Saturday, 29 September 2007

MAD

I think Monkey wins the prize for best post I'll read all day. Following a conversation with evilganome about their employer's inability to find office space for either of them and having to move to a new one every so often, he designed the "Mobile Administrative Desk Unit, or "MAD", which "would allow us to roam the halls while still concentrating on our increasingly urgent workload"



Being assigned at a company that believes in "Flex-workspaces" at the moment, I somewhat hear their plight. Teams have a certain area of desks assigned to them, but anyone can sit anywhere within them (and it's also perfectly okay - as long as you ask - for someone else to sit there). Employees have lockers in the hallways of each floor, with cases in which they keep their things - obviously not any paperwork related to work, but pesn, notes, staplers, whatever.

It would be nice to have a space to call your own, instead of a free-for-all for the available desks. On the other hand, making 9-hour days means I have to show up early if I'm going to have some of my evening left and at 7.15 AM I usually get first pick...

Friday, 28 September 2007

cross

christ or mammon?




How does this look? It's my first attempt at blogging from my mobile phone. I already realise maybe using Yahoo! wasn't too smart, but at least it got sent.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

sushi!

Since I watched K make sushi a few weeks ago, I've been itching to give it a try myself. For various reasons (time, money, other engagements) it took until today to finally do it. Then of course I couldn't find a toko (Indonesian for shop) where I thought there was one. But I walked around the neighbourhood and it was nowhere to be found. Out of desperation I went to the supermarket from some other groceries and lo and behold! They had everything I needed (which was basically everything except the fish, because I had never made sushi before...)

I ended up taking over two hours to make a plate of nori maki with tuna, mackerel and avocado and I think they turned out pretty well. I'd show you the pictures but my phone and my computer get into these tiffs, when they refuse to talk to each other. I wish I knew why, or how. Anyway, the first one wasn't tight enough and didn't close completely. That's my main problem, the other ones were better, but they were still a bit loose. Guess I'll have to work on my technique some more.

And after all that work? I wasn't hungry anymore and I had a glass of orange juice instead.

I'm suddenly reminded of the time I went to get some soy sauce from the deli across the road form K's apartment:

me: Do you have soy sauce?
guy behind counter: Uh, no. But we have Kikkoman.


EDIT: This was my very first attempt. As you can see they weren't quite perfect. Neither were my photographic skills:


Then I improved both my technique and my camera settings a bit:


Here they are both together, because I thought it was a pretty composition (but don't look at the background):


I decided that starting out making small ones may have been a bit ambitious and also for the sake of getting to bed some time before midnight (I exaggerate) I would try to make them a bit bigger:


And this was the final plate. What with the ones I already ate (I had to try them!), the ones on the edges that I had to trim and didn't want to display and the occasional bite of the ingredients, I didn't eat more than a couple of them. But they were pretty good.

Monday, 24 September 2007

end of the month

... and again I'm waiting for my salary to be transfered into my account. It should be there tomorrow at the latest, but I was hoping it might get here today. But of course my bank's website decides to go crazy. It doesn't show any mutations and I'm not sure if I can trust the balance, which, of course is still showing negative at the moment...

I'll learn how to save, not just borrow

-- Rufus Wainwright -- 14th Street


EDIT: I checked again around 5PM and it was there. Somehow I expect these computerised systems to work instantly, but apparently it still takes almost a working day to process. What do I know?

amen!

I've just had a visit from a nice lady - and a rather gormless young man tagging along with her - who wanted to tell me about the bible. Apparently we should be reading more of it, you see.

I thought it was pretty funny, I told her I already belonged to a church that valued and was supportive in everybody's own search for truth and meaning, that didn't tell you what you should or shouldn't believe in ("Oh, but we don't tell you what to think") - and that wasn't necessarily christian. I actually agreed with her that more people should read the bible, but then I believe that goes for other ancient texts too. Hey, I'm a historian! I told her we're having the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's people over to talk at our next UU meeting and that we feel we can learn from anyone. I was having such a good time I completely forgot to tell her I'm an atheist. O well, next time.

And as I'm a very curious persion I am now the proud owner of this month's Watchtower and Awake! - but I didn't feel I needed someone to come back and talk to me later. The latter has an interesting article saying natural disasters aren't god's fault but of humans who either choose to live in dangerous regions (god has given us the ability to distinguish these), or of governments who do not protect their (poorest) citizens better. Apparently they're also okay with contraception (as long as it's the non-abortive kind, I presume.)

I absolutely adore the dated stock pictures in both. Happy families etc., and very keen to have people of different colour in the same picture, for example a white mother holding her baby while a Asian lady bends over to adore it, or a middle-aged white man greating black man in traditional clothing, presumably at an airport or something.

