Saturday, February 11, 2006

We've come a long way baby...(part 2)

TV tower and black babies crawling
Funny statue and Éilish the Irish cook People skating on Vltava, seen from Vyšehrad
Karel bridge at night
Antonín Dvořák's resting place, Vyšehrad cemetary

So after 14 hours (12 plus 2hrs at the Czech border where they checked the bus and us foreigners) I arrived in absolutely freezing but sunny Prague. Lucija was waiting for me for ages at a Communist bakery at the bus station.

On the way we'd driven past a humongous Pilsner Urquell beer factory in Plzn(Pilsen), and I was starving cos I had nothing with me on the bus to munch on but a bottle of whisky (which iI only drank a couple of sips) and a pack of peanuts, so me and Lucija headed straight to a restaurant ("Na Mlate") near her place for a hearty traditional meal and a jug of beer.

Here I first realized how unbelievably cheap it was to eat and drink (probably other things are cheap too but these are only things I did!) in Czech Republic. I had heard about it before but this was just unreal--if I was German living on the border I would only eat and drink in Czech Republic! I think our meal was 520 crowns (=18 euros) for 2 main dishes, salad, "grandma's potato with spinach" and 4 jugs of beer, and this was the most expensive meal I had there. Oops I'm starting to drool....

I couldn't have picked colder time to come to Praha. During the day it was about -10 centigrade. I felt sorry for Lucija because she was being such a good host and took me to all these places despite the risk of freezing her brain!

On the second day, while walking near The Municipal House we came across The House of the Black Madonna, the first cubist building in Prague where the little Cubist Museum is located, so we went in to escape from the cold--they had some wicked furnitures (more on this on the next entry dedicated to Cubism).

On the third day we took it easy and spent a good 3 hours playing a game of chess in "Dobre Trafika", a really cute cafe behind the cornershop where they sell tram/metro tickets.
Prague has so many nice cafes that make you feel at ease instantly--this one was like you just walked into somebody's living room! Old gentlemen read newspapers and chatted while a dog sat quietly underneath the table and two boys were smoking from a waterpipe, not to forget cute waitresses serving that delicious cake which I forgot the name.
.........and no I have not yet beaten Lucija in chess, although this time I came mighty close!

On my last day we walked around Vyšehrad and its cemetary, before seeing a couple of Chochol's cubist houses. There wasn't a cloud in the sky but the view from the top of the hill was a bit misty as you can see above. I loved the quietness there. It reminded me of Calton Hill in Edinburgh.
I must say for once I wasn't afraid of death if I were to rest in such a beautiful place..

Lucija lives with an Irish friend of hers called Neve and an American dude called Jesse. They were all saying that Czechs don't appreciate them trying to speak in Czech as much as in other countries, and that people are reserved so it makes hard for them to make good Czech friends.
I could sympathize with them a lot because that's the biggest problem when you live abroad--first the language barrier then overcoming the stereotype that people cast on you just because you look different. It's sometimes hard living on your own, away from your family in an environment where you feel like you're still a stranger. I realized we all have that little pain, as soon as we step outside of the home country and throw the "tourist" tag away.
But I'm sure that we'll all come out stronger and maturer. So I wish you all the best!!

I bought Joanna Newsom's The Milk-Eyed Mender and Ryuichi Sakamoto's piano instrumental CD called "/05" in Japan, and I had been listening to them on my iPod there and in Prague. I've brought the CDs to Prague as well, and Lucija and everyone really liked them. Now the music is associated in my head forever with the winter of '05-'06 and that's why I love music with all my heart--it's a bit like the smell--when a smell takes you straight back to your childhood.
I think Joanna Newsom's harp and Ryuichi Sakamoto's piano share the same crispness with the clear winter sky and chill, and my impression has strengthened after these two trips for sure...

I am about to pass out so I gotta stop here. Indeed we have come a long way from home. But as Jeremy Clarkson said to Ellen McArthur when she came on Top Gear to do her lap of "Star in a reasonably priced car", if all our anscestors had been satisfied living in a cave we would have never come this far. So let's take the bull by the horn and keep on walkin like some of our crazy anscestors did eh?

