Tuesday, 30 September 2008


Some of my friends (K!) will be shocked to read this:

I lit the heater today and it's up way high...

Zeus and Metis

Some say Athene had a father named Pallas, a winged goatish giant. After he attempted to outrage her, she made the aegis from his skin, put his wings on her own shoulders and added his name to hers. If the aegis isn't the skin of Medusa.

Others say her father was Itonus, king of Iton, whose daughter she killed by showing her the Gorgon's head. Still others say Poseidon was her father, but she disowned him and asked Zeus to adopt her.

But Athene's own priests tell the following story: Zeus lusted after the Titaness Metis and, though she changed into many shapes, caught her. An oracle predicted she would bear a girl-child and if Metis conceived again, this son would depose Zeus - like Zeus had done to Cronus and Cronus to Uranus. Zeus swallowed Metis, but soon he got a headache.

Hermes figured out the cause and a hole was drilled in Zeus' skull. Out sprang Athene, fully armed, with a mighty shout.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

Monday, 29 September 2008

the birth of Athene

Athene was born in Libya, beside a lake where she was found and nurtured by three nymphs who dressed in goat-skins. As a girl she killed her playmate Pallas by accident and as a token of grief took her name before her own.

There were more mythological personages named Pallas - a Titan, the 'father of the moon', the father of fifty Pallntids and the father of Athene herself - but these are all male, whilst Pallas means maiden.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

Sunday, 28 September 2008


me and Obama

Apparently I'm only 3 percent to the left of Barack Obama on economic issues and 3% more socially progressive. (Of course it doesn't say what the percentages are of, exactly.) So yeah, me and Obama, we're like this.

Anyhow, I took this test to tell me exactly what I already knew, namely that I agree with Obama far more than I agree with McCain. It's a bit worrying that they drew a circle around my results that actually touches the y-axis. They think I would vote for a centrist?

O yes, it also included a section on how knowledgeable, trustworthy, intelligent, decisive and a few more categories you deemed Obama, McCain, Clinton (Hillary) and Dubya. These were then represented as school grades: Obama and Clinton both scored an A-, McCain got a C+ and Dubya a big fat stinkin' F.

would you pay 150 euros for this?


Recently I've noticed, on those blogs that carry ads (with my traffic it's just not worth it, also, who really wants ugly banners that mess up your lay-out or just look plain wrong?) announcements for something called BLOG08, which is set to be held in Amsterdam on October 24th.


Blogging is no longer the domain of the geeky kid. With easy-to-use blog software, everybody can start their own publishing platform. Millions of people do so. Together these bloggers are changing the world, one post at a time. They are the rockstars of the web.

I must say, I like the graphics and the message, that's certainly something. And it's in Amsterdam, which is definitely more convenient than almost anywhere else, but that's not enough of a reason to be there. It may also have something to do with the fact that I don't know any of their speakers but one, and that's not as a blogger but as a newsreporter.

My problem is not that it's on a Friday (I could take the day off, I have plenty of days left), or that I could use some tips to "get an active community on (my) blog" - no offense, darlings, but I don't think you can call an average of 7 regular visitors a community - "boost traffic to (my) blog" and "how to write original content". My problem is this:


I'm just not spending that much money on a day of sitting around talking about blogging. For the same money I'll be staying a whole weekend at a EUU retreat the week after this event. I can discuss blogging at home for the cost of an internet connection, a cup of coffee and some sandwiches!

NOT attending

(Maybe I should be cheeky and send this post in as my "one rockin' post".)

the dethronement of Cronus

Cronus married his sister Rhea, but it was prophesied that one of his own sons would dethrone him. Therefore he swallowed the children Rhea bore him: Hestia, Demeter, Hera, Hades, Poseidon. Rhea was enraged and bore Zeus in the dead of night so that she could give him to Mother Earth, who left him to be nursed by nymphs in a cave on Crete. Pan was his foster-brother and together they drank milk from the goat-nymph Amaltheia, whose image Zeus would later set amongst the stars as the constellation of Capricorn. One of her horns became the Cornucopia or horn of plenty.