The whole thing gives me a Sunday afternoon feeling. I think I may have mentioned it here, but I'm not sure I defined it. It's the feeling you get from rainy Sunday afternoons when you feel like there's nothing else to do but watch sappy TV movies with a (christian) moral that are played to fill in the schedule on Sunday afteroons (that's how it seems to me, anyway, perhaps there is an audience for them at that time). The setting and the clothes, hairstyles etc. always seemed outdated, by at least a decade. I don't know why, but they date even faster than regular movies. Of course now I haven't have to suffer this utter despair since I was a child, but the trauma runs deep.

EDIT: I haven't signed the book (yet), but I do feel like I belong with UU.

Monday, 17 September 2007

hi there!

Just to let you know I'm still around, I've had a pretty busy week with little computer time outside of the office (I did write a few drafts while I was there, but I need a bit more time to look at those before I post them).

So let's have a little recap: On Monday I met up with K and Sunshine in Rotterdam, had a coffee at Café Floor. I bought a card for V, who was going into hospital that day and get operated on the next. Then around four we had some sushi at Happy Sushi. I'd never been at one of these conveyor belt places before. It was a bit early, so they didn't want to put everything on the conveyor belt yet, but they were only too happy to get what we asked for. They had good yellowtail nigiri.

After that we went to Strano where we met a group of British gentlemen celebrating one of their number's birthday with a weekend in Amsterdam and - for some reason I couldn't surmise - a day in Rotterdam... They were so nice and nothing like the, unfortunately often-true, stereotype. Nice gentlemen. Who bought us shots. Honestly, that's not why I liked them. I went home slightly buzzed, but still managed to set a high score for Snakes on Precious.

Tuesday, of course was filled with work and then racing to get to the "Conquer your somberness"-training and on Wednesday night after work I was just too tired to string two coherent sentences together. Doing laundry and washing my hair were the highlights...

On Thursday K and I had planned to visit V in hospital, but he called to say she was getting released that day. So I accepted an invitation from G, a colleague and friend, who had won a VIP-arrangement at the Baja Beachclub in Rotterdam. Since that didn't open until 10.30 PM, I spent some time with her trying to teach me how to belly-dance. It was an unmitigated disaster.

The club itself was, of course, quiet as the grave still, with only two other groups there besides us, one of which definitely and the other probably was on the same deal (I saw one group with the same ice bucket with cheap (and horrible) champagne).

Friday night K and Sunshine came over, I'll tell you about that and the rest of the weekend later. Now I'm going to have some coffee with K.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

UU's laughing about themselves

Stealing UU jokes from Facebook, what a pleasant way to spend a Sunday afternoon...

You may be a Unitarian Universalist if:

  • you think socks are too formal for a Summer service.

  • you know at least 5 ways to say "Happy holidays!"

  • your idea of a guy's night out is going to a N.O.W. rally.

  • unleavened bread is part of your Easter Brunch.

  • you refer to construction paper as "paper of color."

  • the name of your church is longer than your arm.

  • you find yourself rewriting a church survey, rather than taking it.

  • you call up your minister in the middle of the night, panicking because you are starting to believe in God.

  • to explain your personal theology, you have to use interpretive dance.

  • you take your day planner to church instead of the Bible.
===

"As we welcome our newest members and visitors, it is only fair to let them know what we Unitarian Universalists are like and what we expect.

  • We are friendly. If you are not friendly, out you go!

  • We are genuine people. Even our phonies are real phonies.

  • We are always sincere even if we have to fake it.

  • We aren't sure how ambivalant we should be.

  • We believe in tolerance and cannot stand intolerant people.

  • We are optimists. Anyone who doesn't look on the bright side depresses us.

  • We are more non-competitive than other groups.

  • We believe in equality; everyone is as good as the next person and a whole lot better.

  • Every Unitarian is a feminist, so he has to watch his language.

  • The organization is run democratically because the president insists on it.

  • We have our critics, but they are paranoid

  • We are prompt about being late to meetings.

  • Dogmatism is absolutely forbidden.

  • Freedom of belief is rigidly enforced.
And to this wonderful place we joyfully welcome you."

===

Ooh! I just found a site that gives you random UU jokes.

Q: Why did the Unitarian-Universalist cross the road?
A: To support the chicken in its search for its own path

hehehe

Alright, one more and then I'll quit:

A devout Christian was arguing with a UU about the existence of God. He said, "Ok, just prove there is no God."

The UU quipped, "You can't prove there is no God - you have take it on faith."