(Praha 23-27 January 2006)

We've come a long way baby....(part 1)

Yes I have been away for a while---since the last proper entry back in 2005, physically I have travelled to Japan and Prague. (Emotionally I am always travelling)

Other day I was chatting to a friend of mine who'd just gotten back from 3 weeks holiday in Indonesia. He said being back here was depressing. After coming back from Japan I felt the same kind of ennui. I guess anyone leaving the intense Southern-Sun behind to come back here would.
Here, or even worse was Edinburgh, the winter sun is often behind a thick cloud which gives the effect of the whole earth surrounded by frosted-glass, and when it comes out, it's merely a god's penlight--no warmth, not even shiney! (damn just writing this makes me yawn...)

Of course as people say "good things never lasts", after a good holiday comes the daily chore of constantly looking at the computer screen (especially when even I started using AutoCAD to do my projects!! granted, it does the job but it took a lot of joy away) and following somebody else's schedule. But the last two little trip of mine had genuine effects on me.

The second last time I was in Japan was when I was seriously depressed, so this time it was just great to be there and being able to communicate rather than being lost for words.
It was great to spend time together with my family, seeing my old friends and hugging my grandma--I think it's only since last year or so that we hug when I see her or say good-bye to her. I haven't yet told her I love her. Never in my life!! That's just the way of life in Japan tho. We never say "I love you" on the phone with parents or hug each other. That's how it's always been in Japan.
Apart from that I went to public bath or hotsprings almost every single day, ate very well and enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

And after being back for a couple of weeks in Holland and feelin the post-vacation ennui, I'd booked a bus ticket to Prague to go and see Lucija, a Croatian friend of mine.
(continues to the next entry)

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Perhaps I need to get out of Europe

create your own visited country map

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Music I've been listening to lately...

Biked into the centre and bought these LPs.

-Soundtrack of Good Bye Lenin! by Yann Tiersen
-"Noarh's Ark" by CocoRosie (Official website), Touch and Go Records
-"La maison de mon reve" the second-last album by CocoRosie
-"you could have it so much better" by Franz Ferdinand, Domino Record

I saw Good Bye Lenin! ages ago when it came out in cinema. It was good but I had to understand through the Dutch subtitles, and my Dutch wasn't that great then, so I missed some important conversations I think. I'll go and borrow the DVD again.
The composer is apparently the guy who did soundtrack for Amelie, but I don't know if the music is similar to that...the soundtrack is mainly piano with a bit of orchestration. Very chilled out. Listened to it once, I give it 8 out of 10.

Noah's Ark--is playing right now, and even though I already had some mp3 tracks, this is a really good record (CD, whatever). I asked the owner of the shop when I was paying "Have you listened to CocoRosie?" and he said whenever he plays this CD in the shop people ask his what it is, and that he thought they were "similar to a singer called Joanna Newsom but actually even better" at which point I thought "Oh you have CD version of this too???" Too late!

But sometimes I like LPs more, because
1) Your mate can't rip them into their computer/iPod/may even put them on some file-share program the very next day you bought the CD. Ouch.
2) When I buy them I feel like I'm buying music in a donut. It's big (thus the cover could become a nice interior--imagine hanging 100LPs in a clear plastic from the ceiling!), heavy, and in fact you only need a needle if you wanna play it. (that's an emergency situation tho)
Unlike the little shiny son CD where I still don't understand how music is stored on it or how it's played back, LP's analogueness is almost refreshing at this time and age.
3) Music sounds different, if not better sometimes on LP... depends on your needle and soundsystem too, but music like CocoRosie, with its melancholic folk influence to it, sounds fitting in this format. I use Tonar Banana cartridge so music's quite clear too.
Like if I listen to Curtis Mayfield LP, I wouldn't want to listen in CD cos it feels right to listen to the original sound quality--what people listened to at that time.

