Saturday, 31 January 2009

under the influence of a new crowd

Speaking of saunas, let me tell you about my new friends. Here's a rather longwinded and unedited report about last weekend, which I spent with a couple from Down Under:

Saturday afternoon I received a message from my new friend P, inviting me over to dinner with him and his partner M This is the couple that invited K. and myself over for Christmas lunch and who celebrated New Year's with us at K's. They're lovely guys, both of them, I can talk to them or each of them individually for hours.

P was born in the UK but last night he regaled me with stories of his delinquent youth in one of the toughest schools in Western Australia. M is from New Zealand originally, but seems to have assimilated into Australian culture. He was also in the Israeli army at the time of Gulf War I, you know the one with the Scud missiles. We tend to talk about politics, economics and social issues a lot. They've been together for over six-and-a-half years now, less than one has been spent here in The Netherlands.

As I arrived in Amsterdam a bit early, I decided to stop by Prik on the way. I had a couple of cups of coffee, because I hadn't had any real coffee since Friday morning (and I'm not even sure if I should count the machine coffee at the office as such; it does contain caffeine, though, so I suppose I must).

To meet them at their apartment at six pee em, I left Prik at 5.45, but just as I was thinking about turning into the little alleyway to get to the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal to catch a tram, I bumped into K coming towards me from the other direction. Immediately I was frogmarched back into Prik and loudly (but jokingly) accused of being a two-timing bitch, cheating on him with other homos and trying to run away before he saw me.

After one drink K drove me to P and M's apartment (I did call to say I'd been kidnapped and therefore would be slightly delayed) and went up while I fed the meter so that Ellen was safe from the nasty parking police - at least they stopped using wheelclamps as of January 1st. When I walked in he had staged it so that he was pretending to strangle P. for stealing his hag.

P and I are going to be gym buddies and we had an appointment with a Utrecht gym last Wednesday for an intake lesson*. Unfortunately he collapsed in a London club the Sunday before and had to be taken to hospital by ambulance. He went into respitory arrest and had to be intubated, most likely from a combination of combination of alcohol and GHB (he probably drank from the wrong glass). Shockingly, one of the nurses told him they get one person a night from that club with similar symptoms!

K left and we soon headed to a little beer bar just down the street - next to the day sauna - which was already pretty crowded. P managed to talk us onto an already-occupied table. The pub offers a wide selection of beers, a choice of wine that consists of red or white and about eight different dishes (plus two plates of the day). The beer and the food are excellent. P doesn't usually eat very much, but even he was gorging himself (plus he was putting bitesize chunks of his lamb and pesto on my plate...) I had the risotto without wild mushrooms but with asparagus and smoked salmon (the risotto may have been a bit bland on its own, but they worked together) and M also had the lamb. He would've had the game stew if it hadn't had wild boar in it.

As P enjoyed his red wine, M and I tasted different beers. I started with an amber beer, De Koninck, he had a Grimbergen Double (brown), then P ordered something for me because it had an unusual glass, but I found it too light to really enjoy it after the previous drink. About halfway M and I swapped and I got half of his secound Grimbergen Double. After that he had a Rochefort 8, another brown, and I wanted a Kriek, a Morte Subite, but they were all out of cherry beer, so I picked a raspberry one from another brand, which I can't remember.

When P and I left for their place, M, who always complains about not liking pubs, stayed to chat with our tablemates. He stayed out until midnight and almost joined them when they went dancing at Melkweg. In the meantime P and I were drining white wine and chatting. And sharing a joint. A double first for me: I'd never smoked anything and now I tried tobacco and marijuana. I can't say it did much for me, but P rolls them very thinly, quite elegant, not the clubsize ones you buy ready-rolled in every coffeeshop.

As I said, M came home around twelve, which is when I realised how late it was. They just pulled down the sofabed for me. (Of course I could've crashed at K's or even gone home, but it was easier and more fun to crash there...) P was tired from his recent ordeal and went upstairs, M and I chatted some more, until suddenly it was 2AM.

But at 9.30 the next morning I was wide awake. Sometimes you wake up and you can turn over and get back to sleep. It was clear this wasn't one of those times. So I had a relaxed morning reading the Complete Tales & Poems of Edgar Allen Poe, which I find fascinating in small doses.

When both my friends were up, P made us pancakes, which we had with real Dutch stroop - first time the bottle had been opened - jam and yoghurt (M's idea, not bad at all.) Then in the afternoon we walked over to the Allard Pierson Museum, where P breezed through the exhibitions, while M and I took them in at a more civilized pace.

Then when we were headed back to their place I bought three calla lilly bulbs, and said goodbye to my wonderful friends to catch a tram to the station. Just as I was getting on board, K called. It turned out he was at one of our favourite restaurants, Saturnino, an Italian restaurant on the Reguliersdwarsstraat. Practically feet away from where I caught the tram. I missed the next stop, but got off at the one after that, to get on a tram back to where I started.

