Tuesday, 31 March 2009

the difference

The difference between Christian fundamentalists and myself explained in a fundie's own words:

You have facts and I have the Bible.


I'll take it.

Visit Fundies Say The Darndest Things for more pearls of wisdom.

EDIT: On a related note, I just noticed this:

The White Bear Lake, MN UU congregation used to sell a bumper sticker:

It's easier to be born again that it is to grow up!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

overthinking

I can vouch for the truth of this for just about every work application I've ever worked with:

simplicity

Posted by Jes on the EuroBillTracker forum.

If only the ones I work with now were that simple...

ouch!

Due to circumstances Ashton Kutcher's chest will be smooth in his movie Five Killers. Poor Ashton. Bad, bad stunt double:



As someone suffering from rather strong after-effects from any kind of hair removal (bumps, rashes, terrible itching, the combination of which may even lead to wounds and infections if I'm not careful), this is a double ouch! (So yeah, definitely carpet, not hardwood "down there", I'd rather die than suffer those symptoms in those parts.)

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

you're not fired!

The Apprentice - series 5

It's started again, the annual spectacle (and sometimes debacle) that is the UK version of The Apprentice.

Already one of the candidates has given up, before even meeting Sir Alan Sugar.

The missing man arrived at his London hotel for the start of the competition, but then decided to leave.

At the launch of the new series, Sir Alan explained to reporters that there was "nothing sinister" about the missing candidate's departure. The night before the competition started, "the candidate realised that, 'this is it. I'm away from my family and kids,' and I think the reality hit home," and he decided to bail out.

Last year I had a really good time discussing the show with a very smart group of people, but that website seems to have quietly slipped away in its sleep. It may be the people there were too likeminded...

There is some interesting facial hair thanks to Maj and a New York candidate whose voice is bound to get on my nerves if she doesn't get kicked off the show soon. Kimberly says about herself: "I bring honesty and integrity to the table, I don't lie, cheat or backstab. I am not the stereotypical New Yorker and it's a stereotype I've faced."

Maj

both pictures from the BBC

Saturday, 21 March 2009

those were the days

Atari 2600Forget all those newfangled games that the young'uns (and some not so young) play on the interwebz or whatever feeble platform. This post is about a system that simply won't die. My parents have kept the Atari 2600 from my childhood and it is now in the keeping of my brother. I don't think he has tried it recently, but I fully believe it would work still (although the joysticks may have given up the ghost, they were already showing the strain of hard gaming 25 years ago...)

It's A SinRecently, I came across a reference to something I had heard of before, but didn't have the time or inclination to follow up on at that point. It took me a couple of weeks this time too, but Thursday night I tried to download a so-called Atari emulator. At first I tried to get the Stella Atari emulator, but however I tried it wouldn't work properly after downloading. Fortunately, there are other methods and as the comical collection of language gaffes by Dutch people says: "I always get my sin".

So last night after I got home from work I installed this version and it worked! It comes with a library of 772 (!) games - including several duplicates and a handful of duds, but still - which I have spent the first half of today looking through to find my old favourites. I think I found all the ones we had and a couple of games we used to play in my grandparents' bedroom.

This caused a major incident. All our cousins lived round the corner and were there every day, but we couldn't visit more than once every couple of weeks, so my parents didn't think it was fair we were deprived of my grandparents' attention by being sent off to play video games all the time - as they would do to the cousins. I don't think any of us kids minded. I used to think the years of separation were what caused my lack of connection to them, but now I've come to realise that I wasn't as close to my father's parents even before that.

One of the first games we had, I believe it came with the console, in fact, was Combat. I got bored with it pretty soon, but my little brother would manage to badger me into playing it once in a while, reminding me again why I didn't like it. O yeah, and he was too good at it, even five years younger than me. It's because I wasn't interested, I didn't apply myself, that's why. I could've been great at it if I wanted to...

Combat

Next up, Space Invaders! At first I thought this was different from the one we had, until I noticed it was just a question of changing the colours around a bit, everything else is the same. As you would expect from Space Invaders, of course. I played this quite a bit, although it wasn't my favourites. It was one of the ones I liked best at my grandparents'. What else can you say, it's a classic.