Anyway, Noahs Ark is coming to an end, and I give it 8.5

La maison de mon reve was apparently made in the bathroom of their (2 sisters') Paris flat.
I didn't realize how dark their lyrics were, till I read it on the back of their LP cover.
The tune I really like called Lyla was actually a tribute song to Lilya4ever (a film by Lukas Moodysson), and starts off like "you wanted to buy me/for a hundred euro". When sang in their floaty voices you wouldn't think they are singing THAT.
Track 3, Jesus Loves Me, too was a bit shocking, when the first verse is "jesus loves me/but not my wife/not my nigger friends/or their nigger lives/but jesus loves me/that's for sure/'cause the bible/tells me so", sang in a child-like mood with chimes and stuff in the background.
But soon you realize that they are just being sarcastic about religion, typical role-model of woman as housewife (that's track 2, called "By Your Side" etc. They are as sharp as Jim O'Rourke in their lyrical darkness.
Haven't listen to all the tracks but I have a feeling it's gonna be 8 at most. Noah's Ark has better production, more variation, and the shockingness has eased off a bit.

And Franz Ferdinand then. I've started to listen again to Brit-rock in the last 3-4 months. The string of artists that came into my mp3 collection included Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Kasabian, Kaiser Chiefs, Star Sailor....they all make me feel that Brit-rock has gained another edge to it. And Franz Ferdinand perhaps kick-started it with their first album a couple of years ago (was it??).. and their latest offering is instantly catchy as i can hear. Can't help noddin my head and tappin my toes:-)
I give it an 8, may go higher after listenin more.

Ok better go...later...

p.s. On the second listen Franz Ferdinand album went up from 8 to 9 and La maison.. stayed at 8.

Monday, December 19, 2005

No Comment

foto/artwork by Paul Vermeulen
babe: Kelly Vermeer
we were @ Station Den Haag Holland Spoor

Friday, December 16, 2005

Amazing BBC program (Part 2) "Imagine..."

Last night I also watched "Imagine... Rhythm is It!". Imagine... is a BBC1 art and culture program, presented by Alan Yentob.

This episode showed a German documentary film called "Rhythm is It!", which shows the development of a project between Berlin Philharmonic orchestra, lead by Sir Simon Rattle, and 250 mostly under-previledged secondary school kids in Berlin.
They are to dance in front of a couple of thousand audiences, behind the orchestra playing Igor Stravinsky's Sacre de Pritemps, at the end of 6 weeks training by dancer/choreographer Royston Maldoom.

You will see that disorganized, chatty groups of young students transform into real dancers, pushed and infected by Royston's passion, seriousness and openness, all in a course of 6 weeks.

At one point, Royston asks everyone to look up into the sky, with their arms stretched, pointing upwards. Then he walks up to some students, telling everyone what he can see from their body-language. "This boy will become whatever he wants to become." "This boy too can fulfill his true potential, but he doesn't know yet." "This girl has energy and talent, but she doesn't believe in herself yet." He encourages them to never stop, always to find new challenge, to be serious and to concentrate. He's a great tutor, initiator, and caretaker, as well as a good dancer and choreographer.

Slowly the whole group comes to share that passion, and for a lot of them it was a life-changing experience, to express with all their body, to be part of the wonderful alchemy of dance and music thanks to Berlin Phil, and Simon Rattle, an eccentric genious who woozes charisma.

To be honest, I was in tears even before the kids performed towards the end of the program.
It's an urban ugly-duckling story, multiplied by 250, with a couple of really passionate teachers thrown in. I felt so good after watching this film, and I felt like dancing like hell!

Dancing is great. It takes music or rhythm and transcends them into something personal, tactile and dynamic.

Amazing BBC program (Part 1) "Life in Undergrowth"

This is the newest series of the famous nature program hosted and written by Sir David Attenborough (left), brother of an English actor Richard Attenborough (himself a "Sir").

As always, the cameraworks on his programs are awesome--special cameras are used to capture the most amazing details of the wonderful insects' habitat, busy doing their own things according to their instinct. And oh boy how beautiful can they be!
They also use computer graphics here and there, all of which look very real, to show the subject from 360 degrees, or to show their viewpoint.

I once saw, in a club in Amsterdam, nature program projected on the screen showing a ladybird flying through jungle to a nest of million ladybirds stuck to the tree, both from ladybird's viewpoint and the wide-angle shot of the jungle being used in accompany with music from Nobukazu Takemura. I was totally blown away. I was sure that it was taken from Attenborough's program.

Anyway, a highlight from the episodes so far, for me, was a moth which sucked on tree barks for sap, but because he doesn't need glucose in his body he excretes it out of his abdomen, creating a tiny ball of sugar-water. Then there comes another butterfly (I can't remember what it was--this episode was aired 2-3 weeks back), which crawled right behind the moth, and "knicking" the water with his antennae! Funny that the moth doesn't mind that at all, he's busy biting into the tree.