Rhea had given her husband a stone in swaddling clothes to swallow, but Cronus found out and pursued Zeus. The baby's cradle was hung in a tree so that Cronus might find him neither in heaven nor on earth and was guarded by the Curetes, Rhea's sons. [presumably by another father! SK] Their shouting and banging of spears against shields drowned the noise of the wailing infant.

Zeus grew up with the sheperds of Ida and when he was older, asked to be made Cronus' cupbearer. He gave his father an emetic potion and out came the stone, together with his older siblings. He led them in a ten-year war against the Titans, who, after this fiasco, had replaced Cronus as their leader by Atlas.

Zeus released the Cyclopes and the Hundred-handed Ores from Tartarus and in return they gave him the thunderbolt, Hades a helmet of darkness and Poseidon a trident, which they used to defeat Cronus: Hades stole Cronus' weapons without being seen, Poseidon distracted him with his trident and Zeus struck him down. All the male Titans were banished to a British island, far west, or Tartarus [one might wonder how much of a difference there is between these sentences... SK], except Atlas, who was made an example of, being ordered to carry the sky on his shoulders [not the earth!]. The Titanesses were spared.

Zeus set up the stone Cronus spat out at Delphis. Some say Rhea gave Cronus a foal to eat instead of Poseidon.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

the castration of Uranus

Uranus threw his rebellious sons, the Cyclopes, into Tartarus and then fathered the Titans upon Mother Earth. But she persuaded the Titans to attack their father and led by the youngest, Cronus, they surprised Uranus in his sleep. When Cronus castrated Uranus with a flint sickle, some drops of blood fell upon Mother Earth, who bore the three Erinnyes, furies who avenge crimes of parricide and perjury.

The Titans freed the Cyclopes and appointed Cronus ruler of the Earth. No sooner was he in charge or he threw the Cyclopes and the Hundred-handed Ores (back) into Tartarus.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

the five Ages of Man

Earth bore man spontaneously, as the best of her fruits, before even the Moon was. This was the golden race, who lived without cares or labour and lived off the plants and trees they found. They didn't grow old and danced and laughed much. Their spirits still survive as genii of happy music retreats, givers of good fortune and upholders of justice.

The silver races was also divinely created. They ate bread and had a matriarchal society, were quarrelsome and didn't sacrifice to the gods. Zeus destroyed them.

The brazen race fell like fruits from the ash-trees and were armed with brazen weapons. They ate flesh as well as bread and delighted in war. Black Death seized them.

The fourth race was also brazen, but begotten by gods on mortal mothers, making them nobler and more generous. These were the heroes who fought the Trojan War and went on the expedition of the Argonauts.

The fifth race is the race of iron that lives today, the unworthy descendants of the fourth.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

say it with flowers

Friday, September 26

Some days I arrive at the bus shelter around the corner to find the floor strewn with rose petals. My imagination takes flight, ignoring the mundane explanations logic tries to suggest.

They're from a man whose wife is very ill, possibly she has a kidney disease and needs to go into hospital all the time for dialysis, yet she insists on doing everyday chores as much as possible. When she goes shopping she takes the bus instead of her bike and he makes sure she walks on rose petals as a token of his love for her.

There's a family in my neighbourhood who are part of an obscure Eastern religion. Recently they've been blessed to have an important spiritual teacher take the time to come visit their live-in grandmother and debate obscure points of philosophy. Obviously such an esteemed religious leader warrants rose petals. (This does not apply to Unitarian Universalists, so nobody get their hopes up. Unless of course I become Supreme Leader.)

It's a new sport, the latest fad after parcours, a mix between tag and the old florists' slogan "say it with flowers", in which the aim is to shower your opponent with petals. Unfortunately there's one competitor who is very much like the fat kid that always tried to hide behind the curtains during hide-and-seek and keeps getting caught in the bus shelter...

The god Zeus - in my not-so-humble (to say otherwise would be hypocritical) opinion a much more credible god than Jesus' dad - is widely known as a horny god for all his extra-marital affairs, but I disagree. You see, he's not been getting any at home for thousands of years, so I think he has earned the right to take a couple dozen lovers. Exactly how does that crazy bitch Hera figure she's entitled to get jealous over that? Anyway, the rose petals are obviously the leftovers of Zeus' secret assignations. When he found the pretty girl (or boy, can't forget the precedent set by Ganymede) he was after, he shed the rose disguise, petals and all. Passionate love ensued.

