Thursday, 26 April 2007

going down

Remember that picture of me sitting on a Formula One car?

Well I just bought a shirt that is four sizes smaller than the one I was wearing there.

As I was losing weight I kept wearing my old clothes - with a few even older ones that I'd grown out of - thinking I could go a little bit further before I started buying new clothes. But things were getting a bit ridiculous and I really need to get a few nice things.

So today I bought a purply/pink shirt with lots of writing on it (it looks like part of a shopping list, actually. I can read the following:


W\PESTO, MOZZA
N & VEGETABLES
W\HERBS & SHITA
W\ROASTED PEP
&GREEN BEAN
COUS W\MINI &
&CARROTSS

That's why I've always been very bad at buying anything with words or pictures on it, I would try to decipher everything and I expected everybody else to do the same thing. And I'd wonder what they thought of me for wearing it.

But that was the old me. The new one won't worry about such things anymore.

time tables

The Democrats are forcing the US government to get out of Iraq.

House Passes Iraq Pullout Timetable

The House last night brushed aside weeks of angry White House rhetoric and veto threats to narrowly approve a $124 billion war spending bill that requires troop withdrawal from Iraq to begin by Oct. 1, with a goal of ending U.S. combat operations there by next March.

(Source: Washington Post)

A few, rambly, thoughts:

I feel sorry for the Iraqis because they're damned if the Americans do and damned if the Americans don't... It's no use saying they shouldn't have been there in the first place now, it's about trying to clean up this mess in the best possible way. And I don't have any answers. Neither, it seems, does either US political party. (If I'm mistaken, please correct me.)

I don't see the United Nations stepping in and fixing this mess for them either. (I see them stepping in, just not how they can solve anything in the foreseeable future). And as for the Iraqi government... The word toothless springs to mind.

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Jonathan Rhys Meyers checks into rehab

I wish I could say I was surprised by this news.

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Checks Into Rehab
TUESDAY APRIL 24, 2007 01:00 AM EDT

By Julie Jordan

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, star of Showtime's The Tudors, has entered a rehab facility, his rep tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"After a non-stop succession of filming, Jonathan Rhys Meyers has entered an alcohol-treatment program," rep Meredith O'Sullivan says. "He felt a break was needed to maintain his recovery."

The 29-year-old actor, who costarred with Scarlett Johansson in Woody Allen's Match Point last year, plays Henry VIII in The Tudors, which premiered on April 1, and recently finished filming the drama August Rush with Keri Russell, Terrence Howard and Robin Williams.

Meyers's rep adds: "Jonathan plans to resume his schedule following completion."

Unfortunately, I did see it coming. I was hoping the fight with his girlfriend and both of them getting arrested (early last year, or was it the year before already?) would have been a wake-up call... Or before that, the fact that he had to have stomach surgery in 2004. Drinking yourself an ulcer by age 27 could be considered a sign to slow down by some!

(Source: People - with thanks to Yummy.)

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

eight levels of serious fag-haggery

  1. allow public displays of affection that you would never tolerate from a straight man
  2. make daily (or more frequent) phone calls to your fag
  3. share a bed with your fag
  4. drop everything to be with your fag when he is having a nervous breakdown
  5. walk through a strange town in the middle of the night to pick your drunken fag up from a gay bar
  6. see the full monty
  7. have a conversation whilst one of you is peeing
  8. accompany your fag to the std-clinic

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Rufus Wainwright is a *S*T*A*R*

Earlier I told a friend: "You know he's good and you're expecting something fantastic - and yet he still manages always to stun you with his brilliance."

I don't have anything else to add to that.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

no more delays

A couple of days ago I noticed that NS (the semi-privatised - I think - former national railway) doesn't announce delays anymore. Instead, a friendly lady or gentleman will tell you something like this:

The 7.44 train to Rotterdam, Dordrecht and Roosendaal will depart in ten minutes.

I'm very glad I won't have to face any more delays.

fasten your seatbelts



Yup, that's me. Am I anything like you imagined?

Click to enlarge and make me even more pretty!

unpatriottism

The Dutch take pride in their unpatriottism. We love ourselves for being so anti-authoritarian.