The next show (on air Wed 21st of December, 9 to 10PM GMT) will feature insects which live in groups--Ants and Bees. I saw the preview of it on yesterday's program, and...again, I can only give all those superlatives. David Attenborough, clad in special suit, will be hoisted up a really tall tree to observe a bee colony, to see how they defend against intruders by disturbing them a little with a long twig with a fake hornet at the end. Bees first reply by vibrating themselves and moving their wings, doing this successively from one end of the colony to the other, creating a moving pattern that travel accross them. You can see the video of this from the link above, or here. (Requires Real Player--i know it's annoying...i don't even have that program)

Also, scientists will fill a disused termite mound with plaster to reveal the inner structure. What comes out after the structure of spit and mud is washed away by blasting water to it, is the most intricate network of tubes which act as a giant cooling system for the family! So clever, so beautiful, so environmentally friendly.

In short, unmissable.

But right now I'm seriously thinking of buying the DVD box set of David Attenborough's "Life" collection.
This 24(!) disc set boasts incredible 4360 minutes (that is 72 hours and 40 minutes) of footages from "Life of Mammals" to "Life in Undergrowth". It costs mere 130 quid plus 5 quid deliverly anywhere in Europe. That is a bargain. Only problem is, I have no creditcard!!
A reviewer for Life of Mammals said "Buy this, and if you don't have a DVD player, buy that too cos it's that good".

Perhaps, after watching it, I would regret being born as a human being, that I couldn't be an insect, a plant, or an animal. It seems to me that they don't "waste" time. I don't even know if they have the idea of it, but everything they do seems logical, purposeful, confident, and most importantly, graceful. For many of them, especially insects, it's a fight against time, to find mate(s), to reproduce. But the numerous ways that they achieve that, and how they developed themselves to "perform" that ritual is always intriguing, and touching.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Lucky Cat and Friendly Gorilla

....are the two animals on the news today.

I had already heard about the missing cat Emily from Wisconsin (above, in the plane) which reappeared in Nancy, France, but now she's finished her quarantine and flew back to the States.

In early October she went missing, most probably after accidentally wandering into a container near her owner's house. Then she was loaded into a trans-atlantic ship that took 3 weeks to arrive in France (she had enough mice to munch in the cargo, apparently). Later that month she was found at a factory in Nancy, with her collar that had her address on.

Continental Airline has given her a $6000 Business Class ticket and a carer who flew her safely back to the States. "Miauw this wine is dé a mouse to snack on?"

and now to a lady gorilla story
A 33 year old Lowland gorilla Coco in California understands over 1000 human words through sign-language. Once she even told her handler that she had tooth-ache, and that it was 9 out of 10 (that must be quite painful!).

Anyway, on today's news it said that 2 female ex-handlers of Coco compounded with their former employer after they were pressurized by their female boss to leave the job.

Coco asked the handlers through American Sign Language that she wanted to see their chest, but they refused. Their boss demanded that they do what they were told, for the better communication, bond, whatever.

Their boss explained that Coco, despite herself being a female, likes human female's chest and added "I had always complied with her request, but she got bored".

Lesson: employ more male handlers to avoid yet another law-suit.

011001 10011000 is music

This cute machine packaged in a CD case is One Bit Music.

It is a project by a composer and artist, Tristan Perich. One Bit Music's little heart is a chip that stores 11 songs, in this case his own 1-bit minimal electro music generated by a simple program.

The cool thing is that it is not only a medium, there is a headphone socket and forward/back buttons to toggle between songs, and they're meant to be sold at CD stores, lurking behind regular CDs.

I've listen to the music on the website, and they were surprisingly good. Like its appearance the music is analogue, but with attitude! it keeps on changing, like tide...

Monday, November 21, 2005

"Restlessness" by Anna, another tea-lover


My body is bleeding from treacherous paper cuts
across the surface of my mind.
Letters, pictures, notes, postcards from far away.
They are small. But they are many. And they are hard to ignore.

The skin warms from the pain of missing.
Images, sounds, smells fill the air around me, stinging the blood.