I always knew

I can't seem to find my previous post about it, but I took this test before. I think this blog scored graduate level back then.

Apparently the level of my writing has gone up:

blog readability test

two philosophical creation myths

Some say from Darkness sprang Chaos, from a union between Darkness and Chaos sprang Night, Day, Erebus and the Air.
From a union between Night and Erebus sprang Doom, Old Age, Death, Murder, Continence, Sleep, Dreams, Discord, Misery, Vexation, Nemesis, Joy, Friendship, Pity, the Three Fates and the three Hesperides.
From a union between Air and Day sprang Mother Earth, Sky and Sea.
From a union between Air and Mother Earth sprang Terror, Craft, Anger, Strife, Lies, Oaths, Vengeance, Intemporance, Altercation, Treaty, Oblivion, Fear, Pride, Battle and also Oceanus, Metis, the older Titans, Tartarus and the three Erinnyes or Furies.
From a union between the Sea and its Rivers sprang the Nereids, but there were no mortal men until Proteus, with the consent of Athene, formed them in the likenes of gods, after which Athene breathed life into them.

The God of All Things (some call him Nature) appeared suddenly in Chaos, separated earth, heavens, water, air and shaped the earth, created climates and dressed it with plants. He set the firmament with stars above it, made fish, beasts, sun, moon and lastly, man. Unless Prometheus created man's body from water and clay and wondering divine elements shaped his soul.
This second myth was borrowed from the Babylonian Gilgamesh epic, in which the goddess Aruru creates the first man from a piece of clay. Thus the Greeks, as well as the Jews (who inherited the Pelasgian/Canaanite traditions) were slightly embarrassed that there may have been a Creatrix. In the book of Genesis a female "Spirit of the Lord" broods on the face of the water (but lays no egg). In the Talmudic version of creation, the archangel Michael creates Adam from dust.

The Greek philosopher distinguished between Promethean man and the imperfect earth-born creation. In Genesis there is a similar distinction between the "Sons of God" and the "daughters of men" they married.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

the Olympian creation myth

Mother Earth emerged from Chaos and bore Uranus as she slept. He then showered rain upon her surface, which bore plants and animals. Her first children of semi-human form were three hundred-handed giants, followed by the one-eyed Cyclopes.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

the Homeric and Orphic creation myths

Some say that all gods and all living creatures originated in the stream of Oceanus and that Thetys was their mother, but the Orphics say that Night was courted by the Wind and laid a silver egg in the womb of Darkness. From this egg hatched Eros, who set the Universe in motion.

Eros was double-sexed, golden-winged and had four heads. The son created earth, sky, sun and moon, but the mother, manifesting herself as Night, Order and Justice ruled the universe until her scepter passed to Uranus.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

the Pelasgian creation myth

In the beginning, Eurynome, the Goddess of All Things, rose naked from Chaos and divided the sea from the sky. By dancing on the waves she set the winds in motion. When she rubbed the north wind between her hands, the great serpent Ophion (1) was created and after he coupled with Eurynome, she, taking the form of a dove, laid the Universal Egg out of which tumbled all things that exist.

She then created seven planetary powers and set a Titan and a Titaness to rule over each. The first human was Pelasgus, who sprang from the soil of Arcadia.

(1) Graves identifies Ophion with the serpent Hemiurge of Hebrew and Egyptian myth.

Robert Graves, The Greek Myths. Complete Edition.

Greek myth

At the start of the year I came into posession of eight boxes filled with books, some of which I have already mentioned. One of those books is a copy of Robert Graves' The Greek Myths. Complete Edition, first published in 1955 but revised in 1960 (this edition 1992).

Graves, with whom I was mostly familiar because of the Claudius-novels (remember Derek Jacobi in the TV series I, Claudius?) was also, perhaps in his heart primarily, a poet. And wouldn't you know it> Life dealt me one of those little coincidences again, the kind that make you wonder if there is any coincidence at all, if even for a short while.