Here's a cover (by someone I don't know) of a song that was a big hit in The Netherlands in 1996. I added a (very!) rough translation:



15 Million People

Land of 1000 opinions
The land of soberness
All together on the beach
Twice-baked bread for breakfast
The land where nobody lets their hair down
Except when we win
Then there’s an acute break-out of passion
And not a soul stays indoors
The land that hates being lectured
No uniform is sacred
A son calls his father Piet
A bike is never safe

15 Million people
On that very tiny speck of Earth
You can’t lay down the law for them
You leave them in their worth
15 Million people
On that very tiny speck of Earth
You can’t force them into a strait-jacket
You leave them in their worth

The land full of protest groups
No boss is really in charge
Curtains are always open
Lunch is a cheese sandwich
The land full of tolerance
Except for the man next door
The big question remains
How does he pay the rent
The land that cares for everyone
No dog knows of the gutter
You get nasiballs from the wall
And nobody eats dry bread

15 Million people
On that very tiny speck of Earth
You can’t lay down the law for them
You leave them in their worth
15 Million people
On that very tiny speck of Earth
You can’t force them into a strait-jacket
You leave them in their worth
-- original by Fluitsma & Van Tijn


I wonder how rebellious we really are...

Monday, 16 April 2007

Going To A Town



I've been struggling with the interpretation of this song for a while, in fact it started before anyone had ever heard it - except those directly involved of course. It was mentioned in a German article back in August:

The name of the album, which will be released early next year, hasn’t been decided yet – but with the impression this afternoon has made, it will be one to look out for. The songs are as nonchalant as they are beautiful, there are very cheerful and very sad lyrics and Berlin features in several of them. One song is called „Sanssouci”, another „Tiergarten”, which sounds like „Tear garden” to American ears, and in „Going to a town” Wainwright sings, accompanied by changes in harmony that take you to ever more beautiful places, about a city that was once destroyed. It sounds prettier than ever.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, August 13, 2006

I realise the author could be reading things into it that aren't there, but it stuck in my mind and after listening to the song I do believe the history of Berlin has influenced him. Someone in the know mentioned on Rufus' official messageboard that Rufus wrote it shortly before (or after, she wasn't sure) driving to New Orleans for a concert.

It seems to me Rufus was driving (or remembering driving) to the destroyed New Orleans and wondering how this could happen in America. Like all of us he must have been shocked, not so much by hurricane Katrina, but by her aftermath. Rufus recorded the upcoming album (it's called Release The Stars, but you knew that, didn't you?) in Berlin and it's just like him to be impressed with it's history, the bombing during World War II building work that has been done after the fall of the Wall. No doubt he would have been thinking about that and comparing it to New Orleans. And not favourably for the USA... Just my two cents' worth.

Going To A Town

I’m going to a town that has already been burned down
I’m going to a place that has already been disgraced
I’m gonna see some folks who have already been let down
I’m so tired of America

I’m gonna make it up for all of the Sunday Times
I’m gonna make it up for all of the nursery rhymes
They never really seem to want to tell the truth
I’m so tired of you, America

Making my own way home, ain’t gonna be alone
I’ve got a life to lead, America
I’ve got a life to lead

Tell me, do you really think you go to hell for having loved
Tell me, enough of thinking everything that you’ve done is good
I really need to know, after soaking the body of Jesus Christ in blood
I’m so tired of America

I really need to know
I may just never see you again, or might as well
You took advantage of a world that loved you well
I’m going to a town that has already been burned down
I’m so tired of you, America

Making my own way home, ain’t gonna be alone
I’ve got a life to lead, America
I’ve got a life to lead
I got a soul to feed
I got a dream to heed
And that’s all I need

Making my own way home, ain’t gonna be alone
I’m going to a town
That has already been burned down

There's a live version here. Apparently it was the first public performance ever, at the launch of Robert Redford's environmental awareness project "The Green".

EDIT: I've updated the link for the video above. If that one disappears too, try this link for alternatives.

coming soon: SubtleKnife on a Formula One car



Today I had my picture taken in the hall of my office building. Some time after I came in this morning, they parked a Renault Formula One car there; I wonder how they got it through the revolving doors with the time clock/card system... ;-)

Anyway, like I said, I had my picture taken; I was on my way out to buy a sandwich at the railway station next door, wearing my sunglasses and decided on the spur of the moment. You weren't allowed to sit in it (and let's face it, I wouldn't fit anyway) but you could sit on a wheel, which I did. These things don't have a hand-break, though, so if you ever get the chance to pose on a Formula One car, make sure you're balanced! No, I didn't fall off, but it did roll a bit as I was getting comfortable for the shot.