I want to get up and press my palms against the window so that I can feel the sound of rain. Outside. Hazy and strange and empty, the thought that somebody, somewhere, is running fingers down the crying glass.

In the world where technology has brought us so close,
‘www’ fills the drops of silence falling down the heart.

What we share is rubbing salt of memory into the scars on our skin,
fragile, tender and defenseless.
And restlessness.

Like something is missing.

photo by Tatiana G

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Tea and Coffee

Oh my god the weather's become so cold this week! I just biked to the station to get some bread, and my hands are numb from cold. I'm gonna make meself a cuppa tea.

When I was living in Edinburgh, I was amazed by how often my British friends drank tea. (Scottish a little less so, perhaps. Their winter and wind are harsher, and drum of whiskey makes you forget that for a wee while..)

Hmmmm the tea is nice. To be honest , I seldom had to make myself a cuppa there because my flatmates would just make one for me, always with one spoonful of sugar and a plenty of milk. And if I visited my friends at their flat, they would all be sitting there sipping tea in their big mugs, and they'd offer me one. (Caroline, Lucija, Lucy, Ronnie and Tammy's flat was exactly that--except they'd all be smoking fags at the same time!
(oh i miss them...)

Since I came back to Holland I hardly ever made tea.
Firstly, there was no flatmate, until 3 months ago, and my flatmate now drinks loads of tea, but has yet to offer me one (Hint hint Bart!).
Secondly, at work or study, the Dutch's drink of choice is usually coffee. My dad told me that the Dutch have at least 5 "Coffee breaks" a day at work.
At universities there are many coffee vending machines that disgorges some horrible stuff but still there's a que at every break between lectures. Of course sometimes I'm inclined to have one of those, cos it only costs 21 euro cent, but it really tastes foul! (The way the plastic cup first falls from the top to the holder, then after that couple of seconds of silence, "zzzzz....shoooooooooo........", I despise the indifference of this kind of machines)

Anyway, a couple of days ago I picked up 3 different kinds of teas by Celestial Seasonings at a local supermarket, and I knew that Croix used to drink this brand so I must have had some, but I got addicted to them straight away.

My favorite right now is 'Tension Tamer'--not that I'm super stressed but it just tastes gorgeous...the ingredients are; Eleuthero ginseng root, peppermint leaves, cinnamon, ginger root, chamomile flowers, lemon grass, licorice root, catnip leaves, tilia flowers, natural lemon flavor, hops, and Vitamins B6, and B12..
(Click here to know what all the herbs are)
I know I love beer too but isn't that the most healthy-sounding ingredients you can have for a drink?

Not only does it makes me warm and happy, it makes me to write! But I better go study for my exam. And no you won't know what I got for it, cos it's mechanics, something I'm bad at.

I will write again about tea and coffee soon. After some research you know?

Enjoy the rest of Sunday afternoon! (oh wait who am i talkin to?)

Monday, November 14, 2005

On Japanese Newspapers and Beautiful Suicide, if that does ever exist...

I always keep up-to-date with Japanese news. Primarily from the websites of Asahi Shinbun, the second-biggest national newspaper (some articles available in English) and Nikkan Sports (Japanese only--a popular sports paper).

Japanese newspapers, if you ever see the real one, is a work of art--all the articles fit neatly in its page (never "Continues on page 5") , headlines run horizontally and vertically, even the smallest spaces left are filled with miniscule adverts of Yakult or medicine.

On Radio program schedule, you see that all the names of the programmes are shortened so severely, that you have no idea what it is. (So that everything can be crammed into a space of 8 by 14 -20 centimeters)

Of course, also the content--the news, differs in the way it's told and the nature of it.
For example, these days I see lots of articles about school teachers sexually harassing his students, or having sexual relationship with students or having sex with underaged girls who sell their body for a quick cash. I don't think I ever heard a similar story on Dutch news, or English news.
There might be an article next to it about an old man who got attacked by a bear, when picking some mushrooms in a forest, that he fought the beast off by clinging to the bear's neck (real, but old story).
Some are told in a typical matter-of-fact way ("a house gutted by fire"----the owner, Mr ### is missing, a body was found and police suspects that it is Mr ###.) like, duh....

The others are just plain bizarre, or emotional, or both.
A story on Asahi website last week, was exactly that.