In this case, just as I started reading Graves' re-telling of the Greek myths, I grabbed another book from one of the boxes, John Irving's Until I Find You. The main character, Jack, is a movie star who takes a part in a film about a wheelchair-bound male model, Harry Mocco:

The voice-over, which is Harry Mocco's, is all love poetry. Everything from the grimmest of the grim, Thomas Hardy, to Philip Larkin; everything from George Wither to Robert Graves. (There was too much Graves, in Jack's opinion.)

When Harry Mocco has wheelchair accidents in The Love Poet, the voice-over is heavy on Robert Graves. (A little of Graves goes a long way. "Love is a universal migraine," for example.)


Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls
Married impossible men?
Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out
And missionary endeavour, nine times out of ten.

I remembered I had written about this when I grabbed The Greek Myths to check up on the story of Ganymede. But that's another story.

Anyway, I thought that, since I spent so much time on the train summarising some of these myths from his book, I might share them with you.

Friday, 26 September 2008

cows in the mist

Friday, September 26

Forget about gorillas in the mist, this morning it's cows. I love when the Dutch fields have one of those low-hanging fogs that rise up. In most places it forms a white blanket of a couple of feet high. I wonder what the cows think when they look out over it.

crazy, I

Thursday, September 25

When you are in The Netherlands and you see a fat woman scribbling furiously in a little notebook, don't assume she's crazy. Be assured, it's me.

crazy I

Thursday, September 25

When you are in The Netherlands and you see a fat woman scribbling furiously in a little notebook, don't assume she's crazy. Be assured it's me.

paper bag

Wednesday, September 24

Walking out of the station with a paper bag of groceries under my arm I feel so American. David Sedaris caught my Dutch accent almost immediately, but then he's a natural observer. Other US natives have been known to look suprised when I swore I was Dutch.

I wonder what this blog's accent sounds like.

second language

Thursday, September 25

The girl next to me is studying Individual differences in second language learning with her fingers in her ears whilst the woman across from us it chattering away in a combination of Dutch and another language.


Wednesday, September 24

Have you noticed how some days, even with all the noise of a fair-sized train- cum busstation, just sound more quiet than others? It's as if there's a blanket or a glass dome over your immediate surroundings and no outside noise can penetrate it. There is a certain closeness to the sky, literally, as this only happens on overcast days, that makes the world seem smaller. Inside, the effect is lost.

the coughing season

Wednesday, September 24

This morning on the train to work - only six hours after I climbed off the train from Amsterdam last night, I noted with a yawn - it became clear to me that today was the official start of a new season. Never mind the meteorological seasons or astronomical calculations, my seasons are determined by such tangible things as the appearance of flip-flops, the disappearance of coats, a critical mass of woolly scarves and of coruse the preponderance of coughs and sniffles.

It was a discrete but distinct chorus that greeted me this morning in the half-full compartiment (which effectively means that there is one person on each two-seater bench and unless one judges the other compartiments similarly uninviting it is the custom to keep moving), announcing to the world, or at least my sleep-addled brain, the start of the coughing season.

I pray to the gods that may or may not be that this won't be a repeat of last year, with a coughing season that lasted into May (completely overlapping Woolly Scarves and No More Coats) and saw me get sick three times in the final two months. Not that I felt particularly ill, I just sounded like I was bringing up my stomach, its contents and probably about six fingers of my duodenum when I had a coughing fit. Add another five minutes to catch my breath and ten to recover enough energy to lift an arm and you can understand why people might get worried. But besides that - and perhaps losing my voice - I felt fine.

Of course that was an illusion and after a week or so it had worn me down almost to the point that I called in sick. After that it was the tiredness, that never allowed me to fully recover and that made me susceptible to the next bug that came along, that wreaked havoc.

I wish I could do as the North African-looking woman who very kindly showed me the way from the main trainline to the local service at a station in Paris in January. She was wearing a face-mask, I believe in response to an increased SARS-alert at the time. But it'll be a fashion statement when I do it. Seriously.