The pictures are posted online. I will post it here as soon as it appears - or at least as soon as I look at the site after it appears. You can see my new hair! (I realise very few of you have seen my old hair, but maybe that's just as well.)

By the way, Renault aren't actually my favourite team.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

good morning



Good morning, it's 11:11 on a Sunday morning in the center of Amsterdam when I start writing this blog and all I can hear is birdsong. (Okay, just as I write that, a moped decides to drive by. Still, it's surprisingly quiet in K's apartment.

Last night we ended up at the apartment of friends of K's, or rather acquaintances, the downstairs neighbours of friends. They're a fun couple, she designs furniture and spas and she just got a couple of crates with these all-natural, handmade soaps she had made. They were wonderfully fragrant, I bought the honey-turmeric version for myself and a green tea one for my sister, who's having her birthday next Saturday. I can't wait to try mine! (No, I'm not that dirty, I did shower today, it's just that I don't have anything to put the used soap in. When i get back home it can live in a nice soap dish.)

Oh, the apartment has these great window/doors, I guess it was a warehouse, as were many others in Amsterdam, of course. There's a little wooden step outside to get to the front door and then loads of wooden stairs inside to get to the other apartments in the building. But if you stay on the "ground" floor, open those windows and sit in them, you can look at and chat with the people passing by, or shout at the canal boat with a live band to play something for you, like K's friend did.

This friend, L, had just arrived back from America that morning and was jet-lagged and drunk at the same time. We had a hell of a time getting her to go home. At first she insisted we go to the Irish pub next door, which was fun in a way, there was a singer who had actually walked by "our" window earlier, but after he finished she still refused to budge.

There's a riddle I remember from when I was a child, about a farmer with a goat, a cabbage and a wolf. He wants to transport all three, and himself, across a river, but the boat can only take two of them at a time, and one of those has to be him to navigate the boat. He can't take the cabbage and leave the other two on their own, because the wolf will eat the sheep. Similarly he can't take the wolf and leave the sheep to eat the cabbage.

Getting L to go upstairs and finding a way to lock the door behind us turned into a bit of a game like that. With a little twist that, once we finally got her to her apartment, she would insist on walking us down again... (I say once, but I mean twice, the second time she locked the door behind us and we left. I really hope she's okay, but we spent over an hour getting her to bed and we were all slightly drunk and fading fast.)

Then we still had to walk home. Once there we sat around for a while, not really watching some Da Vinci Code-esque movie, until K and Sunshine were (half) asleep and went to bed. I spent a little more time reading Slaughterhouse Five - K is a big Vonnegut fan and was pretty upset at his death, I bought the book yesterday because apparently one has to have read it. I also picked up a copy of the BUTT book, for the articles, of course! Someone almost tried to steal it at Prik.

Prik is a very nice bar, by the way, in the Spuistraat in Amsterdam, I really like it there and fortunately so do my friends. If you're in the neighbourhood you really should visit it. If you're straight and thinking you might feel out of place, don't worry, their motto is "Queer or not, Prik is hot".

I completely forgot to mention I had my hair cut earlier in the day. By a friend of K's, of course, who has a salon in town, and I am very happy with it.

Yummy, darling, I'm afraid I haven't looked for fridge magnets yet.

EDIT: I just got back home, with a nice tan as well as that new haircut. K insisted on taking my picture in front of the (closed) Cockring nightclub yesterday. I wonder when it'll surface on the internet.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

fifty-seven academics just punched the air

HERE BE SPOILERS!

This post contains a short exchange from Doctor Who, series three, 2007, episode two, The Shakespeare Code. It's not much of a spoiler, just a short exchange that doesn't really have any bearing on the storyline.





THE DOCTOR
(urging Shakespeare and Martha to hurry up)

Come on! We can all have a good flirt later.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

Is that a promise, Doctor?

THE DOCTOR

Ohhh, fifty-seven academics just punched the air. Now move!

Friday, 6 April 2007

still around

- but my feet are hurting like hell.

I ended up sleeping at K's new place and calling the doctor for a new script - which his assistant said she would get for me, it should be at the pharmacy already, I just haven't got time to pick it up. (I still have about a week's supply left).