We shared an absolutely delicious linguine with crab and tomato sauce. Sometimes it's hard making K eat properly, Saturnino's great food makes it a bit easier.


* i.e. the Wednesday before last. I did go to the gym, but he needed a bit more time to recover. His immune system got such a knock that he's still recovering from a cold, but he got a tour this last Wednesday. I have been several times AND I've done situps and the like at home to work on my abs. (Please DO praise me).

I need to think of nicknames to replace these damn initials...

Beewatch

It's a bit like Birdwatch, but without Bill Oddie (that's one for the Brits). Although... I couldn't swear to that, actually. A friend called this afternoon, asking me to find the addres of a gay sauna - but since I've never been there I couldn't vouch for Mr. Oddie's (non)attendance. (See, it pays to cultivate a good relationship with a hag with a computer and internet access...)

About five minutes later I received another call from him, but no matter how hard I yelled or whistled, I got no reply. Just in case something interesting was about to happen, I stayed on the line, but after a couple of minutes the connection was broken. He called back almost immediately, asking for the number of the building, so unfortunately he wasn't up to anything yet.

Unfortunately no more exciting phone calls after that...

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

congratulations

Mr. President.

At this very moment Barack Obama has become President of the United states. If you hurry you can still watch him take the oath of office in a few minutes. (It's only on every other channel...)

Sunday, 18 January 2009

my cheesiest post ever

I love cheese. I've always loved cheese, but growing up there was very little variety. In fact, the only variety was the age of the Gouda, which you can get in big blocks in any supermarket. I have no idea how to classify these in English. I remember the embarrassment K. suffered once when we overheard an American tourist ask what the difference was between young and old cheese. The answer is, of course, at least nine months:


4 weeks: young
8-10 weeks: semi mature
16-18 weeks: mature
7-8 months: extra mature
10-12 months: ripe*
16 months or more: overripe

* the literal translation would be old, but I wanted to make the link with the last category.

This Christmas K. and I spent with a couple of lovely guys who moved to Amsterdam from Australia. I'd met them at Prik a few times, but after that and New Year's Eve, I'm honoured to call them friends. Nibbles at their place generally means a nice cheese platter. I have ventured beyond just the Gouda from my youth and I'm happy to have found soulmates.



In my fridge right now:
  • some Parmigiano Reggiano, obviously
  • a blue cheese cheekily called "Delft blue" which I had to try in honour of my old home town
  • a really nice and creamy Italian soft white cheese the name of which I can't remember, a very
  • and of course - I live there now! - a big block of semi mature Gouda.
Strangely enough no goat's or sheep's cheeses at the moment...

Saturday, 17 January 2009

on pimpin' hoes

As readers over at Joe.My.God. know, I sometimes tend to go a little bit off-subject in the comments section. On Friday Joe published an article about the former head of faith-based programs in Ohio, who was arrested on seven felony charges, including promotion of prostitution.

Joe's opening sentence was
Pimpin' ho's makes dat baby Jeebus cry, yo.

which made me question
Is it ho's or hoes? We never discussed this in English class...

Joe (Another One), also known as kusala, answered
SK: I say it's hos. Hoes seem more like something used for gardening.

(Also, I love that Dutch rule of using an apostrophe-s for foreign words, but in English it makes one look... well...)

This touches on two on my favourite subjects: homonyms and apostrophes. My reply was short, but to the point. I stand by "hoes", unlike pimps, who should stand by their hoes:
But there are many words with more than one meaning; words with different etymology can end up being spelled the same...

I should think "ho" is goverened by the same rule that gives us "potatoes".

As for apostrophes, I get in trouble in Dutch for wanting to write "babies" instead of "baby's"...

It's difficult juggling the different apostrophising rules of these languages sometimes. To me it almost seems more natural to use the "babies" of my second language than the "baby's" of my first. Of course there is no "potato" in Dutch, but "foto", for instance, is pretty close to "photo". We say "foto's" instead of "photos". All words ending in a vowel get apostrophe-s attached to them instead of the regular s that is used for some plurals. (Let's leave the -en plurals out of it for now...)

Come to think of it, the problem is not so much with the other vowel-ending words (café, aura, foto) but specifically with the ones that end in -y. These are practically all relatively recent loan words from English and therefore harder for me to separate from their original plurals.

This may make sense, or maybe it doesn't. I've been having the mother of all headaches today.

Friday, 16 January 2009

slash dot quote

Nick laughed deviantly and knelt over me, straddling my hips.

This author has trouble distinguishing between deviant and devious, but in this case I can almost forgive him. As long as you remember that in my opinion deviance doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing...