So Coughs and Sniffles is upon us and remember that the defenition of a bug is that it sucks.

Thursday, 25 September 2008


Wednesday, September 24

I have to write some more about the David Sedaris event last night because I noticed the composition of the crowd. The John Adams Institute offers reserved seating to its patrons, who are generally white, middle (to upper) class and middle-aged. There were many straight couples amongst these. Then there was a whole bevvy of young women, twenty-something American girls who, most of them anyway, could easily have been mistaken for fag-hags if this were a more gay environment.

Instead, Sedaris talked about his boyfriend Hugh in a matter-of-fact way that seemed completely normal to me, but reflecting on it, may serve to open a few eyes when he starts his US book tour on Monday (30 cities in 31 days, what is he, some kind of rock star?) and my gaydar had a relatively quiet night - especially for Amsterdam! I can't recall seeing one gay couple. Please correct me, but I think Sedaris is one of the few writers who have managed a career as a gay author without being labelled "a gay author".

The idea of the proto-hag fascinates me. (And let me just say that I don't like the expression hagettes, because nothing should rhyme with baguettes.) I suppose that, in true human fashion, I want to figure out what makes all of us hags tick. I see the potential in these young women and think to myself "if only they meet the right gay man", but I also realise that a lot of them will slip into their thirties with at the most a couple of dinner parties with the gay couple down the road or perhaps drinks with one of her gay colleagues.

Is it really about meeting the right man? Now we might as well be discussing my love-life: am I single because I enjoy it (Mr. Busdriver is a fuckbuddy, not a potential Mr. Right) or because I haven't found Mr. Right yet? And if the latter applies, are my criteria such that none may meet them or should I keep looking be cause he is out there, somewhere?

Back to those girls, sorry, young women. I may be ten to fifteen years older than them, but I only have five years of experience with exclusive fag - hag relationships (this means that he may "cheat" on me with as many men as he wants, but I'm the only woman for him) but in that period we have weathered financial crises, marrage breakdown, depression, panic attacks, the Immigration Service and STDs, all the time having to make my haggery up on the spot.

Perhaps what I could have benefited from and what the older generation (myself included) could offer these proto-hags is guidance. We can be mentrices to them, help them find their inner hag, whether they ever catch the right fag or not.

Gay bar etiquette 101 is about to start down the hall, please line up in a disorderly fashion. Across the hall you will be fashionably late for the advanced class on how to procure drugs.

undo the laces

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Tuesday, September 23

Tonight I met David Sedaris. I had bought two copies of his latest book When You Are Engulfed In Flames in advance, so that K. and I could each have one signed.

Sedaris read several stories, some not (yet) published and excerpts from his diaries -including a number of "a man walks into a bar"-jokes he googled one day and the confession of a stewardess giving a whole new meaning to the words crop dusting - followed by an interview with former US correspondent for Dutch public news, Tim Overdiek, including a few questions from the apparently reticent crowd.

A few minutes into Sedaris' reading (after an introduction from someone from the organisers, the John Adams Institute, and one from Overdiek) K. got up and staggered out. That is to say, he got up and staggered into the back wall, disappearing behind one of the curtains that were lining three sides of the venue. He was retrieved and led outside by someone.

It may sound harsh, but I know him and I know he always finds his way home. So I didn't rush after him. The curtain incident, combined with his recent fall off the edge of a canal whilst trying to enter a public convenience (he landed in a boat and survived with only a few bumps and bruises but managed to give his little sister a near heart attack, ruin the clasp on a Rolex and tear his suit) might have been cause for concern, but fifteen minutes later I received a text message from Sunshine, simply saying "K. is home".

The colleague K. had invited to the reading and I stayed until the end of the reading, although I didn't work up the courage to stand up and ask him how buying drugs in a North Carolina trailer compared to Amsterdam.

Missed opportunity, obviously.

I joined the queue, with my two books under my arm, at almost the end because I met a friend of K.'s who's been on the wagon for fourteen years and who could probably handle this situation much better than I could. I waited for almost an hour as the author graciously chatted with everyone who came up to him. Every book that was offered up in front of Sedaris received a personal inscription.