It was a lot of fun haging (I meant to write hanging, but I think Mr. Freud was guiding my hand there... O, wait, that's not how it works! ;-)) out with K and his new, yet old, bo- sorry, guy he's dating. (It's a complicated story, involving marriage, "understandings", infidelity, jealousy and divorce.)

So I came back home to feed the bird, grab some clean clothes - including more comfortable shoes! - and head back out there again. Don't worry about me, I'll be back some time after Easter. Until then I'll be living it up in Amsterdam.

By the way - some of you will get this - his new apartment really was that dirty.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

random thoughts

Just a few random thoughts before I go to bed...

Tomorrow I'm doing an interview in Hilversum, talking to a shopowner about his hardwood flooring business. Originally I was going to drive there, but it's much easier to hop on a train and head over to Amsterdam from there than to drive - especially because I'm going right into the heart of town to K's new apartment. And there's no way you can park around there...

So yes, K and I are meeting up in Amsterdam. He moved there over the weekend. I originally offered to stop by his old place and take some stuff he'd rather transport by car.

I'll be on the train a lot tomorrow, I'll be able to write a lot - I hope. Maybe I'll even finish My Life In 10 Songs... At least it means I can take my meds tonight - after I told my parents, my dad apparently did some research, because Monday when I came home from work he told me I shouldn't take anything on Wednesday so that I would be able to drive the next day. There is the possibility of decreased reaction speeds etc., although I think I'm past that now.

This is something I've been thinking about for about a week now, thanks to WUM. You could say I've already made the first post by talking about "If I Had Words", I'll probably repost a slightly edited version of that.

So yeah, the interview and then dinner at K's, I probably won't be home 'till late. Then early doctor's appointment on Friday, he wants to know how the happy pills are working for me. After that I'll have four days to inundate you with all kinds of useless posts.

Enjoy the reprieve...

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

coming out

Yesterday afternoon my team leader was telling a story to someone in a loud voice - he has a little volume control problem, it seems. Apparently someone from another team had heard that besides me, another reinforcement would be arriving; a man this time.

The guy said: "So I hear you're getting another homo for your team." At first I wanted to jump up and say "Excuse me?" but something held me back. Some joking speculation then followed about which one of the male colleagues might be gay.

I stayed quiet for a little while longer, but that didn't sit well with me either. I felt like I was betraying my friends. Not that the talk was all that offensive, but I felt uncomfortable anyway because it didn't seem very appropriate either...

Eventually I remarked that most of my friends are gay. That changed the conversation, it definitely stopped the silly jokes. Like I said, I didn't think they weren't being malicious, but there was this undertone, I suppose they were confirming stereotypes etc. If they did this around someone who was insecure about their sexuality, it would be hurtful. Maybe they'll think twice from now on, maybe they'll have forgotten by now, I don't know.

The wife of the team leader, who also works there, at another department, wanted to know how come so many of my friends are gay. As I told her, and I've been thinking about it since: I simply don't know.

Why are all my friends, in the terms of the Fred Phelps-freaks, fags or fag-enablers? I'm too tired to think about it right now.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Gert & Co

During an example calculation at work today (I'm having to take a two-day introduction class into pensions - it's all very basic stuff I easily remember from 7 years ago) we had to calculate pensions for a couple using several variables.

The first names of the couple in this sum were Gert and Co. Gert is obviously a man, but Co is a bit of an ambiguous name. The information provided said they were married, but didn't mention any gender. When the teacher started talking about Gert and his wife it slipped out before I knew it: "or husband".

Sunday, 1 April 2007

The Most Hated Family in America

A new film from Louis [Theroux, SK] sees him struggle to come to terms with the infamous Phelps family from Topeka, Kansas, who picket the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq as a protest against an America that tolerates homosexuality.

The family members - some as young as six years old - wave slogans with messages such as 'Thank God for 9/11' and 'God Hates You' at pickets all over the States.

The last documentary filmmaker to enter their world was so enamoured by the family that he joined them. What does the future hold for Louis as he meets one of the USA's most controversial families? Some strong language.

Sun 1 Apr, 9:00 pm - 10:00 pm 60mins
BBC2

I don't know why, really, but I'm thinking of putting myself through watching this...

BBC Press Office
Fred Phelps on Wikipedia
Phelps' church website: God Hates Fags

not at my desk

My parents are here, I spent the morning cleaning the house and maybe I'll head over to Amsterdam to see K (and much as I love them, get away from my parents) for a while.

So not much bloggage today.