A policeman came across an empty car with the engine running, parked outside a disused crematory, with classical music playing loudly on the stereo. Inside the car, 5 or so receipts from petrol stations, and on the back, what seems to be a logbook of the last day of a man and his wife.

The same afternoon the police found 2 skeletons lying side by side in the incinerator, still warm.
The man, an 80-year old, had been caring his wife (82), who had dementia for the last few years. Recently his health has also deteriorated, and he had decided to put his plan into action. A night before the fateful day, he sent his will which was made a year ago to the city hall, donating all his possessions, including their sizable land.

The note tells a short but powerful tale;

"4:30 pm My wife is waiting in the car."
"8pm Leave the house with my wife."
They drove around their favorite places and houses of their brother and sister, slowly making way.
"She waits without saying a word."
"At 12:45am I will set fire. Good-bye."

I couldn't help thinking that this was the most beautiful suicide I've ever heard (In a surreal way---just the thought of classical music in the pitch dark and the fire made me stifle with all sorts of emotions).
I am totally against suicide but this man..... his love for his wife, and to do it in the way he did, at his age is.....I don't know what word I should be using here--morbid on the one side, yes, but the whole orchestration and the almost religious-feel to this man's last act somehow makes me think that he actually did really appreciate his life, and that he wished no more pain, and the most fitting way that he could come up with, 'just happened to be', this whole thing, perhaps.

So many articles, so many deaths and accidents, but this one I don't think it's easy to forget.

Sorry for the 2 sort of "heavy" posts in a row---I've been busy and this was the first thing that came in my head so that's why---next time will be something totally different, I hope!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Fire at Schiphol Detention Centre

"The Netherlands has one of the toughest immigration policies in Europe, and is in the process of deporting 26,000 asylum seekers who have been refused the right to stay.

As everyone living in Holland would know, the Dutch immigration law has tightened up considerably in the recent years, thanks to Rita Verdonk, a hard woman with strong, somewhat rightist beliefs.

Recently she came up with the idea of sending back Antillians who don't have jobs or study, if they commit a crime. And even Oranje coach Van Basten is annoyed with her that Salomon Kalou, a Ivory coast-born forward at Feyenoord couldn't get Dutch citizenship which would have enabled him to play in the next World Cup in Germany.

At a ceremony in Amsterdam Oost earlier this month, she was booed as she made a speech, and her and her bodyguards hastily made their way to a limousine.

And then this happens.
Fire at detention centre at Schiphol airport, where bolletjesslikkers (drug smugglers who swallowed balls of cocaine) and illegal immigrants are locked up.
Out of 43 who sat in the wing, 11 died. At first serveillants didn't take the imprisoned seriously, until panic broke out. The doors to 24 cells (24 x 2= 48 detainees max in the wing) had to be opened manually, and the quick spread of the fire took lives of helpless detainees.

I feel for all the family members of the dead and injured. Apart from Bolletjesslikkers who commited crime, there were innocent people who didn't even set a foot on Holland.

This can be seen as a freak accident, just another fire or something symbolic to where Rita's taking us to.



Friday, October 21, 2005

Kandinsky, my little gem

I just got back from Kandinsky, nothing much to do with the artist himself, but in stead one of the most gezellig (cosy, nice) cafe's in Tilburg. It boasts about 200 beers, predominantly Belgian but also Dutch, Irish, English, name it.

Today I had Maredsous 6 (6%) and Edelweiss (5.4%) both straight out of 'vat'. Edelweiss, a white beer from Austrian Alps, tastes like herb and was really lekker (yummie). Maredsous is a nice blond-beer too, little on the lighter side (blonds are usually between 6 and 7.5%) for an amber coloured beer, but in a way, quite refreshing.

Croix loved this place too, once he even managed to get a couple of unopened bottles of Kandinsky beer to bring back to Seattle!!!!
On Sundays they have Beer-tasting, 5 different beers in a smaller glass for 7.50 euro. I went there once on my own, and it started with a 6% beer, then 7.5, 8, 10 and to finish (me) off, 11%. I just wished I'd grabbed some food before I got there! A must if you visit Tilburg.

Oh and Paradox, a jazz/crossover/world/whatever joint is stone's throw away. Behind the little, somewhat shabby-looking facade you find the most ecclectic mix of music in town, and crowds equally so--me and Caroline had a blast here once! Man we got properly---jazzed.