Space Invaders

The next one's different. I was completely addicted to this. We had this game both at home and at my grandparents' and if I had my way I would play it all the time. I can't remember whether there was a multi-player option, I suppose I must have let my siblings have a go at it once in a while, but this I could play for hours - and as long as I kept that little square in play, I could!

Pinball

Here's another arcade classic, Pac-Man, again not my first choice, but as a kid even that could keep your hands and mind occupied for ages. I never had any experience with arcades, so this would've been my first exposure to the game.

Pac-Man

Here's one of my all-time favourites, you can tell it's a bit later than some of the really basic ones. We never had the first episode, but Pitfall II - Lost Caverns grabbed me and never let me go. That music will still make me nostalgic for a crudely drawn little man dodging vultures, bats, albino scorpions, frogs and electric eels whilst making his way through tunnels gathering gold and floating from balloons.

Pitfall

And this is one of those oldies. It doesn't look like much, all you had to do was jump and engage the 'chute, but you had to gauge the wind speed and in some of the higher levels the targets would move. And when you were feeling slightly homicidal, the skydivers would land with a very satisfying splat if you didn't engage the parachute.

Sky Diver

Here's another one I loved. Love. The premiss is so simple, you're Popeye and you have to catch the hearts Olive throws whilst dodging Brutus and the Sea Hag's bottles. When you grab some spinach, you can kick Brutus' ass. That's all you need for a good time.

Popeye

Here's one I hardly played at all. I've never been interested in athletics, on track, field or video.

Decathlon

This is what my brother absolutely had to play every time we were at my grandparents'. He was completely crazy about this game. Perhaps because of that, I never saw the fun of blasting asteroids into smaller and smaller pieces.

Asteroids

And here we have another one of my all-time favourites (at least on this we agreed so we could play together). Donkey Kong... even at the time I couldn't see the point of it, but I knew it was addictive!

Donkey Kong

ET! I loved that one, our favourite Extra-Terrestrial trying to outrun the FBI and Inspector Gadget (I know, it's not him, but it looks like him) and finding pieces of his phone down holes in the screen so that he may phone home.

ET The Extra-Terrestrial

And another great one. This again must be later, because I remember my little sister playing this a lot too. Or perhaps we just got it later. I've always liked his jetpack. The snakes coming out of the walls were scary, though.

H.E.R.O.

Haunted House proves that a game doesn't have to be complex to be a lot of fun and very exciting. There are only six rooms per level, I believe there are only four levels. You have to light matches to find the pieces of a trophy, dodging ghosts, spiders and bats and bring it back safely out of the house. This is a screencap of the first level, in the higher ones you can't see the walls, just the outline when you use a match. The shock when a ghost suddenly appears has made me jump a few times.

Haunted House

And finally I remember playing something like this, I don't believe it was this exact one. But it may very well have been another Buck Rogers game in which you had to fly between pillars.

Buck Rogers

After all that, my favourite passtime as a girl was reading.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

old world, new world

I took a nap on the sofa in front of the TV after getting home from work. When I woke up, not completely awake yet, there was a New Zealand dog agility competition show just starting. The presenter welcomed the viewers to [something] house, which was almost 150 years old!

Woken up some more, I made myself some sandwiches and a cup of coffee in lieu of dinner, while the TV was on that ubiquitous BBC program Escape to the country. A couple was looking for a house in Truro, which was founded in the 12th century. The cathedral, however, the voiceover told us, is only a little over a hundred years old...

I myself have moved to a slightly younger city, because Gouda received city rights a few decades after Delft (both in the 13th century).

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

annoyed

Because I'm not allowed to say I'm pissed by Rich.

Because I really have to pee.

Because it's a quarter to 1AM already and I'm not home yet.

Because I'm in the middle of nowhere.

Because there is no bathroom at this train station (Woerden).

Because there are no direct trains between Utrecht and Gouda after 11:45.

Because we came fifth out of 27 in Mick Connell's one-off St. Patrick and Irish knowledge pub quiz.

Because there were only four of us.

Because per capita we won.

Because I never go to the bathroom on trains.

Because train bathrooms are even filthier than usual after a long day.

Because none of us were Irish. (One French, one English, one Australian and one Dutch.)

Because I have to get up at 5:30AM.

Because I had a very stressful day at work.

