm still not used to getting a tag at that point, for it takes a while. Stupid, but at least i'm calm whilst being stupid.

I'm also quite calm swimming back up, enjoying the strong strokes needed to propel yourself back up. Not always stupid, me. The last stupid thing i do is when i reach the surface and take my first breath without realizing that the mouthfill i swallowed at 40 meteres went straight into my stomach, instead of back into my lungs. Therefore, i come up and try to breath in deep, but with 5 bars of air trapped in my belly, that doesn't quite work -it's like breathing in with an operating vacuumcleaner attached to your mouth. So i'd just spent 2 and a half minutes swimming quite hard without breathing -in up to a 6G environment- and now i can't catch my breath. Not pleasant. Protocol dictates that you should deliver your verbal and physical signals of being ok within 15 seconds, which isn't a problem, but then you have to wait another 30 seconds before you get your dive approved, and by this time i'm seriously considering going into a panic -i can't breathe and feel i'm about to explode. All i can do is hang onto the line and wait for the white card. I've already spat up some blood so the staff knows i'm in a bit of trouble, but part of me hopes they'll disregard the rules and put me on O2 immediately. I have no clue what is wrong with me, all i feel is enormous internal pressure and an inability to really breathe -i think i'm partially paralized.

Photograph by Jacques De Vos

Thankfully i get the white card and immediately Linda disconnects me from the line and Supercoach George and her bring me to the other platform for oxygen. As soon as Linda turns me on my back and transports me, i let out an enormous belch, and instantly feel better. At that point i realize it was just a lot of trapped air, not an embolism or paralysis, and my panic fades. I'm safe, i've made it, all there's left to do now is to breathe a bit of oxygen and recuperate, trying not to cough up a lung. The doctor reads my blood saturation and it's 88%, a bit low. After oxygen it's up to 100%, then falls back to 90%, so i've had a minor squeeze.

The rest of the day i vary between smiling like an idiot -or more idiotic than usual- and bend over from not knowing which end to let the air out of. I'd advice against putting 5 bars of pressure into your stomach, even if you do appreciate some good farting.

List of things that weren't stupid:
  1. Training with Eric and Judith a lot: besides being fun, it's also good to know that swimming the distance isn't going to be a problem.
  2. Taking 2 years off from competitive deep diving: felt absolutely none of the negative feelings that were plaguing me on deep dives before.
  3. Training with Freedive Dahab: Lotta and Linda are brilliant freedivers.
  4. Proving Linda wrong again: before she send down the tag, she showed it to me and said: "This is the last time you'll see it."
  5. Having a Supercoach: not only did George make me a fantastic belt (which Linda tried to steal), she also talked me through my visualizations and transported me to and from the competition area, all the while looking this lovely:

And special thanks to Monsigneur Poseidon, without whose graces none of this stupidity would have been possible