Like a good friend I not only handed him both mine and K.'s copies but made sure to tell him that my best friend had walked out after a few minutes and had gotten lostin the curtains at the back. At the time I thought that Sedaris was just that professional that he just pretended not to notice, but apparently he hadn't at all, so it was a good thing I stuck around to make sure he found out.

Following this disclosure he gave us matching inscriptions:

To K. My boozy friend

To M.J. My sober friend in Amsterdam

Then I suddenly remembered I'd been reading another book of his on the train commute, which I'd started before K. invited me. So he signed that too and very graciously told me that if it could happen to him - that someone just called him because they wanted to publish his work - it could happen to me.

Unfortunately he'll be leaving for London in the morning, because I would have gladly skipped work to take him shopping - even in Makkum (a competitor for Delft when it comes to earthenware). I would have convinced myself I was doing him a favour because he doesn't drive and Makkum must be at least a two-hour train ride away. Obviously I would have no ulterior motive at all.

Something else that he mentioned during the interview made an impression on me. Any aspiring writer should do well to keep it in mind: you have to persuade the reader to step into your shoes, you can't just slap them down on the floor and expect them to jump in. This will lead to objections about bunyons and such. So to start a story, find a way for people to connect, a person or situation they all recognise (in his case a pedantic teacher), or, as he put it, undo the laces and open up the shoes for them.

I'm not sure if I just followed his advise with this post or not, but if you're still reading I must have done something right.

EDIT: I just remembered I also didn't stand up and offer this joke, in honour of Talk Like a Pirate Day last week:

A pirate walks into a bar and orders a shot of rum.

The bartender fills his order with a look of surprise. As he hands him his drink he says: "Excuse me for asking, but... you seem to have a steering wheel attached to your genitals."

The pirate downs the drink, slams the glass on the bar and looks at the bartender: "Arr, it be drivin' me nuts!"

slash dot quote

He made a vow to himself, as he scanned what was left of that community, that he would reek as much havoc on Madumda's assassins and terrorist as they had here.

Presumably he would use stink bombs...

Saturday, 20 September 2008

sleeping in, with some assistance

I slept so well last night, today I feel like a whole new person. I woke up around 9:30AM and decided to just roll over and go back to sleep, so by the time my father called to congratulate me on the final confirmation of my mortgage at 12:15PM I was still slumbering.

I have no problem going back to sleep or staying asleep, it's the falling asleep in the first time that's been giving me trouble for the last three weeks now. At one point I went right through the night without sleeping (on a Sunday night, so I had the whole working week to 'enjoy' the after-effects of that...)

I'm not a big fan of pharmaceutics - there's not a headache I don't think I can tough out and I waited 15 years before going on anti-depressants - but it is nice to have a walking pharmacy around when you really need something. So when I was at K.'s, I borrowed a couple of diazepam, one of which has delivered just what it's supposed to do last night.

And it's not like I'm doing it just for myself, tomorrow we'll be visiting the Kröller Müller Museum and I need to be rested for the drive.

Dread Pirate Flint

I know it's a day late, but like a true pirate I was out, yesterday - actually I didn't really do anything a true pirate would do: I went to work, visited K and watched Iron Man with Sunshine and K's sister (K was asleep when I arrived and fell asleep again soon after the movie started). In honour of Talk Like A Pirate Day, I found out my pirate name:

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Flint

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

And this is of course a good time to remember our good friends the Pastafarians. May you all be touched by His Noodly Appendage.

If you're interested in that sort of thing, there are links to several earlier editions on Language Log on pirates and specifically their language. Joe.My.God. and his commenters chip in with some truly cringeworthy pirate jokes (but as you know they're supposed to be, it's a tradition!)

And to top it all off here's a nice ditty that Hecate posted:

what financial crisis?

Quick update: I got home tonight after visiting K and Sunshine - K's sister was there, it was nice to meet her - to find a letter of approval from the mortgage company.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

adolescent art


I was never all that fond of the drawing lessons at school, but I found two examples of mediums that I quite enjoyed. I've always been a fan of the old-fashioned dip-pen and the rich, satisfying contrasts that you can get from the thick-ish black ink that we used to use. Sometimes you would get a pen with a rather worn nib, that produced lushious thick black lines, or you could grab one with a very sharp point to give scratchy lines. The background picture could have been better.