(click this link for more!)

more books

So I've made my LibraryThing catalog public. Don't expect too much from it yet, I haven't added many books yet and there is absolutely no method to my madness. (I gave up earlier when I reached Shakespeare.)

Late last night I went to bed and almost immediately got up again, grabbed a pen and notepad and started scribbling authors and titles. I "did" three shelves, but the process of copying them into the catalog is a lot harder because I "have" to check out each author's other publications to see if I would like to read them in the future.

Still, I'm getting somewhere. But right now it's back to the Zodiac, I only got up because the coffee was ready.

EDIT: I just noticed my Complete Works of Shakespeare was printed in the GDR, I don't know why I find that funny.

royal reprise

Look Mom, I made the Washington Post!

Remember how I talked about the description of Prince Charles' language by the Washington Post?

Well... I have discovered that the newspaper has one of those Technorati "Who's Blogging?" features online that shows who's blogging about a particular article. And apparently, I've been one of the few to do so on this article, so the link to my page has been on their pages since I found out. If you're so inclined, you can go here to see the current commenters and check if I'm still in the Washington Post.

EDIT: OH EM EFF GEE, I linked to it again and look what happened!

Saturday, 8 September 2007

books books books

A short while ago I mentioned in passing that I was adding books to my list on Shelfari. But pretty soon I realised I wasn't comfortable with that site. I didn't like the look and "feel" of it, nor the way it worked. So today I found a new place to catalog my books, called LibraryThing.

I'm not quite ready to show you my list yet, but I'm working on it.

(I could have called this post lists lists lists, I seem to be doing a lot of them lately...)

quiz got it right


How evil are you?

surge

Since the Bush government declared a surge, aren't they in-surge-nts?

(Yes, I realise I'm probably not the first to think of this, but it just popped into my head, sometimes I'm a bit slow...)

bums not Bush

Ever since reading this I've been looking forward to the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Sydney:
A game group of Australian anti-war protesters are planning a cheeky protest against a visit by US President George W. Bush -- baring their bottoms in what they hope will be a world-record moon.

Organiser Will Saunders said the Friday protest was aimed at lightening the mood in Sydney, a city currently patrolled by 5,000 police and soldiers and divided by a massive steel and concrete fence ahead of the APEC summit.

In a leaflet to possible supporters, the group calls for 4,000 cheeks -- er, 2,000 people -- to "tell Bush what we really think about his visit."

Saunders said numbers for the protest were not yet certain but he had a core group to perform a "21 Bum Salute" to represent each of the countries in the grouping.

As you surely understand, I've been searching for pictures of this event, and so far I have found this video and this one:



From now on I'll never be able to keep a straight face at the mention of the Pacific Rim...

Friday, 7 September 2007

my movies

For about half a year I've been trying to compile a list of all the movies I've ever seen, on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Of course it's nowhere near complete, but I manage to keep up with recent viewings pretty well. I just added Superman Returns and Night at the Museum, neither one makes this list of movies I've so far rated 9 out of 10 stars, though:

  • The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

  • Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)

  • Capote (2005)

  • Far from Heaven (2002)

  • Latter Days (2003)

  • Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)


  • As with my musical tastes, I sometimes step back to be amazed by myself. That is just so gay.

    For this weekend, I have several others planned, including Zodiac and Bridge to Terabithia. Tell me what else I should watch? He_gay, I'm still hot on the trail of Almodóvar, I promise!

    EDIT: I made my IMDb list of movies I've watched public. You can find it in the links section and here.

    Thursday, 6 September 2007

    ginger bread cuties

    Call me crazy, but I think these gingerbread warriors are cute as hell.

    If you don't know anything about rugby or Māori culture, you may not know they are doing a haka, in particular the haka the All Blacks usually perform before matches, which is called Ka Mate and was written by Te Rauparaha.

    Ka mate, ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
    Ka mate! ka mate! ka ora! ka ora!
    Tēnei te tangata pūhuruhuru
    Nāna nei i tiki mai whakawhiti te rā
    Ā, upane! ka upane!
    Ā, upane, ka upane, whiti te ra!

    translation:
    ’Tis death! ’tis death! ’Tis life! ’tis life!
    ’Tis death! ’tis death! ’Tis life! ’tis life!
    This is the hairy man that stands here
    Who brought the sun and caused it to shine
    A step upward, another step upward!
    A step upward, another, the Sun shines!


    Thanks to Wikipedia for filling the gaps for me.

    And now I'm going back to dreaming about rugby boys, thanks to Michele's comment on Joe.My.God.

    you!

    Yes, this post is all about you. And you, and you. Everyone who has ever visited my blog is represented in this graph:

    thank you!