The triple Maredsous with 10% alcohol content is one of the favourite beers of Michael Jackson, the outstanding beer ’pope’:
"These beers have long been my favourites. Above all the 10° is an especially tasty beer."

above is quoted from Maredsous website. and no, they don't mean THAY guy but this man.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Vertigo building, TUe

This is my architecture faculty. It used to be the Chemistry faculty bulding built in the 50s. It was totally stripped to bare structure, modified and rebuilt by a former student/architect Diederen Dirrix van Wylick. The staircase leading up to the foyer/lecture hall pictured on the left is designed so that the tread is not long enough for 2 steps but way too long to walk confortably in one step. Apart from that, ground-floor student workshop is airy, and so are the offices on the top 4 floors with its atrium. The facade is glass with green pattern printed on them, a bit like the University library in Utrecht by Wiel Arets and Associates. The grass field in front of it is perfect for lunch if weather permits! In all, a welcome change from TU Delft architecture faculty which is 50s brutalist concrete monolith. (although there you can smoke on the ground floor 'smoking area'--basically 3 tables and chairs no partition or nothin', which was cool) Also Vertigo, or so it's called, is right in front of the station--very handy for a commuter like me.

more info on Vertigo and Wiel Arets' new library
and forum about Sterling Prize 2005 where Vertigo/Wiel's library are briefly mentioned

One Self gig in Patronaat, Haarlem

She is Yarah Bravo, the cute singer of One Self, the new project of DJ Vadim, Blu Rum 13 and her. She stuck her stickers on me tiger t-shirt... Their new CD is pretty good too. Especially 'Bluebird' check them out on or

The new Patronaat building is designed by Diederen Dirrix van Wylick Architecten, the architect who converted the old Chemistry building into our Architecture faculty at TU Eindhoven. Patronaat, with its bright red facade looks very nice seen across the canal.

'Bedkamer' by Lijs Vosselman

I met Lijs at this year's Robodock festival. I found this picture of her work on internet. Isn't it amazing? The contrast between warm colours of the surrounding and the cold bodies is wicked. It reminds me of old police crime-scene photos with somewhat biblical feel to it.
The original measures 233 x 175 cm
copyright Lijs Vosselman

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Snorting coke on Dutch telly

On Monday nights on NOS2 (a Dutch public tv station), there is a program called "Spuiten en Slikken" (Literally, "Shooting and Boshing " or "Squirting and Swallowing ") being broadcasted.
It has been controvertial from the start when it was announced on news that someone from the program will be taking hard-drugs on camera.

The first episode contained one reporter (shown above) testing the effect of the 'worst drug', alcohol.
He got pissed with 2 girls in Amsterdam 'kroegen' (bars), puked a couple of times, started throwin beer glasses onto the street and couldn't remember much the next morning. (Was surprised how quickly he got pissed--the girls did better...)
Another guy/reporter went into a bedroom (and on the bed, a Dutch couple) built right next to where panels and presentator are sitting, came out 20 minutes later and declared--'I just had sex!' at which point Sophie the presentator became a bit abashed but really nieuwsgierig (curious).
So i see a task-division here. One guy does drug and the other explores sex---thus the double meaning of the name.

Yesterday, on the second showing, the same dude snorted a couple of lines of coke in his Golf before appearing in front of the audience, and had a discussion. One of the panels, a coke-expert added, somewhat carelessly, that in his experience, drinking alcohol at the same time had maximized his high.

The minister of justice, Mr Donner (kebab anyone?-----sorry....) has shown his concern to the public viewing of hard-drug consumption (obviously).

But to my amazement, the current Dutch drugs law ALLOWS pocession of hard-drugs upto 0.5 grams!!!!! I don't know how many lines you can make out of that, but my friend assures me that that is 'enough'. Of course selling or smuggling is illegal.

I actually missed yesterdays aflevering (episode), but if anyone is interested, here is the link to the last episode (Windows Mediaplayer stream)....enjoy!


me first post....

i'm a 1st year architecture student living in Tilburg, Holland. i'd like to post here my random thoughts about everything and anything, as they flow out of me head. if you can find something worth reading then i'll be very happy.