We did several drawings with different layers of crayon of which this one is my favourite. The task was to draw a mask and I came up with a Transformer, apparently some themes in my life are quite deep-seated. A few weeks ago I stunned (not sure if it was in a good way) my friends by singing the Transformers cartoon theme song:
Transformers, more than meets the eye
Transformers, robots in disguise
Transformers, Autobots try to destroy
The evil forces of the Decepticons

The text in the background says PEACE, I believe.

Monday, 15 September 2008

sex ed

how to put on a condom

Yesterday I dug up another gem from my school days. This picture was on page 32 of the biology reader "What is sex? Who knows?" Here's an excerpt from the introduction:
When most people think of sex they think of something that belongs to being married. But there are other sexual relationships too. Because that relationships fits the orientation of the people concerned, because the group norms demand it (for instance arabs or eskimos) or even because people get a kick from going against the generally accepted norms. You can probably fill in these forms and perhaps you have seen several of these in your surroundings....

MAN with MAN
WOMAN with WOMAN but sometimes with MAN
MAN with WOMAN but sometimes with MAN

.... and then there are steady relationships, loose relationships, steady with a loose relationship on the side, and people who are alone and experience sex on their own. *

This was my second year of secondary school, the year in which I turned 14. I didn't remember the drawing, but I can vividly picture my biology teacher demonstrating this - on the end of a broomstick. I have to say I was a bit shocked at how clumsy my busdriver was at putting one of these on, I had to tell him to hold on to the tip. But then the chapter on relationships says:
One of the most common problems between boys and girls is that they have wrong expectations of each other. Boys think they will embarrass themselves if they aren't macho and don't take the initiative, girls think they will push boys away by taking control.
But in reality many boys are only too happy with girls taking the initiative and girls often find shy, slightly clumsy boys quite attractive!

* At the time I didn't object to the four-period ellipsis or the Oxford comma, my snobbery hadn't been fully developed.

neighbourhood II

white chalk, white power?

I never noticed this before, it saddens and shames me to see such a thing in my sedate little neighbourhood.


kids' crossing

The last couple of months, in preparation of the new school season, my neighbourhood has been cris-crossed with new zebra crossings and routes set out in tiles with line drawings of a boy and a girl leading from one crossing to the other. Also the existing zebra crossings have been decorated with tiles bearing a big (evil?) eye telling us to "LOOK OUT".

Sunday, 14 September 2008

what's in a name?

On Sunday afternoon I went out to post a letter (it was the letter to allow the bank to withdraw 1% of the 10% guarantee on my mortgage in case the mortgage was approved and they would have to transfer the guarantee to the notary - things are getting tense now, still waiting for the final approval) and stopped by the local Turkish shop, the only store open on Sundays in this neighbourhood. The DVD rental place and the kids' candy store were also open, but I mean somewhere where you can pick up groceries that you've forgotten.

I picked up some cookies:

negro cookies


Torpedo Vindicator

This is not serious and really has no place in any political debate, but then again neither do I and Sarah Palin's children do have names that are, well, silly. Of course I understand she's not alone in her poor choice of baby names (personally I want to name my firstborn daughter Maisonette and my firstborn son Condominium), but I simply couldn't resist when Alex Blaze posted about the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator.

And thus Subtle Knife becomes Torpedo Vindicator Palin

Torpedo Vindicator, it sounds like either an Action Man or a very special kind of toy...

proper preperation (sic)

I found this in the back of an old school diary (1989/1990, to be precise).


Large Hardon Collision

Some might say that the people who came up with the name for the Large Hadron Collider should have thought harder before choosing such a spoofable name. I believe that they were very smart in picking a name that caused such an eruption of jokes and publicity.

Uroskin posted this picture a few days ago.

my marbles


If you have met me, or read anything I wrote online, I am sure that at some point you have thought to yourself "This woman has lost her marbles".

You would have been correct.