    Wednesday, 5 September 2007

    could try harder

    A gentleman I admire posted a message about the divorce rate in the United Kingdom recently. He cites this Daily Mail article that reports on official figures released at the end of August on the divorce rate in England and Wales* in 2007.

    The figures from the Office for National Statistics show that 12.2 of every 1,000 married people in England and Wales were divorced last year, a fall of seven per cent on the 2005 rate of 13.1. It was the lowest divorce rate since 1984.

    The lowest divorce rate since 1984, wow, that's really something. But wait a minute! 2005... why does that ring a bell? I've got it: during the last few days of that year same-sex couples got the right to get Civilly Partnershipped. Those who've paid close attention to my rantings will know that, in principle, I'm not in favour of this kind of gay marriage, because it allows a distinction - it's not a "real" marriage, it's a gay marriage - to be made and I want there to be one kind of marriage for both gay and straight couples. However I acknowledge that it's a step in the right direction and most couples around the world don't even have that.

    Of course it was to be expected the christians didn't agree:

    "If you transport something unique, like marriage, into a different context, there's always a cost. And the cost here is in terms of reduction of marriage and the undermining of it," Don Horrocks of the Evangelical Alliance said.

    So... in the year 2006, whilst "real" marriages should have taken a pounding from the horrors of homosexuality, the rate of divorce dropped by 7 percent! Did anyone get Mr. Horrocks on the phone to ask for an explanation yet? What has happened to the sanctity of marriage, or rather: what hasn't happened to it?

    As my friend observed, the gays "Could Try Harder".



    * Scotland has a separate legal system from England and Wales; due to a change in the divorce laws which made it easier for couples to get divorced the rate shot up there, partly because many couples who were already waiting to finalise their divorce jumped at the opportunity.

    rapture?

    If I didn't find it so distasteful to take pleasure in the death of others, I would almost say "Oh, joy! Oh, rapture!" at the recent spate of bad news for right wing US politicians and creepy christians. They are dropping like flies these days.

    But then I guess they themselves would be happy. Right?

    royal mess

    It seems to me the Washington Post doesn't have much regard for the reading skills of its audience. In an article today it reports:

    In his oblique, Victorian manner of speech, Prince Charles points out that "one of the great difficulties associated with the adoption of organic or, perhaps more appropriately, sustainable principles at the time I started turned out to be convincing others that you had not taken complete leave of your senses."

    In other words: "Look out, you'll have to read this very carefully in order to understand it". I don't find much that is oblique about this sentence. It may be less straightforward than the Washington Post habitually serves up to its readers, but I would venture that anyone with average reading skills should be able to grasp its meaning on the first read-through.

    The entire article on Prince Charles' visionary work in the field of sustainable gardening can be found here.

    Tuesday, 4 September 2007

    desperate

    Gaidheil alerted me to this Frontlines post: "We Can't Be That Desperate.", which in turn is based on this article on Military.com:

    Though a judge ordered him supervised by Florida probation officials, a registered Nassau County sex offender has left the state, courtesy of the Army.

    A month after pleading guilty to lewd and lascivious conduct with a teenage girl, Spc. Shawn Stacy Sapp, 38, is back on duty as a helicopter mechanic at Fort Hood, Texas. Officers there reviewed his charges and determined he was "retainable in the U.S. Army," court documents show.

    "I just find it hard to believe that they would have convicted sex offenders in the military. We can't be that desperate," said Assistant State Attorney Jonathan Sacks, one of two Nassau prosecutors who worked on Sapp's case.

    As has been reported before the US army is getting less and less scrupulous who it lets into its ranks. So much so that the word "rank" seems to be taking on a whole new meaning...

    And all that time perfectly qualified, capable, upstanding gays and lesbians who want to serve in the armed forces are barred from doing so, at least not unless they pretend to be someone they're not, for the sole reason of their homosexuality.

    Saturday, 1 September 2007

    research

    I want to know more about this:

    the Slide ((...) almost certainly New York's first gay bar).

    The quote is from Out of It by Stuart Walton (page 182 in my version), whilst discussing "Luc Sante's beautifully etched account in Low Life, of New York from the 1830s to the Great War."

    jump!

    I wrote this on Thursday afternoon as I was sitting at my work computer:

    There's a woman in a pink t-shirt jumping like mad on the roof of one of the buildings across the street. She's using a little trampoline to do different versions. Lying in front of her is a man with a camera, I can see the flashes go off as she jumps. I saw her do a star jump, a victory punch in the air and one pulling her legs way up. But why would they go out on a day like this? We've had blue skies recently and they go out on a grey day like today... I'm puzzled.

    Oh, and the company located in that building is the one that made my old cellphone. Not Precious.