Because I forgot to go before I left.

Because I'll never make it home on foot without wetting myself.

Because there are never any taxis at the station when I need them.

Because I should have gone to Amsterdam and spent the night with K instead of trying to get home.

Postscript
As expected, there was no cab. When I called for one, the dispatcher told me it would be fifteen to twenty minutes. But when I thanked him and said I'd walk, he suggested that if I had the correct fare, he could come pick me up himself, even though he wasn't really supposed to leave his post until later, when it was quieter (as if it could get any deader in Gouda than it already was).

Also, after several months in town, I now know that it's possible to get from the station to my place within the starter tariff (7,50 euro), so woe on any taxi driver whoe tries to shaft me.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

pass me the ammo, Father

Father Geoff Farrow posted an interesting blog yesterday titled How do I speak to Christians about civil marriage equality?. What he says is what I (and many others) have been saying for some time. But he says it eloquently.

Also, he has more ammo, knowing where to find the right passages and such. He points us to the book of Mark. In my bible, which is a King James Version, red letter edition (it's not quite what I would call red, though), chapter 10 verses 11 and 12 look like this:
11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12
And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

If fundamentalists actually took the bible as LITERALLY as they claim, either churches would be a lot emptier or divorce rates would be a lot lower. As Father Geoff also reminds us, the most divorces don't take place in California or New York, but in the bible belt.

we interrupt this blog for an important message

WBC

silly Saturday lives!

For all you cats who are not down with this hip web talking yet, Gunther lends a helping hand:



Willym posted this a couple of weeks ago and I just had to rewatch it.

C
U
Next
Time
!

broadcast me a joyful noise

REMVH1 is having an REM Weekend so why leave the house? (By the way, this was a first for me: US green card lottery commercials on TV.) K's cleaning his, I called and no doubt he's now listening to the same songs.

Except of course we have lunch reservations at the Yamazato restaurant, at the Okura Hotel in Amsterdam, tomorrow, and I wouldn't miss that for the world. They do a wonderful "boxed" lunch for an incredible price. Their website says it's "the only traditional Japanese restaurant in Europe" to have been awarded a Michelin star and with food like theirs, I believe them.

K. went there two weeks ago and came back simply raving about the experience. Last week we met Pete and Mike there, with Pete's friend Patricia and had an absolutely wonderful time. The ambience was perfect (besides the concrete dust-filled lobby due to building work that wasn't sealed off properly), sake flowed and the company was fantastic - except for Petey, who was fa-bu-lous in his newly-arrived wardrobe (it took months on a sea container and a lot of organising to get it from there to their home. Pete ended up sending the huge truck the company were sending to a construction site outside the city center where their things were reloaded unto some guy's van. Which could actually navigate the inner city. I believe the big truck could probably have fit through their street - if you measure from wall to wall...)

Yamazato

Although we had already booked in advance, it was also a celebration for Michael finding a job. He's only been eligible to work in this country since the end of last year, when all employers were holding off until the new year. In fact, the job market only really started going in February.

Afterwards we immediately booked the same table and six weekend lunch specials for this Sunday. I adore the whole international aspect of this as well: beside me, a Cloggy, as Mike would say, there's Pete the Australian (with a British passport on the side, which means he could go to work here straightaway), Mike is a Kiwi with an Australian passport, K the American, Patricia the Brazilian and K's houseguest comes from Austria. Together in wonderful Japanese surroundings that almost make you forget you're in The Netherlands.

aside: Shit, fire truck racing by my window lights blazing and siren blaring (better than stopping, I suppose, but seeing any of the emergency services always gives me a bad feeling.)

VH1 seems to have a strange interpretation of weekend, so I started to look for another channel. Then I got distracted. In the background now, a well-known Dutch TV personality and musical producer is being put in the spotlight (in the UK the program is called This Is Your Life, I believe, they surprise someone and take them to the studio where a host of people are paraded past him or her to tell stories about this person's life.) The last one to appear this time was his husband. It was so beautiful, thoughtful and eloquent how he spoke about his partner when asked why he fell in love with him.

As Joe(MyGod) would say: "I love my people". Because even though they're only mine through adoption, I do. (Aside from Patricia and myself all the friends mentioned in this post are "family".)