Thursday, 15 January 2009

me times three

golden brownAs promised, here are some pictures of me with the new hair colour. It's gold "light golden brown" and I was very worried about doing the highlights myself. It proved very fiddly, but in the end I believe that made it look less structured and therefore more natural. Light streaks at regular intervals are a dead giveaway for a bad dye-job - unless it's meant ironically, of course. Unfortunately I'm rather pessimistic of most people's capacity for irony...

Now all I need is a haircut. I don't think I'm going for the do-it-yourself route on that.

highlights

Then I found a post by the marvellous Joe.My.God. about making a Shepard Fairey-like icon of your own picture, to look like the famous Barack Obama poster. Here's my effort, doesn't it make me look so much better than the original?

Subtle Obamicon
Try it yourself at Obamicon.Me.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

instant IQ

It's official, I'm no longer a blonde. Not that I could really claim to be, with the roots almost reaching my ears (I know, very sexy!), but in a succesful effort to bring the whole length back to one colour, I am now a brunette. There's also a lot more of a red glow than I expected - which was none - but that's not completely unwelcome.

I shall post a picture as soon as I have one (the light's not exactly great right now and as I'm getting ready for bed so I don't want it too bright anyway).

slash dot quote

It felt like sliding my cock through a rubber doughnut into a tub of warm grease.

Tell me that's not seriously sexy writing...

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The Times of Harvey Milk

Some time ago I decided that before I saw the movie Milk - if I ever do - I would watch the documentary The Times of Harvey Milk.

I found it and then I let it sit there for weeks. Not because it was difficult to find the time, but to be in the right frame of mind to watch it. I understood there would be tears whilst I watched, but it was the way I came out of it that worried me. Knowing that such powerful emotion can seriously upset the equilibrium I have built for myself, I try to schedule the ones that I can schedule for the least harmful times.

But now that I've seen and all that remains is a slight residual burning feeling in my eyes it I must confess I feel... strangely calm.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

playing hooky

Fifteen minutes ago K. called with a really croaky voice to say he couldn't make it to church today, he must've caught a cold.

Which reminded me that I was still at home in my pajamas, watching The Daily Show online, fifteen minutes before the service was about to start (i.e. right now).

It takes more than an hour to get there.

hangover cures

I don't have one in the conventional sense at the moment, but Savage Chickens' treatment of hangovers made me laugh.





Saturday, 10 January 2009

picture blogging

In which SK shows support for one of her favourite bloggers, shows off her - dubious - cooking skills, misleads a bunch of ducks and shows off her camel toe(s)...

First off, here's Miss Shelley looking imperious. If you haven't heard by now, the human she keeps, Joe.My.God, is up for Best LGBT Blog in the 2008 Weblog Awards:

Vote for Joe!

Then there's the "goop" I cooked up a few weeks ago that turned out surprisingly good. I had some leftover rice, which I fried, adding some whisked egg. Then I added a jar of reduced chicken stock, which also contained some chicken meat, and reduced it down further. I wish I had a few things to make it look better, but most in the end that doesn't matter... Taste exlosion!

Delish!

Walking back home from the station just now I noticed all the ducks - and a pair of swans - in the area had congregated in the section of the canal in front of my house (which is on the right, just beyond the triangular road sign). Unfortunately they all thought I was getting out some food for them, when instead it was just my cameraphone. I'm thinking about baking bread tonight just so I can feed some of it to them tomorrow. The ice starts directly beyond the second group of ducks in the distance. I haven't uploaded the huge original in which you can just make out a couple of people on the ice in the background.

I came back from Amsterdam this afternoon, changing trains in Utrecht, and on that second stretch in particular I saw several spots where people were having fun on the ice. It's been a while since we've had open water freeze over (we've had enough frost to be able to skate on specially flooded fields a few times) enough to really skate on it. I think the last time I spent any significant time on the ice was when I was perhaps in my fourth year in high school and one of my colleagues said she thought there was another frost period about ten years after that. I'm not about to get my skates on (besides the fact that I don't know where they are - my best best would be my parents' lock-up a couple of hours' drive away, but they may have given them away long ago - I seriously cannot risk another big strain on my ankle after the tumble I took on November 25th, during our first cold snap of the season.)

Quack

And finally a bit of silliness that has kept my toes nice and cosy throughout all this cold weather:

I can see your camel toe!

I'm feeling very touchy feely, so lots of cyber hugs to everyone.

PS. just as I was typing that last sentence, Mom called. Guess my quiet night home alone is out the window...

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

tigers are pussies

Heard on Animal Planet: "Tigers aren't the bravest of animal. They don't seem to tolerate pain well, so the injury could be a lot less severe than it looks.

Saturday, 3 January 2009

dear makers of Quantum of Solace

I deeply regret illegally downloading your movie. In fact, I cannot express how sorry I am for losing at least half an hour of my time before I completely forgot I was watching it, got up and started to prepare dinner.