However, thanks to my dear father climbing up into the loftspace - which was never supposed to be used for storage but into which he cut an entrance at the top of the built-in closet in my teenage bedroom - and taking down the tons of stuff my family have been unable to throw away over the years, my marbles have been retrieved.

Saturday, 13 September 2008

When I look back upon my life

When I look back upon my life
it's always with a sense of shame
I've always been the one to blame

As the reality of buying my own apartment and leaving the ancestral home (my parents may have moved out to a cottage in the country some years ago, it's still very much their place) has finally started to dawn upon me, I have been looking back on my life and not finding much to be pleased about.

Don't worry, I'm pleased about me now, I just feel a sadness for all the time I spent getting here. So when I look back upon my life, it really is with a sense of shame, what a shame that this person, who was me, but not quite me, felt she couldn't enjoy herself, blamed herself for the fact that she was depressed and didn't achieve what she could have. I haven't forgiven her for denying me the happiness and success that I could have had. There was nothing to forgive.

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti vobis
fratres quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo, opere
et omissione. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Shame (in the sense of "what a shame") and sin are both translated into Dutch as "zonde".

a really bad Disney movie

Indeed, Matt.

from: KnuckleCrack

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Black smoke hides the stars tonight

I know I've posted this before. Today seemed appropriate, even if it describes the aftermath rather than the events of September 11, 2001.

Wise Men
(Kate McGarrigle)

In the desert, where the stars are bright
And constellations rule your life
Long ago, three kings set out
To follow a peculiar light

What did they see, up in the sky?
That made them take leave of their land
And carry gifts on camelback
Over the hills of endless sand

Through cloudless days and cloudless night
The bells upon the camels ringing
And the wind playing on ribs of sand
Must be the voices of angels singing

Gold to crown his loftiness
Myrrh for the man upon his death
Frankincense for godliness

Black smoke hides the stars tonight
And mines explode in golden sands
Underground black gold does flow
In Afghan fields the poppies grow

Gold to crown his loftiness
Myrrh for the man upon his death
Frankincense for godliness
Frankincense for godliness

Interesting aside: the video was posted shortly after The Wainwright Family & Friends Christmas Show at Carnegie Hall, December 13, 2006, by one of the makers, Sylvan Lanken. There is now a note saying it was at one point removed because Carnegie Hall claimed copyright infringement.

word count

I'm happy to announce that, for the first time in a considerable number of months, my net word count has hit triple figures every day this week.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

bad food allergy

I have a bad food allergy; I'm allergic to bad food.

bad food allergy

Thursday, 4 September 2008

slash dot quote

Also, you should defiantly be over 18 to read this

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Night Nurse

One of Father Tony's posts reminded me of this song. It's called "Nachtzuster" (night nurse). Pure nostalgia from the early 1980s:

Monday, 1 September 2008

off-day in history

No, I'm not referring to the tense situation on the US Gulf coast where the business end of Hurricane Gustav is about to hit land any minute now.

A while back I added a gizmo in the right hand navigation bar that shows you an interesting fact from this day in history. Today's report is on the demise of the last (captive) Passenger Pigeon. But that's not the funny part either.

The entry in the encyclopedia section of The Free Dictionary apparently is still a work on progress. Or perhaps this remark has been overlooked:
The naturalist Charles Dury, of Cincinnati, Ohio, wrote in September 1910:
Insert the text of the quote here, without quotation marks.


100,000 Grandfathers* hardly seems long enough, given that it took about 50 million Grandfathers** to get from a bacterium to the first chimpanzee.
Something that dramatic needed a new trick. That trick was the invention of culture.

* A time measure we developed in The Science of Discworld as a 'human. Way of measurin.g large amounts of time. It's 50 years, a 'typical' age has between grandparent and grandchild. Most of the really interesting bits of human development have taken place in the last 150 Grandfathers. Remember - objects if the rear view mirror are closer than thaw appear.

** Most of them being Grandfather bacteria, you appreciate. That's the trouble with metaphors.

Bacteria don't have culture?


Why should all those people who showed up at the station this morning after having been away for two months get any seats?

I hate it when all of a sudden the holidays are over.